This year, I had the pleasure of attending two amazing conferences: the Baw$se Conference by Courtney Adeleye and the Coterie Retreat by Munaluchi Bride. Both of these conferences inspired me, educated me, empowered me and provided an amazing community for creativity to thrive. I came home from each experience energized, refreshed and ready to bring my ideas to life.

Photos from the 2019 Baw$e Conference in Miami, Florida

After posting of my experiences on social media, I received several questions about how I choose which conferences to attend and what’s on my agenda for 2020. This blog will seek to answer both of these questions and hopefully snag me a roommate for some bomb experiences next year!

How To Choose Which Conference To Attend

There are several things I consider when choosing a conference:

What do I wish to learn?
This year it was important that I learn more about the entrepreneurial space as I recently launched a business (check it out here) and wanted to learn key tricks of the trade regarding social media management, marketing, sales, client on boarding, etc. It was important that I chose conferences and events that aligned with the skill set and knowledge set that I wanted to learn.

Are the speakers credible?
Always review the topic line-up and, if available, the speaker line-up. You want to be sure that subject matter interests you and that the speakers are subject matter experts and/or are successful in their fields.

What type of environment am I interested in?
I love to be around creatives and am highly partial to experiences involving black women. I also gravitate to events that are well-executed, detailed-oriented and appear to be executed with excellence. Normally, you can gauge this from the social media account, pricing details and by searching the hashtag for photos of the event in years past.

In the case of the Baw$e Conference, I had been eyeing it since 2018 and saw that it was executed to a high standard. For the Coterie Retreat, the Munaluchi brand is quite reputable and I gravitated to the idea of an event catered to black men and women in the wedding industry…plussss this year’s retreat was hosted in Nassau, Bahamas. How could I miss something so epic being held in my very own back yard?!

Does the event and/or the organizers have a strong social media presence?
I touched on this above, but I have actually decided against attending a conference because the social media was lacking. The website seemed old and outdated and the posts were infrequent. I want to be wowed by the conference experience end-to-end because one of my goals is to replicate the execution at home for my own events (e.g. for my women’s organization, Wife HER!).

I admit, this is somewhat of a shallow consideration, but if I am going to drop coin on an event, it needs to WOW me in every way.

What is the size of the event? How many attendees are expected?
It is easy to get lost at a conference. I prefer intimate conferences or conferences that allow for periods of intimacy (e.g. small workshops). I don’t want to feel like just another number in a sea of people or be unable to ask a burning question because the volume of questions and opinions is just so great.

Where will the event be held? How far do I have to travel?
It is incredibly easy to attend local events, such as this year’s Coterie Retreat and events in direct-flight cities such as Miami (where the Baw$e Conference was held) and Atlanta (where the Pinky Promise Conference is typically held). Since more than likely you will have to travel for the conferences on this list, location matters. It would be easier for me to attend an event in a US city for example, than to attend a conference in Singapore. But, Singapore may be on your bucket list so you may prioritize that event higher than others.

How much are the tickets?
Price is a key factor in which conference I attend. You have to weigh the benefits against the cost: What will I learn? How many workshop/conference hours are provided? Who will I network with? How can this benefit my business, career, person or relationship?

$1,000 may not seem too expensive if, as a result of attending, you can increase your sales ten fold. I also seek out payment plans. Breaking a payment down into small, monthly payments makes attending an event more acheivable.

When is it being held? Do I have other plans during that period?
Date is a huge consideration because you may have other things going on. For example, during my anniversary week, I’m not going to a conference of any kind unless it’s a marriage conference! Your girl wants to be boo’d up with bae every single April 28th that the good Lord grants us.

Who is speaking at the event? Do I really want to meet someone, purchase their book or have them sign a book I already own?
Being an island girl, there are many women I admire from afar and would love to meet. If these women are speaking at a particular conference or event, I am more inclined to invest in the opportunity. This is a Ruth mindset where you just want to be able to glean from women (and men!) who are thriving in their fields and who know their stuff.

Can I afford to go? How many conferences can I fit within my budget?
Realistically, you nor I can attend all of these events. Set your education/empowerment budget for the year and see how many events you can work within that budget taking into consideration costs like the ticket price, accommodations, outfits, travel, hair and make-up, etc. (as applicable).

Other considerations:

  • Will hotel be included or are accommodations discounted?
  • Is food included in the price?
  • Can I easily find a roommate if necessary?
  • Is the area safe?
  • Is the venue relatively easy to get to?
  • Does the event align with my beliefs?

Now that we’ve addressed the how to choose, let’s take a look at the conferences and events I’m eyeing for 2020. Of course I won’t attend all of these, but this list will serve as a starting point which I will reduce given the above considerations. It primarily boils down to cost-benefit analysis and return on investment (ROI).

Remember, many of these conferences are annual so if you miss it in 2020, you can plan for 2021.

International Conferences in my 2020 Lineup

Create & Cultivate
Date: February 22, 2020
Venue: Rolling Greens, Los Angeles, California

A one-day conference filled with panels, pop ups, mic drop moments, mentor power hours, delicious food, cocktails and all the things you have come to know and love from C&C. The core focus of Create + Cultivate conferences is to help take your career to the next level – to entertain, enlighten and inform women around key topics surrounding #sidehustle life, the ever changing digital landscape, entrepreneurship, and the real talk that comes with being a modern working woman.

