Getting WIRED: Keep Falling

WIRED It wasn’t any ordinary Tuesday. Word on the street scoped May 12th to be a scorcher – destined to hit ninety degrees in the afternoon sun. Fortunately I got to spend most of the day in an overly air conditioned conference space with hundreds of tech innovators, journalists, start up groupies, founders and other proud techstars. Yes, the 2015 WIRED Business Conference was all that – and way less nerdy than I expected. Tech is so chic these days, all the cool kids agree.

I was invited to attend on behalf of one of my favorite nonprofits, United Women in Business (UWIB), a start-up foundation in its own right dedicated to fostering education and community among female entrepreneurs and changemakers. The day’s content was truly diverse, covering everything from cannabis capitalism, gender diversity in tech, and street skateboarding as environmental hacking, to crowdfunded social architectural design, Instagram’s backstory, the future of finance, and how to go pro without losing your soul.

Watch/listen to the whole conference here but first, here are my top highlights:

  1. The head of engineering for Pinterest is a total #GirlBoss – Tracy Chou.
  2. DJ Patil (not a DJ name, it’s real) is the US Government’s Chief Data Scientist (we have one!), working on new ways to leverage data for improved healthcare and personalized medicine. One day we could be using bioinformatic data to create custom individualized treatments for conditions and injuries based on genetics.
  3. Mike Krieger, co-founder of Instagram, taught us that #DogMom was trending on Mother’s Day while #OnFleek is also on the rise. He’s all about the power of UGC – citing Instagram’s 300 million users each month who upload 70 million photos a day. He’s passionate about how a photo can start on Instagram and make it’s way to the cover of TIME. Krieger’s biggest hope is that the platform will create more empathy across the world and strengthen human connection, citing the #NepalPhotoProject as a prime example. What’s next? Private messaging will become easier to use, and a new feature will send notifications when your favorite accounts make updates to keep you in the loop.
  4. Did you know Anna Todd wrote One Direction fan fiction on Instagram while working at an Austin make-up counter? Her work has since developed into a NYT Bestselling novel after finalizing her writing on Wattpad, the YouTube of ebooks. She used Wattpad to crowdsource pieces of the plot and even her book’s cover art.
  5. Financial advising startup Wealthfront predicts that all of us will utilize an automated financial service within the next 5 years and cites 20-30 year olds as the most financially empowered generation.
  6. I met the VP of Product at Frankly – which offers What’s App-type tech for any kind of custom, branded app experience you can imagine! Check out what they did for Victoria’s Secret.
  7. Defy Ventures was the stand-out session with a surprise intro by legendary Seth Godin. Catherine and three EITs captivated the entire audience, likely enlisting a whole new cohort of volunteer coaches. Much deserved, MDC Partners presented Defy with their 2015 Humanitarian Award. Plus, I may or may not be in Coss Marte’s documentary (they have my release form).
  8. BIG – (super) cool architectural firm based out of Copenhagen presented on crowdsourced social design and groundbreaking projects they’re leading around the world. Have you heard of a court scraper? It’s a combo of a courtyard and skyscraper – currently underway on the Westside highwayin Manhattan behind Hell’s Kitchen. Get ready. What about building a 10 mile dryline (watch this, seriously), protective wall around downtown Manhattan to protect the city in the event of another hurricane?
  9. Brendan Kennedy of Privateer Holdings spoke to the continuously surprising nature of working in the retail cannabis industry (you can imagine). He says the end of prohibition is inevitable, and that there will be global cannabis brands within the next 5 years with federal prohibition ending in the US within the year. Keep an eye on Tilray, Marley Natural (yes, THAT Marley), and Leafly – all Privateer subsidiaries.
  10. Chad Dickerson, Etsy CEO, spoke to going pro without losing soul and how the company is approaching it’s 10th birthday fresh on the heels of its recent IPO. He plugged the benefits of being a B Corp, and how their team is SO Brooklyn that employees volunteer each week to bike-deliver the company’s compost out to a farm in Red Hook. Did you know Etsy sellers can opt into wholesale deals with Whole Foods and Nordstroms? Plus 86% of Etsy sellers are women – go girls! Think on this: if you come up with an original creative concept but use a 3D printer to create it, can your item still be considered hand-made?
  11. Pro-skater Rodney Mullen’s final words of wisdom sum up entrepreneurship best: “Most of what we do is fall – the best skaters are the best fallers” and “Whatever you do, don’t think about it too much.”

