Monthly Archives: February 2013

My #140conf Experience – Part 3 of 3

When I was on stage I mentioned that I’ve been lucky to have had tons of great stuff happen, with over 18 million views how could it not? I said something along the lines of, “I’ve been featured in many media outlets, won many awards for being an entrepreneur… I’m still waiting for the Ellen Show to call! (which of course received a laugh).

After I got off stage and calmed down from the high I just experienced, including the love and hugs I received from everyone waiting in the lobby area for me, I was able to go on Twitter to see the tweets from people. And a heartwarming thing happened. A few people started Tweeting the Ellen Show saying they should have me as an inspirational guest on the show!

I was blown away by the people actively tweeting to the Ellen Show and their tweets being retweeted by others. It was heartwarming to see! Of course I’d love to be on the Ellen Show for personal and professional reasons. I LOVE Ellen (like many many many other people) and the exposure would be amazing BUT in all honesty those aren’t the main reasons why I’d want to be on the show. I would love to tell my story, to have people understand that one little person can make a huge difference in the world by sharing her passion. Whenever people ask me what I do I always say that I’m the owner of My Smart Hands, a baby signing company, but I don’t feel that does it justice. I want to say “I’m changing lives one video at a time” I want people to know that if we all decide to share and be open and kind to one another then the world will start to shift to existing more in the positive. If you affect just ONE person in a positive way then this world is getting better. If we all just touch ONE life in a meaningful way then life becomes better! And that should be enough… and that should be easy… just share who you are and see what happens!

I want to give a huge thank you to Artem Altman (@ArtemAltman), Steve Brogan (@SteveBrogan) and Diane Brogan (@DianeBrogan) for finding the Ellen Show link of how to submit an Inspirational Guest. I can’t express to you all enough how much it meant to me that you took the time to find the link and tweet it out. You all will be the first I tell if I ever do make it to the Ellen Show 😉

And of course a big thank you to all of the people in the pictures above who tweeted and retweeted. It honestly means the world to me!

I have since become good Twitter friends with Steve and Diane. I look forward to getting up in the morning and having our group hellos, good mornings and hugs.

Example Tweets of Love and Connection

A bunch of us from the conference want to keep the love going and we all will touch base on a daily basis. We don’t say much of anything other than ‘I’m thinking of you’. It’s lovely to be connected. Just after the conference when I showed one of my friends all the tweets going on about the Ellen show she said, “It’s cool that Chris Brogan’s parents are tweeting Ellen for you.” I said, “Who’s Chris Brogan?” To which I received a good ‘how can you be so clueless’ look from my friend. She did a quick search on google and showed me who he was (sorry Chris!! I’ve been in a mommy bubble for many years now) 😉

Yes, it is cool but I really could care less about Steve and Diane being the parents of someone famous. I am married to someone famous and we have many famous friends. That doesn’t make an impression on me. What did make an impression on me is how absolutely lovely these two people are and the authentic relationship were were developing. After the conference I went out for drinks with Tiffany LaBanca one night and she was telling me how she had bonded with them and that they’ve agreed to adopt her 😉 Steve and Diane are soon moving to Las Vegas and Tiffany got an invite to come stay with them. I jokingly tweeted with them asking if I could join Tiffany in Vegas too. Steve tweeted back “The more the merrier!” This statement goes to show the type of people Steve and Diane are. Visit their blog to get to know them more.

And further to the authentic relationship, I didn’t know what Tiffany did before we became friends. I liked her as a person and knew she and I would be friends forever. It wasn’t until we were out for drinks when she was asking me how I was spending my spare time in NYC (it was my first visit to NYC!!) I told her that I had just had a meeting with my publisher and the PR team that will be promoting my book that morning and they were talking about pitching me to all the big media: Fox, CNN, the Today’s Show, Ellen etc. Then Tiffany said to me, “Tell your PR person to email me and I can help her figure out the best people to contact at Fox.” I thought that was nice of her to offer, I said, “Thanks!” and then, “What do you do?” She replied, “I work for News Corporation.” Doh! I had no idea what she did for a living. And yes, I’m sure she’d be able to help point us in the right direction, which is great and beneficial. BUT our relationship was not built on ‘what you can do for me‘, it was build on ‘I love this person’s energy and want her in my life‘. It was authentic!

The word authenticity and being authentic is thrown around a lot when talking about social media. That word is the perfect word to describe all my friendships that have come out of the #140conf. My friendships are all authentic. I am not friends with them because of who they know or what they could do for me. I am friends with them because I like them as people. Our connections are authentic!

