((this is only the beginning)) my EXHIBITOR2013 experience

to be able to cross off a bucket list item at 23… there are no words, just smiles. i am blessed. it’s incredible the sense of accomplishment that overcomes you as you finish a project that you’ve been pouring over for about 8 months. on march 17th, i didn’t need the luck ‘o the Irish, i knew i was ready to rock my first official debut as a presenter at EXHIBITOR2013. but if we’re looking to really tell a story, we can rewind to last March… take a seat friends, lemme tell you a tale of a social media diva who took her first step in pursuing her dreams…

march 2012

while attending EXHIBITOR2012 i participated in a social media round table. i was sharing my thoughts and experiences with the group, as well as my passion for this topic. afterwards the moderator approached me and asked me if i’d attended any social media classes during the conference and if i had any feedback; i had attended some and while i enjoyed them i felt there was a need for an advanced level social media class. he responded by asking if i would like to host such a session. (insert gasp and holy freaking moly did he just say that?!) he asked me to prepare a session plan to present to the board and get back to him and we’d go from there.i started feverishly working away as soon as i returned home from the conference. i was absolutely ecstatic that presenting a session on social media was just a possibility! i came up with something i felt confident about and passed it along. i had a phone call with the conference director and then all there was left to do was wait…

june 2012

EXHIBITOR2013

at the airport i checked my email in the elevator and saw an email that literally made me scream with excitement. (this seriously happen, kind of awkward) tears in my eyes and a smile on my face i called my mom to tell her the news; i’ve been invited to speak!!

september 2012

EXHIBITOR2013

fast forward to the fall; after working on the framework for my presentation over the summer i headed over to boston, mass for speakers training with the one and only Dan Lumpkin. an incredible speaker to learn from. it was 2 short days filled with tips, tricks, best practices and presentations from myself and my fellow presenters. it was a great prep to get me more focused on what i needed to work on for my presentation and to light a fire in me to really get rocking. i left full of excitement, realizing how flipping cool this all is.

november 2012

“this is really happening!!!” the only words i could find to express my excitement when i received the registration packet for the conference, and I saw my name in black and white under faculty. surreal. simply surreal.

EXHIBITOR2013

february 2013

EXHIBITOR2013

snaps. one month away from the big day. i camped out at caribou about every weekend that month. something about a coffee house atmosphere and sipping on a yummy latte that puts me in a creative mood. i nearly felt compelled to add a shout out to Caribou Coffee in my session, as they most certainly provided the caffeine and environment for this presentation. all the while wondering, where has the time gone?! so much to do. so much to share. deep breaths. (BIG thank you to my boyfriend for kicking my butt and encouraging me to work on this even when i was trying to put it off)

march 2013 {time for the big show}

EXHIBITOR2013

march was madness. quite literally. uff da. thank goodness my momma was making the trip to Vegas with me. we arrived early saturday morning and walked along the strip and hung out by the pool soaking in sunshine. then it was time to get down to business. after a little bit of an Internet fiasco (and again, thank goodness my momma was there with me…) i got in a rhythm and piece by piece i felt my nerves melting away.

it’s show time!

EXHIBITOR2013woke up, got ready and sat down to rehearse a little bit more. it was finally time to head down to the convention center. checked out the room, the av, checkity check we were golden.quick lunch stop to fuel up for the afternoon. 1:00PM struck and ready or not this social media diva was in the house. the second i stepped in that room, i felt in my element. time to make it happen.

we started and there were no nerves, no anxiety, no fear. things went great; i had an awesome crew of 36 fantastic individuals with me and i learned so much from them. topic to topic the conversations and discussions flower easier and easier. i just might have had a big smile on my face the entire time. and it was so nice to see a familiar face of my momma out there. and in just shy of 3 and a half hours later it was all over. 8 months of preparation had come to a close. and a giant wave of relief and peace fell upon me. there are hardly any words to describe the whole experience. all of the stress, the late nights and early mornings, the dozens of lattes, the revisions, the anxiety: it was all more than worth it. it was incredible to speak at a conference was a bucket list item for me, and to be able to cross that off at 23 years old, wow. i am blessed. this is only the beginning for this social media diva, mark my word.

EXHIBITOR2013

EXHIBITOR2013

thank you to EXHIBITOR for allowing me this opportunity; for my attendees attending and providing great insight; for my momma for being by my side through it all; for my friends and family who encouraged me along the way; for my girl Nastashia for being my fabulous stylist and for Brandon who was there to kick me and motivate me, and keep me calm with wine. thank you all.

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