What happens when women get together – FierceCon 2018

When I signed up to help coordinate the FierceCon event, I had no idea exactly what I had gotten myself into. Or how all consuming it would be in the end.

But I’m so glad I did.

When Catherine Grace O’Connell approached me with her plan for a weekend dedicated to bringing women together, I was intrigued. I’ve enjoyed meeting many of my online friends, and definitely wanted to get the chance to meet more.

But I also knew I’d be volunteering a lot of time and energy.  

When I was introduced to Catherine’s team of educated, talented women, I was intimidated at first. These women had been working together for months already and were very tight.

The old high school feeling of not fitting in, or worse, not being accepted, took about one day to hit me. I spent weeks wondering just what the hell I thought I was doing and why I kept trying to fit in where I didn’t belong.

Each Tuesday we would “meet” on a Zoom call and discuss ideas and strategies.

I immediately felt like a fish out of water.

They all had an ease together and I was sure they were wondering why in the world Catherine decided I was, all of a sudden, the “event coordinator.” I almost quit a couple of times.

They also added me to their messenger chat group so we could bounce ideas off one another. These women were so gooey and sweet I thought, “Nobody is this nice.” They even called each other “sister”.

Was I in some sort of cult??

So in my usual testing fashion, I threw it out to the chat group that I was an atheist. That will get them to throw me out of the club for sure!

But that didn’t happen.

Nope, instead they just embraced me more and all of a sudden I started to lighten up. Maybe my perception of these women was slightly skewed by my own insecurities?

Little by little, one by one, I got to know each of them, if only online. And before I knew it, the week of the event was upon us all.

There was no holding back for me now. No hiding behind my criticisms of “I’m not into fashion” or “They only want the ‘big players’ there.” I had promised to be the ‘day of coordinator’, and I had a job to do.

I was looking forward to the weekend…. but was apprehensive as well.

Catherine not only asked me to help coordinate the event, but sensing I have a need to be accepted, she put me front and center. She asked me to be a part of the Live stream and to moderate a panel of women for her “Beachside Chats” on Saturday.

I didn’t know it at the time, as I thought she just needed help, but I’ve come to realize, she has a gift when it comes to reading women and understanding their fears.

Event wise, the weekend went off perfectly. Friday night’s gala reception was a blast.

Friday nights gala event
Friday evening giveaways

Saturday morning we were led in meditation by DavidJi and each one of us were glued to our seats when he gave his hour-long talk.

A copy of DavidJi’s Instagram post!

The Beachside Chats brought laughter and tears, joy and sorrow, fear and courage, and most of all a connection to all who were in the room.

Afternoon Beachside Chats – which I moderated

By Saturday early evening, when we were meeting at the Pier for a group shot, most of us were spent emotionally. So much happened and few of us really understood the impact it was having on us.

Sunset at the Hermosa Beach Pier

It will take days or longer to understand the power of this gathering. I know for myself, I am still reeling from it all and doing my best to come to grips with my own insecurities.

I’m  glad I stepped outside myself and moved passed my anxiety to join in. I learned a lot about so many women there, but I learned even more about myself.

Who would have thought a little get together could be so powerful for so many of us who joined…

 

Please read Linda’s post from yesterday to get a further understanding of the impact this had on so many. 

Reader Comments

  1. Cindy Scurry

    I love hearing about this weekend! I wish I could’ve been there – I just can’t miss out next year! I know you worked your butt off! I hope you are rested up now. I would feel the same way you did going in to this tight knit group.

  2. Julie

    I can’t say enough about how amazing this looked from the “sidelines!” What a fabulous event, and obviously you grew exponentially through the experience.

  3. Cathy Lawdanski

    Oh Loretta, I could have written this post..not about the job you did, but of all those feelings of insecurity and not fitting in. Do we ever grow out of this? So proud of you for being brave and seeing it through to the end. You did such a beautiful job.

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you Cathy. I was so thrilled meeting you in person, and I hope you join the volunteer team for next time (I heard a rumor you were!).

