A BlogHer’12 State of Mind

Before I graduated college, before I moved to California, before 9/11, I visited the Big Apple with twinkly little stars in my eyes standing so small among the smattering of skyscrapers like a forest of metal and glass.

The life that lay out before me to present day included severe road bumps, including getting thrown from my seven-year journalism career and regrouping to work another seven years in communications for elected officials.

As they say, all that’s prolog to the moment I surfaced from the subway 14 years older with a couple white hairs, a second career in politics under my belt, working a start-up pr shop with a husband of 7 years and a newborn baby in tow heading to my second BlogHer convention.

[P.S. I was born on 7/17/77. I know, creepers]

Last year, I spoke about illegal immigration as the token Republican knowing next to nothing about BlogHer. This year, I spoke about women in politics again, as the token Reep, but this time I knew all too well the exciting publishing network now as one of its syndicated contributing editor.

After running around doing some basic sightseeing around Midtown, we checked into the Shoreham Hotel with a couple hours to spare before my speaker orientation where I met the fabulous Heather Barmore, our moderator, and Councilwoman Lea Webb.

Afterward, I had an hour to burn before my next feeding with Baby Bird so I zipped through the multi-level, multi-hall expo to pick up piles of swag and meet lots of fun brands.

The next morning, I awoke with a start from the sound of my cell ringing from Nicole at genConnect confirming our interview in 5 MINUTES! Quickly, we rescheduled so I could wash the long, thrashy night beside Dagny off and collected my thoughts from my notes and soundbites scribbled down the day before.

Interview done. Just so my clients don’t think I’m always cool under pressure, I also always think afterward what I wanted to say but forgot. The white hot lights can distract you.

Thinking I would quickly jump in line for the Martha Stewart keynote was ultra silly. The estimated attendance of 4,000 actually jumped to more than 5,000 at last tally and you can tell by this room shot when she talked (rockin’ some killer orange platform wedges, I might add).

Once her chat concluded, I quickly ran back to the hotel for a little time with the fam before returning to knock out my panel.

Here’s the thing about talking politics at BlogHer… some people just don’t care.

In fact, President Obama’s opening address at BlogHer’12 wasn’t 100% adored. Standing in several lines, I heard from bloggers who felt it was overbearing to have politics thrown in their faces.

I know how much I and many in my circles eat, sleep and breath all things political, but it’s really not that interesting in the grand scheme of things for the average woman blogger.

So, I braced myself for a less than stellar attendance despite having Obama National Operation Vote Director Buffy Wicks on my panel.

So, imagine our collective relief when our little panel drew a heck of crowd asking about everything from how to handle the work-life balance to getting a campaign up and running.

You can see from the healthy Tweetstream #BH12Govt101 that we enjoyed some playful, as well as instructive discussion on the role of women in politics.

One of the remarks that struck me hard: one woman considered running for school board but feared controversial board votes would incite retaliation from teachers on her kids. Eek.

In my experience, I’ve never heard of such a thing. I recently met with a male school board candidate and all he worried about was winning.

Throughout history, women have made up just 2.2 percent of Congress – that’s House and Senate.

My takeaway: we do it to ourselves. We sit on the sidelines, we watch the men run the world while we make 80 percent of the household purchasing decisions and keep America’s families running.

In other words, we live with the decisions that impact our lives too afraid to take a stand even when it might do our kids some good. Or as my new BFF Lea said…

Despite that worrisome reoccurring theme both in my and the next day’s panel with Courtney Johnson, Romney’s Deputy Coalitions Director for Women for Romney, I walked away from the conference feeling that perhaps we inspired a few to get involved in their communities.

That night, I got to *finally* get some one-on-one time with my fellow BlogHer politicos at the chic and rather historic Flute to discuss our next big adventure at the upcoming 2012 Republican National Convention. [Stay tuned… big ideas and fun coverage on the horizon.]

Walking back to meet up with hubs who was walking the streets of Manhattan with bird, I caught a pretty mid-street shot up Times Square. So glad I finally returned to the city that never sleeps… a little older, a little wiser, a little sexier? Oh ya.

+++ Read the liveblog of our panel, “How Washington Works and How Women in the States Can Make a Difference.”

Follow me @erica_holloway.

8 thoughts on “A BlogHer’12 State of Mind

  1. I thought long and hard about attending BlogHer because I was worried I’d be flying my political flag and it would be my freak flag for the conference. I was THRILLED to discover that while the political sessions weren’t packed, they held their own. I left the session you were in the panel on, and the one the following day ready to change the world. I love politics. I love activism. I know you and I don’t advocate for the same things (actually, I assume this entirely based on our proclaimed political party affiliations – you mentioned that you’ve broken with your party – so have I broken with mine. Maybe we have more in common than I think.) but I really just want an involved population. I’d love for people to be involved for the candidates *I* want to see win, but I’ll take any involvement.

    I was bummed when I told people that I blogged about politics and was met with glazed eyes, or a polite, “Mmm, hmm.” I would quickly add that I also blog about my kid and could read the relief in their eyes as I mentioned “kid.”

    I’m still not sure what to make of the entire thing, but I’m glad I checked it out.

    • Hi Tannis:

      Glad you checked out the political sessions as well.

      While I love writing about mommyhood, especially after the long road I took to get here, I feel the best thing I can do for Bird is leave the world a better place.

      Based on the statistics, I don’t expect to see major advancement for women in politics during my lifetime in America. But I can hope that a woman will get the nomination to run for president – it’ll take a great candidate though because women are 55 percent of the electorate and they seem harder to please at the polls.

      Keep on truckin.’ Can’t change the world sitting on the sidelines.

      Best, Erica

  2. I love talking politics, but can’t do it on my blog since it’s a foodie blog. Try to keep controversy out of food- except for food politics and the quality of food. My female friends are not much informed in the political world, tending to react emotionally to news instead of getting all the facts first. I latch on to my one outspoken conservative friend and save political talk with her. I’m glad to see that BlogHer found such a smart and eloquent token Republican! Well have meet up here in San Diego one day and talk politics!

    • Hi Laura,

      Thank you for sharing. I’m a huge foodie but don’t feel I’m a knowledgeable enough voice.

      I’d love to meet up and talk food politics (Tony vs Giada, who wins in the kitchen?) as well as American politics.

      Best, Erica

  3. You may or may not remember me from your PSP days. I helped run the Cut It Out program with Lynelle Lynch. I say, if you can link cosmetology and domestic violence awareness with so much passion and grace, you can talk mommy blogs and politics. And some folks will get it.

    • Hi Amelia:

      Of course I remember – I loved the Cut It Out program. Great concept to reach domestic violence victims.

      Guess it comes down to feeling comfortable myself with the “taboo.” We’ll get there.

      Best, Erica

  4. Hey, I was just updating my stuff on BlogHer and trolling the political/conservative topic and found you – I’m also a Republican communications politico and mom, and I was beginning to think I was the only one. Keep on posting – I thoroughly enjoy reading it 🙂

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