My friend Megan calls me up one day and says, "I am going to this GREAT conference in Dallas and you have to join me!" We used to be stationed together at Keesler Air Force Base, but haven't been able to stay as connected as I would have liked since we PCS'd (moved). That is a side effect of Military life. So when she called and said I have this great event for us to go to, I jumped at it. To be totally honest, it could have been an expo for watching paint dry and I would have hopped on a plane. I will take any excuse for some kid free time with a good friend! Shhhhhh don't tell my husband. LOL
Whenever I travel, I love to chat with people. Where are they from? Where are they headed? What does their slice of the world look like? It's just something I like to do when I travel. So inevitably people asked what I was traveling for. I told them I was headed to Dallas for a Military Influencers Conference and the next question was always, oh what is that? The first time someone asked that, I wasn't fully prepared. I thought to myself, well, what exactly is that? The first time I answered, I am sure it was a jumble of thoughts spit out incoherently as I was trying to think and talk at the same time. After the conversation ended, I was still thinking.....hmmmmm.......what exactly is a military influencer, so I can be more prepared for the question next time.
To me, it is anyone connected to military life, so active duty, veteran, military spouse, or someone with a company or organization serving the military, that is influencing the world around them is a Military Influencer. That group includes entrepreneurs, bloggers, online communities etc.
For me, I fall into so many of those categories. When people at the conference asked what I did, it was truly hard to know where to start. I would jokingly tell people that I do it all or wear many hats, which is kind of true. LOL I am a Veteran and Military Spouse who owns a business, runs a blog (or is trying to) and has a thriving online community for military spouses. I truly have the best of all worlds!
Going into the conference, I saw the agenda and knew there were so many great things to learn and people to connect with. But let me be totally honest for a minute, I truly had no idea what I was getting myself into! After the first night's social, Megan and I went back to our hotel room on a HIGH! We couldn't stop talking about all of the amazing people we had met. And as 1:00am clicked over on the clock, we knew that 6:00am would be right around the corner, but we just couldn't turn off our excitement.
I have been to many different types of events and conferences over the years. Sometimes they have a flash in the beginning and then fizzle, but with this one, each portion was better than the last.
At the conference and since being home, people have asked, what is my biggest takeaway from the experience. Hmmmmm that was another tough one. It has taken me some time to try to digest the whole experience. It was such a whirlwind. But I think my biggest takeaway wasn't one thing in particular, there truly wasn't one biggest nugget or moment that stuck with me, there are hundreds! My biggest takeaway is that I sit back in awe of the military community. Even after being in this community for 14 years now, I have a whole new wave of appreciation for the kind of people that make up this group. These people are some of the most creative, loyal, hard working, no-quite, all grit, give you the shirt off their back type of people. I am so honored that my name gets to be a part of that mix. Sometimes I don't even feel worthy. I am also very excited to see all of the collaboration and community that will be created from this. This world truly needs more people like this, doing big things, and changing the world.
I wanted to go for a nice, relaxing girls getaway and to meet some new people, but truly walked away with a more on fire sense of purpose. It reminded me that I am a part of something bigger than myself and that I want to create something bigger than myself. I feel invigorated and ready to take on the world. Next years Military Influencer Conference is already scheduled and my ticket is purchased. I am ready to do my part to keep this movement going!
I am a Wife, Mother, Veteran, Military Spouse, Friend, Teacher, Entrepreneur and so much more!
Watch Out World!