Three Things I Learned at the Exceptional Women in Publishing Conference

Yesterday, I was down in San Francisco talking about Bitch at the Exceptional Women in Publishing's Fifth Annual Women's Leadership Conference. That's right, exceptional!

We were thrilled to learn so much from other like-minded women with passion for media and be a part of the panel discussing  Best Practices in Social Media with Twitter Editorial Director Karen Wickre, VegNews Associate Publisher Colleen Holland, Google Wildfire Social Media Manager Maya Grinberg, and Maker Media Senior Editor Goli Mohammadi.

Here are three big things I learned at the exceptional conference.

1. If you want to meet a stranger, stare them directly in the eyes while asking personal questions.  The day started with an exercise led by a group called Social Fluency. Everyone had to find a stranger, stand one foot away from each other, and stare into each other's eyes for five straight minutes while asking questions like, "What are you passionate about?" I was not excited at all when they announced the exercise, but it worked! Dozens of women who began as mildly enthusiastic networkers ended the day buzzing. Clearly, Social Fluency is on to something, no matter how awkward those first few minutes were.  

2. Want to make a conference media interesting? Make sure it includes all kinds of media. This conference involved women of all ages and career backgrounds.  Participants ranged from Berkeley School of Journalism graduate students to corporate CEO's like Deanna Brown and the organizations were across the board, from independent media groups like Bitch and VegNews to TimeWarner types like Sunset magazine. The big outlets can learn a lot from the small ones and we are always hungry for great ideas.

3. A great way to explain feminism: "Feminism is the notion that women are people." That's from Rose Aguilar's fantastic keynote address.  The speech also included this tidbit: "Is it progress when women are in positions of power but don't speak out on social and feminist issues?" Now let's make sure word spreads to women like Katy Perry!

Kate Lesniak is the publisher at Bitch Media.

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