EVENT: THE COLLECTIVE CONFERENCE

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THE COLLECTIVE CONFERENCE

I have attended many an “influencer” conference, (since I am one—an influencer, of course, not a conference—duh,) but this Collective Conference, whose focus was fashion, food, and travel, (three of the main topics in this e-zine, so it was extra-interesting to me,) was by far the best one I’ve been to.  It was so cleverly structured. These industry conferences are set-up to give important information to influencers, bloggers, and business people alike, and the panels at this one did just that. But there was so much more involved here.

Some of the crowd during the morning pre-event mingle. Photo by Karen Salkin, as is the big one at the top of the page.

Some of the crowd during the morning pre-event mingle. Photo by Karen Salkin, as is the big one at the top of the page.

It was an all-day affair, but sadly for me, I had to leave after about five hours because, as usual, I was triple-booked for the day and night. But I got as much out of those few hours as anybody possibly could.

It was held at a place that I never even heard of, let alone been to—Playa Studios in Culver City. A few years back, I was the restaurant critic for The Culver City News, and, as an actress, I’ve worked at just about every studio in town, but this was a whole new experience to me.  I never even knew the street it’s on existed! I love learning something new, especially about Los Angeles, so this location was a revelation to me.

Morning pastries. Photo by Karen Salkin.

Morning pastries. Photo by Karen Salkin.

As we entered, there were two kinds of pastries and several beverages to greet us, in case we hadn’t had time for breakfast at that super-early (for me) time. I don’t eat stuff like that, but I really appreciated that they had bottles (of a sort) of water at each place setting at the tables.

And then the biggest surprise came as we entered, with a brilliant move I’ve never seen done before.  Instead of each seat having a gift bag that’s the same for everyone, each table of ten had something different. You didn’t know what it was in most instances, (because the gifts were contained in a bag or box,) so what you wound-up with was just sort-of pot luck. Because I wanted to tell you about several of the gifts, (as opposed to just the one I received,) I went around to some of the tables to find-out what the choices were, which was sort-of embarrassing because I’m sure that some of the other guests thought I was just trying to choose the best one. (Actually, there’s precious little in life that I need, knock on wood, so I would have been fine with any of the gifts.)

My table, whose bags contained jewelry and a notebook. Photo by Karen Salkin.

My table, whose bags contained jewelry and a notebook. Photo by Karen Salkin.

Here are a few of the hidden treasures I discovered: fashionable blankets(!), restaurant gift certificates, designer sunglasses, skin care, stationery, and…a box of cupcakes (which trust me—even though I’m not supposed to eat sugar, I considered for a long moment.) And what did I get? Probably the one thing I really wanted—silver jewelry! Pieces that I loved! Each person at my table had different items in her bag, and I wasn’t a fan of any of it, (mainly because they were gold, as opposed to silver, which is all I wear,) except for mine! How amazing is that?! It was kismet! My box had several beautiful little silver rings in it, which I put on right away, (even though I never use a gift immediately like that,) and I’ve barely taken them off since then.

The blankets on another table. Photo by Karen Salkin.

The blankets on another table. Photo by Karen Salkin.

Before I go any further, I must tell you that I liked everyone I met there! Most of the attendees were under thirty, and in life, I’ve found that people in their twenties (outside of my own friends in that demographic) often act like they know it all, and like anyone over that age is a moron.  But these people were all darling, respectful, and willing to learn. And thank goodness, they all got, and laughed at, everything I said! It was a really nice group of about two hundred; mostly ladies, with a few guys sprinkled in for fun.

Yet another table's goodies. Photo by Karen Salkin.

Yet another table’s goodies. Photo by Karen Salkin.

After all the excitement of choosing our tables and discovering our gifts, we got down to business. There were opening remarks, and then something happened that I’ve also never experienced at a conference before—we were guided through some very simple morning mediations. That was brilliant! It calmed us all down, and put us in the frame of mind to receive the knowledge about the business that we were about to. I feel that the practice also connected us all a bit. And I was happy to finally learn how to do it! I’ve tried mediation tons of times, (especially in the last two years since my mini-stroke,) but I’m never able to clear my mind enough. So I really appreciated learning these tricks that should help with all that.

Then we got to the first panel, on which there was a good balance of speakers. They were very informative, there were no blowhards in the group, and they all had real knowledge. These women weren’t up there to just impress themselves, like what I’ve run into at similar events.  So, big props to them.

The buffet before it was open.  Photo by Karen Salkin.

The buffet before it was open. Photo by Karen Salkin.

After just the right amount of time, we were treated to a lunch buffet from Sharkey’s, which had something for everyone–carnivores, vegetarians, and vegans alike.  I was chatting with so many of my fellow conference-ites during that break that I don’t really remember what I ate or how it tasted, but I’m sure it was good because everyone looked happy.

We began the afternoon with some more mediation, which once again calmed the room down.  The space featured beautiful bright light, which was conducive to socializing, so this practice at that time helped us focus in on learning again.

The main room, before the event began.  Photo by Karen Salkin.

The main room, before the event began. Photo by Karen Salkin.

The next panel was more for business people than influencers, but I always care about the journey of others, so it was interesting even to non-business-person moi.

Unfortunately, that’s when I had to leave, so I’m sure I missed a lot, including dinner and a mini-gifting suite! But you can be sure I’ll be at the 2018 Collective Conference! And I’ll try my hardest to be just single-booked that day.

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