When it comes to many conventions and conferences—even really great ones—there is often something missing: women. Creative women are often relegated to “Women in Comics” panels and left off of the main stage. The founder of the Creative Women’s Conference, David Doub, recently gave a wonderful breakdown of the problem in an article for BleedingCool. The irony of a man founding the Creative Women’s Conference isn’t lost on me, but the reality of the event more than makes up for any theoretical disconnect. Put simply, the Creative Women’s Conference aims to offer advice, guidance, and networking opportunities for women (particularly young women) already undertaking creative endeavors and needing help or those looking to break into some aspect of the creative world.

In its second year, the Creative Women’s Conference remained in its Denton home at the North Branch Library. Having worked in Denton for more than a decade, seeing a place I consider home host such a wonderful event does my heart good. I have been lucky enough to be part of the process almost from the beginning, tapped by Halo Sama of Shonuff Studios to take part in the planning and promotion of the first conference last year.  

Creative Women's Conference_Samantha Newark_Voice of Jem

Samantha Newark, voice of Jem.

Thanks to a generous donation from Collected, the Creative Women’s Conference managed to bring in not only local talent but also invite Samantha Newark, best known as the voice of Jem, to be one of our headliners. Talented representatives from all walks of life peppered the schedule and the creator’s alley: writers, crafters, artists, media personalities, designers, musicians, plus more (and some who are all of the above). We tried to bring in as many different types of women in the most varied creative fields possible.

I personally presented as part of two panels. The first blew me away with heavy attendance and a beautifully engaged audience. Along with Emily Willis from Arbitrary Muse, I used my own background in social media management and creative networking to help give structure for people just starting into the world of social media. The response from the audience was phenomenal. Though the audience for the second panel, which I co-hosted with Becky Heath of Irish Coffee Studio and which focused on making time for creativity while parenting, was smaller, they remained engaged and questioning and even chimed in to advise one another.

Talking to the attendees, both during the panels and later when I returned to my table (I had a presence there for my own small business, Wilde Designs), really brought home why we were all there. I spoke to women and men, ranging in age from children to senior citizens, and everyone was there for a single reason: their passion. They loved what they did, whether it was cross stitching or writing children’s books, and they wanted to share it. The Creative Women’s Conference brought us all together to talk about what we loved, why we loved it, and how we could help one another. It gives voice to a group that desperately needs it, and I hope to be a part of the event as long as they’re willing to have me.

To watch interviews from the 2015 Creative Women’s Conference, click here.