Summit 21 2020
Date: June 5-6, 2020
Venue: AmericasMart Atlanta Building 2, Atlanta, Georgia

Summit 21 is a 1-day Influencers + Creators conference for women of color. Attendees can look forward to workshops and conversations with industry leaders on how to grow partnerships to secure that bag!

Pinky Promise Conference
Date: July 30-August 2, 2020
Venue: Atlanta Marriott, Atlanta, Georgia

The Pinky Promise Conference, hosted by Heather Lindsey, is a power-packed weekend filled with worship, great speakers, sessions, and an opportunity to fellowship with your sisters in Christ!

The Baw$e Conference
Date: August 21-24, 2020
Venue: Hyatt Regency Orlando, Orlando Florida

The BAW$E Conference is the premier business conference for entrepreneurs, change-makers, go-getters, creatives, industry leaders, dreamers, and any woman who has a dream and a mission to turn her ideas into reality. This conference equips women with the knowledge, tools and connections to take their business and life to the next level.

Woman Thou Art Loosed
Date: September 10-12, 2020
Venue: Atlanta, Georgia

This is the FINAL Woman Thou Art Loosed conference, ever!

Since 1996, Woman Thou Art Loosed has been at the epicenter of women’s empowerment. This event, the brainchild of Bishop T.D. Jakes, was created to speak to every woman in the room, to elevate your influence in spheres that were once seemingly unattainable.

Business Boutique Conference
Date: October 22 – 24, 2020
Venue: Madison, Nashville, Tennessee

The Business Boutique Conference is a 3-day event in Nashville, TN where thousands of women gather to learn how to launch and grow their own business. You’ll learn from the best in the business on topics like marketing, sales, social media, pricing, budgeting and more!

If you’ve ever dreamed about working from home, earning an extra income for your family or starting a business to make a difference, this conference is for you. N

We Rise Experience Toronto
Date: October 25, 2020
Venue: Toronto, Canada

This private, emerging community event is for ambitious women who are looking for networking and mentorship opportunities personally, professionally and beyond. This event, specially curated by a luxury event planner, is designed for women who believe that true success can never happen in isolation, but rather, when we all rise.

* We Rise is also planning a Miami retreat in July.

AfroTech Conference
Date: November 12 – 15, 2020
Venue: Oakland, California

What is AfroTech Conference? 10,000 Black Techies in Oakland. This is a groundbreaking, revolutionary experience for Black techies, startups and entrepreneurs returns! 10,000+ of founders, entrepreneurs and engineers gather together to scale their collective power in culture, innovation and tech.

Photos from the 2019 Coterie Retreat in Nassau, Bahamas

The Coterie Retreat
Date: Unannounced, typically early December
Venue: Unannounced

Launched in 2014 by the founders of Munaluchi Bride Magazine, the Coterie Retreat is an annual 3 day conference for wedding and event professionals that service the multicultural market and are looking to fine-tune their businesses, master best practices and enjoy some down time connecting with the best of the event and wedding industries.

Engage!20 @ The Breakers
Date: December 13-16, 2020
Venue: The Breakers Palm Beach, Palm Beach, Florida

Engage! Summits are designed for committed wedding industry professionals who are looking for innovative ideas and practical solutions for strategic growth. Engage! is dedicated to gathering the best of the best, and is limited to 350 speakers and attendees. Careful attention is paid to creating an intimate atmosphere that blends structure and down time, allowing for candid networking in a non-client, non-competitive environment. The open exchange of ideas, information and strategies for facing the challenges of the luxury wedding industry are a hallmark of the event.

Honorable Mention

These events are great to consider if you happen to be in the host city. I am keeping my eyes on them for future years, but don’t plan to attend in 2020 (excluding Soul Circles which I would attend in a heartbeat if an event was in The Bahamas this year).

The Momference 2020
Date: May 16, 2020
Venue: TBA

The Momference™ is the premiere, one-day conference for motivated, magical moms of color boasting regionally and nationally acclaimed mom influencers, panels, celebrity keynote, workshops, vendors and top-tier, multi-cultural focused products.

The 2020 Great Girlfriends Conference
Date: June 12-14, 2020
Venue: New York, New York

The Great Girlfriends Conference is dedicated to igniting great girlfriends, putting their ideas into motion and moving the needle to get the results they desire out of life. At the conference, great girlfriends gather for workshops, panels, connect groups, dance breaks, light bites and more while getting tips and resources to fulfill their passion in their careers, businesses, relationships, and more.

Women Evolve 2020
Date: July 10-11, 2020
Venue: Denver, Colorado

Woman Evolve 2020, hosted by Sarah Jakes Roberts, desires to create an environment that is a safe space where God connections and sisterhood are created and will flourish.

Soul Circles
Date: Various Dates
Venue: Various Locations

Soul Circles, led by Jennifer Lucy Tyler, are meetups over coffee, or food where women come together to learn, discuss and apply basic Bible Study principles. It’s also a time to connect, grow and flourish with other women who are just as passionate about Bible study as you are!

Black Girl Magic Tour by Boss Women Media
Date: Various Dates
Locations: Various Locations (e.g. Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, New York)

The core focus of Black Girl Magic events is to connect, engage and inform women around key topics surrounding entrepreneurship, side hustling, tools and resources you need as a modern working woman.

Stay tuned for Part II and III of this blog where I highlight local events and marriage conferences I am eyeing for 2020!

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