And now, my final comment on my #140conf experience. During the morning of day one I sat in the audience and listened to Andy Dixon (@AndyDixn) and his lovely wife Linda share their story. I specifically wanted to hear what they had to say. This is a must watch video – I will post it here once it’s online. Andy talked about “Felonism”. This is a word that he and Linda made up. This is a word that needs to be in our dictionary.
Definition:
Felonismis a prejudice against People with Felony convictions. Its a mind set that is against second chances.

On the second day of the conference I saw Andy standing out in the hall finishing up a conversation with someone. I had wanted to talk to him a number of times but he was always busy talking with different groups of people. Finally, he was alone in a hall and it was my chance to meet him and tell him that I have huge respect for him and the message he is sharing with the world.

The reason why Andy’s story touched me so much is because I’ve experienced ‘Felonism’ first hand. My brother spent most of his youth and adult life in jail. I wanted to share this story with Andy. I told him that I was always embarrassed to admit that I had a brother in jail because people would automatically assume – ‘white trash’. I didn’t want people to think poorly of me or my family. My brother’s choices were not mine but I was always judged having a brother who was incarcerated. We were two different people!

As I was telling my story to Andy tears began to well up in my eyes. As soon as Andy saw this his great big arms came up and enveloped me. He said, in his southern accent, “darling, you need a hug” and “it’s okay, it’s good to share”. At that moment I knew that Andy and I would be friends.

I finished telling him my story. My brother had a tough life. We were both adopted and came from different biological parents. I loved my brother very much and he loved me. He was always looking out for me. My father wasn’t a kind man and my brother would always make sure he took the ‘punishments’, sparing me at all costs. He grew to hate my father and turned to a life of crime to escape his life at home. He was 12 when he went into juvie (a detention center for youth). At 18 he went into a maximum security penitentiary for three years.

When my brother got out of jail he said to me, “Do you know what prison did for me? It made me a better criminal.” He didn’t feel that he was given any skills to help him adapt to ‘normal’ life. He was locked up for three years, was told when to eat, shower and go outside. Then when his time was up he was expected to go into society and function as the rest of us. But one very important thing was missing, job skills and the luxury of being ‘hireable’. You see, no one wanted to give him a chance. He was a criminal, he was bad. No one thought to ask what caused him to end up in jail, how did he get there and how could they help him now. No! he was now scarred. Yet he was expected to function in society like the rest of us. It was a joke.

My brother was incredibly intelligent, very handsome and super talented at music and art. He could have been something if he had just been given a chance. Instead, he ultimately gave up and took his own life. He could not face a life of constantly having to deal with Felonism anymore.

I ended my story to Andy by saying that I thank my brother for who I am today. I saw the choices he was making and I knew that I didn’t want to make those same choices. So a big thank you to Andy for the term Felonism (and for being my friend) and a thank you to my big brother for helping to make me the person I am today.

Please take the time to visit Andy’s website and follow him on Twitter.

My Wrap Up

I learned a lot during my two days at the #140conf. I am a better person for knowing all of the wonderful people I met in NYC. A big thank you to Jeff Pulver (@JeffPulver) for inviting me to speak at such a great event and for giving me the chance to make such amazing new friends!

The one piece of advice I can give you – be open, share your story, you just never know whose life you are going to touch.

All my love!
Laura

My #140conf Experience – Part 2 of 3

Day two of the conference was incredibly nerve-racking. It was my turn to be on stage and who was I following?!?! Deepak Chopra and his family! What’s to be nervous about?!Before the conference I made a new friend, Tiffany LaBanca (@TiffanyLaBanca). We had tweeted with each other a few times leading up to the conference and then ended up sitting beside one another on day one. I turned to this woman sitting next to me and we both had one of those ‘I know you’ moments. We quickly realized who we were and gave the appropriate squeal follow by a big hug. After only a few minutes I knew that we were meant to be friends. You can’t help but love her!

Laura & Tiffany

Tiffany had been tweeting with me the day before expressing her nervousness (she was due to speak in the morning of the second day). She asked me to come and be there for her. YES! of course I would come and lend moral support. That’s what friends do. I was planning on watching her online at home so that I wouldn’t have to be in the auditorium all day getting more and more nervous, but she asked me to be there and I certainly wasn’t going to let her down. I was a proud supporter sitting in the audience bright and early to see her talk. I made sure to DM (direct message her for those who aren’t familiar with Twitter) and told her I was there cheering her on. She came on staged and rock it. I’ll add her video here once it’s up online.

After her talk I ran out to meet her in the lobby and give her a big congratulatory hug. I expressed my nervousness and she assured me that she would be there for me in the audience cheering me on. Phew! I knew that it was important to gather all my friends in the auditorium when I went on so that I wouldn’t be too nervous on stage.