I schmoozed up a storm (without losing my voice, yay!) and plugged Praytell as much as humanly possible. All in all, the day was inspiring and knowledge-filled. It was amazing to rub elbows with the future of tech. It felt like being in the right place at the right time. After all, I was happily representing the future of PR.

WIRED

Stuntin’ is a Habit (Get like me)

Be all there

Love this song. Right now I’m taking it as a reminder to make new habits – consciously form new habits, especially the ones that feed my soul. For me, traveling is just that. Last week was my first week back a 10 day blissful adventure in Spain, which actually felt like a month away. Time slows down maybe everywhere else in the world outside of NYC.

I started by adventure in Cadiz, where time literally slowed down, spread out and morphed in ways I still have trouble understanding. The sunrise is earlier and sunset is way later than anywhere I’ve ever been (9:30-10pm in summer or maybe always) and it’s the norm to eat weekday dinner at 10pm. Siestas are brilliant although my first day walking around I didn’t quite get why there wasn’t anywhere open to eat. Siestas are such a real thing in Cadiz that the town literally shuts down for a few hours between 12 and 4pm to give people a chance to literally and figuratively chill (so hard).

Barcelona offered more of the familiar NYC city vibe with a certain SF swagger I couldn’t help but feel was familiar. I felt like I had been there before, quite possibly in a past life. Most importantly I realized the root of the restlessness I was feeling for quite awhile. After all I hadn’t taken a real unplugged vacation (for longer than a long weekend) in a couple of years!

Here’s what I’m taking back with me from my recent escapade – new habits with intentions to match:

1. Plan more weekend getaways, get out of town, get a fresh perspective. Get into gratitude for how awesome my life is in NYC. Remember 5 years ago when I dreamed of moving here and I went for it, without a job, or anything? Yeah, that happened. What a ride.

2. Treat the day like an adventure. On vacation I love waking up without too much planned and just seeing where the day takes me – spontaneity in its purest form. Instead of planning the week with back to back commitments and activities, how about going with the flow and seeing what I actually feel like doing throughout the day. Adios FOMO. 

3. Go on solo adventures walking around NYC, visiting spots I’ve never visited before. Where would I go if I was a tourist visiting NYC for the first time on my own? There are still so many places I haven’t experienced here – I’m excited to venture out into the great beyond with a renewed sense of wonder. Hiking along Appalachian Trail, The Cloisters, Brighton Beach, Hudson Valley spots, Fire Island, NJ hiking and beaches…and much more.

4. Eat amazing food, adventure to far away neighborhoods to experience famed cuisine only available in NYC. Dim Sum in Flushing, Indian in Jackson Heights, soul food in Harlem, Dominican in Washington Heights.

5. Run around with no schedule in mind and no limit on time. Stop to take pics and bask in the beauty of Prospect Park, Central Park, the city, the Brooklyn Bridge and the loop around Battery Park up the Westside Highway.

6. Write about my experiences. Remember why I moved here, what I thought would happen and what actually transpired. Tell the story of how it’s all unfolded.

So much awesome change is in the air lately – I’m excited for more of it to unfold in the coming months! But as always it all starts with today.

BK Bridge

Savvy Girls Know Their Personal Brand

UWIB BoardAt least I think I do! But there’s always room for improvement. Already lots of fun things happening on the UWIB NYC front this year, excited to be a part of such an amazing 2015 board making bold moves.

