There are many, many reasons to celebrate yesterday’s Cybher 2012 and I felt really honoured to be involved. With such a wide choice of sessions, catering to an array of expertise and tastes, delegates each had their own unique experience and opportunities from their day. Bravo!
My day was a mixture of pride, elation, inspiration, excitement and passion! It was truly awesome to be in a room with so many like minded people who were willing to share ideas, laugh at ourselves and encourage each other – brilliant.
I’ll be honest and say I would like to see more technology talked about at future conferences. As bloggers, we are part of the technology space no matter what we write about and we have a responsibility to encourage future generations of girls to get involved in STEM subjects at school and make technology a valid career choice. There is still a lot of sexism in technology (especially on the San Francisco start up scene) so it would be great to see some keynote speakers from the technology sphere.
So why was my day so special? It started with a great keynote from Zoe Margolis of Girl with a One Track Mind fame. We heard from the horses mouth about the opportunities (like being invited to talk on Newsnight about Slut Walk) as well as the discrimination and downside of being the girl behind the blog. It was so interesting and though provoking to hear her side of the media storm. A really great choice of speaker.
The first break out I visited was from the lovely Mark Solomon, blogger and author of Black Cab Wisdom (which I’m really enjoying!). It was a pleasure to hear Mark speak. I love London and I never get tired of starting random conversations with strangers at bus stops, commuters on the tube and yes, taxi drivers! What a lovely man and a real inspiration and example of someone who blogs for the love of it.
My second session was Pump Up the Volume with my friends The High Tea Cast ladies Sam Sparrow and Lea Rice. Now, full disclosure, I already think very highly of these women. However, I train people for a living and can honestly say that their session was a perfect example of how to run a workshop (a short workshop at that, given that they only had 40mins) where they established why we should listen to them, what they recommend and followed with practical examples and demonstrations. Just because someone is good at what they do, doesn’t mean they can train other people and these ladies CAN! I defy anyone to have left that session without feeling confident that they could create their own podcast. Really well done.
This image is copyright of The High Tea Cast
At one point during the break, I was fondled by a lovely lady who wanted to know the make of my bra (if you’re reading, I checked later and it was Freya). Palmers provided probably the most generous and useful goody bag I’ve ever seen (I’m particularly grateful for this as my hubby used a whole bottle of cocoa butter moisturising his new sleeve tattoo *grrrr*) and The Leather Satchel Co supplied possibly the best conference bags I’ve ever seen. Here is said hubby modelling mine (yes, it’s mine Simon – hands off!):
My husband @SimonBegg rockin my Cybher satchel
Despite the amazing freebees, it won’t be a surprise to learn that the highlight of my day was being involved with the Social Good panel. It was a great privilege to promote Half the Sky with Liz Scarff, Christine Mosler and conference organiser Sian To and to talk about how it inspired me to start Janie’s School. If someone had told me in Dec 09 that within a year we would have raised over £20K, built a school with facilities for over 400 children and that I’d then be talking about it at the first conference for women bloggers… you get the picture.
The response to our discussion was so inspiring and if only a fraction of the people in the room end up reading the book and taking action to protect girls worldwide, we will have done our jobs. My mum taught me at a very young age that education was the gift that no one can take away from you no matter what happens in your life. Reading Half the Sky gave me the opportunity to honour that memory and give hundreds of children the gift of education, not bad going really.
If you missed the session, please check out the book and take a couple of minutes to watch this video trailer of the upcoming documentary:
Another video shared during our session was from the awesome Girl Effect. Again, more about the solutions than the problems we face:
I took a cheeky wee break from attending sessions after this one but popped in to the Women Using Their Power for Good panel with Cat Turner, Lori Smith and Ryan Wenstrup-Moore. It’s always difficult to have this kind of discussion in such a large room and some really pertinent questions were raised just as we were wrapping up. I really hope some of the attendees from this session write posts we can weigh in on (maybe I’ll do one myself), especially from the perspective of “defining feminism today” and “I am a Christian and a Feminist”, really great ideas!
We finished the day with a presentation from WorldVision who do some awe inspiring work in developing countries to protect and support women and girls. I’m really excited to follow Sian‘s journey with them in Niger and no doubt will be tweeting about it in the not too distant future…
Phew! There is so much more I could say but I’ll finish by just thanking Sian so much for inviting me and by saying how excited I am to continue following the new friends I made and watching what amazing things we go on to achieve :D