Being that this conference would happen virtually due to the global pandemic, I mentally prepared myself by blocking out the 2.5 days on my calendar. This meant not scheduling any podcast interviews, taking a break from the passion project, ensuring that I was taking time off from work, and getting the things I needed to get done earlier in the week since I would have a much shorter weekend. One of the highlights of being a conference attendee is receiving wonderful perks like a customized box of healthy snacks that delivered straight to my doorstep. These snacks were catered by Snack Magic and helped to energize me throughout the conference. This was definitely a nice touch!
Prior to the conference, my employer had a virtual kickoff celebration with the Executive Leadership across the company to help promote women of color in leadership, especially in STEM fields. This entire conference took place in Eastern time, so I woke up extra early Friday & Saturday mornings at 5AM! Thank goodness for those energy drinks! I was ready to learn from women of different backgrounds and industries. Something that came to mind was how I was going to network with others through this virtual platform. In a face-to-face conference, it's way easier to talk to someone when you can physically see them and have more meaningful interactions. Despite this challenge, I made it a goal to meet a minimum of 2-3 individuals. I reviewed the agenda ahead of time and registered for the breakout sessions I was interested in.
Here was what the agenda looked like:
1st DAY (more of an evening)
As you can see, an incredibly busy weekend planned! I even had the time to attend a virtual EDI Fundraising Gala event Saturday night. If you can imagine, I was quite mentally exhausted after all the festivities.
I'm so grateful to be selected for an award and attend this conference. Over the next few weeks, I will be writing a short reflection and key takeaways of all the top sessions I attended. Since it costs $650-$1,000 per attendee, which is a barrier for many, I figured the best way to give back is to share what I've learned with all of you!