Last Friday I had the opportunity to attend an all-day conference sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with a roomful of Chicago's most successful social media, business and thought leaders. The Women's Dream Conference was created by healthy lifestyle spokesperson, Andrea Metcalf. Does that name sound familiar? It should. Metcalf is the author of the best selling book, Naked Fitness, and the host of NBC5's weight loss reality show, Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is. The conference, which kicked off with a one-hour optional yoga class, was attended by local business professionals, bloggers, and career seekers that wanted a little inspirational and motivational advice to fuel their future.
Over 27 panelists spoke on topics that ranged from social media success tipsto balancing a successful career with family life. Speakers included Chicagonista editor, MJ Tam; Flirty Girl Fitness founder, Kerry Knee; NBC5 Fitness Club Coach, Saran Dunmore; Angela Rose, Founder and Executive Director of PAVE; Online Video Personality and Producer, Jen Knoedl; and Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, Stacie McClane, to name a few.
Metcalf kicked off the event with a welcome speech that detailed her journey from where she started to where she is today. Her climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro served as a congenial metaphor for each step to success that she took, something that resonated well with the packed room.
The day finished on a high note thanks to The Biggest Loser Season 11's Marci Crozier. Crozier, who while on the show, lost a commendable 86 pounds. Her speech reflected on her daughter, Coutney, her partner on the couples edition of the show, and her downright determination to lose weight so she could, in turn, help others lose weight as well.
The event was hosted at Centered Chef in Chicago's West Loop. I'd never been there before, but was pleasantly surprised as soon as I walked in. The heart of the conference took place in a large window-lined room filled with white linen-covered round tables. Yoga was just wrapping up on the lower level (I confess, with two young children, I opted for an at-home workout that included a Spinning bike and a TRX suspension system) where a light, but delicious breakfast was served. Centered Chef founder, Ryan Hutmacher, pulled off a show stopper of a lunch. A vegan meal, including a variety of salads, was served.
As a fitness professional, I was excited to be there to hear Metcalf speak. As a businesswoman, I was equally excited to hear from such a wide variety of successful professionals. The Women's Dream Conference, which was streamed live, was a fresh, professional and well-executed event that women, from all walks of business, would find incredibly beneficial. Personally, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for another conference in 2013!
Traci D Mitchell is a Chicago-based fitness expert and health writer for Chicago Now and TraciDMitchell.com. She has been featured locally on NBC, ABC and WGN, and nationally on The TODAY Show. If you're interested in working with or contacting Traci, please email her at traci [at] tracidmitchell [dot] com or stop by her Facebook page anytime.
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