THE MAGIC OF CONFERENCES BEING FOR US, BY US
It feels like there’s never been a time where we’ve talked about women’s professional and personal growth more than these days. There are books, hashtags, and conferences - lots of conferences. But even with all the good intentions of empowerment, a lot of conferences and movements fall short in speaking to women of color and Latinas. (No, that’s not redundant: we’re operating under the fact that not all Latinas are WOC).
But after spending time at this year’s We All Grow Summit in Long Beach, I was reminded of the power of convening with people who may share your culture, lived experiences, or language. We All Grow brings together some of the most influential Latinas across disciplines to create a weekend packed with workshops designed to motivate you in your personal and professional life. It’s a place where you greet everyone with a hug and a kiss and you’re bound to find a sister to bond with. It’s also a conference that sells out within minutes of tickets going on sale. (So, you need to put it on your radar - fast!)
Still curious about WAG? Let these four attendees tell you what this conference meant to them.
Kim Guerra: artist, writer, and creator of Brown Badass Bonita
"I walked into the WAG conference and was immediately hit with the powerful energy of all the reinas everywhere around me. I thought of my nine year old self and how being in a space full of badass mujeres doing badass things would have impacted me. This conference fanned a fire in me. Being in the midst of mujeres supporting mujeres, mujeres pouring out love, mujeres connecting, mujeres learning and teaching, mujeres crying together, mujeres healing, mujeres dancing cumbia on stage, mujeres holding one another's journeys, struggles, stories... it was and is sacred. It was queens honoring queens and celebrating the queendom we are building for us, for our people, for the next generation of reinas. I am and will forever be grateful."
Ana Pompa Alarcón: founder & CEO FindSisterhood
“As women, and especially women of color, oftentimes there is no seat for us at the table. That’s why we need to build our own and make sure to leave room for our communities to take a seat and lift each other up. We All Grow is the perfect example of how powerful it is when women support each other. There is no force stronger than women determined to rise and take each other by the hand along the way.
When less than 0.1% of Venture Capital funding goes to Latinx founders, it’s upon us to create change. As women of color, with different cultural backgrounds and maybe even an accent, many times we are not represented. There are endless rooms we have not entered and where no one is holding the door for us to step foot in. Conferences like the We All Grow are so important for us to realize that we are not alone. We have representation, there are other women willing to open the door, make introductions and support each other!”
Julissa Prado: founder Rizos Curls
“I cried, I laughed, I learned alongside some amazing mujeres during the We All Grow Summit. These spaces are important for WOC so we can meet and collaborate with other women that share our same unique cultural IQ and love for our community. Chismosa Culture in our Latina community, the idea of caring enough to share insights, is what has most helped my business. We All Grow allowed me to grow this #ChismosaCulture network and find other entrepreneurs to connect and build with.”
Diosa Femme: writer and co-creatress of Locatora Radio
“We All Grow is a wonderful representation of our power and force as Latina entrepreneurs, Latinas creators, and Latinas in the industry. The energy throughout every room was contagious. It was my first time attending WAG and participating in a panel and it took being present to really understand the magnitude and impact of the conference. I'm excited to see how We All Grow evolves and continues to include all Latinas.”
Yarel Ramos: journalist & co-host of Wait, Hold Up! Podcast
“WAG has been an amazing opportunity to connect and to learn from creators, brands and women doing dope innovative things. I have built friendships and bonds and discussed ideas and plans to help and continue to inspire the community. I always learn about amazing mujeres from all over the country and the world that we need to support. It’s a sisterhood .. where self care and healing and love are at the center of everything we do.”
Now, the idea of going to a conference may seem foreign and uninviting. I get it. After years of feeling like your community has been ignored, it’s easy to write off the value of such events, assuming they’re an extra unnecessary expense. But don’t be fooled – many a friendship, business partnership, or spiritual breakthrough happens when you’re in the presence of hustling, passionate women. (Trust me, plenty of people in power know the strength of community and would rather see us divided than united.) So if you’ve never considered going to a career or personal development conference, now would be a great time to plan to attend. In addition to We All Grow, here are some other conferences you can be on the lookout for.
TGM DAY by theGIRLMOB - If you didn’t know, now you know! We’ve hosted our own day for the past three years in Brooklyn, NY. It’s a time for women of color from all backgrounds to gather and discuss just about everything from mental and sexual health, to ways to f-up the patriarchy. Come for the breakthroughs, stay for the bomb DJ and delicious drinks! It’s getting bigger and better and hope you’ll join us next year.
Summit 21 - Hosted by 21 Ninety, this annual conference features two days of “Black girl bliss, beauty, and boss moves.” With a focus on entrepreneurship and leadership you’ll learn how to make an impact within your work and community.
CultureCon NYC - For the creative looking to boost their skills and their rolodex, Culture Con needs to be on your radar. It’s a day full of “panels, creative genius talks and skill-building workshop sessions” to help take your projects and career to the next level.
Latinas in Tech - This summit is held in SF by some bad ass Latinas discussing career, inclusion, and the future of tech. This organization has 5K members repping 50 Tech companies.
AfroTech - Chances are if you’re a Black person working in the tech space you’ve probably felt like you’re the only one. But at a conference like AfroTech, you can connect with other Black trailblazing techies. This year they’re taking over Oakland, and we already know it will be fiyah.
There are so many great options out there, depending on what you’re looking for. Do your research. check Instagram (it’s a helpful indicator of if something is worth your time and money), and get your growth on!