      I sure hope we grow out of these insecurities. My hope is writing about it and shedding light will help me as well as others to shed those damaging thoughts.

  4. jodie filogomo

    Hey boss….(I do love calling you that, you know??)….I would have never known you felt this way. But then again, I always feel that our group has the best women around, so we are there to love and love some more.
    And don’t we all have our strengths?? And let’s just say you rocked the entire weekend….the planning was spot on! Are you ready for next year??
    XOXO
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Ha! Jodie, you know you are my righthand “man”!

      Thank you for your kindness. Honestly, you taught me such a valuable lesson – one of love and acceptance.

  5. Marijke Doldersum

    I am surprised you were a bit ‘intimidated’ because I see you as someone who has got it all together. Good to see that you got on top of it and made it a wonderful experience for yourself and everybody else.

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you for that. Isn’t interesting to find out even someone who we think has it all together, still has insecurities??

  6. Catherine Grace O’Connell

    My dear “sister,” welcome to the tribe, truly. I don’t know what we would have done without you and so glad you stayed with us.

    Your post, like Linda’s, is so beautiful, real and vulnerable. I see you. We see you. And we love you for who you are. We aren’t our exteriors. We aren’t defined by the styles we wear but rather by the hearts and souls the eye can’t see but the heart can feel. I’m grateful to learn how it feels to join the team as it’s a bit like joining a sorority. A kind one but still a group of women who have created a bond. Bonds take time and every bond is unique. The most valuable resource we have to give is time and you have yours and your husbands in spades. And thanks for the wink as yes, I did sense your fear, but more importantly I sensed your desire to shine big. You know I don’t believe in competition. Collaboration and allowing others to shine is the only way. And when we allow others to shine, we only shine brighter in the process. This is only the beginning my friend, my sister and I’ll continue getting gooey and mushy as it’s the only way I know how to be me. And, here’s to many more. XOXO, Catherine

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Awww…thank you so much for that! It was a bit scary writing this but that’s how we grow, right?

      I appreciate you and look forward to a long relationship together!

      • Loretta Sayers
        Loretta Sayers

        Angie, you could never be forgotten!! There are so many stories and posts being shared about each of our experiences from the weekend. It is truly amazing.

  7. Amy Kennedy

    Well, Loretta… I think you are one of the coolest people I’ve ever met! And I am crazy about you! I feel like we have so much in common! And I also think you are an amazing leader, and pretty smart! I was amazed at a million little things you did at that event to make it simply lavish each guest with warmth, feminine touches, inspiration, and fun. What a wonderful world this is! I am so glad we are friends!

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Amy I feel the same about you. I am so thrilled we got to spend a little time together, one on one. You are my friend for life now!

  8. linda williams

    Loretta, we were in awe of you from day one. You are kind, cool, classy and on point. We would never have known any of what you shared here. Catherine does have a knack for “seeing” people and being part of the energy and pace of the FF crew is often like drinking from a fire hose! Thank you for all of your tireless efforts and always keeping a smile on your face. To think, NONE of us would have ever met if it wasn’t for Catherine. xoxo Linda

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Linda, I so love that analogy of the fire hose! You got that right!

      And so true…I am so thrilled to have meet so many wonderful women and Catherine was a big catalyst to make that happen.

  9. Leslie Clingan

    I can relate to all of these the feelings your experienced as you began to work with the wonderful gals and Catherine on FierceCon. I would have felt the same way X 10! But did a great job and I love the glee on your face in the photo where you are facing the camera in your blue and white dress behind the other women with their backs to the photographer. And your beach shot in the tee and distressed jeans is just precious!

  10. Kim Cook

    Loretta, what a great leap of faith you took! I am so happy for you. It is really hard to “join” when you feel like a fish out of water. I am sure that many of the women felt the same way. I know I would have.

    The decorations were beautiful and looked just like what I thought “FierceCon” would look like…elegant.

    I am planning to be in attendance next year and am so looking forward to it even though it makes me shake a bit in my shoes!

    Thank you for sharing!
    Kim

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you Kim! I do so hope you can make it. We may need to do some in different parts of the country – It was so amazing!

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