October 24, 2012

Blissdom Canada 2012 Conference

I attended my first Blissdom event this year and overall my experience was excellent. The venue was the Toronto Sheraton Centre which is located across from the Toronto City Hall, on the subway, near the train station and island airport and surrounded by excellent restaurants and shopping. The Sheraton was comfortable and the staff was friendly and very efficient.

Subway ride down to the Sheraton Toronto

enjoying Fall while above-ground

Our ChevyBliss Car Rally vehicle -- it was so pretty

My 5 Favourite Things About BlissDomCanada 2012:

1. The Chevrolet Car Rally, Friday night.  What a blast! Hats off to Chevrolet Canada, WeeWelcome.com and IPR. This was essentially a scavenger hunt with 3 different locales. We were put on teams of 4 and in most cases no one knew eachother beforehand. Each team member was given a scarf, one toonie and an emergency rain poncho. Chevrolet Canada provided the beautiful vehicles, with chauffeur, to drive us to our various destinations. With a list of tasks we were released into the city and given a total of 1 1/2 hours of searching time. Once all our tasks were completed our driver took us to the Microsoft party held at The Courthouse. It was wonderful and I met 3 really great women.  Part of my reason for wanting to participate was that I felt it would be an excellent way to meet people. I was right. Though we did not win, it was my favourite part of the weekend.

Apr├Ęs Car Rally at Microsoft Party

Costume Party!
2. Chevrolet Canada providing transportation throughout the weekend. Cars were available to pick up attendees from Pearson Airport, Billy Bishop Airport, and Union Station. They also provided lifts back to the hotel after the Microsoft party.  I think Chevrolet Canada looks pretty classy for all they did.

3. Micro-session Rountables - I really benefited and learned a lot from the 3 tables I chose to sit at. This really should have been a full day event and not just the morning. Many thanks to Shelagh Cummins of biztrainher.com, Loukia Zigoumis of LouLousViews.com, and Lara Galloway of MomBiz.com.

Amber Macarthur - Loved her talk Saturday afternoon.

Me and AmberMac
4. The generosity of the sponsors. Not only were we swimming in swag, but a lot of very important and practical information was shared and I found the interaction at each sponsors booth was informative and productive.  Thank you Starbucks Canada (Starbucks on tap!), Lentils, Maple Leaf, Pepperidge Farm, and Sleep Country. A HUGE thank you to Kraft Canada for a great booth, wonderful products and recipes and for providing lunch on Saturday. The one company who went above and beyond was definitely Chevrolet Canada; providing a Recharge Lounge and all the transportation, executing every thing they did with class, and for the Friday night car rally.

5. Being really proud of my city.

Other fun things did happen: I was able to enjoy the Zombie Walk from the comfort of the 2nd floor Chevrolet Recharge Lounge and spotted a Sailor Moon zombie. I enjoyed a most excellent dinner with my son, Phil, at one of his favourite restaurants, The Gabardine. (until a zombie walked by and smeared his zombie blood (jelly) on the restaurant window beside us).

Areas for improvement: 

More learning sessions, i.e the micro-sessions need to go all day.
I know I am not alone in feeling that for the money spent, it was not good value especially when compared to other similar conferences like She's Connected.  When you think about it, the conference was really only for 1/2 day. When I signed up I (wrongfully) assumed the conference would be Saturday and Sunday morning, with the Sunday excursions happening in the afternoon. Yes, the Friday and Saturday night events were great, but my main purpose was to learn and connect.
Meals - none were really provided. Saturday morning was more like a continental breakfast and that was the only meal provided by Blissdom.  The ballroom did not open up in time and many women were trying to balance their (very small plates) or trying to eat while standing. Thankfully at lunchtime, Kraft had a mini hot buffet set up and they were a godsend. I know the delicious pasta meal they provided was greatly appreciated by those in attendance.
The Dove presentation - bad time of day to think I'd be interested. I found it boring and like I was held captive for a commercial.  I did not think this was well thought out. Also, when you are doing a presentation first thing in the morning, and I have not had my coffee yet, please don't have a demonstrator who has a very thick accent. I did not understand half of what he said, and I think I tuned out pretty quickly. 

Thank you to everyone who made my weekend enjoyable and to all the new friends I have made.


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