This evening’s content focuses on personal branding, finding your unique voice and navigating career challenges. We’ll welcome a presentation by personal branding expert The Lovely It Girl and then participate in small breakout sessions focused on developing your own personal brand. Come prepared to learn about the keys to living the personal and professional life you love (from the inside out!).

WHAT YOU’LL GET:

  • Actionable steps toward building your personal brand
  • Quality networking time with other UWIB NYC members and the new 2015 Board of Directors
  • Delightful snacks and drinks from our sponsors

DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 25, 2014 at 6:30 p.m

LOCATION: WeWork Charging Bull, 25 Broadway, New York, NY 10004

Expecting a wonderful crowd. Will post learnings as a follow up. #FUN

Morning Gloryville NYC 7.16.14

image_2Set your alarm for 5:30am, or 5am if you’re super committed and mean serious business. Then lay out your most colorful, preferably glitter-clad, fit that you’ll feel comfortable in while busting out your fly-est possible moves. Encourage friends to join in the cause and readily accept moral support along the way, since getting up at the crack of dawn to rave is no easy feat. Group texts are helpful for discouraging your crew from abandoning the early wake-up call ship; be sure to lure friends with outfit pics begging feedback. You’ll be too excited to sleep (ever again).

Ring goes your alarm but chances are you’ve already just woke up, ready to greet the day head on. Today is a big day, after all. Get ready to hop the bus, train, bike, run over (again, only if you mean serious business), or hire a chauffer (oh, you fancy huh). Like they say, it doesn’t matter how you get there, what matters is that you show up. Upon first arriving to your Bushwick destination, you might likely think: “Wow, this is real seedy,” or, “I am definitely lost.” But fear not, follow the looming sounds of the vibrating house beats and you too will soon be disco dancing with the best.

At a cool 6:45am-ish I wasn’t totally sure if I was still dreaming or if I had stumbled into a Burning Man pre-compression party still in full force from the night before. But my intuition knew better. I had arrived and there was no turning back. The UK’s Morning Gloryville hosted its 4th NYC event this morning from 6:30am-10:30am at the most epic acrobatic (also art gallery / music video set / massage parlor / coffee shop / smoothie bar / rooftop yoga studio / magical wonderland) center Brooklyn has ever seen. According to personal preference, each guest is greeted with a high-five or hug before getting shown the inside-scoop on the morning’s various attractions, sights, and sounds.

Don’t worry, if you get tired of dancing to ultimate house music with live drum circle
accompaniment, you can always check out the rope swing with the option-to-land-in-a-trampoline-over-a-ball-pit or climb onto a platform to switch up the scenery and dance with the mile-high club perched up above. Raves these days come with all sorts of negative connotations, which is why Morning Gloryville stands out with its substance-free fun policy completely fueled by coffee (Brooklyn Roasting Company represent), delicious smoothies and unlimited positive vibes. If you find that living the absolute embodiment of #yolo appealing, then this might be the place for you. Spice up your morning gym routine, kick your life up a notch. What are you waiting for?

Follow @GloryvilleNYC on Twitter and Facebook for more updates!

image_1

Be Good, Go Give

LES Girls ClubWhy is it cool to be a do-gooder? I’m learning more and more that I am drawn to people who do good. Not just in their charitable pursuits but in their everyday lives and businesses.

What are you doing good? What is your company doing to give back? What can you do differently each day to give something that was given to you away to help someone else? I don’t mean in the material sense. I’m talking in the wisdom sense. What’s an important lesson you’ve learned that changed you and how might you share that with someone else to help them in turn?

For me a big lesson I learned rather recently is that the desire to be seen and recognized (validated really, let’s be honest) is never going to be fulfilled by a job, a title, a relationship, friendships or what city I live in. The validation I’ve (sometimes desperately) always sought after can only come from within. This might sound obvious to some but to me it came as a groundbreaking maybe even earth shattering revelation.

