OMG ColorComm was everythinggggggg!!

I thoroughly enjoyed the 3 days of networking, panel discussions, receptions, breakout sessions and soaking up the energy of so many boss women from all over the U.S. I felt very blessed to be in attendance and I would definitely love to join these amazing women all over again next summer. So, without further ado, here’s the play by play.

The conference was held at the Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne in Miami, FL from July 24-26. I was nominated by my boss to join several other employees from my company. We met up at the airport and headed over to the resort to freshen up and get ready for the first set of sessions. Before that though, we needed food. So, we went to the main restaurant in the hotel and had some grub. After that, we headed to the 3-3:45pm “Culture, Brand, Influence” session moderated by Gideon Fidelzeid, Managing Director of PR Week. He interviewed Rachel Moreno, VP of Brand & Culture Strategy for Planned Parenthood and she spoke about being at the helm of such a controversial legacy brand and how she’s trying to walk the walk and not just talk the talk when it comes to diversity. Then, we popped into the 4pm “The Business of Fashion and Beauty” session with powerhouses in the fashion/beauty industry. This session was moderated by Michelle Lee, Editor-in-Chief of Allure magazine and the panel included Lindsay Peoples Wagner, Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue, Susan Plagemann, Chief Business Officer, The Style Division, Conde’ Nast and Angela Byun, Executive Account Director, Conde’ Nast. These women shared their experiences with inclusion and diversity in the industry and captivated me with their accounts of what life is like inside the walls of Conde’ Nast — a dream company for someone like me to work for.

After that session, we got changed for the Circle Awards Reception and Dinner. Then, headed to the after party for a bit to watch Lifestyle Influencer & DJ, Hannah Bronfman spin. It was time to call it a night around 9 or 10pm and I was so happy to jump in that hotel bed and get some schleeeppp. The next morning, I skipped a few sessions to sleep in and get some work done. I started the day at the 9:15am session entitled “Living on Purpose” with International Speaker & Founder of On Purpose Movement, Jovian Zayne. Omg, Jovian was awesome. I thoroughly enjoyed her talk and she dropped so many gems that I immediately jotted down to reference later. One that immediately stood out was “Let’s throw GLiTTER, not SHADE" in reference to supporting other women of color and helping them along the way. I also loved her admonition to “watch your E.G.O. —> ego = edging, God/Grace/Goodness, out”. From there we sat in the “Brands Take a Stand” panel with female leaders from Unilever and Edelman.

Next was another one of my favorite sessions led by Joanna Barsh, Senior Advisor at McKinsey & Company. Joanna was a dynamic speaker — so humorous and engaging. I really loved her no-nonsense approach to explaining how companies should go about making D&I (diversity & inclusion) a real business priority and not just a soundbite for PR purposes. Then, a few of us skipped the Lunch n’ Learn to have lunch al fresco at the hotel tiki bar. Such a good idea. We needed a break, some sun and something other than banquet style food. The afternoon sessions were pretty interesting as well. At 2pm, we heard from Linda Clemons, CEO of Sistrepreneur and body language expert. She was hilarious and so energetic. Later, the panels consisted of male leaders of companies like Belvedere Vodka and the Miami Heat and social media star/author, Luvvie Ajayi. WHEW, so much packed into one day. That night, we went to the reception for a few minutes and then headed to the rum bar in the hotel to have a few bites to eat before crashing.

On the last day, I slept in again and read through a million emails to make sure I was somewhat caught up with work. Then, I headed downstairs to the 10:15am session to hear a panel moderated by Co-Host of “Pod Save the People”, Brittany Packnett. This one consisted of an all white cast and was focused on the topic of ally-ship and what it means for white women leaders to be true advocates and allies. Very rousing discussion for sure lol. The last session was a 1:1 conversation with Marvett Britto of the Britto Agency and Linda Johnson Rice, Chairman of Johnson Publishing (her parents founded Ebony Magazine, Jet Magazine & FashionFair Cosmetics). We ended the conference with a luncheon where Keynote Speaker, Ann Curry, spoke about her journey and how she’s been able to overcome adversity at every turn.

Let me tell you — there is something to be said about being in a room with like-minded women in your industry. These women who are dealing with the same problems you’ve experienced, understand how the lack of diversity can hinder us all and yet, they SHOW UP and show out regardless. I was so inspired by the women that spoke each day. Everyone had such interesting stories and varied careers and they all gave me the kick I needed. I didn’t snap many pictures — I honestly was enjoying taking a break from blogging and just being in the moment. But check out a few snaps below. And I want to encourage you to take advantage of conferences like this if you’re ever afforded the opportunity. These forums are filled with endless inspiration and it’s such a great way to meet new people and build relationships.

Ok, now that I’ve written an actual novel, I’ll put a pin in it. Until next time, xoxo - Ashley

I hate this pic of me. My head looks huge and greasy. :-/ But my colleagues looked cute though!

I hate this pic of me. My head looks huge and greasy. :-/ But my colleagues looked cute though!

Such a cool giveaway by Instagram/Facebook, of course. Selfie lattes! (It was gross but so cute!)

Such a cool giveaway by Instagram/Facebook, of course. Selfie lattes! (It was gross but so cute!)