This is one of a series of posts about last month's BlogHer bet event in Santa Clara, CA. If you weren't able to attend, you can still get on-demand access to all the informative panels and workshops you missed by purchasing a Virtual Pass here.
One of the huge benefits of attending the business, entrepreneurism and technology conference was the opportunity to pick the brain of one of 50+ amazing, powerful, successful women... ranging from venture capital executives to CEO's to trend spotters. The star power on the list announced by Lisa Stone was dazzling.
Prior to the event, we were each queried on what we hoped to gain from the conference, what kind of venture we were working on and who we might want to choose for our mentors.
Most of my friends who were attending had a good idea of who they might want. But since I wasn't sure of why I was even going, I left that up to BlogHer's event planners. "I realize I might be hard to place," I told them.
I figured that meeting any one of these successful women was a winning proposition for me. I realize that I tend to engage in magical thinking and that success isn't something that just "rubs off" on people... but I have also observed that positive (and negative) energy is infectious. Successful people tend to have lots of the former and I hoped that I might be able to absorb a little.
At any rate, I prepared for BlogHer bet with no real expectations... and so there was no risk of being disappointed when I learned the identity of my mentor: Natalia Oberti Noguera, who is a champion of "women-led for-profit social ventures."
"Whatever THAT means," I thought.
Kudos to the BlogHer matchmakers for managing to make some sense out of my rambling responses to their questions and vague ideas (I had two - but both were rooted in my observation of societal voids that need to be filled).
"You're going to love her," Elisa Camahort Page told me the night before the event, at the attendees' welcome reception. "She's very passionate about helping other women."
As usual, Elisa was right.
Natalia Oberti Noguera is young (probably not as young as she looks, but definitely a decade or two younger than I), petite and indeed, very passionate about social entrepreneurism.
Many of my friends who were attending the conference had spent time putting together informational pitches to show their mentors. I did not have anything like that and apologized.
"My first piece of advice is, don't apologize!" she smiled.
She had more advice - much of it specific to my goals. But a couple of points were of a more general nature:
1. Network: Find the high-worth inviduals who can help you. Find out what THEY want. Know who you want to meet and when you do, don't let the moment pass you by!
2. Create a wish list for your venture, and don't be afraid to go wild with it. Approach it like a bucket list. (For instance, if you want to reach Lady Gaga, try creating a viral video message to her.)
Oberti Noguera didn't let a second go to waste in our allotted time together. She even suggested a few of those "high-worth individuals" she described in bullet point #1.
And, as I'd hoped, the meeting was inspirational. I've got a lot of new items on my to do list.
I'd better get cracking.