The Equestrian Businesswoman Summit: Takeaways
As many of you all know, I spent the past few days down in West Palm Beach where I attended the first ever Equestrian Businesswoman Summit! It was an eye-opening experience that has given me even more motivation to chase my dreams of entering the equestrian industry as a professional. From listening to inspirational stories from woman who have beat all odds to tips and tricks on how to stand-out in such a niche industry, this summit was filled with learning opportunities.
The conference started with two special guest speakers, Tracey Noonan and Beatrice De Lavalette. Tracey spoke to us about the trials and tribulations throughout her life that eventually led her to wild success in the baking industry; some of you may recognize her name if you have ever ordered from Wicked Good Cupcakes. What originally began as a small in-home business in 2010 has blossomed into a multi-million dollar business. We then heard from Beatrice, the most critically injured survivor of the 2016 Brussels Airport Bombing. She told her story of courage, perseverance, and love for horses. Beatrice has been riding since the age for three; but found herself a double amputee after the bombing, nevertheless she was determined to return to the saddle. Just 5 months after loosing both of her legs, she returned to the saddle on her mare and from there she has made leaps and bounds in her rehab. Now Beatrice finds herself in the US, chasing the dream of competing in Tokyo for the 2020 Paralympic games.
After a short coffee break the panels began!
Four wonderful woman took the stage to speak about balancing a demanding job in the equine industry with a home and personal life. The speakers included Sarah Appel of Horse & Style Magazine, Lisa Davis Engel of A Wynning Advantage and Sidelines Magazine, Mandy McCutcheon of Tom McCutcheon Reining Horses, and Eliane Von Reesema of Hylofit. They all gave wonderful advice about how they manage to keep their professional and personal lives distinguished from one another, the biggest takeaway was to set aside time each day to live your life apart from your phone. A lot of these woman put their phone on "do not disturb" mode and stowed away when they are having family time or riding, giving them a chance to disconnect from work and enjoy themselves.
Next to speak were Donna Barton Brothers of Starlight Racing, Nicole Lakin of BarnManager, Janus Marquis who works with the US Equestrian Team, and Dr. Tori Maxwell of Dechra Veterinary Products. These wonderful woman spoke about their career paths, how they became distinguished in their fields, and what it takes to carve out a possible nontraditional career in the equestrian industry. I spoke up during this panel asking "what is the best advice you would give to someone who was fresh out of college and motivated to make a career in the equine industry"? The unanimous response will forever impact my future career path, the wonderful panel said "always say yes to every opportunity you're given. Even if it isn't necessarily what you see yourself doing, take the opportunity and run with it. You will develop new skills and will gain a reputation of a hardworking go-getter which will only help you as you find your niche in the equine industry".
Social Media Panel:
Needless to say this was the panel I was most excited about, as two of my biggest role models in the industry were on the panel (shoutout to Laine Ashker and Bethany Lee). In addition to Laine and Bethany, Patricia de Silva of Heels Down Media and Magazine spoke as well as Shona Rosenblum of Grand Slam Social. They all spoke to the importance of keeping up with the newest trends and maintaining your image across multiple platforms. The biggest tips I took from this panel is the importance of branding yourself and your business and keeping your feeds authentic and relatable! So, keep your eyes peeled for a soon to be released Hairnets and Breeches logo!
Building a Successful Eq Business Panel:
This was the last panel of the day and one that I learned arguably the most from. The panel consisted of Noel Asmar of Asmar Equestrian, Alexandra Cherubini of Equifit, Ashley Holzer an Olympic Bronze Medalist in Dressage, Lisa Lourie of Spy Coast Farm, and Lisa Roskens of International Omaha. Each of these woman are exceptionally distinguished in the industry and had amazing advice and answers to all of the questions. My takeaway from this particular panel was to surround yourself with a team of people who see your dreams and want to chase the same opportunities that you do, they noted that nothing in this industry can be done without the support of one another.
All in all the summit was an outstanding success and I look forward to attending more in the future! Who knows, maybe one day I will find myself amongst the successful and distinguished panel.