“BlogHer High”

What are the chances of wireless internet going down in a hotel that is hosting a huge blogging event?  Ugh!!  So, the Saturday Layover has been delayed…to the Monday Layover this week!

But, who am I kidding?  It was a much needed break, as my brain was aching and beginning to shutdown from all the information – many intense conference sessions and non-stop networking (I like to call it friend making) with interesting people.

The overwhelming majority of people I met were genuinely interested in making new blogging friends, save for a few outliers.  But, guess what?  I got to meet World Moms Blog writers, Mama Robin J from Canada and Galit Breen from Minnesota, USA.  I stalked them like the papparazzi.  (I hoped they didn’t mind.)  It was GREAT to meet some of our writers in person!! Whooohoo!!!

Blogher was a place where in between sessions you could feel the creativity and togetherness flowing – smaller groups or pairs of women (mostly women, some men, too) were doing everything from intensely brainstorming, to sharing pictures of their children.

It was also a place where you could witness a blogger (MamaRobinJ) comfortably breakdown and cry when asking a question while admitting out loud her own struggle with post partum depression (PPD), and then see the amazing PPD advocate herself, Katherine Stone, eject from her seat in an instant to give her a hug.

And, the very next day, Katherine found Mama Robin J at an event called “Sparklecorn” (please, don’t ask!), and she jumped out of the sea of dancers to hug her again. Awesome.

A place where you could breastfeed and no one bats an eye.  Or, where if you’re baby is gooing and gaaing in the middle of an inteview with PepsiCo’s CEO, Indira Nooyi, you look up, not to a bunch of disapproving faces, but to the people around you trying to make your baby smile or giving you that look that says, “Don’t worry one bit.  I’ve been there.”  We’re moms — we can make faces at babies and still pay attention.  And, in that environment I could RELAX. And, LEARN.

The sessions were chock full of blogging, tech and PR industry leaders and experts.  And, in my experience, everyone was approachable for further discussion or questions afterwards.

And, the business cards! Gone are the days where the majority of cards were the plain boring type from my years in finance.  The business cards were creative, bright and fun!  “Life as a SAHM” had her funny picture face on hers.  It makes me smile now when I see it on her Twitter feeds.

And, my favorite card. My favorite card was given to me during the session on BlogHer Voices by Midlife, Mixed Tape.  Her card had a picture of a cassette tape on it — the recordable kind that you would use to make on your own “mixed tape” back in the day.  Hers had a big “1988” on it.  Loved it!

As we all conversed and exchanged our way through BlogHer, Lady World Moms Blog, our silouette logo with her belly full of our planet, passed through my hands on my cards into the hands of many new people I spoke with.  That lady sure did get around. (In a good way!)

It was also so nice to not be putting a name with a face, but to be able “to put a face with a blog.”

And, in my Blogher adventure, I came across many amazing and fun women to note, and I know I’m leaving out so many.  But, these 3 women are making such a difference in the world, that I cannot fail to say, “Check them out on Twitter!” They are Blogher scholarship winners:

Simone Lead of @WomenSpeaksPro from Trinidad – she raises awareness about issues of discrimination.  And, Reem Abbas @reemabbas, a journalist and activist from Sudan.  You will be glad you did. I hope to feature them more in depth in the future on the blog.

The other very inspiring woman I met at BlogHer wasn’t even at BlogHer.  Confused?  It’s Yaoni Sanchez from Cuba.  She received a scholarship for the conference, but her country didn’t give her the visa to travel to the US.

She sent us a Vlog.  It was completely in Spanish, and although I couldn’t understand her language (thank goodness for translations!), her body language exuded unyielding passion and enthusiasm for her people.  You could just feel it.

And, how does she post to her blog?  She has to e-mail the posts outside the country to be posted up for her.  This woman goes through great, dangerous lengths to report her stories.  Could you do what she does? An intriguing follow — @yaonifromcuba.

Also great was a speech by @jessweiner who is super inspirational – she can do anything, and apparently after listening to her, so can we. 😉 And, I’m partial to Katherine Stone, Gina McCauly and Debbie Bookstaber because they ran the Pathfinder session for “Your Blog as Change Agent”, and I got so much out of it. I liked the smaller, more intimate group that the Pathfinder session provided on Thursday. And, my mind is spinning with all of the ideas to help use World Moms Blog to make a difference in the world!

So, what could use improvement at the Blogher conference?

Blogher, if you’re listening: The Pathfinder session could go on another day, or probably more practical, just adding an organized dinner or cocktail hour for the individual Pathfinder groups to mingle for a few more hours and get to know each other better. And, what about having smaller, Pathfinder-type, regional group sessions on a semiannual or quarterly basis? Helpful to us, and $$$ for BlogHer. Just an idea.

There you go — a little wrap up of my first BlogHer conference experience for those of our friends and readers who couldn’t make it.  See you next year in NYC for Blogher ’12?  And, now onto the week in review!

Have you ever taken a long road trip with the kids?  Last Monday, Polish Mom on the Prairie from Illiniois, USA gave us her account of her latest road trip adventure and her thoughts of home!

On Tuesday Maggie Ellison sent us a big package of positivity and it felt good!  Come check out her piece, where she tells us how she found a positive way within herself to deal with negativity in her life.

We got very serious on Wednesday, and covered a topic so dear to so many mothers’ hearts – miscarriage.  Asta Burrows of Norway gave us a first hand account of her recent heart break.  Asta we are thinking of you, and we send you big wishes for a successful pregnancy to come!

Canada was where we were at on Thursday with our Scheduling Editor, Kirsten Doyle!  Kirsten told us how she talks to her children about natural disasters.  An interesting read!

The Friday Question was about our moms’ favorite indulgences!  Dr. Lanham’s cracked me up — I love her.  What’s yours?

Our writers’ interviews this week were, first, from Courtney Cappallo of Massachusetts, USA.  Courtney is our resident creative, artsy homeschooling mom who is learning Spanish as a second language!  And second, we showcased an interview from Jill Barth of Illinois, USA, who is a fiction writer.  I like what she has to say here:  “I try to have a sense of humor when dealing with mishaps and a sense of calm when dealing with everything else.” This was Jill’s first post to World Moms Blog!

I, especially, apologize for the delayed “layover” collumn this week (typical travel plans! ;)).

Thank you for reading!

Jennifer Burden


World Moms Blog

Image from Blogher. 

Jennifer Burden

Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India. She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post, ONE.org, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.

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