5 Lessons Learned From BlogHer18 Health (And Why You Should Attend the Next One)

On Jan. 30-31 at Tribeca 360 in New York City, nearly 1000 content creators, bloggers, social media influencers, entrepreneurs, brand executives, and thought leaders in the health and wellness space attended #Blogher18, SheKnows Media’s first-ever event focused specifically on women’s health. The Blogher Health conference featured a wide range of highly regarded experts on stage, including: Chelsea Clinton, Latham Thomas, Arianna Huffington, Julianne Hough, Jillian Michaels, Camila Alves McConaughey, Nitika Chopra, Jessamyn Stanley, Yasmeen Hassan, and more.

And I was there.

I needed an event to jumpstart my 2018. I just re-launched and re-branded The Fervency as a platform for xennial and Generation X women of color. I hoped Blogher18 Health would give this content creator what I needed to inform, inspire, and ignite (hello, that's the Fervency tagline) to build a healthier world. Also, I was officially kicked out (depending on who is asking) of checking the millennial box and I wanted to surround myself with other women at an event that wasn't completely millennial-focused.


Here are five lessons I learned from the event:

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” - Wendy Mass

You never know someone's struggle simply by looking at them. Julianne Hough opened Day Two of #BlogHer18 Health with a #LearnFromHer keynote discussion on her journey with endometriosis. She was so down-to-earth and positive. The Tribeca 360 space was beautiful but the event was overcrowded so I spent her keynote standing in the back. You can watch her speak below:

One panel that really stood out was the #LifeUnfiltered panel with Jordan Younger, Mercedes Matz, Nitika Chopra (who I actually went to high school with!), and Charreah Jackson. This panel discussion featured an honest, unabashed discussion about living with various skin disorders and chronic conditions in a 24/7 Instagrammable world. The women shared how they don't let their health conditions define them and how to set your own standards of beauty. The Balanced Blonde shared this gem: “You can evolve. You can change. People will get on board. You may lose people but that’s ok.” This came right on time for me!

"When we're talking about diversity, it's not a box to check. It is a reality that should be deeply felt and held and valued by all of us." - Ava DuVernay

Diversity was major theme in the Blogher18 Health conference as it should be. Women comprise 100% of all speaker roles at #BlogHer18 Health. Women of color comprise 42% of keynote speakers and 41% of all breakout session speakers. This diversity builds on a commitment made by the founders of BlogHer 14 years ago. I was excited to be in a room of diverse, powerful, and insightful change-makers. I spoke with women from many backgrounds, and it was so fulfilling.

“And that is how change happens. One gesture. One person. One moment at a time.” ― Libba Bray

During the Voices of the Year Awards celebration, I learned change happens, and all it takes is one act. All of the honorees helped make 2017 a revolutionary year for women, including Chelsea Clinton; the Women’s March Global founders, Bob Bland, Carmen Perez, Linda Sarsour and Tamika Malloy; Tarana Burke who started the MeToo movement; Krista Suh, the founder The Pussyhat Project; and Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, who broke the Harvey Weinstein story in The New York Times. 

"Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort. " – Deborah Day

From a meditation led by Latham Thomas (which provided this woman with a much-needed re-centering) to panels, keynotes, and sponsors addressing self-care needs, self-care was paramount at Blogher18 Health. I enjoyed the Dove and Vagisil sponsor booths with their powerful messaging. Sponsors also participated in social good--each social share with the #NatureUp hashtag generated a product donation to Dress for Success New York from Tom's of Maine. There was healthy eats, including a pizza break, but the buffet lunch had ma-jah lines. Nonetheless we were nourished well on all accounts.

“I used to want the words ‘She tried’ on my tombstone. Now I want ‘She did it.'” – Katherine Dunham

I gained so many insights from the speakers and attendees. These women that are just going for it! Jillian Michaels and Camila Alves McConaughey were so candid on why they work so hard and what inspires them (their kids) and that resonated with my own inspiration (my sons). There were so many relatable moments for me. So many a-ha moments.

I've heard Arianna Huffington speak before but what she spoke at the closing keynote gave me life. I needed this not-so-gentle nudge to go harder but smarter; making sure I take care of myself first and foremost.

Be still my heart. S-hero @ariannahuff takes the stage to discuss creating a life of well-being, wisdom and wonder. #Blogher18#WinningWomenpic.twitter.com/2cTF7i8v9y

— Aliah Davis-McHenry (@AliahPR) January 31, 2018

You can watch Arianna Huffington's closing keynote in its entirety below:

I learned a lot. About myself. About powerful health and wellness influencers thriving in this ever-changing digital landscape. About passionate activists fighting for what's right against the patriarchy. I left inspired and invigorated! And despite the mishap of having a VIP ticket with no meet and greet  opportunity with speakers, SheKnows President Samantha Skey personally emailed VIP attendees to rectify the situation. Blogher18 Health was such a good experience that I plan on attending this summer's Blogher Creator Summit.

What conferences have you attended so far this year? What conferences do you plan on attending?