Here’s how the conferences are born and raised:
We all pick a city.
We ask the community of food bloggers who they want to hear from and what they’d like to learn about. They sound off on a list of session topics we propose, because after all, what does the conference mean if it’s not valuable and absolutely enchanting to those attending?
I collect those responses. I narrow them, I choose the sessions.
I accept proposals and ideas from food blogs around the world.
And then I choose the speakers. Who can inspire on this subject? Who has the most relatable, most enviable blogging path? Who’ll share their story and their advice, and allow attendees to leave feeling renewed of passion and creativity?
When I’ve hemmed and hawed over the agenda and tweaked and twisted it just so, approximately seven hundred million times over,
I pen the final agenda. I schedule those sessions that were most requested by the community and I contact the speakers that must-simply must-speak on each subject.
I’m mindful of not using speakers that are too saturated in the community. I’m thoughtful of the value in welcoming a range of grassroots bloggers, cookbook authors and publishers, brands, and media.
I write emails and make semi-confident phone calls to individuals who have secretaries for their secretaries and assistants for their assistant’s dog’s assistant.
I feel brazen.
I spend months scanning Twitter and thousands upon thousands of blogs and try to cultivate a series of sessions and presenters that I find captivating. What I’d want to learn, had I a moment to sit down at the conference, unclench my clipboard, return the color to my cheeks and knuckles, and dry the sweat from my brow. You know how intense I can be.
And then, I most likely redo it, just in case my initial creation isn’t up to par with the perfection I’ve standardized.
I take two to three decades from my life contemplating the quality of content- the only thing that really matters in a weekend with the people I admire.
Make it good.
Make it the best.
Give attendees an experience.
I research the leading chefs, the most loved cafes and restaurants in the area where we’ve set the conference, and I ask that they kindly join me for a weekend festival of eating.
I make contacts with locals and ask which spots, which local favorites, simply shout the flavor of the area. I must have them there.
I talk po’boys and beignets and gumbo and jambalaya and crawfish and ettouffe in New Orleans, for months.
I talk farmer’s markets and fois gras and food trucks and famous chefs in Santa Monica, for months.
I feel as though I’ve eaten Louisiana and California, by the time the conference registration even opens
And then, I promote the speakers, the food, the sessions, and the sponsors on Twitter, on Facebook, on blogs and billboards and ’bout every media source I can think of.
I am Social Media Manager, afterall. I know Twitter intimately. In another life, I *married Facebook.
*We divorced, twice.
I sweat and I stress and I fine tune every detail. Four hundred and thirty seven times.
I have an absolute ball.
I can’t tell you the high, the excitement of putting together a conference for friends, one that you’d dream to attend, had you not been the one to plan.
I can’t even explain how much fun and laughter goes into thinking that what you’re working on for months will ultimately be seen and enjoyed and hopefully loved by roughly 300 of the best food bloggers in the country.
I won’t be able to make you know the thrill of realizing you just spoke with James Oseland and bloggers you’ve followed and fawned over for years.
It’s been a pleasure to plan, and now, I’ll enjoy every drip drop of the experience to the fullest.
Fingers crossed and a million silent prayers that this weekend shows all the love I put into her :)