In just over a month, I’ll hop on a plane, fly to Kansas City, and attend the tenth anniversary BlogPaws conference.
It’s my ninth conference… I missed 2013 because it fell right after I’d finished a year of chemo, and I just couldn’t. And here’s the thing: Way back then, in 2013, long before I contracted for BlogPaws and long before I joined the staff, long before I had many readers here, and long before I had a handle on most facets of blogging, people noticed I wasn’t there.
To a wallflower like me, that’s a big deal.
This community sees me.
I took a look at past BlogPaws-related posts, and I found my recap of that very first conference in 2010. Interestingly, though not surprisingly, my three core takeaways from that first event are the same as they are heading into this tenth conference: community, authenticity, and advocacy.
Also interestingly, and also not surprisingly, those are three of my own core values.
Last week, the BlogPaws team traveled to Florida to visit Chewy.com’s HQ. ICYMI: Chewy acquired BlogPaws, and they wanted us to head down and see their operations prior to the April conference. While there, they set us up in their film studio so we could each record our thoughts about our BlogPaws experience. Again, not surprisingly, the first thing that popped out of my mouth: community.
I am not exaggerating when I say that some of my very best friends have come through my connection to BlogPaws, and some of the most exciting opportunities and engaging professional relationships have emerged from the organization. I’ve laughed and learned and hugged and cried and patted piles of dogs, cats, rats, a capybara, and a mini-pig.
Eight years and 10 conferences is, sadly, a lifetime for many pets, and we’ve mourned the loss of each other’s dear animals and have said goodbye to some of our friends and colleagues. We’ve celebrated pet adoptions, marriages, babies, job changes, books being published, and we’ve helped each other over life’s big and little hurdles. At last year’s conference, my dear, cherished friends and colleagues threw me the biggest baby shower I could imagine to celebrate our adoption of Violet. She spent the first year of her life cuddling the stuffed dogs and cats, wearing the adorable outfits, and enjoying the piles of books that our beautiful friends showered us with.
We get each other.
Our hearts love the same, no matter if it’s a bearded dragon, a dog, a horse, a cat, a ferret, etc. at the end of that leash.
We see each other. We see each other’s joy and we see each other’s pain.
I’m honored to be part of the BlogPaws community, and I can’t wait to see everyone and meet all the new folks next month.
If you’re on the fence, or if you haven’t been before, or if you haven’t been in years, you really do need to join us. This tenth anniversary conference is one not to miss. It’s an incredible learning opportunity for anyone online, as well as a major love fest for pets and the people who love them. Learn more and see you there!
In the meantime, if you want to dig super deep into learning how to be an authentic blogger, check out my ebook, Authentic Blogging. It contains everything you need to harness your authentic voice and grow your audience by leaps and bounds!