2015 Food Bloggers of Canada Conference Thoughts

This past weekend I was blessed to be in Montreal to attend my second Food Bloggers of Canada conference.  It definitely was a different experience for me as this year I was lucky enough to be on the volunteer crew.  Some may not consider that lucky but I did.  I love being behind the scenes and helping others enjoy their experience.

So here are my thoughts.  Just like last year I am going to split my posts, this week will be the words as they are burning in the front of my mind and need to be written down.  This will be a long post because there was a lot to digest for me.  Next week will be the photos of the food and fun.

Because my life has pretty much been in upheaval for the last month I hadn’t really given much thought to the conference, to be honest.  It was always there in the future but I couldn’t quite focus on it because of all of the things I needed to do before I got there.  I knew where I needed to be, I knew I was going to be fed, and I knew I was going to have a pillow under my head at the end of the day.  Other than that I was ready to work and that was all that mattered to me.

And then the day came, I was on my flight to Montreal.  It was a very early day so I made sure to sleep as much as I could on the plane to prepare me for the upcoming day.  And I’m glad I did because we were working right away, as soon as we got to the hotel.  That day is like a flash to me.  Making new friends and getting to know each other while stuffing bag after bag with all that amazing swag.  It’s a blur of burlap and books and lots of lifting.  Then in the evening we shared a meal together and enjoyed each other’s company in the quiet before the storm.

Selection of plates from The GaZette in the Westin Hotel Montreal.  On the left is Albacore Tuna, pea puree, kimchi, marinated fennel, soy reduction.  Top right is Gnocchi Carbonara with lobster, green peas, parmesan, quail egg and truffles.  Bottom right is Beets, coppa, figs, pumpkin seeds, goat cheese, watercress, smoked bread croutons with honey vinaigrette.

Selection of plates from The GaZette in the Westin Hotel Montreal. On the left is Albacore Tuna, pea puree, kimchi, marinated fennel, soy reduction. Top right is Gnocchi Carbonara with lobster, green peas, parmesan, quail egg and truffles. Bottom right is Beets, coppa, figs, pumpkin seeds, goat cheese, watercress, smoked bread croutons with honey vinaigrette.

The next day was similar in fashion as we got ready for arrivals and workshops.  There was lots of lifting and lugging of swag bags and props.  In fact before most of you picked up your swag bags my Fitbit was buzzing at 10,000 steps at 2:30 pm.  Between the first two days of physical labour and the last two days of sight seeing my Fitbit was very happy with me.  I think it funny that I may have been the only food blogger at this conference that actually lost weight!

And then we were there, it was Friday night cocktails, show time.  The rest of the conference just flew by after that.  So instead of walking you through everything blow-by-blow I just wanted to talk about the lasting impressions.  Last year my post was about three words.  The take away from this year is three thoughts.

The Maple Leaf Cocktail at the FBC2015 Opening Gala Cocktail Reception.

The Maple Leaf Cocktail at the FBC 2015 Opening Gala Cocktail Reception.

We are all going to be talking about Taking the Leap, of course, because that was the theme that Melissa and Ethan set-out for the conference.  What was definitely defined was that those leaps will be different for each of us.  Some of us may be on the verge of those life defining leaps and some of us may be on just a little bunny hop.  Whatever it is, jump, move forward, challenge yourself to take the next step.

I loved that Ethan and Melissa asked us all to write down a goal we could achieve in two months and stick it in an envelope with our address on it.  It will be interesting to see how that works out for everyone when they are mailed in the new year.  I thought it was a brilliant and totally non-threatening way to set a goal for yourself. I mean, who’s going to keep you accountable more than, well you.  I hope everyone took the opportunity to do their homework and fill out that goal.

The second theme is one that I talked about last year but I think it really is what these conferences are all about anyway and that is connection.  This year is no exception.  It was my great joy to meet up with some friends that I made last year and spend time with them.  That even applies to friends from my own city.  We are always so busy with what we are doing that we don’t get a chance to sit down and actually talk to each other.  I also made a couple of new friends and really found out about them and what makes them tick.  All of these connections are so valuable to me.

Finally getting to see my friend Nicole from Culinary Cool again.  These connections are so important.

Finally getting to see my friend Nicole from Culinary Cool again. These connections are so important.

But what is really important this year is how we take all these connections and work together.  We all have a place in this crazy blogosphere world we are in and we all bring something different to the table.  How do we support each other to make us all stronger?  What does that look like in your city, province and country?  Melissa and Ethan have helped us out and given us this community to talk about it.  Now how do we carry that forward?

So I know this post is already really long but I wanted to talk about one more thing.  On the last day, the very last session, I received my definition of purpose, at least for the next little while.  In a session talking about moving from a hobby blogger to a professional blogger Ayngelina Brogan said it is ok to be a hobby blogger.  Then it hit me, that is where I am and it is ok that that is where I am.  That session combined with all the others made me think though.  Ok, I am hobby blogger but I am going to be the best hobby blogger I can be.  Put your best forward, even if it is your hobby, be professional.  Such good advice.

