The First Disney On The Road with DisneySMMoms
My Experience in Charlotte, NC
I’ve been very fortunate to have attended the Disney Social Media Moms Celebrations held down at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL for the past few years. I was so excited to learn that the fabulous folks at Mom Talk Radio and Disney Parks were going “on the road” this fall to sprinkle some Pixie Dust across the country! I was even more excited when I found out that one of their chosen locations was Charlotte, NC…just a 4-hour drive from home!
One of my fellow blogging buddies lives in Charlotte and she very graciously opened up her home to me so I didn’t have to pay for a hotel room. We headed out to the event first thing in the morning and the magic started the instant we arrived! There were so many familiar faces and lots of new ones too! Lots of hugs from great friends before breakfast was served is my idea of a fantastic way to start any day! When we walked into the conference room, each table had a Disney-themed centerpiece…so fun!
We enjoyed a wonderful breakfast and we were given lots of time before our first keynote speaker to mingle…really fun because at that point, I’d already hugged and chatted with everyone I recognized! I wandered around the room introducing myself and exchanging business cards with fellow bloggers. Y’all know I love to chat, so…let’s just say it was awesome to have that extra “mingle time”!
Maria Bailey of Mom Talk Radio took the stage to welcome us all and spoke a bit about the power of moms. Did you know that moms are the largest group of consumers contributing an estimated 1.7 billion dollars to the economy each year? Wow! Another astonishing figure she shared with us is that 8.5 million women are business owners with 5.5 million of them being moms! Women-owned businesses have grown by 54% in the past fifteen years…awesome! She advised us that if we’ve ever gotten a bad pitch, don’t ignore it! Pitch them back and let them know what you can do for them, never write off any possible contact, you never know when you’ll be able to turn a bad pitch into an awesome opportunity! She also spoke about how demonstrating hard work through your actions as a mom can show your children that loving what you do can give you wings and make your dreams come true!
Our first speaker of the morning was Shannon Miller, seven-time Olympic Medalist, cancer survivor, health & fitness advocate, wife, and mom! I thought it was really fun that she started out her speech telling us about her admiration of Sara Blakely, the inventor of Spanx, and, not-to-mention, a mom! She spoke to us about being passionate about what we do and how just like she didn’t stumble onto being an Olympic Gold Medalist, you don’t just stumble into a successful career…you must work hard! She also touched on something I’ve heard so many times about how when you’re passionate about something you do, it doesn’t feel like work, and when you channel that passion into a business, you can’t help but be successful. I remember watching the Olympics back in 1996 when Shannon won her gold and it’s amazing how times have changed. The opening ceremonies of this year’s Olympics had 9.5 million tweets! Pretty awesome how social media has changed the way we watch, report, and interact around not only the Olympic Games, but everything else too.
Shannon left us with some important things to consider. One of my favorites was this: “there are no do-overs in social media”. This is something that I have taken to heart ever since the first day, many years ago, when I accepted my very first friend request from a person I had only ever interacted with online by reading THEIR blog. It was way back then that I learned when I put something online, in my Facebook status, on my twitter account, on a forum, on SOMEONE ELSE’S blog, or on my blog, that anyone would be able to see it, including potential employers and/or business partners. Make sure what you put out there represents you and your brand. Lastly, she reminded us all that life is like a balance beam, you’re going to fall, just get back up and keep going!
Next up was Laura Spencer, Social Media Manager for Disney Destinations, the “Pink Princess” herself! I always love to see Laura because she is such a ball of Pixie Dust! When Laura took the stage, she made us all laugh by chatting about girdles and corsets, then she made us all cry by sharing a very touching story about how much she learned from her Grandmother and how we should never make the mistake of thinking we’re too good to learn from anyone. She explained how we had to go back to the “old school” to make business successful. Laura also reminded us that we need to do what we love, love what we do, and give it our all…our family, our kids, our business…money isn’t going to appear simply because we write a blog. We need to surround ourselves with people who give back, if you have something to give, give it and it will come back to you! She left us with a fantastic tidbit of extremely important information which is that we are very powerful and if we could work together, we wouldn’t need to change the world, it would already be a better place!
Next, we were treated to a Mompreneur panel discussion with three successful moms who shared their stories with us about how they turned their passions into successful businesses. On the panel were Katie Barnes-Harding of the South Charlotte Play Group, Marcelle Collins-Clyburn of the National Women’s Leadership Association, and Robyn Pallei of ViveVita. All offered valuable insight on their lives and how they became successful in business. Check out their sites for more information!
Our last speaker of the day was Tiffany Krumins, creator of Ava the Elephant, a medicine dispensor for children. If any of you watch ABC’s Shark Tank, you may remember seeing Tiffany make a deal with Barbara Corcoran during the show’s first season. She appeared on the show with zero sales and a hand-made “prototype” made of fabric and sponge…she brought the actual one for us to see! I remember that particular show well as I watched it live with my family that night. I seriously thought she would get eaten alive by the sharks because I’d seen what had happened to other hopefuls when they asked for a deal and had no sales to back up their product. Tiffany’s speech began with her Ava the Elephant success story and how she developed the product while being a nanny for a special needs little boy. She first shared how he was so afraid to get a haircut because he thought it would hurt. She was a very creative thinker and she decided that she would give his two favorite stuffed animals, Pooh and Tigger, tiny haircuts each day. She even gave herself a little haircut each day as well and the three of them did this for a period of time until the little boy decided that he wanted a turn too. Eventually, she was able to give him a full haircut! The next challenge would come when he needed to take anti-biotics. He didn’t want to take the medicine at all, so she put her thinking cap on once again and was inspired to create Ava the Elephant to give him medicine and it worked like a charm. You can now find Ava at CVS stores!!
Tiffany then shared with us her frightening battle with cancer. It was really hard to hold back the tears. She also shared with us her newest product, the thermometer sticker…you can see it on her daughter’s forehead in the pic above! Pretty cool! She talked with us about facing our fears as she’d faced hers, and had us write down what we fear the most. She challenged us to tackle it this weekend…I’m still working on that part! She’s holding us to it too…see her tweet here from earlier today!
The conference was a quick half-day, it was extremely inspirational, and I absolutely loved every minute of it! I can’t tell you how happy I am to have had this mid-year dose of DisneySMMoms Pixie Dust! In order to stretch it out a bit longer, I decided to postpone my drive a bit and head to lunch with some friends. We shared many laughs together over a great meal and a great time was had by all! I just had to get a pic with my Minnie-Eared friend before we headed off to lunch and also, here’s a pic of our group during lunch…
Disclosure: Disney On the Road was a free of charge event. I was not asked to post about this event, but I couldn’t wait to do it! All opinions are 100% my own.