In my 20’s I had the opportunity to speak at several design conferences. As an introvert it was overwhelming, but 1000% worth every second of the stress leading up and the time it took to recover and recharge afterward. It was an incredible experience, and I met designers who I’m still friends with and talk to regularly a decade later.
When my health began to fail due to MCTD, work travel became an impossibility. I have taken one vacation in 4 years. I had to build in 3 days during the vacation to recover my health after travel to the destination, and then an additional week after the trip to recover my health when we arrived home. Major hits to my health negatively impact my organs and central nervous system, in addition to triggering flu like symptoms and limited mobility.
For a single vacation to fulfill a promise I was willing to risk it, but work travel is not possible due to not being able to schedule the days my health tanks during the trip (crashing the day I’m presenting/meeting with clients obviously defeats the purpose). I assumed that I’d never have the opportunity to speak at a conference again as a result—it was heartbreaking.
Enter stage left the absolutely incredible Stephen Gates. I am exceptionally fortunate to call him my mentor, advocate, and friend. He reached out to me to ask if I’d be interested in speaking at the HOW Design Live Conference in Boston in May of this year.
I was initially confused since he is aware of my health situation and inability to travel, then I got to the end of the message where he explained that he’d talked to the conference organizers and if my talk was chosen, he’d arranged for them to broadcast the presentation to attendees in a room equipped with video webcast equipment. I’d be able to give the talk and interact with attendees from my home. Honestly, I’m tearing up writing about it even now. THAT my friends, is true inclusivity.
Well, my session topic was selected and I’m incredibly excited to announce that I’ll be presenting at HOW Design Live May 7th as part of the design leadership track! If you’d like to join the fun, the team has given me a 10% off discount to share with friends in the industry. You can use this link to get the discount: https://pages.howdesignlive.com/howdesignlive_speaker-8j
Absolutely huge thanks to Stephen Gates and Amy Conover, the conference organizer, for making this dream that I thought was permanently in the rearview because of my health, a reality.
If you’re looking to sponsor or attend a conference this year, I can’t advocate for HOW Design Live enough. Inclusivity isn’t just a marketing buzzword for them, it’s a priority. ❤️