Again, I want to say thank you to Melissa and Ethan for putting on a stellar conference.  Le Westin was amazing and there was so much thought and detail put into everything.  Thank you to all of the sponsors.  Without them none of what we did in Montreal would be possible.  The speakers and sessions were inspiring, all of them. Even though Casey probably blew everyone’s minds talking about SEO he fit right in and gave us so much to think about.  So thank you all.  A special thank you to Beth, Sondi, Christina, Ariel, Sandra and Shauna, our team.  In the quiet moments it was special to learn about you and your kids or dogs or wherever you are in life.  And of course all of you participants, it was so fun to see your enthusiasm and smiles every day.  Ok, the gush fest is over but I needed to say all that.

So now that I have that out of the way stay tuned next week for some more photos of food and Montreal.  I had a quick flip through and I don’t have too many but what I have I am going to share with you.

The Calgary crew that was at FBC 2015.  Ginni from the Spicy Eggplant, she just moved to Toronto last month but we still consider her from Calgary. Bernice from Dish'n'the Kitchen, Fareen from Food Mama, Merry from Merry About Town and of course me.  It was great to get to spend time with all of these Ladies.

The Calgary crew that was at FBC 2015. Ginni from the Spicy Eggplant, she just moved to Toronto last month but we still consider her from Calgary. Bernice from Dish’n’the Kitchen, Fareen from Food Mama, Merry from Merry About Town and of course me. It was great to get to spend time with all of these Ladies.

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18 thoughts on “2015 Food Bloggers of Canada Conference Thoughts

  1. Your turn to make me tear up a bit! I’m so glad you got out of the weekend everything we hoped you would and thank you again for all your help – we are only as good as the team we have behind us and you guys knocked it out of the park! xo

  2. Great post Heather! and I like that ‘definition of purpose’…something to always think about whether you are blogging or not.
    Totally agree that all the planning Melissa and Ethan did made the conference seem absolutely seamless They covered all their bases and had a great team of volunteers to support them.

  3. It was soooo wonderful to see you again! I think I’ll have to make my way out to Calgary soon, and we can all get together for a visit!!
    I agree that Melissa and Ethan did a fabulous job of the conference, and I can’t wait for next year in Toronto!!

  4. Great article Heather!! A great recap for those who didn’t attend the entire conference. Sounds like it was a busy time for you with the move, did you say you move to Toronto? It was my 1st time attending this conference and was only able to go to the Sunday session, but it was great learning experience. I wish I was able to go to the Saturday session as well and I can’t wait for next year in Toronto since I live in Toronto so I’m definitely attending to both sessions this time. Also agree that both Melissa and Ethan did a fabulous job hosting this amazing conference!!

    • Thanks so much. Actually, it was my friend Ginni that just moved to Toronto from Calgary but I have had other things going on.

      I’m so glad you got to go to the conference even if for one day. I really think these conferences are so valuable on many different levels. I’m really hoping to go next year so hopefully I will see you there!

      • Hi Heather,

        Oops sorry about that, maybe I was also reading her blog on the conference as well.

        I agree with you, it was very inspiring and a great learning experience for me even if I went for one day. Yes I’m definitely planning to go next year as it is hosted in my city in Toronto so that’s exciting. I hope to see you there too. I look forward to reading more of your blog.

  5. Pingback: FBC2015 – A Recap | Food Bloggers of Canada

  6. Hi Heather,

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience volunteering at this conference. I was wondering if you can share with me how you found the opportunity to volunteer and if you can recommend what I should do to put my name out there as a volunteer?

    • Hi Nancy,

      Thanks for visiting my space!

      Getting the opportunity to volunteer for the conference was very much like pitching any ideas, or looking for a job. Before I even reached out to the organizers I put together all my qualifications and what I could offer. I then put them together in an email and proofed it 5 times! After I emailed Melissa and Ethan I waited on pins and needles. Then I got an email back saying I would go on the list. It wasn’t a guarantee but I was lucky and they asked me to participate.

      This is not for everyone. It’s a lot of hard, physical work but I was very thankful to be involved. It came at a time in my life where I needed the work and the connection.

      • Hi Heather,

        Thank you so much for the informative response! This is very helpful and gives me a good idea on how to approach this. I actually googled “Food bloggers of Canada volunteer” and landed on your page after seeing that there is no official volunteer page at the conference.

        Your tips and advice are greatly appreciated as I am still very new to the blogging world and wrapping my head around next steps.

        Thank you again,

        Nancy

      • It’s my pleasure Nancy. Because blogging is my hobby I’m not as active as others in our community. BUT, I am glad to help out wherever I can. I look forward to reading what you’re up to too!

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