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Latina Bloggers Connect held the second annual We All Grow Summit last week in Long Beach, California! You might remember how I wrote about it last year (here and here) and my involvement with the We All Grow Storytellers project. I’m delighted to share that I was invited to host and coach the participants again this year. And wow, what an amazing, life changing experience!

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First of all, about the event, we stayed at Hotel Maya in Long Beach, which is absolutely a must-see if you are ever in that area. It’s 100% Latin chic with lots of spots to chill, snap selfies, indulge in the beauty of culture. The venue had so many hidden spots, I’m bummed I didn’t make it to all of them. time slipped away too fast!

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You are going to think I’m silly, but you know what one of my FAVORITE memories was? The cookie they give you when you check in!

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Seriously, it’s like they stacked two cookies and baked them into one. They are all warm and gooey. When Maya and I arrived to our room, we set down our luggage, plopped down on the porch and savored each and every bite of this decadent treat, slowly. And when we checked out, the bell hop hooked us up with a bag of six cookies for the road for our friends.

The first day was a field trip, we had several destinations to choose from. Normally I would choose YouTubeSpaceLA or Disneyland, but I decided to push myself and do something out of my comfort zone. I signed up for the fashion shoot field trip sponsored by Transitions Lenses and Visionworks. We were coached by the fabulous sister eyewear-designers duo, Coco and Breezy about launching a brand and business plan, then we went to lunch at Gracias Madre (a vegan Mexican restaurant). Once we finished up there, we visited Smudge Photo Studio. Coco and Breezy selected our accessories and eyewear frames and…

we had to pose in our own photoshoot in three different settings. I almost backed out. I mean, come on, I was the oldest, chubbiest – I was among all young gorgeous Latina fashion bloggers were were pros at all things beautiful and fancy. I stood in the back watched them strike pose after pose after pose. I sucked in my stomach and wished I’d worn Spanx.

But you know what? I decided what made me different is what gave me confidence. What an exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. right?

I figured I had nothing to lose, plus it looks lame to be wimpy and soft. I hate it when I see people not giving their all in situations like this. Why even be there?

So…I stood tall, I pretended like a pole ran up my back, and like a string held up the top of the head. I worked it like Tyra. Errr, I should say like Ashley Graham! Coco and Breezy pumped me with confidence too, they sat with me at lunch and at the end of the day told me they loved my spirit, energy and even style!

The whole experience was very fulfilling. I learned something new about myself!

I also learned that AGE DOES NOT DEFINE US. The energy we bring does. By the end of the trip, the group embraced me, which made the rest of the conference all the more fun because I had bonded with these young women whom I wouldn’t have known otherwise. Another key is that I went on this field trip without Maya (my daughter). So it freed me from being put in the “mom” category. Maya went on another field trip to YouTube, and after we both returned to the room and I told her all about my cool, new friends, she became sooo jelly. It was AWESOME! LOL!

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Friday was all about friends, presentations, manicures, massages, coaching and so much more. The hardest thing about this conference was hitting up all the offerings. Each sponsor had a suite and offered an in-depth feature, such as one-on-one coaching of your brand, skin assessment, mastermind sessions on monetizing, newsletters, Pinterest, etc. In between those were snacks, the Latina Makers Market and smoothie tasting. And it seemed every time we went back to our room, a goody bag awaited us on our pillow.

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Pili Montilla even made a playlist for the summit! It’s really good too!

Saturday was the big day for me! STORYTELLERS! We had 81 people apply, and after watching all the 2-minute video submissions, it was narrowed to 20 people, then the final six.

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And here they are!

Gaby Natale told about the time when she had graduated college and had to take a job that didn’t pay money – but in opportunity!


 

One of my besties, Denise Cortes told about the time when her son came to her rescue when she least expected it. She had us all in tears!


 

 Eliana Tardio spoke from the heart about championing for her child to be treated like a normal kid!


 

OK, here is mine. I can’t even watch it, it gives me anxiety (LOL!), but I hope you like it! It’s about the first time one of your kids tells you they have fallen in love!


 

Nancy Salas went through a traumatic experience at age nine, and it changed her perspective on life. And then that perspective changed again when she became a mom.

The other two tellers, their videos aren’t posted yet, but I’ll add them as soon as they are. They are stories from Yvonne Condes and Marines Duarte.

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What a great weekend that I’ll never forget!

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Here I am with the #PhxLatinoBloggers and Ana Flores, more on that to come in a separate post!

Here are some tips I learned from this summit:

– Make sure everything about your brand looks like the money you want to ask for. Nice pictures, frequent quality posts, smart SEO, good grammar, articles that will inspire the reader.

– Don’t use social media to gripe or whine about your hurt feelings with a brand.

– Help others without expecting anything in return – and the payback WILL come. And it will feel awesome.

-Stretch beyond what you are known for. Learn new skills, expand to new markets.

-Set attainable goals, and create realistic plans to achieve them.

-Organize your ideas, schedules, tasks. Don’t just keep them floating in the air, nail those suckers down and get them done.

-Don’t ask for favors, shortcuts or brain picking – without offering something in return.

-Never assume. Be specific with what you want, what your goals are. No one can read your mind.

-Google your questions before you ask others. There is a lot of great info already online that you can use! Make sure to also type in the year to ensure the info is relevant.

-When working with brands, make sure to really know the message they want to convey and find an organic way to relay that.

-Own your expertise. What you are known for and why are you an expert at it?

-Move the above answers to the forefront of your elevator pitch. Let people know right away what you are known for any why.

More to come, stay tuned!

In the meantime, follow We All Grow summit here! FacebookTwitterInstagramYoutubePinterest.

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Love & light,

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