Sunday, July 06, 2014

5 Things I Learned at Alt Summit

Things in my life have settled a bit since I came home from the whirlwind of Alt Summit and the whole moving across the country thing. Yes, my whole world is still in boxes and in storage, but at least it is sunny and I get to hangout with my cool family in Arizona... in person none-the-less!

I had plans of doing a recap of my favorite business cards from Alt with links to all of the incredible women who I met while exchanging them... but they are also in a box. In storage. However, I've had plenty of time and 2,700 miles to think about all I learned at Alt. I can sum it up in 5 key points.

1. Be your best self.

Don't try to be a fake overdressed version of yourself. You will feel more confident if you are happy to be here, mingling with other creative women and a few fellas. There was lots of concerns about the fashion at Alt and what to pack. I wore clothes that made me feel confident, fit well (some I had made or altered), were dressier than my average jeans and t-shirt wardrobe and I fit right in.

It's not just what you wear, but also the attitude you pack with it. I discovered that while everyone else was doing the same, being their best self, it was an incredible positive, helpful, creative bath of loveliness that I wanted to soak up every minute.

At the Melting Pot sponsored by Silhouette America all flamingo and pink and really pretty.
2. Take the Lead By not waiting for others to introduce themselves I did myself a big favor! No one likes to walk into a room full of strangers. What I discovered though was when I took the lead to introduce myself "Hi, I'm Shannon. I don't believe we've met yet..." I was connected with all these people who really were friends I hadn't met yet. Like Gilit for example who runs The Bannerie. This gal is terrific and as soon as we swapped cards it was hilarious. "Oh, you are Eva Blake's Makery! I'm The Bannerie!!" This scenario happened again and again. I honestly thought no one would have a clue who I was, and some didn't, but the few who connected my face and name and company together it was magic.  
3. You Got This

We all struggle with self doubt, right? I know for sure I do. I often ask myself if I have any idea what I'm doing. I've worked hard, done a lot of homework, but I'm still sorting out the details of where and how I will go next every day. What I learned while at Alt, from the panels and speakers is that I do know what I'm doing, I just need to keep doing it and proving that I can do it! 

All of the classes I attended where incredibly helpful. Ideas and social media tips I hadn't considered are eventually going to make it into my blog future, but after looking over my notes, most of them weren't brand new thoughts. There is something fantastic about hearing those thoughts come from someone else that just confirms it and gives you the "yes" you've been looking for. 

Martha Stewart at Alt Summit Summer on Friday interviewed by Design Mom's Gabrielle Blair

 4. Share Your Story

Not just during the interview with Martha Stewart, and Joy Cho's keynote address but all through out the conference this running theme kept cropping up for me. Share your story. Sometime's we don't think our story is special, because...well... it's ours. You live it everyday, over and over. It doesn't feel special.

Then you share it.

In a very impromptu moment on the street outside the Grand America after walking back from a chilly picnic in the park I handed my card to a group of women. Mastering the Art of Being Me on top and Eva Blake's Makery on the bottom.

No big deal. I'd been doing that all week.

Then a women with tears in her eyes said, "That is so perfect. 'Mastering the Art of Being Me" that is so great." With total sincerity she hugged me. This was a life confirming moment for me. My inner and outer struggle with myself was perfect and great. "Yes it is", I thought. Yes it is.

I then told this little huddle of women what Mastering the Art of Being Me means to me and how I cam to embrace this with full purpose of heart. It was unbelievable to me to see all of them looking at me, nodding, and understanding that as creatives this is what we are all trying to achieve.


5. Have Fun

It is remarkable to me how easily I found my business self and my authentic self meld together at Alt. The last night was a stunning outdoor garden party. I was sad to see it all coming to an end. I found myself with beautiful supportive friends. It was tempting to want to live there, in the garden of a gorgeous hotel, lovely people dressed in florals and pastels talking about what they love.

I laughed and smiled until I felt like all those sweet smile lines on my face would be permanent.

All photos courtesy of Justin Hackworth and Brooke Dennis


  1. You're wonderful and fantastic and YOU. I loved meeting you. Absolutely loved.


Little notes and thoughtful thoughts are always welcome.