Who would have known that a free social media class at a state college would have led to an inspiring, empowering, energetic two days of jam packed advice, stories and workshops with women entrepreneurs like myself? That is just what happened when Sue from Sue B Zimmerman Enterprise introduced me to “Spark and Hustle” at her Instagram workshop at Salem State College Enterprise Center.
“Spark and Hustle”, was started by Tory Johnson in 2010 when she recognized that many women have the “spark”, an idea to drive a business, and the “hustle”, the motivation to lead that idea to success. This is a national conference that caters to this demographic of women and essentially leads to women helping other women by sharing stories of success, failure, what they have learned and how we can all help one another. This conference lowers the barriers and helps women entrepreneurs further develop their skills, network and find the support in the common issues they stumble upon in their day-to-day lives.
It became apparent during this conference that we are all in this together, we all have the same struggles, concerns and hurdles to overcome. Experts shared how they overcame their own issues that has led to their national and international success. This conference also revealed that many of us fell into our profession, whether we found ourselves unemployed by our own choice or were asked to leave. The common thread here for these speakers, entrepreneurs and even myself, is when thrown in the deep end, we had the choice to sink or swim and we decided to paddle away. Our past experiences led to our future success.
The room was lined with vendors and local companies who have had success or are on their way to it. The speakers’ forum was mixed with the Spark and Hustle speakers, like Tory, Coach Jenn Lee and an extended panel of local women. Yes, Sue Zimmerman was rocking the stage with the latest Instagram news too. Breakout sessions, email marketing analysis, networking, exercises and Q&A all made up this day-and-a-half conference.
There were a many things that I took from this conference (and many more posts to follow). Here are the high level insights and experience that I took home with me.
- There are many women who have had similar work experiences that led to them deciding to embark on their own. Whether it was terrible work conditions, knowing the pink slip is coming, being asked to leave or a pregnancy that would lead to a lay off. These scenarios had the same outcome, the thought that, “there has got to be something better out there and I am going to find it.”
- Women naturally nurture and the genuine ones want to help one another in their success. It is about the collaboration. There was no catty, “I want to be more successful than she does.” This conference was about, “We are all in this together, let’s build a support system and fight this fight together.”
- We all have similar battles and can learn from one anothers mistakes. We shouldn’t hide them. But embrace them and learn from them.
- Creativity and success is contagious especially when you put successful business women in a room together.
Thanks to Tory Johnson, Jenn Lee, Sue B Zimmerman and all the speakers for making #sparkandhustle #boston a success for me. I can’t wait to read through my notes, put them into place and come back next year with an even better and brighter story! Success panel here I come!
Logo: Spark and Hustle