Professional Development Public Relations

Don’t Have a Meeting Without Setting an Agenda: and other takeaways from the panels at Create & Cultivate Chicago 2018 Conference

Yesterday I attended Create & Cultivate, a conference for women looking to create & cultivate the career of their dreams. The one-day event was filled with creatives, entrepreneurs and bosses “to spark conversation around the topics they are passionate about from building your business to raising money…all the topics for modern working women.” The program consisted of workshops, mentor sessions, and panels, with a bunch of fun pop-up shops.

The only thing I knew to expect was a highly-curated event with Instagrammable moments, if any indication from the conference’s past posts on the ‘gram. Paying my own way, as an investment in myself, I went to Create & Cultivate Chicago to get inspired and motivated for the next step in my career. Different from other conferences, I didn’t live tweet; it was all about the Instagram Stories. Instead, I took time to hand-write a bunch of notes that were actually legible! Below are my favorite takeaways from bad ass women on panels throughout the day.

Storytelling 101

This panel taught us “how to build a narrative and tell your brand story across digital platforms.” Speakers included: Olivia Rink (influencer, @oliviarink), Jessica Sturdy (influencer, @bowsandsequins), Rosie Clayton (influencer, @rclayton), Rachel Curry (director of marketing and owned channels @volvocarsusa), April Vitkus (senior director of global brand marketing, @vans), Teresa Lo (senior director of ecommerce, digital, & brand marketing, @biossance), Ann-Marie Klein (senior vice president, global marketing at Living Proof, @amkline), and moderator Sacha Strebe (My Domaine editorial director, @sacha.strebe).

  • If you can’t see it, you can’t be it.
  • A good collaboration can broaden your audience.
  • If you’re going to start a brand tomorrow, have a lot of wine in your fridge. Think about how to present your brand. Stockpile your content and be prepared going in.
  • It’s okay if your audience is small, but know it.
  • Is your signature a color, filter, perspective, etc. Know what will stand out in your [Instagram] feed.
  • If you work hard you will see results.


Work Party

This panel taught us about “collaboration over competition, why teamwork makes the dream work!” Speakers included: Emma Chapman (co-founder of A Beautiful mess, @emmaredvelvet), Lauren Gallo (Snapchat entertainment marketing, @missgallo), Rachel Tipograph (founder & CEO MikMakTV, @racheltipograph), Lori Wright (general manager, Microsoft @Office Collaboration Apps), Maxie McCoy (speaker and coach, @maxiemccoy), and moderator Jaclyn Johnson (CEO of Create & Cultivate and author of Work Party, @jaclynrjohnson). With the number of bullets below, it was definitely one of the most applicable sessions to me.

  • Setting goals and objectives helps everyone rally together.
  • Mutual respect and staying in your own lane make teams work.
  • Take everyone on the journey even if they are not directly on “the” team.
  • Invest in your external network as much as your internal.
  • Know your position on the field. If everyone’s playing running back that doesn’t work. What is the job you need done and who’s the best person for that?
  • Figure out how to “bucket” your time.
  • Be the greatest storyteller in the world; don’t be humble when negotiating.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to people. Don’t necessarily have an agenda. Just say, “I love your work, you’re super inspiring.”
  • Over-communicate positive things that people [on your team] do.
  • Organizational charts serve to organize work and then tell people who is doing what.
  • Seek direction from mentors. Sponsors will advocate and fight for you. Find both!
  • Build products and features that are complementary to your partners, not competitive.
  • Great meetings can be a to-do list for yourself. Stay on track and accountable.
  • Don’t have a meeting without setting an agenda; if you don’t have the right people or objective, cancel the meeting.
  • Be brave, try new things and give yourself a break; enjoy the journey.
  • Treat big companies like grad school. Take meetings with all departments.
  • Life is messy; embrace it.
  • Make sure people have autonomy of their own time.
  • Don’t avoid hard conversations.
  • Now more than ever, we have a permanent seat at the table as females.
  • Survey peer “cheerleader” women to ask what they see in you.
  • “Get on LinkedIn and creep along.” – Jaclyn Johnson
  • On managing: You don’t need to be the boss; be the coach.
  • Ask team members for their ideas on big picture goals.
  • Cut away busy work and give stretch assignments.


Squad Up

This panel taught us how to create “a strong sense of self and encouraging others to do the same.” Speakers included: Koya Webb (CEO of Get Loved Up, @koyawebb), Candace Reels (founder of Female Collective, @candacereels), Danielle Moss (co-founder of The Every Girl, @daniellemoss_), (@methodhome), and moderator Maxie McCoy (speaker and coach, @maxiemccoy).

  • Use whatever privilege you have to help the person next to you.


Digital Darlings

This panel introduced us to “the women creating compelling content online and on screen.” Speakers included: Ashley Tisdale (actress and singer, @ashleytisdale), Whitney Port (fashion and reality tv star, @whitneyeveport), Chriselle Lim (influencer, @chrisellelim).

  • [On working with other women]: If you can do it alone, why not do it with someone else and get there faster together.

Stay tuned for my follow-up blogs on takeaways from my mentor sessions and the keynote speakers, coming soon! #createcultivatechi


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