Have you ever watched a video or read an article that got you so inspired you actually went out and changed something about your life? Imagine experiencing that in person for 48 hours straight. Working at a public relations agency, we are constantly putting together events that aim to have lasting effects like this, but we rarely experience it first-hand. (We’re usually somewhere in the background making sure those last-minute details and interviews are taking place.) However, I had the pleasure to attend the Girlboss Rally in NYC where I not only gained an incredible amount of knowledge and became inspired to change the world, I also experienced activations that left me talking about the event for weeks.
The Girlboss Rally is a conference targeted towards entrepreneurial and motivated women. The rally was held in New York this November over the course of two days with over 1,000 #girlbosses in attendance. While the brand has had three rallies previously (two of which I attended), this year’s event really outdid the rest by diving deep into subjects and empowering the women in attendance to take action. Here’s how they did it:
Every speaker and breakout session I attended during the two days was strategically located in an exclusive industrial building. The entire venue buzzed with excitement. They catered to the millennial crowd, covering every last detail from discounted rides to the event via their ride-share partner to seemingly endless snacks and high-end restroom supplies. I certainly appreciated all the details that the event team had thought to include, such as backdrops for photos, perfume in the bathroom, healthy snacks and comfy chairs to network in all day. These are some simple perks that really enhanced everyone’s experience and kept us engaged with the space and each other.
Now, for the main reason many of us were there: the speakers. On Day 1, Sophia Amorosa from Girlboss kicked things off, followed by Allana Harkin from Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Ariel Wengroff of Viceland and more. Then on Day 2, we listened intently to Jennifer Hyman from the Rent the Runway, Kathryn Minshew at The Muse, Rea Ann Silva CEO at Beauty Blender, Piera Geraldi from Refinery29 and many more.
Each speaker was able to provide their proven insights on various subjects, whether it was on how to pitch investors, branding, saving money or hiring a rockstar team. The speakers were not just celebrities and powerful people; they were individuals hustling to make the world different. There were so many details and perspectives that I took from these sessions that will help me to understand our client’s perspectives and career goals:
- As a publicist, we are the cheerleader for brands and often are involved in the different milestones of a company. It is extremely important to understand what your client may be going through so you can mitigate friction and continue to support.
- “Talk to people that are smarter than yourself. They are plenty and they are abundant.” – Leland Drummond, Co-Founder, Azoine
- Share your experiences and knowledge—it is helpful to get more mindshare into the industry—not every experience and success is the same. If it works for one brand, you may be able to pull pieces from their project for inspiration
- “Doesn’t matter if you didn’t study it, be creative and think outside the box.” – Alex Williamson, Chief Brand Officer, Bumble
- “Not everything has to happen right now.” – Jennifer Hyman, CEO/ Founder, Rent the Runway
On top of all the amazing speakers, the rally had breakout sessions where attendees were able to connect and learn from individuals within their field. Different sessions included: Marketing, Advertising, PR, Entrepreneurship, E-Commerce, Finance, Media, Publishing and more. Attendees did not have to be in the respective field to attend the meet-up session, so I was able to connect with people in the media industry or other PR professionals who wanted to understand what everyone was buzzing about. These sessions were more free-flowing and allowed the attendees to collaborate in a way that wasn’t intrusive or competing.
One of the biggest takeaways from the event, and specifically the Girlboss community, is the growth of my network. As a public relations firm focused on franchise, lifestyle, food & beverage and baby products, it is important to have genuine relationships with people who you respect, even if they might not directly support your clients’ needs at the current moment. You never know when you’ll need help setting up an activation in the middle of Times Square or an experiential trip to the Maldives.
Finally, don’t be afraid to get out there and attend events that might spark your interest. There are thousands of events and conferences hosted across the country where you can learn about another field or that can help you see your own industry from a different perspective. Strut your stuff and own it—having a growth mindset and surrounding yourself with similarly-minded individuals will help you aim high, achieve better results and continuously impress the people around you.