BlogPodium 2013: Why Canada's Design Blogger Conference Blew Me Away!

This weekend was the big BlogPodium conference that I have been looking forward to all spring and summer - heck all year!  I was lucky enough to work with the amazing Jen Flores of Rambling Renovators on the marketing of the event, and not only did I have a blast and learn a bunch, I also found so much inspiration in watching Jen take on this huge project and knock it out of the park.  That girl is a quiet dynamo.

Jen and her team, photo by SmugMug

All the things I love about conferences happened at BlogPodium

  • I spent the day hanging out with people who immediately understood why I spend way too many hours writing, editing, styling, photographing, photoshopping, tweeting, instagramming, and web-surfing.  No explanations required, no rolling of eyes in my direction.  These were my people, and there were almost 300 of them.
  • Everyone was as happy and excited to be there as I was.  The mood was celebratory, the smiles contagious.  It was an amazing day before it even started.
  • The speakers and panelists were inspiring.  I filled my iPad with quotes and ideas, and had many 'AHA!' moments, nodding my head with all the other bloggers in synchronicity.  These guys knew their stuff, and our stuff to boot.  I have a resulting to-do list that is for sure going to light my blog on fire.
  • It was like a big ol' family reunion.  The nature of blogging means that many, many of my friendships and relationships are built online, through comments, tweets and instagrams. I talk more often with these ladies (and Tim) than I do my friends down the street, and as a result, I feel like I know them just as well, if not better!  So it is a joy to put faces to Twitter handles and be able to back up blog comments with great big hugs. (I'm a hugger.)
As an added bonus, I got to feel a real sense of accomplishment as I looked around at the sea of grinning faces.  I am under no illusion that my efforts brought them all there (the name 'Sarah Richardson' might have had a little something to do with it) but it felt kind of awesome to know that I was able to use my non-blogging skills to bring in a table or two of tickets.

My biggest BlogPodium take-away

The best part of the experience, however, was seeing a beaming Jen Flores floating around the rooms.  Unlike most conferences I have attended, I had watched the organizer work her tail end off with passion, poise, and purpose for months on end building up this experience.  She arranged the speakers, booked the venue, scheduled the sessions, oversaw the menu, brought in the big name sponsors, coordinated the blog contributions, and oversaw the marketing, social media, website development, event coordination, and all logistics.  Jen threw herself into this day with everything she had; refused to get knocked down by any of the setbacks or disappointments that arose; diligently worked through meetings, emails, conference calls, presentations, and every other task required with inspiring determination.

Through her vision and effort, Jen created an epic day that will fuel and inspire not only the 300 people in attendance, but their readers, clients, and colleagues.

To have been able to watch all this happen was the biggest gift of all, and was to me more inspiring even than Sarah Richardson's amazing keynote speech (which was awesome!).  Through this process, I learned from watching Jen that having a vision is just the first step.

If you truly believe in something, and are willing to invest yourself completely into making it a reality, not only will it happen, it will be a massive success.

Jennifer Flores Photography by Annawithlove

Not surprisingly, this philosophy seemed to be thread running through the day for me.  I heard it in Sarah Richardson's beautifully honest, sincere, and motivating keynote address.

I heard it in Margot Austin and Rhonda Riche's articulate contributions to the lunchtime keynote panel.

New, Old, and Online Media panel, photography by Annawithlove

"I learned everything on the job, by being willing 
to pick up new challenges and work hard." Margot Austin

"When shelter magazines were shutting down 
we saw an opportunity to make our own fun, in the way we had always wanted but couldn't do before. " Rhonda Riche, Covet Garden

I heard it in Keka DasGupta's charming and energizing session on working with agencies, and I heard it in Karen Bertlesen's frank and hysterical session on monetizing your blog.

Keka DasGupta, photo by Annawithlove

"State of mind matters.  Be confident, be sure. 
Recognize what you are bringing to the table!" Keka DasGupta

Karen Bertelsen, photography by Annawithlove

"Creativity is the key to success - 
when you can do whatever you want and have fun doing it, 
you will be your most authentic." Karen Bertelsen

All in all, it was a thrilling Saturday, and I am exhausted!  I met so many amazing people, doing so many amazing things - I wish everyone could have that kind of soul-enriching experience.  I can't wait to see what other great things Jen can dream up for next year!


  1. I agree completely - to see Jen smiling at everyone like she didn't have a care in the world was an inspiration. :)

  2. fantastic recap Lisa!! So much fun seeing you at the Tea party with Sarah Richardson and then on Saturday on BlogPodium! Thanks for the quotes from our speakers and your post has truly captured the essence of BlogPodium: connect, collaborate, celebrate!
    Jen that rambling renovators is quite something hey? So glad to have met her when I first started blogging, and she has been my mentor since! Huge congrats to you all, BlogPodium Team!

  3. Aw thanks Tim! Yes, Jen is a great blogging mentor - and friend! We are lucky to have her, eh? :) It was so much fun to get to hang out with you a bit Saturday - you looked FABULOUS. xo

  4. Oh Jen, thank you so very much - the whole experience really did fill me up, and I am so grateful. I feel pretty darn lucky to have been able to ride some of the way with you - I have a feeling this thing you created is going to be HUGE. xox

  5. Thanks Heather - and you too! Hopefully it won't be quite so long between re-meetings this time. :)

  6. That woman is one in a million, for sure. I absolutely loved your recap Becky, I think every blogger at the conference can identify with what you wrote. I agree there's something goofy about the word 'blogger' - it doesn't do justice to all the thought and work that goes into it! Also - your sketches are amazing. :)

  7. Great was a fun event...I really wish I had a chance to chat more with you..these things just go by so quickly!

  8. A wonderful reflection on the success of BlogPodium! It was a rewarding day on so many different levels. I, too, was amazed at the work that Jen and the BlogPodium team managed to do for this event. Great. Great. Great!

  9. Oh Lisa, you captured the spirit of the day in your fine words. It was inspiring. It was wonderful to be around people who get how much work blogging is. It was great to see bloggy friends like you and catch up for a bit. And it was fantastic seeing how Jennifer pulled it all together.

  10. Amazing post Lisa! You most certainly captured what everyone else what so many were thinking about this day. You rock. xox


Thank you so much for your comment - they always make my day!