Hi Friends! I hope you had a wonderful week! Today I have a story that is truly good for the soul!Last weekend I had the honor and privilege of attending FierceCon 2019 in Redondo Beach, CA. There were so many golden moments, my heart is so full! I will be cherishing these memories for the days and weeks and months to come. Look at the smiles on each woman’s face in the picture above. That is the kind of smile that comes from finding a tribe of women that are so kindhearted, welcoming and authentic, you feel like you are at a family reunion and you don’t want it to end! Yes! It’s true!
So what is FierceCon? Oh my friend, it is a weekend like no other! And it has a story that spreads through the hearts of midlife women all over the world searching for a place they can be themselves, and find Inspiration, laughter, hope, kindness, fun and community. In the picture above, do you see the beautiful blond in the very front? That is Catherine Grace O’Connell, Founder of the Forever Fierce Revolution, a Facebook group for women midlife and beyond. She began the group just 2 1/2 years ago. Her goal, to provide a new frame around the perception of women at midlife and beyond. Why? “Because Empowered Women at Midlife are Cool”! (Can you see why I love this group?)
The group took off and in less than 3 years, grew to over 6,000 women! Clearly, it resonates with midlife women! Please Please Please if you are a woman midlife and beyond, check it out! I think you would love it!
So what could make it even better? How about a party, a celebration where women could come and connect face to face, rewire and inspire!
And that is how FierceCon was born! Catherine brought the event to her hometown, Redondo Beach, CA. I attended the event in 2018, and I loved it! I got to meet all these amazing and kindhearted women I had been connecting with in the Facebook group! So when Catherine opened it up for registration this year, I was one of the first to sign up! This is far too good to miss!
Above is Catherine Grace O’Connell, Founder of Forever Fierce Revolution, and Loretta Sayers, the Event Coordinator for the entire weekend. These ladies put together a pretty amazing event. And their tagline, “It’s not a conference. It’s a Connection,” was spot on!
I arrived Thursday night, I wanted to get a chance to rest before it began. And I admit I was a little nervous. My friend Carmen Guerrero was flying in from Chicago about the same time, so I text her and asked if she would come have a late lunch with me (I ordered room service so I could keep my foot elevated after the long flight- yes, still recovering from that broken ankle!) Carmen said, “Yes!”
Carmen is in the lavender top above. They don’t come any sweeter or kinder than Carmen! I was so delighted to have time to just sit and visit with her! And tucked between us above is another beautiful soul, Barbie Holmes. Barbie is an actress, artist and incredible writer. But the most beautiful of all is her heart!
Left to right: Jodie Filogomo, me, and Lana Lindgren. I’m smiling so big because these girls are some of the nicest ever! Jodie lives in Arizona and Lana in the state of Washington. And I got to see them both at the same time! WIN!
I went to help with set up downstairs for the following morning. Some of the best moments happen while we all work together knowing how we all are on the brink of something amazing! Above, Karen, Carmen and Lisa helping set up.
Above, Jodie, Lana, Rosie and Karen all helping fill the swag bags. So fun!
Later that night, I sat till probably midnight talking with dear sweet Lana in the lobby. That conversation was pure gold. Another golden moment to tuck away in my heart. Goodness what a blessing to look into the eyes of kindness and know immediately you are right at home!
Here you see several of us holding some of the beautiful parasols by Lisa Selwitz’ company, Lily-Lark. Lisa was a sponsor for this event, and she is a dearly loved sister in the community.
The women in this group have the most beautiful hearts! One of the guests attending, Anne M. Bray (pictured below) is a fine artist. This dear soul volunteered to do a fashion sketch of every single woman attending this event. Can you imagine the time and effort to do an art sketch of all these women?
What a gift! When someone says, “I think you are worthy of having your portrait made” well, it says something to you, about you! It says, “You matter, you are precious.” Bless her! I’m getting teary just thinking about it!
Above is the picture she drew for me. I just love it! She captured me wearing one of my favorite outfits and my sneakers! Goodness gracious! This is the kind of women you find in this community. They give with reckless abandon from a heart of love!
Catherine had a powerhouse lineup of inspirational speakers who shared their journey “shields down”, which means they told their stories without a mask, just real authentic truth. Most of these women have faced some very challenging obstacles or pursued a dream that many would have thought impossible. Hearing from the mouths of these courageous women stirred something in everyone, a call to action, compassion and the belief that we too can overcome our own obstacles and achieves our dreams.
