I believe in collaboration over competition.
Any sort of athletic game always stressed me out as a child. I played soccer for about five minutes when I was a kid. (Yes, on a team.) And I hated it. I just didn’t want to compete with my classmates. I didn’t want to get yelled at by a coach for missing the ball. I didn’t want to push people out of my way.
It just wasn’t my thing — ya dig?
Perhaps that’s why I got into theatre.
I’ve said this so much I’m probably going to start sounding like a broken record. But, theatre, for me, is one of the most collaborative art forms, and professions out there. It take a village to put a show, a concert, a workshop, a reading - there’s so much that happens that the audience doesn’t even realize.
But, for those who thrive within a community setting, one that challenges you and lifts you and corrects you and makes you think about the world outside yourself - theatre is invigorating. Uplifting. Life changing.
A couple of months ago I was introduced to a woman who ran a women empowerment business. She marketed herself as a connector, a mentor, and a coach. She had this Facebook group that directly corresponded to conferences for female entrepreneurs, encouraging them to attend these conferences that she set up in various cities.
The professions of the group were wide and varied. Too many to count. Teachers, coaches, inventors, producers, product innovators - women from all walks of life. And this “leader” claimed to have a connection in all professions, she made promises to all folks - the sort of promises that lift people up. The sort of promises that give people hope for a better tomorrow. The sort of promises that get people out of bed in the morning.
Betrayal is an awful thing.
It seeps into your skin in such a way that it’s hard to shed that feeling of disappointment and hurt and horror that comes with betrayal.
So, imagine my horror when I found out that this woman duped the women attending her conferences. She took money. Lots and lots of money. She promised wages and didn’t deliver. She promised an all inclusive retreat and yet someone else had to spring for the bill.
Oh wait, get this - she asked people to be Keynote Speakers…and then asked certain ones TO PAY. TO SPEAK.
But the sad and frustrating and terrible thing about this was that she preyed on those who didn’t know any better. She sought out women who were changing careers and taking huge leaps and trying new things, befriended them, got them to trust her, and then took their cash.
I’m all in favor of conferences. I think they’re great - whether it’s for professional or personal development…but just make sure you do your homework. Do your research. If someone is asking you for money, you have every right to know where it’s going. To know what you’re getting. If something seems off, perhaps it’s best to walk away.
Trust your instincts.
For those of you who are creative female entrepreneurs interested in attending conferences, here’s a great list geared for creative female entrepreneurs. These are the women who lift you up. These are the folks who are your cheerleaders. They are the people to surround yourself with…and that’s just the tip of the legitimate iceberg. There’s BroadwayCon. Ted Talks. SXSW. BlogHer. Young & Doing.
And those are the ones just off of the top of my head.