--Kindness, comradery, creativity, community, self awareness are the words that best describe my first tradeshow experience as a children's book publisher and mompreneur!
A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Public Lands Alliance Convention and Tradeshow in St. Louis, Missouri. This was my first trip as a children's book publisher and mompreneur. I didn't know what to expect nor did I know how my "product" was going to be received by the public lands community. The PLA community consists of 200+ partner organizations, companies and public land stewards. It was overwhelming and intimidating.
In the past, I would attend events like these as the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for my day job but for the next few days it was all about me and my book company. That was terrifying. I'm pretty good at promoting parks, conservation, nature, the environment, but when it comes to promoting myself, well I'm not so great at it.
For nearly three days, I hosted my booth and attended many compelling sessions. I learned a lot and met a ton of great people. All supportive for the two hats that I wear; leading the marketing and communications efforts for Save the Redwoods League and publishing children's books.
While transitioning from a session to my booth, I ran into a League colleague. She and I chatted briefly about the conference and our work waiting for us when we return to California. Towards the end of the conversation (because I was really nervous about playing two roles at the tradeshow), this astute colleague said to me "because you wear two hats that makes you interesting" AND that makes you a "whole person so don't forget that". I never thought about it that way. I was always quick to keep the two worlds apart. Now, I understand why I need to embrace who I am today and the person I will become on this journey as a children's book publisher, mompreneur and redwood advocate.
Thank you Savannah Boiano for making me see the whole me. I can't produce compelling children's books without the 15-years of experience I have working for Save the Redwoods League. And, if it wasn't for my early work at the League as the director of outreach and education, I wouldn't have discovered my passion for producing compelling stories for kids and families.
See you next year in Seattle, PLA!