After hearing so many positives about the Dad 2.0 Summit, I just had to make my way there this year. Even though it meant flying across country, which is something I do not enjoy, I can say it was well worth the white knuckle experience in the air. Dad 2.0 was many things to its attendees. This is what it was for me.
1) A Chance to Share My Writing In Front of An Audience
Folks who follow my blog know my story. I left a career as a school administrator to stay home with my daughter. I started The Brown Gothamite as a way to document my journey and hopefully provide insight about this experience to my daughter when she is older. Somehow, some of my pieces resonated with folks. I started contributing to sites like City Dads Group. And, I was really enjoying writing for the first time since college. Lorne Jaffe of RaisingSienna.com, who was selected as one of five writers to share his work as a Spotlight Blogger at the 2014 Dad 2.0 Summit, thought that I should apply for a Blogger Spotlight spot for the 2015 Summit. Well, I was selected to read my piece, 3 Life Lessons From An Imperfect Dad, and could not have been more honored. It was such a thrill to be able to share my work with an audience. It was so meaningful to have my writing and voice validated, especially since this journey has been so challenging. I was not exactly prepared for what would happen after my reading. So many attendees came up to me and shook my hand, sharing kind words about my piece. Folks went to Twitter to send kudos and even shared takeaways from my piece. (Seriously, it's hard to process all this.) It was also wonderful to hear the work of the four other bloggers featured at the Summit!
2) A Chance to Network
It was wonderful to meet so many other bloggers who are focusing primarily on discussing fatherhood. I read the work of several of these bloggers before the Summit, so I very much enjoyed meeting them in person and creating some meaningful connections. It was also an opportunity to connect with the vast array of sponsors who were present. Not only did most of them provide some much appreciated swag, but they were looking to create ways to advertise their brands in creative ways that made sense for them and the bloggers.
3) A Chance to Learn
As much as I enjoy writing for The Brown Gothamite and some other forums, how to run a blog and develop it as a potential business is something I have been learning how to do on the fly. This conference afforded me a grand opportunity to not only connect with potential sponsors, but to also pick the brains of people who have been blogging successfully for much longer than me, folks with some serious social media know how, and even people who have had a piece or picture become a viral sensation. Not everything was blogger related, as I was particularly impacted by a panel focusing on men and depression, which featured my friend, Lorne Jaffe. I have returned slightly overwhelmed with my new knowledge, but more importantly, so excited to put this new knowledge to good use.
4) A Chance to Bond
I was able to spend some time with a good friend and make some connections with some possible new friends. Not just the weather was warm in San Francisco, but so were the attendees.
5) A Chance to Meet Boba Fett (sort of)
Conference attendees got on buses and headed over to Lucasfilm. Yes, that Lucasfilm - home of all things Star Wars. Thanks to the generosity of one of the conference sponsors, Lego, we were able to head to a true holy grail of geekdom. We took pictures with some cultural icons. We even headed to a theater to watch. . . Well, I'm not at liberty to say. That's right. Top secret. So, don't ask. Move along. They're not the droids you're looking for.
All in all, I very much enjoyed my first Dad 2.0 experience. It was worthwhile on a personal and professional level. Thanks, again, to all who made the conference possible and to the many sponsors who are partnering with a conference like this because they value the impact of fathers. I look forward to attending next year in Washington, D.C. I'm even developing a workshop proposal already.
Time.com published this article about the conference.
CBS San Francisco shared this piece.