I finally made it to my first Altitude Summit [a.k.a. Alt]. This conference has been happening for a decade, and I barely hopped on the bandwagon. If you're not familiar with Alt, let me give you a little insight into what it is. Alt is a women-centric conference focusing on creative entrepreneurs and social media mavens. For the 10 year celebration, they scaled up BIG time. Previous years have had around 500 attendees at 1 location. Not for year 10. There were 2000 attendees spread out over 4 properties in sunny Palm Springs, California!
Aside from getting a little reprieve from my everyday work grind, mom life, and household duties, there were 5 awesome things I took away from Alt Summit.
If there were to be one word I would package Alt with it would be, CONNECTION. There were so many powerhouses of women entrepreneurs in one place, but all wanted the same thing, to connect! Not one person at the conference was unapproachable. Everyone was genuinely happy, friendly and willing to share information about their business and how we could HELP one another. I have been to my fair share of conferences, but never have I experienced openness like this before.
The art of the pitch. I've heard this one before, but not from a brands perspective. Alaska Airlines was one of the premier sponsors of the event. Being the jet set gal that I am, there was no way I was going to miss their office hours. This early bird definitely caught her worm when she made her way to the Alaska Airlines activation. I met with several wonderful members of their team who want to work with influencers to create memorable campaigns. In general, if you want to work with a brand make sure you're sending your pitch to the right person, and when sending an email make sure to address them by name. Never send a blanket email to several companies at once (obvs). Check to see what's essential to the company at the time and how you can ORGANICALLY incorporate it into your brand. Don't pitch brands if you're working with one of their competitors, have brand loyalty! Most importantly make sure it's the right fit for your brand and audience.
Take a buddy. There are so many sessions that it's impossible to attend them all. But, if you have a friend to tag along not only can you divide and conquer the courses, you'll have quality 1:1 time together. Fortunately, my best friend was able to attend Alt, and it made it that much better! She's in NorCal; I'm in SoCal, so we don't get to spend a lot of time together. It was so incredible to have several days to catch up, learn, share, grow and take ALL the photos. Plus the cost of the conference can add up; it's nice for someone to help foot the bill with you. If you're attending solo, see if the conference you're attending has an app or a way to connect with other attendees. If you're able to connect with someone before going you can divi things up that way too. Plus, you'll probably walk away having a wonderful new friend.
Don't skimp on packing. Okay, ladies! I'm sure you've seen pictures floating around the internet about Alt Summit and the fashion that came along with it. On any ordinary occasion, you can find me dashing through an airport with a carry-on bag and a purse. I packed more clothes, shoes, and accessories for Alt than I did when I went to Asia for 3 weeks! Palm Springs is also a relatively easy drive for me, so I packed up the minivan without having to pay crazy baggage fees. For a conference like this you'll want to bring fun outfits, but things that also suit who you are as a person and brand. Because you are a walking advertisement for your brand after all! And no, you don't have to break the bank for cute clothes these days. I saw tons of adorable Target fashions all around Alt, myself included. Plus, I bet you have some adorable threads hiding in your closet that are waiting to be worn.
Take advantage of all the photo ops! If you have never been to Palm Springs, I suggest you make a trip and take ALL the photos. This mid-century modern destination is major Instagram inspo. From pink doors to poshly decorated villas, this little town has it all. The Saguaro is the infamous rainbow hotel in Palm Springs, and while it needs major interior renovations, it's one of the quintessential spots to snag some fun photos. One of the best picture worthy locations is the Parker. It's one of those hoity-toity spots where they don't let you take pictures on the property, but good luck trying to stop 2,000 social media influencers with that!
Now it wasn't all unicorns and rainbows there were plenty of hiccups along the way. Having the conference spread out across 4 properties that are several miles apart made it difficult logistically. Then you add in days worth of sessions at those different properties, overcrowded ballrooms, a mish-mash of lunch tickets, and such. Of course, there is going to be room for error when you scale and event 4 fold, however, the good out weights the bad! I had quality time with my best gal pal, learned from experts, reconnected with old friends and made some new ones too! In the end, I am honored I had the privilege to attend Alt, and for everything I was able to take away from it.
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