Saturday, February 11, 2017

Highlights From The 2017 MAKERS Conference

After months and months of preparation and excitement for The 2017 MAKERS Conference, I was absolutely ready to get to California's beautiful Terranea Resort and kick off an unforgettable three days... Or so I thought.

The weekend before my expected departure day I could feel myself starting to get sick and despite taking regular doses of Zicam (every 6 hours as instructed) to prevent what I thought would be just a bad cold, the worst case scenario ensued.

The final diagnosis? Bronchitis (which is far from ideal, especially for someone with asthma) and the flu (even though I got a flu shot back in November).

So when I had to change my flight from Saturday to Monday, I'm sure you can imagine how disappointed I was. My first-ever business conference delayed because I had not a cold, but bronchitis + the flu.

Nevertheless, the three day conference, which began the Monday I landed at LAX, was one of the greatest experiences of which I have ever been a part.


By the time I arrived on Monday, we were ready to get evening 1 of the conference started. To kick off the night and open the conference, the MAKERS team premiered an exclusive opening video from Hillary Clinton, in which she voiced that the "future is still female," followed by an incredible discussion between Gloria Steinem and Octavia Spencer about the importance of uncovering the stories of all of history's hidden figures.

After a few other sessions with some amazing speakers, it was dinnertime. At the "MAKERS Pub," the team played episode 1, "Making Herstory," of its first-ever podcast, which tells the story of Maria Pepe, Little League's First Girl, that is followed by a rapid fire round of questions answered by the one and only Gloria Steinem. (Fun fact: my voice can be heard in the podcast's intro saying "to shape the leaders of tomorrow.")

That same night Kathy Najimy, Zosia Mamet, Debra Messing, and Rosie Perez performed a series of "Real Life: Essays," directed by Najimy herself.


Though the foggy weather and morning rains continued into day 2 of the conference, the speakers continued to brighten up the sessions.

While the second conference day was chalk full of dozens of inspiring speakers and correlating videos, some of my favorite moments from the day included Tamika Catchings of the WNBA's moment with aspiring WNBA players Caylie and Maya Lopez (aka The Splash Sisters), Jill Soloway's hilariously relevant speech, and Cynthia Erivo's tear-jerking performance.

At dinner that night, MAKERS celebrated its 5th birthday with the help of everyone who made it possible. So, before bringing out the birthday cake, Dyllan McGee, Founder of MAKERS, called everyone from the team up on stage where we stood and did "the Gloria" pose with MAKER Gloria Steinem.

Afterward, Dyllan called up all the MAKERS in attendance who made it possible. For those of you who don't know, MAKERS are trailblazing women, often historyMAKERS — ranging from Serena Williams and Abby Wambach to Michelle Obama and Madeleine Albright. (You can browse the full list here).


On the third and final day of The 2017 MAKERS Conference, the final speakers took the stage, including (but not limited to) NASA astronaut Leland Melvin and NFL player Russell Wilson, two feminist males of the new MAKERS Men series panel.

And, once the last day wrapped and everyone left to continue to #BEBOLD, the sun set on a wonderfully inspiring and incredibly rewarding experience for everyone — both those on the MAKERS Team and those in the audience.

As this year's conference theme was #BEBOLD, I am inspired to continue this effort as the year progresses. Stay tuned for the list of ways I plan to do so. Tell me: How will you #BEBOLD in the coming months? Comment below with any ideas!

Watch all of the exclusive footage from the speakers at The MAKERS Conference by visiting and following MAKERS on Instagram and Facebook.

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  1. Wow, it sounds like you had an awesome time! I didn't even know that the Makers Conference was a thing before I saw your blog post about it, but now I really, really want to go sometime. It's in a whole other country to the one I'm in at the moment, and I'm nowhere near successful enough to go along, but it's something to aspire to, for sure! The three days look super fun, and you look like you really enjoyed them. I love the photo of the palm trees in day three; it definitely posts LA in a positive light.

    1. Thank you so much for reading, Rebekah! The conference was really an inspiring event and I hope you get to watch some of the great content on the MAKERS site! I really appreciate your thoughtful comment and can't wait to read some more of your blog posts :) xo

  2. Wow! It sucks that you happened to get bronchitis AND the flu at the same time; I've had them both individually and they are hell by themselves! Good on you for still going to the conference and making the most of it. You look amazing for someone so sick :) it also looks like you had a good time! Great post :)

    Alicia Nicole xo

    1. I know, right?! Just my luck... But thankfully I was able to make it to the conference at all! I would have been so upset had I not been able to go at all. Thanks for reading, Alicia! I look forward to checking out your blog!

  3. Wow, what an amazing opportunity! I never knew this existed but I'd love to go sometime. Plus Terranea Resort looks so amazing. I hope you're fully recovered now love! You're definitely a trooper for still making it inspite of having bronchitis/flu. Well worth the trip I'd say!

    xo, Christine Celine

    1. It totally was worth it :) I would have been so disappointed had I not been able to go, but I pushed through! Thanks so much for the read! P.S. I absolutely love your January Sounds piece — downloading them all now!

  4. Hate that you started off sick, but it sounds like you had an amazing time! I would love to go to a conference this inspiring someday. That resort looks beautiful too!

    1. It really has not been my year health wise, but I've definitely recovered and hopefully (knock on wood) will stay healthy in the coming months! Thanks so much for the read, John! It was definitely an inspiring event.