I went to BlogHer for the first time this summer and I really had no idea what to expect. I’d heard it compared to Spring Break for Moms and read posts about how BlogHer has changed women’s lives…or at least their careers. While neither of these things endeared the event to me, I do love learning.  When Ford offered up the opportunity to go, I jumped at it. I’m so happy I did. Here are a few things that stayed with me:

5. You should be sponsored. I’ve never been to a conference before where so many people were sponsored to attend. It really has me thinking about the next event I organize. I’d love to connect attendees directly with sponsors to build some long term relationships. I also really need to work harder at getting some stuff like I know smart people sponsored. Alas, there are only so many hours in a day. ps I was sponsored by Ford Canada. Yes, they deserve serious love for their pumped up social media outreach.

4. Working 9 to 5 is so last year. I didn’t meet a single person who answered “what do you do?” by spewing out a job title. BlogHer is an international convention for over-achievers. Everyone seemed to have several projects on the go, at least one book published and an overwhelming amount of adorable photos of their children. I couldn’t help but feel like I should be accomplishing a great deal more as I have zero children and nothing but time on my hands.

3. Don’t assume you know everything. This is a jerk thing to say, but I know you are thinking it too: What can a bunch of mommy bloggers teach *me* about the Internet? Big mistake. I use blogging, community building and social outreach as tools to promote businesses and organizations. For these women, those things are the business. It seems like a small difference, but hearing how they use, present and take advantage of each tool was really valuable.

2. Work harder than the person next to you. So obvious it hurts, right? Don’t just send out a pitch, include research on previous campaigns the company has run to show you know what you are talking about. Don’t just build a community online; get people to come together in real life. Think about next year right now. Write, publish, write, publish, write, publish. Spell check often.

1. You don’t have to be a bitch to make it to the top. Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo’s CEO taught us about the 5 Cs of a successful leader: Competency, Courage & Confidence, Communication Skills, Consistency and Compass (integrity is critical). You’ll notice which C word she didn’t list in there. Listening to someone in such a powerful position seamlessly go back and forth between talking about her passion for business and her love for her family was inspiring. It’s a good reminder that you don’t have to choose between the two.

Bonus: Indra Nooyi shared with everyone that she drinks a can of regular Pepsi every day and her favourite snack are Kettle Chips warmed in the microwave for 15 seconds. Snack tips from CEOs (if that isn’t a website already, the Internet is doing something wrong).