Now that I’ve hit you all with the emotionally driven Part 1 of my Disney Social Media Moms: On-the-Road adventure.. I’m going to attempt to fill you up with some useful information. You may be wondering why Disney does these events? Why is the blogging community so important to them? Why moms?
We were warmly welcomed by Maria Bailey taking the stage. If you’ve never heard of Maria, you should look her up. She’s an author, a radio host, an entrepreneur and most of all — a mom. You may even venture to say that she is the expert on marketing to moms. Her credentials are mighty.. but her passion is mightier. She started out the event by giving us a few very interesting statistics about moms. Eye opening statements regarding why moms are such a critical market for companies. Obviously, running a blog about baby and children’s products, this intrigued me. How many of you, my readers, knew that moms — you — contribute 1.7 trillion dollars to the general economy? More than Spain, Portugal and Australia combined! Next time you see an ad targeted at you, I want you to remember that! Those companies know this statistic. They know that you are the market to hit. More than just marketing, though.. Were you aware that there are more than 5.5 million mom owned businesses today? So we aren’t just spending money, we are making money.
You, or should I say we, are having an impact larger than just on the economy, though. “When you follow your passion, your kids pick up on those behaviors..” Maria stated. This led into why Disney invests so much in this conference.. in moms and mom owned business. “They (your children) learn from you. That is the magic.. and Disney is here to support that.” We are setting a precedence for our children. Our passion? They see it. Our determination? They observe it. Our dedication? They learn it. This also means that our doubts? Frustrations? Priorities. They are witnessing.. absorbing.. all of that, too.
While we let all of this information sink in, Michele Himmelberg, Public Relations Director for Disneyland Resorts, took the stage. She wowed us with a fabulous look at all the new happenings at the Disney parks. From the newest expansion at Magic Kingdom, Fantasy Land, (which happens to be the largest expansion in Disney history) and the Art of Animation Resort to Disneyland’s recent Fantasy Faire and the one year anniversary of Car’s Land. Along with the new Fantasy Faire comes the Royal Theater with two new shows, Beauty and the Beast and Tangled. I guarantee, about 10 seconds into this video presentation, that entire room of women.. moms.. were plotting out their next Disney Park vacation. Disney wants to know what we want. They want to empower us. They want to support us. Let us realize our potential. It was made clear in those moments, that while yes, Disney has an amazing marketing department.. they honestly saw us as more than just 1.7 trillion dollars. That is why they put together these invitation-only conferences.
Michele was followed up by Mindee’s presentation that I spoke about in Part 1.. and then Maria took the stage again. She said one thing that really jumped out at me (and no, it wasn’t just that my contact info should be easier to find..) Remember, I told you that our role as moms and business women.. it’s about more than our success, but the behaviors that we are instilling in our children. Right? Maria said “The next time your child is talking to you and they ask you a question.. see if you are looking at the whites of their eyes. If you do that, it will start to bring you around to being really present.” I always try to look at my children when they speak to me.. but the whites of their eyes.. that’s hard. Try it.. you’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes. You connect differently. Being present for your children – that is ultimately the most important part of being a mom.
After we were all blown away by Maria, Michele and Mindee (I just realized they all have M names.. Just like Mickey Mouse! Haha!) and desperate for a Disney Parks vacation, they introduced a panel of inspiring ladies. I told you, Disney wants to empower us as more than just a consumer market.. this panel was 3 lovely moms. More so than that, they were three recipients of the Huggies Mom Inspired Grant. The Huggies Mom Inspired Grant is a $15,000 grant awarded to mom inventors. (They happen to be taking applications now!!) Our panel consisted of Erin Kelly – Owner and creator of Hulabye Happy Changer, Alma Moussa – Owner and creator of Babee Covee 6-in-one blanket, and Romy Taormina- Owner and Creator of Psi Bands.
Maria asked them a series of very helpful questions.. it was quite inspiring to hear their stories. Moms who saw a need for something, took a leap and made something of it. They, like Mindee, spoke of both the highs and the lows and kept the journey of a mompreneur honest. The infamous work/life “balance”? Some are still working on it. While we learned a lot and had several “oh!” moments.. there was a quote from Romy that jumped out at me. I think it hit me because it applies to more than just business. As a blogger, as a mom, as a person.. We all experience rejection. Maria asked “How do you deal with rejection?” and Romy replied “Unyielding passion. It may be a no today, it may be a no today and tomorrow, but it may not be.”
At this point, we were all inspired. All of these amazing moms, just like us, who followed their passion and made an impact. Then Maria introduced the final presenter. Another “M” name.. (I’m beginning to think they planned this! Haha!) Michelle Stepney – The Public Relations Director for Global Content Development at Disney. She spoke to us about the media and how to conduct yourself around them. While you may think “Why do bloggers need to know how to deal with the media?” – it was extremely helpful. Several bloggers do media consultations, and honestly.. even those who don’t, you are still portraying yourself in the public eye. You don’t want to do or say something that will always be there to haunt you. Michelle showed us some hilarious “what not to do..” video clips that had the room laughing hysterically. My goal is to ultimately never be that person. Haha. She gave us a little glimpse into the media training they give the Disney cast members and provided such fabulous advice. She was such a pleasure to listen to!
I learned so much in this short 1/2 day event. It made me yearn for more. Most of us left going “Just one more day! Pleeease!” The knowledge and advice from those women was unbelievable. I walked away knowing that I may just be one mom, you may just be one mom, but like the wave at a sporting event.. it just takes ONE person to start something big.
Thank you, Disney. You have proven that you care. That you notice. Your drive for empowerment. Support. We appreciate you and look forward to many family vacations full of your magic. Thank you Maria Bailey and the M-Squad (That’s what I’m going to call you all.. yep!) Mindee, Michele and Michelle. You’ve inspired us all and we will never forget this gathering. Last, but not least, thank you to the Huggies Mom Inspired panelists. As a baby gear guru, I am extremely excited to have had the chance to experience your products. (Especially those Psi Bands.. can you say Tea Cup Ride??)
For my readers.. Thank you. It’s because of your support that I was given the opportunity to experience this event. I am now armed with an artillery of knowledge on how to be the best I can be in all my fields. Mom, Blogger, Consumer.
“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.” – Walt Disney