Being a storyteller is part of who I am, but this doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a process for me. I began by telling other people’s stories but lately I share my own thoughts, adventures and experiences.
Most recently, this meant going on stage during We All Grow Summit in Los Angeles and remembering a conversation with my dad over 20 years ago. Being selected as a Storyteller by Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant and Vive Mejor was a huge honor but also a very humbling experience, because the other extraordinary women shared such powerful stories that I couldn’t help but cry, laugh and stare in awe.
The entire process, led by the wonderfully talented Kathy Cano-Murillo, made me learn many things. Here are the lessons I learned by being a We All Grow Summit Storyteller:
- True connection results after baring your soul. When I looked at familiar faces in the crowd I realized how many strong women I know seemed to identify with my story, with my struggle and with my decision to push forward regardless of my father’s opinion. Many came to hug me later and we cried together because there was such a powerful connection forged in that moment when you realize you are not the only one.
- You are stronger than your fears. This is something I have repeated over and over again to myself over the years. I was afraid of my father’s reaction when I told him the story I was going to share on stage right before I boarded my plane to LA. He actually had forgotten the conversation that has stuck with me over the years. He wasn’t angry, just a bit uneasy, and speaking with him gave me even more strength to share my story.
- Don’t overthink and overanalyze yourself, your thoughts or your actions. I really cared about the Storytellers closing keynote. I cared so much that I was extremely anxious and nervous. I kept having second thoughts about my story, about whether to include certain details or not, even about my bright pink lipstick. Kathy realized this and to distract me, began sharing some wonderful news about her next project, because she is awesome like that. In the end, I stuck to my overall plan but there were moments and phrases that were totally unplanned. You know what? Those were the quotes that stuck with my friends that came up to me later.
It was such an unforgettable experience! I never in a million years expected it to be so emotional but I have no words to describe the energy that was palpable in that ballroom at The Line Hotel. I cannot thank Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant enough for sponsoring Denisse Icaza and me during the We All Grow Summit.
More We All Grow Summit memories
The Storytellers presentation was only the icing on the cake. From the moment I arrived in Los Angeles, one incredible experience followed another. It all began with the pre-treat at YouTube Space, where I learned amazing tips to improve my own YouTube channel. It was an action packed day but at least I knew that Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant, which is dry from the moment it touches the skin, would keep me protected for up to 48 hours. That was especially important after a very long day at the airport with delayed flights and rushing to make it in time for the YouTube All Stars panel with Dulce Candy, Daniela Ramirez, Sun Kiss Alba and Maiah Ocando.
Then on Thursday, things only got better. After an intimate breakfast with friends from Unilever, Vive Mejor, Dove, Edelman, the other storytellers and our besties, we headed off to Google. It was a dream come true for any blogger. Just being there filled me with energy. The day finished with a fun welcome party sponsored by Vive Mejor. Of course we had a photo booth and had a fantastic time just catching up in real life!
Friday officially was the conference’s first day. It brought tears to my eyes to see Ana Flores and her team bring WAG to life. My first panel was called Bringing the Social to Media and it couldn’t have been any better. So thankful for our moderator, the witty (and flexible) Alicia Ybarbo from The Today Show and co-author of Sh**y Mom, plus my inspiring co-panelists Marines Duarte, Kika Rocha, Gaby Natale, Andrea Minski and Alexys Gabrielle, because time flew by as we discussed the challenges of working across different media and platforms. If you weren’t there, there was one phrase that Alicia brought up and it’s one that has guided me over the past 2 years: done is better than perfect. Keep that in mind to inspire you to move forward.
That afternoon Bren Herrera, Mercedes Sanchez and I had another session together so we could share our tips when taking your blog to TV and print outlets. I have received many requests for more information so I will be posting what I’ve learned in the upcoming weeks.
Saturday came too soon and the sessions were so insightful that I am still processing everything I learned. The podcasting bootcamp offered priceless information thanks to Laura Elgueta and Marie Segares. Now I need to find the time to explore podcasting. Then it was time to go on stage with Astrid Rivera, Lorraine C. Ladish, Ana Cruz, Kathy Cano Murillo, Carol Cain and Claudya Martinez. I cried with almost all their stories, while Kathy left me in tears after laughing so hard.
I am so happy I went to We All Grow Summit! Although it is always hard to be away from my family, when you have experiences like the ones I had in Los Angeles, every minute is worth the stress. I cannot wait for next year and hopefully I will get to hug a new generation of Storytellers.
Special thanks to Dove, Vive Mejor, my amazing friend Ana Flores, the We All Grow team & volunteers, Latina Bloggers Connect, Edelman, my friend Denisse Icaza and the lovely Kathy Cano-Murillo.