Later that morning, right before lunch, Liz Nead (@LizNead) went on stage. I had the pleasure of meeting Liz two nights prior to this at the VIP party. This firecracker of a woman came up to a group of us and loudly asked if we knew where the washroom was. It was clear she desperately need the washroom and requested such information with the biggest, most beautiful smile you have ever seen. We gave her directions to the facilities and then didn’t have the pleasure of seeing her again until the next day.

Liz, Jeff and Me

The next day I ran into Liz again… in the washroom, I kid you not. Clearly we were meant to be girlfriends seeing that our relationship was forming in the washroom…. something women tend to visit a lot together. She was just as loud and outgoing this second meeting, I knew she was someone I must have in my life. Then seeing her talk on stage sealed the deal, she and I would DEFINITELY be friends. I will post Liz’s talk here once it’s online. Her talk made me laugh out loud. My sides were hurting after she was done. It helped to calm me, I totally forgot about being nervous as I was swept away into her story. She is a funny, firecracker of a woman. And like Tiffany we became fast friends.

Two other great people I had the pleasure of meeting at the VIP party were Trefor Munn-Venn (TreforMV) and Travis Allison (@zoic). My girlfriend Leesa Butler (@theFlist) ,who drove down from Toronto with me for the conference, and I were talking about what her job should be when I was on stage. Should she tweet, video or take pictures… a lot of pressure to figure out what I wanted her to do. Just then Trefor pipes up and says, “Don’t worry about pictures, we have it covered! Travis will be sure to take pictures of you on stage.” Travis came to the conference armed with his camera that has a lens on it that was half as long as my arm. It was nice to know that I’d have someone take care of capturing pictures! Jeff was having the conference taped so we knew Leesa’s only job was to tweet for me! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this conference was full of amazing people who wanted to do nothing but be supportive of you and Trefor and Travis were lovely. I was glad to get to know them over the course of the two days. See Travis’s pictures at the bottom of the post and visit his website for more great pictures of the conference!

 

Steve and Me - My calming force in the green room

When it was time for me to go to the green room I quickly grabbed my friend Steve (@StephenWelton) and asked him to be my moral support back stage. I was starting to feel the butterflies have a party in my stomach. I’m normally not nervous when I go on stage, I have spoken in front of many many many audiences before. But for some reason, going on stage in NYC after Deepak Chopra was making me incredibly nervous. Steve could sense my nervousness and he said the most comforting thing: “It doesn’t matter that you are on stage directly after Deepak Chopra, each moment is an isolated moment and THAT moment will be yours.” Great advice! During my 45 minute wait in the green room Steve was able to keep me calm, make me laugh and give me comforting advice on how to rock the stage. So thank you Steve!

When I got back stage and was able to meet Deepak Chopra. This was a huge highlight of my time at the conference.

 

Introducing myself to Deepak Chopra

Deepak and Laura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it was my time to go on stage, Julia Rosien (@JuliaRosien), a lovely woman who has since became my friend, introduced me. It was lovely walking out on stage to a big hug from a woman I know and respect. Things are starting off great! I begin to tell my story (I’ll add the link to the video once it’s up online). I talk about my business and how it got started. I talked about having over 18 million views on You Tube and the lives I’ve been able to touch as a result of that exposure online. I read an email I received from a mom with a non-verbal, autistic child who I’ve managed to touch in a meaningful way (see part 1). After reading the email I received a huge cheer from the audience. Life was good and nerves were settled. I was supported on stage by not only my friends in the audience but by the whole audience! I ended my talk with a quote I live by “If you do nothing, nothing happens”. We as people need to make a choice to do SOMETHING, to share our lives, our passions, our interests with one another. If each one of us makes an impact in just one life then the world will become a better place. The only way we can do that is to be open, to share and to be caring to one another. There was a whole lot of caring, sharing and openness at the conference and I was lucky to be a part of it!

My talk was over! People cheer and Amanda Greene (@LAlupusLady) ran up to the stage to give me the ASL ‘I Love You’ sign. I went out to the lobby to hugs and congratulations.

Life was good! I did it!

Part 3 to come… What happened next and all the amazing people I met.

Photo Credit: Travis Allison, SocialCatalyst.ca

My #140conf Experience – Part 1 of 3

If you haven’t heard of the #140conf you must check it out State Of Now

Jeff Pulver (@JeffPulver) is the man to put on this amazing conference. There are other#140 conferences put on in different parts of the world that I’m sure area all equally amazing.

