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I Attended a BlogHer Biz Panel & It Was Awesome | 4 Incredible Things I’ve Learned about Business Transformation

Recently, SHE Media reached out to me and asked if I’d like to attend a BlogHer Biz (virtual workshop) panel – I immediately answered with an overwhelmingly excited “yes!

I’ve been with SHE Media for several months now – they are who I partner with for the beautiful ads you see placed throughout my blog. I love them!

In this post, I am going to tell you all about my experience from attending the BlogHer panel on business transformation, including:

  • What BlogHer is
  • What BlogHer Biz is
  • Which panel I attended
  • Who the panel members were
  • What inspired me most from the panel
  • & more!

Before we get started, I’d love for you to check out some of my recent business-related blog posts. You’re going to love them:

Now, let’s get to it!

This blog post is sponsored by BlogHer.

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I Attended a BlogHer Biz Panel & It Was Awesome | 4 Incredible Things I’ve Learned about Business Transformation

Background | What Is BlogHer?

A little background: SHE Media is an American digital media company (founded in 1999) & SHE Media owns several different properties (aka brands), including BlogHer! (shemedia.com)

According to blogher.com, “BlogHer is the industry leader for helping bloggers and content creators grow their brands.” Also, according to blogher.com, “BlogHer, one of SHE Media’s flagship sites, is a leading content and events platform with a mission to provide economic empowerment for all women.”

What Is BlogHer Biz?

In celebration of National Woman’s Small Business Month, in the month of October, BlogHer Biz (which is a virtual series of educational workshops for business women) “held weekly workshops on everything one would need to know in order to turn their passion to profit and launch & scale their own business” (blogher.com).

“This educational series introduced best-in-class tools and platforms, provided insight from industry experts, and the opportunity to connect with like-minded creators and entrepreneurs.” (blogher.com)

Which Workshop Did I Attend?

I attended the workshop called, “Business Transformation from Start-ups to Fortune 100.” BlogHer describes this workshop by saying: “a conversation for Thought Leaders and Business Innovators. Calling all activists, entrepreneurs, and change-makers. These unusual times are creating a unique opportunity for business transformation – and that’s true for start-ups as well as Fortune 100 organizations. Join a conversation for thought leaders and people who want to make change happen at scale.” (blogher.com)

The speakers from this panel included: Gina Pell, Marian Salzman, DeNeige Watson, Carolyn Rodz (blogher.com)

A screenshot from the panel, live

Who Exactly Are the Panel Members?

There were some seriously incredible panel members on the panel I attended. Incredible. Here’s a little bit about each one (be prepared to be amazed):

Samantha Skey (panel moderator): “Samantha Skey is Chief Executive Officer of SHE Media (formerly SheKnows Media), a media company providing lifestyle content a community for entrepreneurs and content creators. Samantha serves on the advisory boards of The Ad Council, The IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau), Digital Ascendant, SmartyPants Ltd., The Bronx Academy of Letters, The XX House and RewardOps. Samantha holds a BA in comparative literature from Hamilton College. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.” (https://pmc.com/about-us/person/samantha-skey/)

Gina Pell: “Gina Pell is an award winning Creative Director and tech entrepreneur. She is currently Content Chief of The What, a fast-growing email newsletter with five eclectic, curious things you should know about every week–from books to health, life, style, travel, and tech.” HuffPost (https://www.huffpost.com/author/gina-pell)

Marian Salzman: “Marian Salzman, senior vice president, global communications at Philip Morris International (PMI), has been named one of the world’s top five trendspotters.” (https://mariansalzman.com/)

DeNeige Watson: “Prior to joining RANE, Denny spent 27 years as an analyst with the Central Intelligence Agency. In addition to creating and leading several large, innovative analytic programs at CIA, Denny served as the President’s Daily Briefer to Vice President Gore and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and also served on the Senate Armed Services Committee staff for Senator Nunn. In recent years, Denny has developed big data analytics solutions that address emerging risks in the public and private sectors.” (https://ranenetwork.com/profile-post/deneige-watson/)

Carolyn Rodz: “Three-time entrepreneur Carolyn Rodz is the founder and CEO of Alice. She is a passionate advocate for inclusive entrepreneurship, a mom of two young boys and a lover of cookies.” (helloalice.com)

Another screenshot from the panel, live

What Was This Panel About?