I learned that I am the only thing ever in my way, the only entity preventing me from fully enjoying the present moment–which is all I ever really have anyways. I constantly try to make sense of where I am based on regrets of the past and worries of the future. But maybe I just don’t know and won’t ever know the answers I’m looking for. There is relief in accepting that truth.

Since none of that stuff really matters validation wise anyways, why not spend time with people you learn from and people who help you grow? I am drawn to givers and do gooders precisely because of their intrinsic air of growth and change. It’s impossible to hang around movers and shakers of the charitable variety without feeling inspired and pushed out of your comfort zone into evolution and through the fear that comes with treading the unknown.

They say some change is slow, which I guess gives you time to savor it. That’s what I’m working on lately anyways, I don’t want any more of my life to pass me by as I chase the future and try to mitigate the past. Everything is happening as it should and it has been long before my time. It’s my turn to sit back, relax and enjoy it as it all unfolds. Doesn’t hurt to do good and help wherever I can along the way.

Sweat For A Cause: 5/2/14

Nite Sweats

Friday, April 2, 2014  //  Doors 9:30p  //  Class 10p  //   RESERVATIONS

A 90 minute Bikram Yoga class taught with candlelight and music!!

Class is a minimum $10 donation, all proceeds benefit the Lower East Side Girls Club.

The Girls Club provides after school programming, educational and cultural activities, a mentoring program and fun trips to economically disadvantaged girls residing throughout NYC. Soon, the Girls Club center will be offering amazingly nutritious meals to support the girls’ brains and bodies at Clare’s Cafe, in remembrance and celebration of Clare Veronica Walsh.

Bikram Class 1

Bikram LES Girls Club

Getting Off The Ground

Meditation has changed my game. I’ve officially been out of my full-time job for 3 weeks and pursuing my own independent consulting business for the very first time. I am on the precipice of what feels like a major change, a change that could set in motion a huge re-routing in terms of my career and future. It feels so right True Love: Meditationin so many ways, like I am being guided along a new path that’s already been pre-determined for me.

Meditation has helped me reconnect with my inner self and strengthen the most important relationship I will quite likely ever have. I am in touch with my intuition, which is where I derive this security and sense that I am in fact moving in the right direction. This foundation helps prevent me from filling up with fear while at the same time helps propel me forward towards realizing my dreams. Suddenly the things I was once most afraid to take on I’m pursuing full steam ahead with the faith that I’m where I’m supposed to be.

I used to feel like these types of talks, words and terms were off-limits for someone like me: an intellectual, a cool kid, a hip hop aficionado, a city kid hopping around from shows to parties to late night escapades, someone “too smart” to believe in the spirituality thing. I’ve since learned that I was operating under a lot of preconceived notions and assumptions about which I actually knew very little. That and I practically had no experience even giving it a try. I meditated in yoga classes before and always found it easy to do after an intense work out, but never in my spare time when I could instead be active, indulge or do anything else but sit still with myself and my thoughts.

I find guided meditations really helpful, as well as group meditations hosted by NYC entities like Dharma Punx and Center of the Cyclone. There is something about the shared energy in a room full of people all committing to the same purpose that I can feed off of, that makes me feel safe to fully focus. Right now I am trying my best to follow the free 21 Day Meditation Challenge hosted by Oprah (my girl!) and Deepak Chopra.

Spirituality is all your own, and there’s no right or wrong way to do it. The thing is, you’ll never know if you’re missing out on something that might really change your life for the better–unless you give it a try. Taking the plunge and trying it, despite how goofy it might feel at first, is the hardest part. I just know that I wouldn’t feel as confident and optimistic about my newfound plunge into dream-chasing if I didn’t have this foundation. I can tune back into it anytime, anywhere for energy and reassurance and it keeps growing so long as I keep practicing. I don’t know how else to describe it but pure magic–magic that tunes me into the universe so I can be present for everyday miracles.