Sisters Traveling Solo hosted their first Sisters in Travel Conference #STC2019 on Saturday, October 26 at the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, Georgia. This learning conference was designed to encourage the attendees to "Soar to New Heights" by sharing travel tips, business acumen and inspiring stories all while creating meaningful connections.
Nicole Wright, founder of SavvynSocial, hosted and moderated the discussions of this conference and brought a little bit of savvy energy to the stage. Here are her key takeaways from being a part of this event.
"I was super excited to hear from the speakers on their travel experiences, the business behind their travels, and to learn from the attendees on how to make travel work. When Cole reached out to me about moderating the conference, I knew this was an opportunity that I couldn't turn down!" ~Nicole Wright
Having the opportunity to welcome all the sisters, introduce Kellee Edwards, moderate a panel discussion on Living Abroad, and go one on one with Cole Banks, was something I could have never imagined. Cole and I met through the Network of Executive Women, five years ago in Atlanta, and I couldn't have guessed that our chance meeting would lead to this! The lesson here is to be open to meeting new people and always plug into your network.
The conference keynote speaker, Kellee Edwards, emphasized the conference theme "Soaring to New Heights" by sharing her inspirational story of overcoming stereotypes and her own fears to become the first black female to host a show on The Travel Channel. She shared her insights on having the "Commit Factor" where she commits to every task, assignment and challenge that helps her get to the next level.
Lesson #1- Never allow someone to take away your hard work, your tears and your sweat to get to where you want to go. We can't be defeated by the obstacles that are placed in the paths of us reaching our goals. When they say no.... we say just watch! ~ Kellee Edwards
Kelle perfectly set the stage to motivate and inspire the audience to walk in their purpose and to live their lives to the fullest.
There were two breakout sessions during the day, Erika Martin lead the Budget Travel workshop and I led the panel discussion on Living Abroad with Shakti Hakim (Black American's Retire Abroad), Adrianna Smith (Traveprenuer) and Michelle Simmons. I heard that Erika shared some real gems on how to budget travel, and I wish I could see her notes for my own upcoming trips. During the living abroad session, we talked about the ups and downs of packing our things and moving across the world. The panelists shared their resources, their own experiences while living abroad, and the motivation that led them to start their own organizations.
Lesson #2- Know yourself and your own limitations... don't do it for the gram, do it because it feels right for you. ~Adrianna Smith
Lesson #3- Understand that not everyone is accustomed to your melanin magic, so you can't automatically assume racism when traveling. Allow yourself to be open to teaching moments. ~Shakti Hakim
Lesson #4- Don't allow fear and other people's negativity to stop you from seeing the world. Use your resources and open yourself to new opportunities because you'd be surprised at how much you can learn. ~Michelle Simmons
After the second breakout session, I went one on one with Cole Banks, the founder of Sisters Traveling Solo and the visionary behind the Sisters in Travel Conference. We talked about her transition from corporate life to becoming a full time entrepreneur, how she grew a Facebook Community to over 70,000 people in less than three years, and about how she turned that community into a million dollar business. Cole shared her insights about building a profitable brand and gave the audience nuggets of wisdom they can apply to their everyday life.
Lesson #5- Find your niche and develop the skills needed to grow this niche into a profitable business. You'd be surprised as to how many people will support your vision because they are able to see your passion. ~ Cole Banks
This conference totally opened my eyes to the possibility of traveling to places I've never dreamed of going. It was amazing to hear the audience share their stories, and to relate to one another over the love of traveling. Kelle said it best.... "It's so encouraging to stand on this stage and look out into the audience at a sea of women who look like me!"
This was more than a travel conference. This was a conference to motivate, inspire and to remind each of us to live our absolute lives and to always strive to soar to new heights. This was the first Sisters in Travel Conference, but I'm already looking forward to #STC2020! Cole-- I'm speaking this into existence!
Photos by Marcell Pickens Jr.