It’s not uncommon for conferences to offer a yoga class during a breakout or tuck a meditation room onto the show floor, but for the female bloggers conference #BlogHer17 this June in Orlando, organizers placed the concept of self-care front and center.
Each morning’s keynote started with what producer and BlogHer owner SheKnows Media called “Mindful Moments”—15-minute sessions of meditation and grounding and breathing exercises to prepare the conference’s 2,600 blogger attendees for the day ahead.
“BlogHer is a very, very buzzy, busy place with constant connection,” said Samantha Skey, president of SheKnows Media. She said that starting each day with a moment of tranquility gave attendees a chance to gather their thoughts.
“It mostly gave people a minute to think, ‘Why am I here? What am I hoping to achieve?’ It was a way to help people extract as much value as possible,” Skey said.
Facilitators included professionals well-versed in mindfulness skills: a meditation coach, a doula, and the founder of an online women’s support network. Skey said the early morning scheduling was both a nod to the habits of traditional meditation practitioners as well as a practical consideration.
“If we had a meditation break at 3 p.m., I think we would’ve lost everybody. They would’ve been on their phones,” she said.
Skey said both quantitative post-event polling as well anecdotal feedback from attendees at the event indicated that the Mindful Moments were a hit, as was a new women’s health platform called “Wine & Gyn” that promoted “unabashed discussion of women’s health issues.”
As a result, Skey said this confirmed that a plan to debut a women’s health-centric conference next year, BlogHerHealth, was a good idea.
“We understood from our surveys—we had over 1,000 collected—that the exercises in the morning were positively received,” she said. “It was an experiment for us, and the response is indicative that there’s a real appetite for this kind of experience.”