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My Adventures in Networking and what’s next for BAWN?

By Gwen Helbush, cwc

BAWN’s Day of Education 2014 Featuring Alan Berg, CSP (10/22/2014) began my networking adventure which was for lack of a better term was my re-entry.  I’ve been in hibernation for some time tending to my health.  Although I’m not 100% yet I missed everyone so much and for my sanity I needed to re-enter the wedding world.  Thus BAWN’s Day of Education was born and from that a new direction for BAWN; more about that later.  For more about BAWN’s Day of Education 2014 Featuring Alan Berg, CSP read the re-cap and enjoy the photos.  http://bawnevents.squarespace.com/home/2014/10/24/bawns-day-of-education-2014-a-re-cap.html

I love doing BAWN events but I don’t get a lot of time to network at them (ironic I know).  I loved seeing everyone and I’m thrilled with the positive feedback.  But that was just the beginning of my adventures in networking and from them a few take a ways for BAWN.

My next networking excursion was to attend Oh So Inspired (11/02-05/14 http://www.ohsoinspired.com/). Oh So Inspired is a 3 day, intimate, hands-on learning retreat for new and established creative professionals looking to ignite passion for their creative wedding business.  Created and produced by the lovely and Oh So talented Nancy Liu Chin of Nancy Liu Chin Designs, Mary Phan of Very Mary Inspired & The Sketchbook Series, and Kelly McLeskey-Dolata of A Savvy Event.  3 full days of love, laughter and bonding.  No I’m not exaggerating and yes it was about business.   The wedding business at its best, a wonderful and diverse collection of wedding professionals gathering to relax and re-charge our batteries after a busy wedding season. Through a series of interactive conversations, pampering events and hands-on classes.  We were the guests for a change, events were created for us not by us a rare and wonderful treat.  Being inspired to think differently about our businesses all while having a great time.  I’m very grateful to Nancy, Mary and Kelly for creating the opportunity for us to have such a wonderful experience.  My take away for BAWN to be more intimate.

Next was the WedTech Summit (11/10/14 http://wedtechsummit.com/).  WedTech is a startup technology conference and community focused on accelerated innovation in a traditional, change-resistant, yet profitable market sector: the wedding industry. Co-Founders Carolyn Gerin and Michael Cole with GM Paul Philleo created a half day event with panel discussions covering a wide range of topics.  I went not knowing what to expect and came away with a lot to think about.  The big message I got is that technology is coming to weddings and the wedding business whether we like it or not so we better figure out if we want to be an early adopters or get washed away but the title wave that is coming.  It’s not as scary as it sounds but we do have to take this seriously.  My take away for BAWN we need to do some research around technology and have some meaningful conversation about it.

Last but not least my journey took me on a day trip to Long Beach for WeddingWire World 2014. (11/12/14 http://weddingwireworld.com/socal)  WeddingWire World SoCal was the last of five stops on the WeddingWire World Tour 2014. WeddingWire traveled across the country with its award-winning, day-long users' conference full of education. We got motivated and prepared to succeed, including sales, reviews, marketing, business management, networking, and more. We had the unique opportunity to not only hear from leading wedding industry professionals.  It was a long day but worth the travel.  There were many great presentation such as More Sales in 3 Easy Steps - Alan Berg, CSP, Unlock the Superhero within - Andy Ebon and Wed We Can: Defining, Reaching & Serving Modern Couples - Kathryn Hamm to name a few.  It was a pleasure to see our friend Alan Berg, CSP.  Alan gave 2 presentations and as was expected he was great!  In fact everyone was great.  Again they gave me a lot to think about and consider for my business and for BAWN. My take away for BAWN we have a lot to talk about and we need to get started.

So what has all this got to do with BAWN and the direction we are going to take?  More than you might think, before I started my re-entry I had a plan for BAWN but the follow up survey from BAWN’s Day of Education 2014 and my adventures over the past month have changed my mind.  So here is the new plan, I hope you like it!

BAWN in 2015:  We will continue to do bi-weekly updates to the BAWN Blog.  We are going to start producing on-line discussions groups.  We will tackle a different topic each time.  We will start small, limiting the groups to 50 on each call.  There will be a nominal fee to be on the calls.  I’ll post the highlights of each call on the BAWN Blog. 

Again based on the response from the survey everyone who attended loved BAWN’s Day of Education 2014 Featuring Alan Berg, CSP and want us to do it again so we are going to shoot for November.  There was also a lot of positive response to the idea of a Wedding Business Expo so I’m going to do some research and see how we can accomplish that too.

I can really use your help with content for the Blog and all the other projects above.  If you are interested in being a BAWN Partner, contributing to the Blog or taking on a small task to move the BAWN projects forward please email me gwen@wtsci.com  or call (510) 795-9072 ext. 111 I would love to talk to you about it.

I feel very blessed to be a part of the wedding community and I am enormously grateful to all of you for supporting BAWN for the past 15 years.  Mostly though I appreciate all your love and support during my illness, I felt your good vibrations, I knew you were there keeping good thoughts for me.  I enjoyed getting your cards and phone calls they made a big difference in my recovery.  Thank you.

I wish you all a very Happy Holiday season and I look forward to seeing you in 2015!  XOXO, Gwen