The 2013 CWIMA National Conference is now underway with a new home back at the national headquarters in Dallas. This seems to be a good move for the organization since registration has doubled over last year’s conference.
I arrive on Wednesday evening with a West Monroe friend, Sherry Peveto who quickly jumped in with both feet by volunteering to stuff goodie bags as I set up my booth for Christian Movie Connect and Premier1 Studios. Since I spent all my time planning for my social media workshop, I really didn’t put much thought into the booth, but it turned out pretty nice anyway.
The event did not officially start until 7 p.m. so after the 3 p.m. registration, the ladies were on their own for dinner or shopping, etc. Considering that our hotel is right next to the Galleria, which provided lots of option. I was joined by Rosie Koebele and Carol Doyel for dinner at the Grande Lux Café. Carol will be my co-presenter tomorrow but this was our first time to meet. What a cute and fun lady. We had a royal stuffing, dessert and all.
I sort of regretted I had such a hearty dinner because we were greeted with more food temptations at the Opening Night Connection and Reception! I must say this hotel has wonderful chocolate chip cookies! We started with a social time in small groups sharing our most adventurous moments. What fun stories we heard. These professional women have quite a spirit of adventure!
Our entertainment for the evening was Florence LaRue, who was an original member of the 5th Dimension. Wow, what a beautiful, dynamic lady. I think she’s been drinking from the fountain of youth because she looks fabulous!
The keynote speaker was one of my favorites, Sheila Walsh. Many know her from Women of Faith, a singer, speaker and former host of the 700 Club. One of her best qualities is her ability to be totally open and transparent. She shared her struggle with depression and how God brought her through as she encouraged women to be authentic and not be afraid to share what God has done in their lives. Sheila is always such an inspiration.
After the event, the ladies took their time leaving, making good use of the networking time and hanging out in the hospitality lounge with more…yes, FOOD! I passed on the food and made a quick trip to Walmart. On the way, I met someone new and totally hilarious, author, editor and speaker, Raschelle Laudenslager. She told us some of the craziest stories of stuff she’s done, like picking up the intercom phone in Walmart and announcing over that she was a customer needing assistance in Housewares! She said it was amazing how quick a response she got! She also told about running into the Today Show’s Matt Lauer and deciding to greet him with “Matt! Well, fancy meeting you here!” She never let on that they weren’t pals from the past and he never let on that he didn’t know her. What a character!
Tomorrow in the morning session, Ruth Graham will speak. That should be good. There will be two media seminars in the afternoon…one of which includes my own, “Putting the Power of Social Media and Blogging to Work for Your Brand” which I will co-present with Carol Doyel of LivingBetterat50.com. So if you want to get the scoop on how to use social media to its full advantage in your ministry or business, make sure to attend at 1:30 tomorrow.
Check back for more from the Christian Women in Media Association National Conference hightlights tomorrow!