It’s really hard, if not impossible, to do a recap of a social media conference without feeling that you were unfair to someone by omission. But then, when attending a social media conference, I always leave with the feeling that I didn’t talk to enough people, and mostly that I didn’t converse with them thoroughly. In this post, as with juggling motherhood and work, I will try to find a balance, although it will certainly not be an all-inclusive recap. I wish!
So, here I go…LATISM12 (Latinos in Social Media 2012) was held in Houston, Texas, between Oct 25 and 27. How is this conference different from other social media events? For one, it’s Latino! This means that a lot of the bonding and networking took place after hours. At the end of a long day interacting with great colleagues, someone was always ready to pull the Latino guilt trip trick on you (I’m as much to blame for it as anybody else) and plead you to come and join them for a cervecita… Trying to beg off, saying that I really could not see them through my already dry contact lenses or that my feet hurt or that I had lost my voice just did not work! But of course then I would get my second wind…
My side of the LATISM12 story—and I’m sticking to it no matter what—is that I laughed, cried, spoke, listened, networked, made friends, strengthened relationships, danced, ate, and lost my voice, but not my energy. As so many other mamis attending the conference I felt guilty that I wasn’t spending the weekend with my kids, but grateful that I was engaging with the wonderful online Latino community.
I think I speak for most in attendance when I say that the conference was a community-building success. Perhaps the best way to illustrate it is to give you some sound bites, or in this case, word bites of the experience:
I spoke at the panel, “The Evolution of Education” (#Latismedu on Twitter to follow the conversation), along with Mariela Dabbah of Latinos in College, José Castro of Innova College and Jason Resendez, of LULAC. I felt I could not compete with their knowledge of statistics and educational methods, so my presentation was based on my Open Letter to the Class of 2025, today’s kindergartners. The session ended with the four panelists, myself included, agreeing to join forces via our online outlets in order to provide our readers with more resources on education.
Read Related: LATISM and the Latina Mom Behind the Movement
One of the most inspiring keynote presentations was that of the Adelante Movement with Nely Galán and Sandra Cisneros (#Adelantepower to follow the conversation on Twitter). I felt fortunate to be able to attend the empowering session, which brought most of us to tears during one of the group exercises.
Here are some of the messages that stuck with me and that still resonate in my mind (not verbatim quotes):
Don’t buy expensive shoes, save your money to pursue your dream. —Nely Galán
Support other Latinas, do business with them, help them out. You don’t have to like them. Just support them, because it’s the only way we can move forward as a community. —Nely Galán
I wish I had been a Latina chingona when I was younger. We all need to figure out how to become Latinas chingonas. —Sandra Cisneros
Don’t give away your time to those who don’t deserve it. Your time is precious. Use it wisely. —Sandra Cisneros.
If you publish careless writing, you are telling the world you are a bad writer. Honor every word you publish, to which your name is attached. —Sandra Cisneros.
The closing exercise involved holding the hands of someone in the room and looking into their eyes for what seemed forever, and really see them for who they are. Ten seconds into the exercise, I was crying…I felt a stronger connection with every person I held hands with. After that I vowed to look people straight in the eye while networking and not over their shoulder to see who else I wanted to connect with before our exchange was over.
RAMON WOW KEYNOTE
The keynote with Ramón de León (#RamonWOW to follow the conversation on Twitter) really did WOW us. I first wondered what a man who markets several Domino’s Pizza franchises could tell us about social media and self-improvement. Well, turns out that…a lot. As he spoke, I realized I had much in common with him. I never listened to those who told me, all along my career, to work only enough and never more than I am paid for. I do quite the opposite. I can’t help myself nor do I want to rein in my passion and energy. And guess what, maybe some clients, bosses or colleague won´t appreciate it, but eventually someone like-minded does… When that happens, the synergy is amazing and the possibilities, endless.
I don’t have a 9-5 corporate mindset and neither does Ramón de León. And that’s why he´s a keynote speaker who is being flown around the world to explain to people how exactly he wows his clients. And that’s also why after I walked out of his speech I felt even more committed to my goal of empowering women through my position at Mamiverse.
Before his keynote presentation De León tweeted: “If my Keynote at #Latism12 does not bring a tear to your eye…I failed to INSPIRE you #RamonWOW.” I wondered how exactly he would do that. Well, he called his mother to thank her for taking her with him door to door as a kid, when she was a single mom selling Avon. As she established relationships with the ladies who answered the doorbell, she taught him how that was better than just dropping the catalog in the mailbox. His closing message: Thank everyone who has helped you along the way to success. That made me think back to my own struggles and challenges and of everyone who has helped me follow my dreams.
Some of his best lines:
- Success only hits moving targets.
- You have to be ready. You never know when things can happen.
- Don’t be boring as a person or as a business.
LATISM TEAM & AWARDS
Then there was the core LATISM team, all volunteers, from Elianne Ramos, Ana Roca Castro, Ernesto Sosa, Juan Alanis, to so many others with whom I had enriching conversations, brainstorming sessions, fun dances, and always a plain old good time. Ana Roca was funnier than the comedian hired for the LATISM Awards Gala! They should have her do the stand-up instead!
Congratulations to all who won an award, including several of our Mamiverse contributors, such as Eliana Tardío, Monique Frausto and Mónica Olivera.
So much came of LATISM12 that I can’t wait for LATISM13, which will take place in NYC next October! See you there! In the meantime, let’s continue to join in the #LATISM conversation on Twitter!