Is there anything better than a group of entrepreneurial-minded women coming together on a Friday to pursue their own growth and connect with other business babes? Having attended the LA Yellow Conference a few years ago, I was very excited to experience the very first Yellow Conference in NYC. The morning started off bright and early at 501 Union (an incredibly beautiful space!) in Brooklyn where 200 women gathered in anticipation for the day’s events. After an amazing, emotion-evoking dance that left us all in awe and even more excited for what the day had in store, founder Joanna Waterfall (virtually) took the stage via video to welcome us and share about the theme of the conference, Create Meaningful Work. Even though she expressed her deep sense of FOMO for not being able to join in person, she shared how she (quite literally) has her hands full with her sweet newborn.
Consistently throughout the day we were presented with the idea that while we are not defined by what we do, when we align our work with who we are, powerful impact happens.
A few of my other favorite takeaways from the day: As entrepreneurs, we are givers, so we need to self care in a way that brings life and creativity to our work. And finally, work isn’t a career – it’s how you find and create meaning in this world.
Next up, Cassandra Bianco led us in a short, calming meditation to set aside the demands of life and business in order to be present. The speaker lineup began with the Reverend Jacqueline J. Lewis PH.D. who inspired us to rise up and take our place in the “love revolution”. She shared how when we do the work to embody the many kinds of love, we are able to let go of the things from our past that distract us from our purpose.
“If we are agents of healing and redemption, we can rewrite the world.” - Jacqui Lewis
Feeling motivated to carry our impact with even greater responsibility, we were ready to get down to business. Vik Harrison, Co-Founder and Creative Director of charity:water and Founder of The Branded Startup, took it away with actionable tips on how to incorporate storytelling into your marketing strategies. As Vik said – the bigger the transformation in the narrative we tell, the better the story will connect with human beings who feel inspired to hope, or compelled to change.
“Great brands understand that it’s about the relationship, not the transaction.” - Vik Harrison
After a short break, Vera Leung, Creative Director at International Justice Mission, brought Vik’s point to life by sharing a personal interaction she had with a 7-year-old boy named Maarko in Thailand that IJM had rescued from cybertrafficking. It was truly impactful to hear about her work and the experiences she’s had while making every child feel seen and loved in the midst of their hardships.
“The things we say and do have the power to propel us forward or take us down.” - Vera Leung
After her powerful talk, we refueled with delicious social-impact coffee provided by Think Coffee and delicious, organic plant-based drinks from Rebbl, then had some time to peruse Yellow’s Do-Good Goods Marketplace! Some of my personal favorite vendors included hormone balancing sweet treats from Moon Cycle Bakery, canvas and leather give-back bags from FEED, handmade clay earrings from Mazí, and all the superfood honey goodies from Beekeeper’s Naturals.
I couldn’t stand to wait any longer to get a sneak peek into our fully-stocked goodie bags, and took a moment to check out the socially conscious products they were filled with! The darling canvas tote itself was ethically made by Global Goods Partners, and inside it held everything from the cutest breezy, eco-friendly blouse from The Summer House, an ethically made leather cord taco from Parker Clay, an on-the-go sustainable coffee thermos from Hip, and a lovely, natural hydrating rose water toner from Trilogy. I couldn’t wait to delve deeper into the bag, but before we knew it the Female Founders Panel was assembling and drew our attention back to the stage.
We were met with the ultimate lady bosses: Lauren Bush Lauren, CEO, Creative Director, & Co-Founder of FEED Projects, Theresa and Corinna Williams, Co-Founders of Celsious, and Lauren Singer, Founder & CEO of Package Free Shop. The panel was facilitated by none other than Colleen Wachob, Co-Founder & Co-CEO of mindbodygreen, who drew out nuggets of wisdom from these incredible women throughout the panel. Women all around the room were quickly jotting down notes full of actionable items to turn around and implement into their business structures, hiring strategies, personal time, and collaborative partnerships.
Would there really be a Yellow Conference without the opportunity to connect through an attendee activity? The volume of the room rose with a buzz of voices as everyone was led by Yellow’s host for the day and Director of Partnerships, Kathryn Parrish, through a discussion of thought-provoking prompts on creating meaningful work. To close out the day, Mari Andrew, writer and illustrator, chatted with Rachael Baxter, Co-Founder of Conscious Magazine, in a live-podcast style Q&A. Mari’s relatable personality and genuine story of her work was a wonderful reminder to give the most authentic expression of ourselves to the work that we do. As she put it:
“The best service you can provide to people creatively is not to inspire them to be more like you, but to inspire them to be more like them. ” - Mari Andrew
With full hearts and inspired minds, we joined together for a happy hour in the lounge – sipping on delicious natural wines from Dry Farm Wines, and snacking on the most amazing plant-based cookie dough (yes, you read that right) from P.S. Snacks, as we debriefed all the goodness from the day with each other!
Throughout the day, there were many times I scanned the room and felt so inspired to be in such a beautiful space with so many social good trailblazers.
Whether it was connecting with new friends or seeing other women find common ground over similar interests, the general atmosphere encouraged transparency and empowerment.
Coming from all over the world to be there, it was amazing to know that we were surrounded by fellow creative, entrepreneurial ladies who took the time to invest in their personal growth that will be carried back into their work, and beyond.
Photos by Asher Gardner