I meet Jeff at a BlissDom conference in October of 2011. We were sitting on a panel discussing viral videos. My You Tube channel is in the top 40 most viewed of all times in Canada. I have one video with nearly 4 million views (my YT total upload views is almost 19 million). My main point of the talk was that it doesn’t matter if you make a video that goes viral, what matters is if the video is authentic to your brand or voice and if you are able to touch people in some way with that video. I told a story of how I received an email from a mom with a non-verbal autistic child.

Hi Laura and Fireese!I wanted to let you know how much you’ve helped me with my son. He is an autistic child who was born tongue-tied, and has a hard time forming our everyday sounds. Life was extremely frustrating with a child who couldn’t speak intelligibly, it had my husband and I at our wit’s end. One day in September 2007, I was browsing the Internet, when I came across the video of Fireese at 12 months old, doing all these signs! I called him over and together we watched the video several times. He LOVED it! Within 45 minutes, my son was able to start communicating with me like never before! I could understand him when he needed a drink, or a diaper change, or his favorite toy.I realize that you may not know this but you and your beautiful daughter are angels to me! I don’t know where we’d be today if we hadn’t found your video online. Thank you so much for taking the time to put it up and share it. I will always appreciate it!

 

I sat at my computer reading this email and bawled my eyes out. I was amazed that my little video could have such a meaningful impact on someone’s life. I then changed my way of thinking about the videos I was posting online. At this same conference, after I told my story, I had a mom stand up and take the mic and share her story of how my videos helped her and her speech delayed son. She started crying, I was crying and the whole room started crying. It was a very touching moment. After that Jeff asked me to be a speaker in NYC at the #140conf. I, gladly, accepted!

I had no idea what to expect at this conference. I just knew that it was going to be amazing. I was so excited to be on stage with hundreds of other amazing speakers. Speakers like Carlos Delgado and Deepak Chopra. Little did I know the amazing love and support I would receive from all the other speakers and attendees of the conference.

I met and became friends with so many incredibly people. I want to share my experience with you. And if you ever get a chance to attend a #140conf GO!

Jessey, Kedre, Me and Steve in NYC!

Four people who touched me in an incredible way are Scott Mills (@graffitibmxcop), Steve Welton (@stephenwelton), Kedre Browne (@BubzArt) and Jessey Pacho (@ArtofPhade). I first meet Scott who is a cop that works with graffiti artists. Hearing his story and what he does is incredible. He has a huge heart and is one of the truly good guys. When you talk to him you can feel his energy and passion for what he does. I then met Kedre and Jessey at a #140 meetup and fell instantly in love with them. They are young men who are amazing graffiti artists and they could have chosen a different path but instead they chose to work with the police to better the world and help youth. These young men are amazing role models with the biggest hearts (and smiles) you’ve ever seen. And Steve is a cop from Hamilton Ontario who exudes energy and positiveness. You can’t help talk to Steve and end up with a huge smile on your face. Kedre and Jessey were speakers at the #140conf in NYC along with Anne Marie Batten (@AnneMarieBatten) an amazing woman who works with the homeless. She has a big heart and our world is lucky to have someone like her in it making it better.

I was disappointed when I saw the schedule and found out they would be speaking at 4:25 on the first day of the conference. I had booked a meeting with Penguin, my publishers, for 3pm that day and they told me the meeting would be about an hour and they were about 45 minutes away from the 92Y. I knew I wanted to be there for Kedre and Jessey in the audience. They didn’t ask me to be there, and they certainly weren’t nervous, they had spoke at the conference the year before. But it was important to me that I was there. I asked my publisher if I could move the meeting. I knew this would be hard because four people had booked me in for this meeting and we would have to get four people to quickly change their schedules just for me. I told them exactly why I want to move the meeting and I was told that they would try but there were no guarantees. At 2pm just when I was thinking I had to leave to go to my meeting my amazing publisher (Thanks Marisa!) called to tell me they’ve rescheduled the meeting for Thursday. I could stay! I was so excited!

This seemed to the theme of the conference, support. I wanted to be there, in the audience, to support my new friends. I was glad I was able to stay. The boys came across incredibly well, their message was wonderful and the work they do is inspirational. I’ll post their video here once it’s up online.

In theory none of us should have ended up as friends. I’m a baby signing mama and they are young graffiti artists and yet thanks to the #140conf I now call them friends. If they needed anything I would drop what I was doing to go and support them. My life is richer having them as friends. Check out their work and what they do. Follow them on Twitter, they are all lovely people.

The day wrapped up with a screening of the screening of the movie Twittamentary. It was an interesting movie that showed the impact Twitter has had on real lives.

On to day two… the day I give my talk… gulp!