This panel was primarily about business transformation.

I learned during the panel that “business transformation” can be loosely defined as a turning point in one’s business – a point in time when one’s business is changing, modifying, and/or evolving into something new or unlike the current (or older) business model. 

The panel members discussed different elements of business transformation, including some of their past experiences with business transformation, failures they had experienced throughout their careers, successes, and important things they wished to pass on to the younger generation of women entrepreneurs and business owners (as well as to their 25 year old selves).

What Did I Learn about Business Transformation?

I’ll be honest – before the panel began, I was totally clueless when it came to business transformation.

I really didn’t know the first thing about it – I mean, I made some educated guesses about what “business transformation” meant and entailed, but I had never experienced this in my own business (my business is still a “baby,” for all intents and purposes).

However, after having sat through the panel, I walked away with four key “lessons learned” on business transformation – things I believe I will always remember:

  1. Connection Is Key
  2. Transformation Comes from Within
  3. Start by Making Just One Person’s Life Better
  4. You Have to Know What You Are Good At (and At What You Aren’t)

In order to better explain these four take aways, I am going to fill you in on exactly what was said during the panel, by the four incredible panel members (and the amazing moderator).

What Exactly Was Said during The Panel?

Business Transformation

Gina Pell explained business transformation in a very simple way, and one that resonated deeply with me:

“When I was younger I used to think transformation was this thing I had to schedule (I need to learn this, I need to learn that, etc.). What I now find as extremely transformative is establishing connection within the community. I feel that especially connecting with women is so transformative to my soul personally & professionally; I learn something new every time I talk to a new, curious woman.”

Gina Pell

I absolutely love that Gina pointed out the fact that connecting with others in the community you are a part of can be extremely transformative.

I have personally found this to be one of the most satisfying, rewarding parts of blogging – connecting with other bloggers in my niche.

Something that I would like to point out about connecting with others is that you don’t always have to limit your connections to your niche and your communitybranching out to other niches and communities and industries can be very beneficial for you both as a business woman and as a person.

Samantha talked about this, too, saying:

“Friends in other industries is something I’ve found to be so useful. I have friends in waste management!”

Samantha Skey

It is true; having friends in other industries and other communities is very useful (in many ways) when you are a business woman.

DeNeige Watson spoke about business transformations during the panel, saying:

“Transformations are much more compelling, intriguing, and interesting when they come from within (as opposed to transforming because you were forced to).”

DeNeige Watson

On business transformation, Carolyn Rodz said:

“Transformation is just a part of life. We are always evolving & growing and learning from the steps before. I think what’s important is to always be finding opportunity; that is innate for entrepreneurs (always looking to connect the dots, etc.). I think it is keeping your eye on that ‘North Star’. We have to start chipping away at the building blocks to solve them – I think that is what leads to the really big, sustainable, transformative companies. How are you making things better? I think it can be as simple as making one person’s life better.”

Carolyn Rodz

Marian Salzman, when asked to speak on business transformation, said:

“[Business transformation is] being a student of life” … “part of the transformation is making peace of what I can be great at & peace with what I am really terrible at.”

Marian Salzman

I find this to be especially true, personally; determining what you are good at, where your talents lie, versus what you need to possibly hire others to help you with, is a key part of being successful in business and in making business transformations.

Failures & Successes

Samantha spoke briefly on failures and successes saying:

“There’s nothing worse than knowing you didn’t try.”

Samantha Skey

How true is this?

When speaking on her past failures, Gina said:

“I feel like my ‘series of unfortunate events’ erupted with small successes. Failing is part of the development process.”

Gina Pell

I couldn’t agree more with this statement; failing is absolutely part of the development process.

I, myself, experience it daily within my blogging business, but consider the most important part of failure to be learning from it and moving on, knowing that mistakes can stay in the past so long as you do in fact learn and grow from them

On success, DeNeige said:

“You’re not being driven by the next quarterly statement; you’re looking at where your business needs to be in the next 10, 15, 20 years from now based on where your customers will be then.”

