On Wednesday, February 15, the Christian Women in Media National Conference kicked off in Nashville, Tennessee at the Embassy Suites Hotel. Christian women who work in media comprised the group of attendees who came eager to catch workshops in all areas of media and network with other professionals in their industry.
After staying the night with my father in Hendersonville, I arrived at 3:00 this afternoon with my assistant Kristen Myers, a professional book illustrator also from Hendersonville who will be working as my Christian Movie Connect (CMC) assistant for the conference. This was the first conference for both of us. I have been attending the Regional Connection Dinners in Dallas and sometimes Nashville so I have come to love this organization and have met some great women during the past year. It was great to arrive and see such fabulously talented women in media all in one place (talk about some powerful energy!!!)
The first activity was to join other early arrivers in a tour of downtown Nashville. Of course, being a Nashville native myself, this is not only my old stompin’ ground, but one of my favorite places on earth! We walked down Broadway past the famous Ernest Tubb record shop and took in the novelty shops and restaurants. We had to stop into Boots N More to check out the cowboy hats and boots. After all, you can’t hang out in Nashville without a great pair of boots! I decided this was the perfect place to shoot a video podcast segment for CMC and chatted with CWIMA conference attendees Helen Gibson-Nicholas and Geni Manning.
After dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory on Historic Second Avenue with Kristen, we headed back to the hotel for the Movie Trailer and Music Night. I was first on the agenda where the trailer for the movie I produced was shown, “Flag of My Father.” Unfortunately, in my haste to get to Nasvhille, I brought the file in the wrong format and introduced a bit on technical challenges to the AV team of Marcy Grams of Blacksmith Productions and Kyle Saylors of Saylor Brothers Entertainment. Sorry guys! I was such a “bad girl!” Each of the filmmakers had a chance to speak on behalf of their movie. Other presenters include Fatima Eid of Crown Entertainment, Marcy Grams of Blacksmith Productions and Cassandra Hollis of Holy Hill Productions. There was also some great music from Erica Lane, Johanna Mackin and Holly Lynn. Thelma Wells was the emcee for the event.
On Day 2 Carol M. Swain, Ph.D. was a keynote speaker. It was honored to meet this lady who serves as a strong conservative voice in media…a woman who has overcome poverty and many other obstacles in her life and gone on to obtain five college and post graduate degrees and now serve as a professor at Vanderbilt University! Be looking for an upcoming interview with Dr. Swain on CMC
Another highlight of Day 2 was the Top Media Panel. I learned a lot from listening to these professionals who shared tips and answered questions. Panelists included Kathleen Cooke, Sharon White Skaggs, Ruth Graham, and Thelma Wells. There were lots of great seminars that day. Unfortunately I can’t tell you anything about them since I was busy doing interviews for CMC. We had a lovely dinner, the “President’s Dinner” at the Hillwood Country Club. CWIMA President Suellen Roberts shared her personal story which was very inspiring. Suellen is a very successful business woman who has a new set of priorities because of her relationship with Jesus…that of encouraging women in media to impact the world with their gifts.
On Friday, Day 3, Kay Arthur was the morning keynote. What a passionate, Godly woman. She loves the Word of God and inspiring others to share in that love. CMC also interviewed Kay so we’ve got a treat in store for you!
We had a nice lunch (the highlight was the chocolate chip cookies. Yum!) and then there were more
workshops. There was something for everyone–online marketing, speaking, event planning, publishing, radio, acting. I was one of the panelist for the “Communicating Your Message On Camera and Off” workshop led by Kathleen Cook, along with my co-panelist Jeanette Eng and Cassie Byrum. Because we didn’t have any aspiring actors in the room, my original topic was not too applicable so I changed my topic impromptu to “Branding Yourself Through Blogging and Podcasting.”
The crowing event to the conference was the Gala Awards Dinner where Jennifer O’Neill was the keynote speaker. I realized once it was too later that the event was “after 5″ Thank God for another attendee who was willing to share her wardrobe with me. After all, I had the chance to interview Jennifer O’Neill so I had to look decent. Awards were given to Dr. Carol Swain, Jennifer O’Neill and Kay Arthur. Then it was time to say good bye to all our friends. Cameras were flashing around the room while women tried to create photo memories of this special event.
We had intended to podcast and blog daily from the CWIMA National Convention but had one technical difficulty after another that did not make it possible. Even my blogs have presented challenges until no. I am known for my high level of patience but this was enough to try my spirituality!!!
For more information on Christian Women in Media Association, go to www.cwima.org. The organization also holds quarterly meetings throughout the year in five cities: Dallas, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York City and Chicago. The next meeting will be held on April 19.