Thursday, September 30, 2010

Type A Mom Conference

I just returned from the incredible Type A Mom conference in Asheville, NC.  Those of you who know me IRL (in real life) you can stop your laughing now.  The irony is that I am nowhere close to being a type A mom.  Fortunately there was a great mix of women of all different parenting and blogging styles, there were even some brave dads.  There are so many things to say about the conference but I want to devote my first to one of my favorite subjects, community.

Kelby Carr is the founder of the Type A Mom conference and she "gets" community in a way that so many others don't.  It's easy to say that you want everyone to be comfortable, it's quite another to actually make that happen.  In the weeks leading up to the conference, Kelby had time for everyone.  She replied and retweeted on twitter and did what she could to ease everyone's anxiety.  When the inevitable discussions about what to wear happened, Kelby didn't just say "It's comfortable" she said "Wear what you're comfortable in."  There's a big difference.  Some of us are most comfortable in jeans and flip flops  ( I did bring my fancy sparkly flips) but others are most comfortable in dresses, or khakis, or leggings.  I'm guessing that her philosophy worked because I barely remember what people were wearing, but I do remember their faces and their stories! 


You see, community is about how we interact with each other.  Kelby set the tone by communicating openly with everyone.  At every conference you see little groups of people talking and laughing, heading off to wherever (dinner, parties, etc.) but at Type A it was different.  The groups were not closed off.  Everyone was encouraged to pull up a chair or join in for dinner.  Introductions were made and insightful questions were asked.  The hotel had groupings of couches and chairs outside of the main meeting rooms.  These couches were actually comfortable and filled for the entire conference.  There was no rhyme or reason to the groups that formed in those seats.  It was whoever needed to recharge their computer or check their email or just get off their feet for a second.  Great conversations happened around those couches and they were completely organic.  They came about because people were willing to engage with each other. 


There is more to say about the conference, but I was so grateful for the community I had to write this first.  What's the lesson I learned?  Be open.  Be the one who takes a chance and walks up to a group.  Be the one who tweets out about dinner plans.  Be the one who always invites in.  Be the one who welcomes.  If you do these things you will find your community. 

7 comments:

Megan said...

Great reflections!

It's hard to walk into a "group" .... but I have to remind myself that often I am the obstacle {not the group itself!}.

Have a great day! The rain as finally stopped here .... boy have we gotten rain! :)

scargosun said...

Sounds wonderful! I remember people talking about it during BBC. Maybe I can rent kids so I can go to Mom conference.

Deb said...

So true - and thank you for letting me join your wonderful group for Sushi, I had such a good time getting to know everyone! Type A is one conference I'm going to again.

Next, we have to get you to BlogWorld!

robin said...

Be open. It's simple but powerful. You never know what you will learn. Love this. Thanks for sharing! Wish we had gotten more time to hang out!

Marty, a.k.a. canape said...

I met a bunch of awesome women on those couches!

Great post. I think you are spot on why I love Type A Mom so much.

Robin ~ PENSIEVE said...

Amy,

It was GREAT meeting you and I love your imperatives in the last paragraph--all the "Be the one" suggestions...because it's SO NICE and appreciated when someone else initiates and invites!

Your smile the whole time seemed to come from the inside out :). Which makes me smile just remembering!

Mary said...

Such great advice. It does pay off to be the one to be inviting. I wish I had been able to connect with everyone at Type-A.