Last week I had the opportunity to attend the famous Create & Cultivate San Francisco conference. As many of you know, this conference is known for gathering influencers, creatives, event planners, and all kinds of career-driven women. A full day to listen to keynotes, chat with mentors that the conference pairs you with, and check out brands blazing their way in todays market. Basically – its a day filled with fun, learning, and networking. If you’re anything like me, and you attend a C&C conference, you’ll feel like a kid on Christmas or like you’re on vacation in a new amazing place, there is just SO much to see and learn.
The Schedule + Layout
So the schedule is a bit insane. The conference is 12.5 hours long with an hour lunch, and most of the “best” speakers go towards the end (probably to keep you there for that long.) In San Francisco’s case, Kourtney Kardashian was the last speaker of the night. Needless to say, I did not make it that long! Six hours was plenty for me, (and exhausting!) The day is mixed up into keynote speakers, podcast recordings with influencers, q + a’s with leading women in the influencer space, entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, and authors. You’re also given mentor groups depending on which “track” you pick — i.e. you’re interests, in our case, it was either a track focused more on corporate growth, and the other creative/influencer driven. You’re able to attend sessions as you wish, and in between or during, check out the countless business and beauty booths for samples, photoshoots, cocktails, or hair/makeup tutorials. I personally thought the speakers were a great mix of women building empires in San Francisco and a few from out of state/city. Some highlights were Lauryn Evarts, author of The Skinny Confidential, Bianca Gates, founder of Birdies, Nicole Lapin, author, and Pauline Lhote, Chandon Head Wine Maker.
I thought the conference was so fun, again, I almost felt like a kid in a candy shop, so much to see and do! I didn’t necessarily learn anything, but was certainly inspired, and was able to jot down a few personal and business inspirations that came to me as I listened and learned from the speakers. I loved how interactive the booths were, and how incredible the samples and offerings were at the conference. The space was also perfect with both indoor and outdoor sessions, which is almost unheard of at usual stuffy conferences.
Since I was already fairly knowledgable of most of the speakers stories, it almost felt repetitive and similar to what its like listening to a podcast. I wish that each q + a and keynote had more of a focus besides general “business” advice you can find almost anywhere these days. It was also really long to have back-to-back listening sessions with little focus. In general, the whole event was just. too. long. 12.5 hours should have been split into two days! There is no way attendees focus was top notch after hour six! Lastly — the food and VIP. The food left a lot to be desired and the VIP tent was basically just a few extra spots to grab a seat or drink, as bars were open everywhere else to the general public, nothing was very special in comparison to the cheaper, general admission tickets.
I do want to mention that the conference was paid for by my company as a knowledge stipend we receive. I most certainly gained inspiration and event ideas from the conference, but had I paid my own $ for VIP tickets, I would have been a bit disappointed. Although it was a fantastic Saturday spent with girlfriends learning and socializing, I felt like I’ve “been there, done that” and wouldn’t attend another C&C conference. I do want to point out the founder Jaclyn Johnson book, Work Party, and the queen herself. What an inspiring empire she has built from the ground up in just four short years — I am positive she will keep growing and perfecting these inspirational conferences for incredible, driven women.