Impressions from the WINPL Conference
The goal of the Women in Nonprofit Leadership Conference is to bring together women leaders and aspiring women leaders of nonprofits to engage in discussions about relevant issues and foster meaningful relationships that last beyond the event.
I had the pleasure of attending the conference and speaking with a few attendees, sponsors, and panelists at the conference.
To learn more about WINPL or attend next year’s conference, visit WINPL.org.
Keep reading to learn more about the conference and my impressions from the conference.
I am Ryan Martin, the founder and owner of Luxe Podcast Production. Luxe was a media partner at WINPL 2019 alongside my friend and colleague Erick Jusino and his media organization, Semilla Media. I spoke to a few women (and men) who attended the conference as speakers, panelists, and sponsors and collected their stories and released them as short podcast episodes.
I arrived at the conference about 30 minutes after the doors opened. It was a very humid day and I was wearing a full suit and carried my equipment from the Girard stop on the El to the Fillmore.
The conference workers checking people in were very friendly and I was able to enter right away. I was greeted by Collie Turner, the Chief Inspiration Officer at TAPP Network, one of the host sponsors of WINPL. She set me up with a vendor table and I put down my equipment and started setting up. (Collie is a whirlwind of energy and she is the one who asked Luxe to participate in the conference)
I immediately set up my Zoom H6 (audio recorder) and gimbal (an image stabilizer) to start recording the event. I left the Zoom H6 on the vendor table to record some ambient audio and placed my iPhone X in my gimbal and started recording some video from the event. (Videos are coming soon)
The conference was a wonderful experience. Everyone I spoke to agreed (as you’ll hear in the interviews we collected). Because it was held at the Fillmore, it felt a lot less stuffy than many other conferences do. As you know, if you’ve attended many conferences, many of them are held a bland section of a hotel complete with ugly pattern carpet.
If you’ve never been to the Fillmore, it is an absolutely beautiful venue and a real authentic Philadelphia staple. (See photos from the venue)
The way the conference was laid out was genius. The main conference area, including where lunch was served, was held in The Music Hall, a large, open area with many round-tables set up for attendees. The stage was at the front of the room, where all of the panelists were seated.
Ajax Hall, located between the main venue entrance and The Music Hall was where all of the vendor booths and networking tables were set up. During breaks, this is where most people would gather and discuss the panel that just ended with fellow attendees, grab an orange juice from the bar, and to visit the sponsors at the conference.
The conference was also paced very well. The doors opened at 7:30 am and there was time for registration, breakfast, and networking. At 8:30 am, the opening remarks were made by Jennifer Alleva (Managing partner of Your Part-Time Controller, a host sponsor of the conference) followed directly by the opening keynote speech was made by Sue Fulton, who is the Chair and Chief Administrator of NJ’s Motor Vehicle Commission.
At 9:30 am, there was a 15-minute sponsor and networking break.
The first panel discussion started at 9:45 am and was held in The Music Hall. It focused on actionable fundraising strategies and lasted until 10:30 am — at that time, there was yet another sponsor and networking break.
At 11 am, the conference broke into two workshops. One titled Speak Your Truth: Telling Your personal and Organizational Story. The other was Diversity on Your Board: Building a Board That Reflects The Communities You Serve. (Ebony Staton-Weidman, who I spoke to, was a panelist).
At 12 pm, there was lunch and another workshop entitled Building Coalitions and Partnerships. At 1:30 pm, Deesha Dyer an Executive at the Ford Foundation & member of the Board of Directors for MNDFL Ed and SIECUS delivered the closing key-note.
Then, at 2:15 pm, Jennifer Alleva delivered the closing remarks and the conference ended.
Despite the conference ending at 2:15, some attendees stuck around until around 3 pm to continue networking and speaking about their experience.
Everyone I spoke to said that while the panels and workshops were very interesting and valuable — the best part of the conference was the built-in networking breaks. This allowed the attendees to not only network, but distill the information they learned from the conference in real-time, adding an additional layer to the learning process.
While I was unable to sit in on any of the panels, I was able to speak with some amazing women (and men) who really gave great insight into why they attended the conference and what they learned.
Myself and Erick had an amazing time and I can’t wait to see what WINPL has planned for 2020!