DeNeige Watson

She also had a few recommendations when it came to the types of leaders our world needs right now, regardless of the industry they are in:

“Diversity of thought is really important. Having a leader who is genuinely willing to listen to those answers and one who has a courage of conviction to set a course to lead to those answers [is important].”

DeNeige Watson

DeNeige also spoke about failures, saying:

“It’s being willing to try…and the persistence that it takes. There’s an art to knowing when to call it a failure.”

DeNeige Watson

Carolyn also spoke about failures from within her own career, saying:

“I learned more from my failures than from my success.”

Carolyn Rodz

Advice to Your 25-Year-Old Self

One of my favorite parts from the panel was when the moderator, Samantha Skey, asked each panel member what advice they would give to their 25-year-old self.

When she was asked to give advice to her 25-year-old self, DeNeige answered:

“Your career is 45 years long, so don’t go too fast. Make sure that you’re taking time to do things you’re going to enjoy, things that will give you a new perspective. Take those risks. As it turns out, 45 years is a very long time.”

DeNeige Watson

When asked about what advice she would give to her 25-year-old self, Carolyn said:

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help. [Then,] Follow up & tell them how they helped you.”

Carolyn Rodz

Marian answered this question by saying:

“Live in at least 3 foreign countries before you’re 40. Never discuss your career – just let it evolve. I feel like one of the mistakes lots of people make is planning their career. I would just get to the fork in the road & judge everything based on the journey; I wish I would’ve been bolder & taken others’ advice & guidance.” 

Marian Salzman

Something else Marian said that really stuck with me, and is something I don’t think I will ever forget, is this:

“I never thought I would have a third act, so once I embarked on it, it was like I was living this huge adventure. Until you’re dead, there’s still room for another act.”

Marian Salzman

What Part of the Panel Was Most Inspiring to Me?

There were a lot of inspirational moments from the panel – a lot. It’s hard to name the one thing that was most inspirational to me – but if I had to, it would be this:

The most inspiring part of the panel, to me, was the fact that I was sitting in front of five world-renowned business women/entrepreneurs who had stood up in the face of adversity, and had risen to the top in a time when women were not even known to be on the internet (the 90’s).

These five women worked hard, didn’t take “no” for an answer, and made something of themselves – but more importantly – they bettered the lives of other women.

This was the most inspiring part of the panel for me – being in front of these five women, listening to their advice – their failures – their fears – their successes – every up & down from their career – and knowing that they made it.

It made me realize that I can make it, too; it may not be easy, but I can do it if I continue to work hard, learn from my mistakes, and ask the question “how can I help someone else?”

When Is the Next BlogHer Virtual Event?

I know many of you will be asking me this after having read this blog post – so I want to go ahead and just provide you with the information now.

There are plenty of virtual BlogHer events coming up soon (lucky for us!) – and there’s one coming up in November that I think you will especially be interested in attending:

It’s the BlogHer Food Virtual Event and it is being held on November 13th, 2020, at 1PM. You can sign up to attend this event by heading here now!

Here’s a little more information about BlogHer & their virtual events: “BlogHer, one of SHE Media’s flagship sites, is a leading content and events platform with a mission to provide economic empowerment for all women. Since 2005, BlogHer has evolved from in-person to virtual events, with an on-demand video and content library to feed an increasing demand for 24/7 small business education and inspiration. BlogHer now reaches 10M+ women business owners and decision-makers who seek to monetize their businesses and personal brands. SHE Media contributes to $15M+ in annual funding to help women independent content creators scale their businesses.” (blogher.com)

In addition, if you would like to watch a free encore of the panel that I attended, on business transformation, head here now to do so!

Take Aways

I truly hope you have enjoyed my review & information from the BlogHer Biz Panel on business transformation.

I truly enjoyed attending it & am so thankful to SHE Media for inviting me to do so!

Next Steps

If you are new here, welcome! My name is Leslie and I am the writer and founder of Leslie W. Blog. You can read more about me here.

I write a lot on mom & toddler things, but also on stepmom & business topics as well.

Some of my recent business posts that you may be interested in are:

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That’s all for today friends, thanks so much for joining me on today’s post on business transformation! Thanks for reading and as always, take care.

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