Back in 2013, I attended the first ever Bullish Conference in Miami, Florida. The website described the weekend as “a powerful summit for aspiring entrepreneurs, experts, and gentlewomen.” This conference was founded by Jennifer Dziura, the creator of Get Bullish. I found Jen’s articles at a time when I was torn between looking for a full time job in a field that I could care less about and committing to my career as a freelance teaching artist and performer.
I went to Miami, with the hope of committing to storytelling not only as my art but as my business. My biggest take away from the conference: seek out my own opportunities and don’t be afraid to pitch myself and my business as much as possible. In the two years since the first BullCon, I expanded Tell Me A Story from a bi-monthly storytelling event into workshops. I wrote a business plan and linked up with two MBA students from Wharton who served as my consultants. I began my collaboration with non-profit organizations and start-ups in Philly to help others tell their stories with impact.
When news of the 3rd Annual Bullish Conference broke, I sought out my own opportunity, without fear, and emailed Jen directly. I pitched a workshop for the conference that redefined the elevator pitch by turning it into an authentic, powerful, personal story. It is essential to be yourself (and proud of yourself) when meeting someone for the first time in a pitch-possible scenario. There is no reason to rattle off the parts of your career history or the life choices that make you feel less than. I think that the pressure and time constraint of an elevator pitch can often fill you with dread and lead to word vomit that ultimately doesn’t represent the best possible version of you.
Jump to October 10th in New York City. The 3rd Annual conference took place at the colorful event space, Meet on Chrystie. Approximately 50 women gathered together for a 12 hour day. I was the first to present and put all of the attendees to work right away. Through group exercises and some independent brainstorming, everyone left the workshop with a draft of their story pitch ready to go. There was only time for two volunteers to give their story pitch to the whole group. And, after hearing just two, I wanted to freeze time and listen to every single attendee give theirs. Their confidence in delivery was infectious.
Since I presented first, I had the pleasure of being a conference participant for the remainder of the day. On breaks I would chat with other “Bullicorns” while waiting in line for the bathroom. Because our time in line was limited, everyone immediately went to their story pitch as the conversation starter. It was thrilling to see these pitches put into practice. They really do work.
It warmed my storytelling nerd heart to hear personal anecdotes woven into the presentations of most of the conference speakers. Tonya Rapley, founder of My Fab Finance shared her personal finance and career experience with the group and included childhood photos in her Power Point. I still have “3rd Grade Tonya’s” hair and outfit imprinted into my memory. Tiffany Pham, Jasmine Smith, Carrie Goldberg, and Jen Dziura, all included personal anecdotes into their presentations. Jen met her former Gloss editor at a networking event because she was wearing Cuban stockings. Carrie went to law school in the evenings to take her mind off of her work with Holocaust survivors. Jasmine Smith’s teenage son told her at breakfast one morning to pop her collar and quit her job that day. Mogul founder, and Forbes 30 Under 30, Tiffany Pham listened to Dale Carnegie tapes to learn English.
These are all relatable take-aways that evoke empathy. In remembering the details, I shared a laugh with everyone else in the room and instantly wanted to know more about every woman who shared their story with their expertise.
Check out the wonderful photos (below) from #BullCon15 taken by Bhavya Reddy. It’s worth browsing the entire Flickr album.
For those in the Philadelphia area, I am offering my Story Pitch Workshop on Monday, November 16th at CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia. You can learn more about the workshop and register for it here.
If you are interested in bringing this workshop to your company or conference, please email us for more information.