Just another ALT Summit Re-Cap from a Newbie

Why hello there! As of late, I have been consumed with the moving of houses and a traveling BHLDN trunk show, so I have been a little MIA since my return from ALT Summit, but I am ready to finally dish out the dirt on the ALT experience. OK, so I realize you probably have read all there is to possibly read about recaps from the ALT Summit, but I can’t help myself, I need to chat about my personal experience, so fasten your seatbelts, here comes another one :)

ALT Summit Logo

Here is what I learned from my personal journey as a newbie.

1) I am just as cool as the other kids at the playground. Remember this one, because I tell you, it can seriously be intimidating immersing yourself into this fabulous world of creative geniuses. It is hard not to compare yourself, but just remember, you are unique and often we don’t see ourselves the way others might see you, which is normally more positive than we think!

2) Don’t get too wrapped up in what to wear. Yes, everyone dresses nicely, but just be yourself. Wear what makes you feel good. During the day just be in things that are cozy and will hold up during long periods of sitting. At night time there are scheduled parties that are themed and this is the time to amp up your game just a tad.

Here were my daytime outfit selections:

ALT Summit Outfits

ALT Summit Outfits
Day 1 – Urban Renewal Dress, Ecote Boot, Anthro Ruched Blazer
Day 2 – UO Naval Blazer, UO Sequin Tee, Pilcro Serif Legging

3) Bring mints – seriously guys, a total must! No one likes to have a conversation with someone that reeks of your lunch :)

4) Have your business cards easily accessible. I found myself at one point in line for food and someone whipped out their card super fast and handed it to me. I was holding a plate piled up with Mexican food, trying to find somewhere to store my new friend’s business card and sift through my very big bag (sort of looking like a disheveled crazy person) just to find that darn business card. Note to self, have them more accessible as to not lose your lunch. Be prepared. Business cards are thrown around like candy. I have never been in a situation where this is the “norm”. It felt strange, but after the first day, I found myself more accustomed and every now and then was the first one to be like, “oh, here is my card”. And don’t forget to put your card on the magnet board, you will know what I am referring to when you get there. Trust me, people look at this and some might recognize your card as soon as you hand it to them.

5) Eat, take advantage of that free food we “paid” for. It was yummy and I devoured all things edible :)

6) Make the most of those interactions you have while waiting in line, whether it be the food line, the wine line, the bathroom line, wherever you are, just do your best to make meaningful connections. Some of my favorite moments were spent in lines.

7) Don’t just talk blog talk. I mean I get that we are there to promote ourselves, we are our brand, but you know what, promoting yourself, also means being yourself. Not every single element of conversation has to be dominated by biz talk. Get to know people and who they are and what they are about, this really goes a long way. I felt like I had many meaningful conversations and I think I will stay connected with these folks for a very long time!

8) Put yourself out there. This was sometimes the most challenging part for my introverted self. But, honestly, just do it, you won’t be sorry. I don’t mean for you to meet as many people as you possibly can, I mean open yourself up to conversations with as many as that feels right to you. I personally preferred meeting fewer people and having longer and more meaningful conversations that is why I left feeling successful. I also opened myself up to feedback and constructive advice. This can be tough, but grin and bear it and your blog will thank you later.

9) Plan to arrive early. ALT is for a couple of days, but if I had known there were earlier classes, I would have scheduled to arrive sooner. I would recommend coming in at least a day earlier to get settled and to explore. I had the day after to explore, but I was SO exhausted that all I wanted to do was catch up on some TV, get Thai take out and find a wine shop!

10) TAKE NOTES! Nuff said on that topic.

11) Try and stay at the hotel. I found a place on airbnb that I loved, but I would have much preferred to have been onsite with easier access to a relaxation zone.

12) Go the hardest that first night at the sponsor dinner. This is where I made most of my new friends. This was a more intimate affair and allows for easier conversation. You will see all of these individuals the remainder of your time there and it’s so fun to catch up with each of them over the next several days.

13) Set goals for yourself. My goal was to learn as much as I could, make a couple new friends, and not go home with any regrets. I can say I accomplished all of those. Make your goals as small or lofty as you want, but just make some goals, it helps guide your experience. I met a lot of my learning goals during the break out sessions, definitely take advantage of that one on one time with a seriously talented blogger!

14) Follow Up with your new friends. I realize this was a part I sort of failed at, but it was so nice when some of my new friends reached out to me! Thank you to my new found blog friends, I so appreciate you!

15) Do an ALT post. You are feeling super hyped about your experience, might as well write about it!

OK, so I think my list could potentially keep on going, but I think I will stop here. I remember reading lists before I went and I sort of freaked myself out. But, I want to say that I made it through and as exhausting as it was, it was equally as exhilarating. Please take what I say with a grain of salt. I am just one person and by no means am I a voice for the entire experience, but a mere little sound bite on my personal road traveled. I hope to return and I hope I will get to meet you there next year!

{Cover Photo Courtesy of Justin Hackworth, Brooke Dennis and ALT Summit}

2 thoughts on “Just another ALT Summit Re-Cap from a Newbie

  1. Love this! I’m very excited to be headed to ALT for the first time in June. These are all great tips and exactly what I was looking for. Maybe I’ll see you there ;)

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