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Last week I had the opportunity to be a part of something that is truly hard to describe, but it was the most amazing experience: I attended Creative@Heart Round 9 in Bermuda Run, NC with so many talented creatives. I had heard amazing things about this conference, and after following all of the Round 8 adventures last year I knew this was something I definitely needed to attend and thankfully had the opportunity to do so for Round 9.
Creative@Heart was created by Kat Schmoyer several years ago when she was feeling alone in her new business as a wedding planner. She wanted to create a space where all creative small business owners could come together and truly feel like they were at home with one another, because, let's face it, small business ownership isn't exactly relatable to most people. I am so thankful Kat had that vision and that longing as a new business owner when #communityovercompetition was definitely not a thing. We are all so much better off for it now!
Over the years, the conference has taken place in varying locations across the country, but has now found a "home"! Rounds 8 and 9 took place at Winmock at Kinderton in Bermuda Run, NC, and future conferences will now call Winmock home as well! This venue has incredible spaces that fit all of the conference needs so well, and the staff were so friendly! They even turned the men's restroom into a ladies' restroom while we were there all week!
We had the lineup of all lineups for keynote speakers, y'all. The ladies that spoke are big names among creatives and their talks were nothing short of incredible and inspirational.
Nancy Ray spoke about Living Abundantly in a World of Scarcity, and she left everyone in the room feeling insanely grateful about all that we have and approaching life with the lens of what we do have rather than what we don't. And if that name is ringing a bell with you, it's because I've talked about Nancy's Contentment Challenge multiple times!
Lara Casey brought the house down as usual with her energy and the ability to make you feel like you can conquer the world one goal at a time. And then she started passing out PowerSheets and it was like we were on an episode of Oprah!
Abby Grace delivered the most compelling talk about "The Gentle No", and since I'm a people pleaser and discovered that Harmony is one of my top 5 Strengths (thanks to Laura Foote's StrengthsQuest breakout), saying no is not something I'm great at. So I learned quite a bit during her keynote!
We had 9 keynote speakers in total and they were all amazing! Shoutout to Terri Baskin, Laura Foote, Shanna Skidmore, Megan Martin, Geomyra Pollard, and Katelyn James for a notebook full of notes and heartfelt stories that will stay with me forever.
In addition to the keynote presentations, we had 8 breakout sessions that we were able to select, and this was where most of the practical business knowledge came in! I took classes on blogging, nurturing my email list, creating a personal brand, crafting an exceptional client experience, and more. I found these sessions to be incredibly valuable and they sparked so many ideas for how to grow Ivy + Linen Design Co. to be the best that it can be for my clients - so I'd say that was a pretty great outcome.
But one of my very favorite parts of the conference was having lunch with my "panel" group. We were placed into panel groups based on industry, and since there were not that many stationers in attendance we had a group of 7 - we had the most honest and helpful conversations. I learned so much from these ladies in my industry who have been doing this much longer than I have and I am so thankful for their guidance and willingness to share.
I had the best time (clearly!) and made so many wonderful new friends. Check out the video below for a recap of the entire week!