Saturday I came home from a three day trip away from home to Toronto for ShesConnected 2011. ShesConnected is a community for women by women and ShesConnected Conference is an invite-only event (you have to be a ShesConnected community member) and is co-founded by Donna Marie Antoniadis and Mark Grindeland. First off I would like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone at ShesConnected for giving me the opportunity to attend ShesConnected Conference (not mention participate in a panel discussion!).
ShesConnected Conference began at 11am on September 29th, Jenn (@CouponMomCanada) and I had just arrived in Toronto around 10:15am so we didn't have long to wait. The Sheraton Hotel is grande, it's very nice and our room wasn't bad. They accommodated us with an early check in which we appreciated because we had our luggage from our trip with us.

After getting our conference badges and swag bags we headed down to the Exhibit area from 11am to 1pm where all the official ShesConnected Conference sponsors had their booths set up to network with us digital women who were eager to mingle with eachother as well! It was so fantastic to finally meet some of my favourite tweeps and digital women in person.

We met and networked with the following amazing brands during the conference, some of which we have worked with previously on A Motherhood Experience:
We had an amazing time learning and soaking in what the panelists and speakers had to say during the sessions. So many people had so many amazing things to contribute.

Day one began with Keynote speaker Sheryl Connelly from Ford Motor Company followed by an hour long session - How to Successfully engage with bloggers and build long term relationships with them.

After a break in the exhibit area and more networking, we headed to our next session, Brands and Digital Women. This session was an ice-breaker which allowed us to engaged and interact with the sponsors, speakers and other attendees of the conference! It was such a great learning experience but at the same time so much fun - I was nervous for nothing *and Donna Marie, you were right!*

Day one wrapped up with closing comments and a nice dinner buffet, Molson was serving up some Molson 67 drinks for us to try out. They were pretty good :)

After the dinner reception we got our makeup and nails glammed up and headed off to the ShoesConnected party hosted at TownShoes on Bloor Street. We tried out some STLTO wine, mingled with some fellow digital women and met the maker herself. It was really fun and no, I didn't end up buying a pair of shoes or boots although if I would have had more money it would have been tempting!

Day two was more about learning than anything, it was a wonderful learning experience in many ways. Breakfast was served at 8:00am - buffet style and so much to choose from. We sat with @chancesmommy, @aaricamakeupblg, @MapleleafMommy, @_littlemisskate, @milkandcoco and @JulieCole - such a lovely group of ladies!

Day two went on with a recap with highlights of everything we experienced day one followed by an incredible speech by keynote speaker Elisa Camahort Page, COO & Co-Founder of Blogher. She spoke about Blogher, women and blogging. She shared her own life experiences and stories with us all. I think we all walked out of that session having learned a few new things.

We heard from some amazing panelists and speakers during day 2 listening to topics including:
  • What Brands want from Bloggers and digital women
  • Product Reviews vs Blogtours/Panels vs Brand Ambassador Programs vs community management programs.
  • Social Good Panel
  • Social Media Rockstars
  • What is a Blogger Worth
  • Rate Cards, Guidelines and Disclosure (I spoke on this panel with fellow digital women) I'm proud of my fellow panelists - @MyBitsandBleeps, @MissFish, @Listen2Lena, @MapleLeafMommy and our great Moderator @TerriMcBay, Director of Social Media at OgilvyOne Toronto. Thank you ladies for making it so great!
  • The 10 Rules of the road, putting it all together

The ShesConnected Conference ended with a closing speech, recap and announcements including prize draw winners and also the announcement of the next ShesConnected Conference in Spring 2012 - I can't wait to hear more about that!

We walked in nervous, not knowing what to expect from the ShesConnected Conference but walked out with smiles and knowledge beyond what we imagined we would have experienced.

I learned how powerful women and social media combined are and how I can better engage with brands and build a community from my social media followers. The causes that were spoken about during the Social Good Panel including Heather Hamilton (@tjzmommy) & her incredible story of courage and determination for Zack's Dream, reminded me how powerful one heart and soul can be no matter what your situation. It reminded me how important it is to care about those around us no matter what, any little bit of your time and your heart can make a big impact.

When the conference ended and everybody went their ways, it almost felt like Cinderella's midnight calling. The excitement and anticipation was over for ShesConnected Conference 2011.

After the conference, Jenn and I had some dinner at a Thai place called Salad King and went back to the hotel to prepare our things for departure the next day. Before leaving for Union Station October 1st we took a walk to ChinaTown and found some "Angry Birds" to bring home for the kids.

We met many incredible people so if I missed mentionion you please leave me a Tweet, comment or send me an email. If you took a picture with me at the conference please tag me and let me know about it!

As much fun as we had and as much as we learned and experienced, I am happy to be home - I missed my family and I know they missed me too.

Now, we are going to do it all over again in a week and a half for Blissdom Canada '11!!

For more ShesConnected Conference Trip fun please check out my Shes Connected Conference 2011 Flickr Stream!


*Disclosure: A Motherhood Experience and Canadian Coupon Mom are proudly sponsored for ShesConnected and Blissdom Canada Conference trips by KidZoomer. Sign up at www.KidZoomer.com today for daily kids deals in your inbox! Thank you to everyone at ShesConnected for allowing us the opportunity to attend your digital women's conference. All opinions are honest and always our own.*

*Thank you to our hubbys for taking care of everything at home while we were away at our conferences!*

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  1. You did a wonderful job on the panel, Alyssa! Wish we could have chatted during the breaks.

    Great recap!

  2. Salad King! I love Salad King. Did you know that it's a bit of Toronto institution? When I was pregnant, I ate there at least once a week, often more often. You've reminded me that it's time to make trip to my old haunt!

    It was great to meet you at the conference after having a corresponded electronically over the summer. So glad we had that chance to chat, however briefly it was.

  3. Great recap Alyssa. I had really wanted to attend but life got in the way and I had to back out. Glad to see you thought #SCCTO was informative and educational!


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