As those of you who follow me on social media probably know, I spent this past Saturday and Sunday at HerConference, an annual event put on by HerCampus, in New York City. I’d been counting down to this weekend ever since I booked my tickets in May and, as always, a huge part of that excitement was the opportunity to share it all with you. Indeed, I snapped photos all weekend not only in the interest of preserving memories, but also for the “HerConference Recap” that would hit A Style Study the following week. As with almost everything I do, the HerConference experience came with so many anecdotes and lessons that I can’t resist imparting on you, my readers.
But then I sat down to write said “recap,” and it didn’t feel right. I could easily detail each day’s schedule, list the speakers and panelists, and gush over the swag bag and other bonuses, but to do that would barely scratch the surface of my HerConference experience. Because here’s the thing: The days leading up to HerConference were a low point of my summer thus far. I wasn’t motivated, I was cranky, and I spent most days in a physical fog. I walked into the conference dragging my feet, intrigued but also slightly reluctant about what awaited me on the top of the elevator. It sounds dramatic, but at the point I felt like nothing could lift me out of my funk.
Well, they must be miracle workers over at HerCampus, as I’m writing this post 24 hours after HerConference closed and am still riding the “high.” When I entered the conference space, I was almost immediately lifted by the greeting of the HerCampus team, who throughout the weekend wore matching grins as well as t-shirts. As I manipulated my swag bag through the throng of attendees in the lounge area, I couldn’t help by get excited over the Ulta beauty bar, Suja juice station, and even the Tinder booth. When I took my seat in the Forum for the opening Keynote, I got happy butterflies in my stomach as I sensed the magic I was in for.
Grin. Excited. Happy butterflies. Magic. These words had been tragically missing from my vocabulary in the days before the conference. And now there I was, an hour into HerConference and already basking in a bubble of joy. It sounds cheesy but it’s true, and that feeling was amplified as the conference progressed. I was empowered by the wisdom of the featured speakers, who ranged from designer Rebecca Minkoff and author Andi Dorfman to editors Joyce Change and Vanessa K. De Luca, Olympic champion Nastia Liukin, and finally U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power. My mind was inspired by the panelists and workshop hosts, from editorial staffers and brand gurus to female entrepreneurs and television hosts. Most of all, I was floored by the radiance and kindness of the incredible young women I met. For the first time in my life, I connected with every person I spoke to, wether over blogging (hi, Sara and Michelene!), matching shoe choices (that’s you, Victoria), or just “vibes.” Regardless of wether I see these women again, I will never forget how I felt after our conversations.
And how did I feel, exactly? I felt like every woman in that room- myself included- was unstoppable. I felt like we were all destined for something bigger than ourselves. I felt like HerConference, with all it’s magic and inspiration, was just the beginning.
I hope this little reflection gave you some insight into my HerConference experience. If any of you are interested in joining HerCampus through your campus chapter, the InfluenceHer Collective, or the High School Ambassador program, I highly recommend you do so. Not only will you have access to next year’s conference, but you’ll become a part of a unique community of women I had the experience of enveloping first hand this weekend. Got more questions regarding specifics about HerCampus or the conference? Don’t hesitate to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org! I’d love to share what I can with you.
Now, in the spirit of girl power, I’ll sign of with a Shonda Rhimes classic:
To be continued…