When Femworking, LLC founder Kelley Sanabria and her event-planning colleague Nicole Dash scheduled an interview to talk with me about their October 26 Blogger and Small Business Conference, I imagined them sitting in sleek suits in with a window overlooking the Potomac. Within seconds of our conversation starting, though, I realized I was in familiar company. Kelley was home with her 15-month-old, for whom she uses no childcare, and mother of four Nicole was on a break from the home daycare she manages. Talk about work-at-home moms!
Kelley started Femworking in January 2013. The idea for the venture came from sitting with a group of other moms in a coffeeshop. She had always had an entrepreneurial spirit, from selling Creative Memories in college to doing direct sales to starting her own fitness business and boot camp. She eventually lost the passion for each of those endeavors but now lights up when she talks about her vision of creating a group of women who totally support one another in their own businesses.
When Nicole, author of Tiny Steps Mommy blog first attended a Femworking meetup, she was “transfixed by the idea of a supportive community where women actually asked what they could do for one another and then did it.” She and Kelley decided to work together to extend the reach and connect people in the local blogging and business communities. Thus was born the Femworking Blogger and Small Business Conference, which will take place at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City on October 26, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a free after-event, a blog reader and client appreciation party from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Hyatt’s Chesapeake Rooftop Lounge. The free cocktail party requires separate registration.
The day includes several panels with well-known local and nationally known bloggers and business owners including Scary Mommy blogger and author Jill Smokler, who learned of the project through Christine Watson of M to M Consulting, one of the first groups to get behind the conference. Once Jill signed on, Nicole and Kelley realized their vision of a big free room wasn’t going to cut it, and the vision for the conference grew. It now has multiple partners and will feature a vendor hall in addition to all the panels and workshop sessions.
When asked about her vision for the conference, Nicole said, “We’d like everyone to know that as women bloggers and as women entrepreneurs, you can make your dreams come true. And you can pursue that little nagging thought in the back of your head. You just need to find community and support system. We hope this can be that step to give someone the confidence” she needs to make a go of her dreams.
The event is already nearing capacity, but there is still room for attendees, and there is also room for one more panelist! Kelley and Nicole intentionally wanted to seek out a new voice for a fourth blogger on their afternoon blogger panel. They encourage anyone who has been blogging at least 90 days – and can be present for the whole conference – to throw her hat into the ring. The deadline for the fourth panelist contest is October 3, and the winner will be announced October 10.
Kelley is excited about creating a space to have uber-successful and well-established bloggers on equal footing with people who might not have even bought their domain name yet. “Everyone should come ready to smile and open their heart, ready to share,” she said.
Registration for the October 26 event is open at http://www.femworkingconference.com/
Femworking, LLC has meetups in Alexandria, DC, Stafford and Leesburg with a new group starting in New York City in January. The first meeting is free, and after that, there is a monthly fee for membership.
For more about how these moms make it work – and how this interviewer feels about her own work/life balance – check out my reflections on my personal blog, Crunchy-Chewy Mama.
Special promotional registration discount for our readers: Use the promo code “thedcmoms” to register for $99!
Disclosure: I received a 10% discount off the early bird conference registration in exchange for conducting this interview and writing this post.
Jessica Claire Haney is the founder and co-leader of the Arlington/Alexandria chapter of Holistic Moms Network, and she blogs at Crunchy-Chewy Mama: living naturally, most of the time. Although she might have to miss part of a camping trip, Jessica is looking forward to getting insights at the Femworking conference toward the development of her new resource site, DC Healthy Green Families.