May 5, 2013

Jekyll Island Adventures: the Southern Coterie Summit 2013

I just got home from a whirlwind week(end) at the inaugural Southern Coterie Summit and to quote my grandma, it was a big time. The Southern Coterie is a social network especially for folks who love and celebrate the south and I'm a member (as well as a contributor to its blog).

The network was started by the loveliest pair of ladies, Cheri Leavy and Whitney Long, who are great friends and when I heard they were planning an "in real life" meet-up, I knew I wanted to be part of it. 

Me with Whitney Long & Cheri Leavy, Southern Coterie Founders extraordinaire 
They surprised the socks off me when they asked me to be a speaker at the Southern C Summit in gorgeous Jekyll Island, Georgia. The Southern C Summit is an event for bloggers, writers, business owners and enthusiasts of the south.

As a blogger and now small business owner, it's so important to me to connect and network with people in my industry. I've attended other professional conferences before, but this one was unlike any other! 

Not only was it the inaugural Southern C Summit, this was my first trip to Jekyll Island and it more than lived up to my expectations, setting the most apropos backdrop for this utterly southern event. 

Crane Cottage ~ where my mom & I enjoyed lunch our first day on Jekyll Island
I took my momma along with me and she made a fine traveling companion and cheering section for my professional conference presentation debut. 

The first night we arrived, I attended an event called Cocktails & Conversation, hosted by 
Southern Living. The next day was packed full of learning opportunities as well as networking and making friends. The weather didn't quite hold up for all the outdoor events that were planned, but this is the south after all and it takes a lot more than rain to dampen our spirits. 

I gave my presentation as part of a panel with some fabulous ladies, but I think I'll devote an entire post to that. 

The highlight of our main dinner event was a keynote talk and impromptu fashion show from 
K. Cooper Ray, creative mastermind behind the southern fashion line Social Primer

Some of the fabulously talented, creative & lovely ladies I met
We ended the event with a great learning session about how to grow our online presence using tried and true methods from Internet consultant Mr. Ryan Dohrn. 

I learned a ton, but even better, I made some authentic connections. If you are on the fence about attending an event like this, let me encourage you to do it! I've been fortunate to learn from so many wonderful people on this blogging adventure and I hope it continues for a long time!

And for those of you who read my previous blog about my mini fashion emergency, I was making a mountain out of a molehill. Everyone was so sweet and kind. It didn't matter what anyone was wearing...after a little time together, we were all laughing and getting on like old friends. 

Missed the Southern C Summit in Jekyll Island? You can still jump on board with this great group of folks...there are plans for another event in Athens, Georgia as well as one in Nashville, Tennessee this fall! (Stay tuned for more info!)