#WeRise 2017

I opened the doors to the Loudermilk Center and expected to walk into a huge uninviting room with cold marble floors. Thank goodness it wasn’t so. For one, it was carpeted…medium sized and brightly lit. Toward my right was the registration desk with a handful of smiling volunteers in light blue t-shirts. Yes, I’d made it, I thought.

The conference was a huge success. #WeRise 2017 was empowering and filled with inspiring people. The fact that there were mostly women was a huge plus. Both days were jam-packed with networking opportunities, break-out sessions, work-shops, great food and recruitment to boot!

Honorable Mentions

  • Panel & Keynotes – Each keynote had a different message, with a good mix of humor and seriousness. The panel was great and came at the end of our lunch meal, featuring a couple of names I didn’t know, but am glad to have come across for the first time. I especially enjoyed the time to network and the friendly faces I got to know around the tables I sat at.
  • Sessions I loved the session on Debugging by Kylie Stradley and the session on Gender Bias by Rie Irish. See my tweets down below (click on them to expand)!
  • Volunteers – The stars of the show! They were plentiful and all working very hard! Had I not already paid for my conference ticket, I would have been right there with you all. Kudos to you and thank you!
  • Conference T-Shirt Design – Fantastic. Loved it. Instantly I knew what I was going to wear on Day 2. 🙂
  • The “MC” – I’d never seen or met Stefanie Jewett before but her smile was absolutely contagious. She reminds me of Gwen Stefani, Lady Gaga & Nelly Furtado in one.
  • Lunch Buffet – The salads / salad dressing – good enough to mention! Deli subs were great and the vegetarian wraps looked delish!

Suggestions for Next Year

  • Breakfast – It would have been nice to enjoy a larger buffet breakfast with eggs, meat, etc. rather than a continental breakfast. After a long drive & car-trouble delay on the morning of Day 1, I arrived just in time to grab a coffee and the last two slices of pineapple from nearly-empty fruit trays. There were no pastries left and my eyes were searching around the crowd to see if I had missed anything. Look up h’angry — yup, that was me. My luck that day.
  • Map & Schedule – I grabbed one of the last maps on Day 1 and didn’t see any on Day 2. There were no pre-printed maps of rooms/locations. There was a little mix-up in the schedule on the website too, so it was a little confusing getting where you needed to go. I had at least seven people stop and ask me for help even though I wasn’t one of the volunteers. There’s just something about me that says, “I work here,” I think.
  • Parking – I’d pay an extra $7 next year per conference ticket just to not have to mess with paying for parking again. On Day 1 I had car trouble and rode transit — was late to breakfast but didn’t have to hassle with Parking. On Day 2, I didn’t bring my wallet with me inside so I didn’t have the means to prepay. Then, I didn’t see the ‘debit/credit card only’ sign at exit and embarrassingly enough, had to back out of the exit to go and pay cash at the pay machine. All in all, it was stressful — but that was just my experience.
  • Pick Me as a Speaker for Next Year – Yep, I’ve been putting something new together for quite some time now and hope to submit for the 2018 #WeRise CFP. Wish me luck!

Regrets – I missed a session by Marilyn Cole and a session and keynote by Wendy Wise that I would’ve liked to have seen. These were due to scheduling conflicts and having to leave early on Day 1.

2018 ?? – Yep, I’m going. YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS IT — So, I’ll see ya there!?



The enchanting music of sign language

The “The enchanting music of sign language,” speech by Christine Sun Kim, in TED Talks, is one of the most inspirational I have ever seen (and heard translated). Sound artist and composer, the cute and spunky Christine, explores sound and silence despite being born deaf. There is no music to accompany her speech, and yet with every movement of her arms, my eyes and ears are in-tune and intertwined with her ‘words.’ It is hard to tear your eyes away from Christine Sun Kim’s performance.

What I really find inspirational about Christine, is her ability to rise above and beyond the limitations set forth by her being deaf, and her choice instead to become a public speaker to influence and inspire thousands of other people. Christine explores similarities between American Sign language (ASL) and music, explaining that sound does not need to be solely experienced through the ears, but could be felt, seen and experienced in other ways.

Some of Nancy Duarte’s techniques used by Christine, are to create meaningful content that is “more than just facts,” and to deliver something the audience will always remember. According to Duarte (2013), “Small dramatizations convey insights. They can be … like a reenactment or skit.” (p.175). Throughout her presentation, Christine prompts the audience to copy her hand/arm movements, ultimately teaching them endearing phrases in ASL and surprising the audience with its own ability to learn.

Work Cited:

Christine Sun Kim. The enchanting music of sign language [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/christine_sun_kim_the_enchanting_music_of_sign_language#t-747699

Duarte, N. (2013). Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences. Sunnyvale, CA: John Wiley & Sons.