• The iCAN Collective

What I've Learned on My Journey with Create & Cultivate



If you follow me on social or know me in real life, then, you know I've recently been obsessed with Create and Cultivate. Create and Cultivate is an online platform and conference dedicated to helping women create and cultivate the careers of their dreams. I found out about this amazing company and instantly fell in love.

When I learned the conference was coming to Chicago, I was determined to go.

If you've ever tried to go to a Create & Cultivate event, then you know, tickets sell out in about 15 minutes (barely an exaggeration). Needless to say, I wasn't quick enough and missed out on buying a VIP or GA ticket. I was signed up for the email list and following CC on Instagram and figured that I could get on a waiting list or maybe more tickets would open up. Well that wasn't happening because, of course, all of the people who wanted to go, really WANTED TO GO. Just like me.... :(

I kept seeing posts and emails here and there about an opportunity to win a scholarship to attend the event and entered to win $10,000 towards funding for your business.

But those contests are never real, right? It's all a marketing ploy, no one ever wins or they just pick people they already know. Those were the thoughts going through my head and I don't know if I really believed those things or if that was my good old self-doubt attempting to convince myself not to apply.

Fortunately, my motto for the past few years has been on the same wavelength as Nike, just do it. Do it scared, do it nervous, do it when you don't think you can but by all means just DO IT. So I did. Super close to the deadline and before I could talk myself out of it, I did it. I customized my business presentation, crafted my best Shark Tank style pitch, thought really hard about what I could use the 10K for and I went for it. I applied. And I waited, then I figured it went to Internet Never Never Land where all submissions go to die.

Then I got an email....and it said congratulations. Again, I thought it was some blanket congrats to everyone who submitted and there would be a huge BUT at some point. The 'but' never came. I won..... I WON and it was an amazing feeling. If you have ever created something, especially a business, then you know how it feels to want people to "get it," appreciate it and value it even a tenth of a fraction as much as you do. When you're starting out, that is so hard to find. So for a company like Create & Cultivate to see my vision was EVERYTHING.

I was ecstatic but I was also ready to WORK. I needed to go to this conference and soak up every single thing I could. And I did!

I learned from the Ben Silbermann (Pinterest), mentors like Afrobella (aka Patrice Yursik), Ebony Lee (Comcast), Alli Webb (Drybar), Jeni Britton Bauer (Jeni's Ice Creams)....JENNIFER HUDSON was the keynote and there were so many more speakers that gave life-changing advice. Far too many amazing innovators, creators and founders in one place to name. The cherry on top was catching up with the GOAT herself, founder of Create & Cultivate, Jaclyn Johnson. I LOVE her and if you listen to her journey, you will fall in love with her too.

Oh and did I mention I was able to attend an Out of Office Retreat with Create and Cultivate sponsored by Chandon?

A month after the conference, I received another earth shattering email. C&C was taking their favorite lady boss entrepreneurs to Napa...yes...NAPA, to get off the grid, recharge and share how we overcome fears and take flight.

Insert -life changing experience- hashtag here! There is so much value in connecting with and learning from women just like you who have achieved their dreams and are willing to share those life lessons. I was able to connect with Jaclyn again! And other BAWSE babes like Rebecca Minkoff, Daniella Yacobovsky, Sonja Rasula, Caroline Ingraham Lee, Denise Vasi,Paulette Barba and too many others to name. I found so many new #businessbesties and have been applying all of the insights I learned to my own entrepreneurial journey.

To put it all in cute nutshell, here are 3 things I've learned on my Create and Cultivate & Chandon journey that will stick with me forever.

1. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. It can be so daunting. The thought of "self-promoting" and being that person that people try to avoid because they're sick of hearing about you. Stop thinking of it that way. Let people know who you are, what you do and WHY it matters. They need to know how amazing you are and who else can tell your story like you? It doesn't make you any less humble and you're not an attention-monger. You're an awesome woman(man) with a story to tell and people need to hear it.

2. What's for you will not pass you. That has been my mantra for years and this experience reinforces it. If it is supposed to be, it will be. Your job is to do the work to make it so. Go for the promotion, create that pitch deck, call that brand and get that sponsorship. God has a plan for you and nothing or nobody can get in the way of it.

3. So what they said No? You're going to get a lot of NO's and a lot of crickets and then some crickets sprinkled with No. And that's OK. No seriously, it's okay because you'll get so many that hopefully, like me, you'll forget they even happened. I have been told No so much that sometimes I don't even notice it. When I first started this thing, I went to a meeting full of founders and venture capitalists and I was so proud of my idea. I wasn't looking for funding just someone to listen. Well one of the VCs point blank told me, "nobody cares about that." Pure shock, right? I was mad about it for a while but I didn't stay in that place. I saw more of that and heard more things like that. I also started hearing Yes more... a lot more. When you have an idea that's innovative and that no one else is doing, be prepared to hear no. Don't let it stop you. Let it motivate you to make that product/service so undeniable that people will be asking YOU to invest, sponsor or support your dream. Make it so successful that they HAVE to come back because you're the best at it.

Ready...set... GOAL GET HER.

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