What stood out most to me at the time of our meeting was her down to earth demeanor despite having a pretty large following and being a paid sponsor for many notable plus brands. In my opinion, humility is an attractive but underrated quality in the blogging industry.
That’s why when she announced that she was hosting an event in Emporia, Va; I didn’t hesitate to set the time aside on my calendar to make a 7 hour trip to support.
On January 13th, 2018 hubby and I showed up at The Hampton Inn for the 3rd annual Cupcakes and Conversation: Finding Purpose in Your Passion.
The setup was nice and cute! There were tables arranged so that attendees could not only be comfortably seated but also able to eat comfortably as we dined the awesome brunch that was put together for us!
What I do appreciate it is how timely she was in beginning her event! She wasted no time once everyone had been fed and seated to introduce her panelists:
DJ 3TWO1 inspired by telling us how he decided that the corporate life was simply not for him and how he ventured into his DJ business solo. Not to mention being a radio personality who keeps 100% of his sales in advertised slots for the station. He was brutally transparent about the not so glamorous side of self-employment; but it was moving nonetheless.
Jaleesa Robinson was a lively moderator who also had more than a mouthful to say about her self-employment journey. She quit her job, used her 401k to invest in herself and her business but has also made some sacrifices along the way. I love that she understands the need to pull away when necessary; and a great example of that is her taking a step back to enjoy her new role in life as a newly wed wife! It was nice to see someone be business minded but still know what the important parts of life are!
Dominique Dunn is the young and vibrant owner of More II Lyfe Apparel. In a world where no idea seems like a new idea; somehow Dominique made me feel awesome about a t-shirt line! Though she has her proverbial 9-5; it does not discourage her from pursuing her creative and passionate side. The idea behind More II Lyfe is very much like it sounds- there is more to life than [insert what ever applies to you]. What you take away from Domnique though is her passion, her commitment to making things better for not only herself and those she loves; but those she encounters through her creative outlet as well.
Last but certainly not least, was Gene Porter, the keynote speaker. Gene Porter is the owner of Strong Temple Fitness & Personal Training. At first glance, Gene looks like any other man on the street. Unassuming, pleasant and not someone you would think had an amazing story to tell; but he in fact did have an amazing story to tell. At 17 years of age, Gene Porter was convicted of murder he claims he did not commit and sentenced to 25 years in prison
He shared his journey as a young man growing up in prison, how he used working out to keep himself focused even during the troublesome times his parole was denied, being afraid of coming back into society labeled a murderer, and figuring out who he was to become once he was released. There was barely a dry eye in the room as he shared his ups and downs and how he turned his loss into a victory. The biggest lesson I took away from Gene was small but major- It’s not what they call you but what you answer to.
Often times in life we get so caught up on our past mistakes, and allow what other people label us to define and affect how we move. The reality is, one is not defined by their mistakes. It’s up to us as an individual to learn from our mistakes, including the choices that led us there, and then DO BETTER. Gene gave that important reminder and truly exemplifies the notion of ‘anything is possible’.
Not only were we treated to an awesome panel, attendees had the opportunity to win some awesome prizes during giveaways throughout the event! I unfortunately didn’t win anything, but I was pretty happy for the excitement of the people who did.
In all I would say this event captured finding purpose in your passion quite effectively! I love that even though a scheduled panelist didn’t show; Ashley didn’t allow it to cause a hiccup and she slid right into the role as panelist in addition to being hostess! Ashley herself was just as moving and inspiring, not only as a panelist but after the panel was closed.
I enjoyed our conversation as she, myself and Tasha Reid Owner of Beauty n We had an authentic and passionate conversation about the ups and downs of our perspective industries.
In all I would say the trip was definitely worth the 7 hours and the weekend we spent away from our home in Atlanta Metro!
I can’t wait to see Ashley again here in Atlanta on May 19th, 2018 for The Fluffy Girl Tribe’s: One Size Does Not Fit All- Brand Identity Workshop. We are so excited to have her along with the other awesome panelists scheduled to be here as well as the giveaways, the swag bags and the positive vibes that are sure to be floating around! See you there hopefully!