Laurel Mintz (Founder of Elevate My Brand Digital Marketing), Kristen Fischer, Digital Media Strategist and Courtney Paige Ray, Brand Photographer, all speaking into “Finding Your Voice” in Social Media.
There were pop-up shops we could explore during the breaks, and the one below was calling my name out loud. Seriously.
Katia of Katia Designs had a beautiful display of her handmade necklaces and bracelets, each piece with its own empowering theme. Just speaking with her was a delight, and of course I found a treasure, a keepsake to take with me! Many women purchased a necklace that weekend.
Beachside Chat Panel 1: Loretta Sayers, Anita Morris , Lana Lindgren, Dr. Shawn Horn, Catherine Grace O’Connell These women each have risen from the ashes, and have found hope and strength in a time of great adversity.
Jacqueline DePaul (runway model in Paris at 48, and a physicist) taught a masterclass on projecting confidence Friday night. She gave us such great tools to work with, and she had us all laughing so hard. So down to earth, yet helping to lift each one of us up! There was a smile on every woman’s face the entire evening!
Above were the women who “practiced” what Jacqueline DePaul was teaching. They really were excellent at projecting confidence!
There were professional photographers (Courtney Paige Ray and Cheryl Ogden) available to have a photo done, and many of the women signed up for one. They all turned out so lovely!
This is the photo I had done by Courtney Paige Ray. She just has a way of putting you at ease!
The next morning, when I came downstairs, guess who I saw? Deb Gutierrez! (pictured in the middle below) Lana and I are both giving her a hug because she is just a ray of sunshine! (That is Loretta in the background, another ray of sunshine!) We all serve as volunteers in Catherine’s community. Deb only had a day with us but I treasured every moment!
Saturday morning began with a meditation and musical performance by Michel Pascal, who has performed at Carnegie Hall, and is very involved in a global movement for mental wellbeing and raising awareness for suicide prevention. This man exudes compassion and kindness in the deepest sense.
Then we had a fascinating Beachside Chats Panel that literally had me on the edge of my seat!
Catherine Grace O’Connell, Fashion blogger Heather Anderson, Health, brain health and wellness coach Michelle Gillette, Franne Golde (songwriter, Grammy Award Winner, started her own fashion company, and is caregiver and support to her husband who is struggling with Alzheimers- see this post she wrote on it this past June) and Eva Charlotte. (who had a skydiving incident where her parachute failed to deploy… and lived to tell about it! And a battle with Lyme disease!)
We then had a lovely luncheon sponsored by Walking Cradles, a women’s shoe company with a commitment to selling shoes that fit right, and look and feel great! And our host for the lunch was Lisa Loyet Schmitz the Creative Director for Walking Cradles. She is so joyful, upbeat and high energy!
Lisa Loyet Schmitz of Walking Cradles is in the black moto jacket on the left above. She is next to Jodie and Rob Filogomo, and on the right in pink is Lana Lindgren. Honestly these are some of the sweetest, kindest and most fun people on the planet!
What a treat! These shoes below from Walking Cradles were “The Official Shoe of FierceCon” and they are so cute and comfortable! She brought an entire selection of shoes so we could try them all on. Fun! Fun! Fun!
On to the afternoon BeachSide Chat Panel!
Moderated by writer and public speaker Loretta Sayers, fashion blogger Melissa Meyers, author, blogger, pharmacist and public speaker Lisa King, author and public speaker Maria Leonard Olsen, Jack Perez, creator of a company to support women in business (The Kuel Life).
There was so much warmth, so much connection! Here I am with Anita Morris and Alistair Batsell-Young.
This beautiful lady I connected with right away, Dr. Shawn Horn, so much wisdom!
This is Tamara Batsell, another dear soul, so inspiring! And I got to hang out with her! How awesome!
This beautiful woman, Wendy Packer is so talented, and brilliant! I was so grateful to sit and visit with her!
We all had a bit of animal print on! How fun is that!
After the break, we received an incredible and inspiring Masterclass talk from Dr. Carol Parker Walsh (a Forbes coaching council member and Tedx speaker) on the importance of investing in yourself, rising up and climbing that mountain, and as you do, looking around for who you can take with you. What a powerful message!
Above: Dr. Carol Parker Walsh
Throughout the weekend there was a fantastic makeup artist the ladies could schedule an appointment with to have your makeup done, and get great pointers and suggestions on all things glam.
Above, Jessica deBen applies makeup for the beautiful Barbie Holmes.
The Gala was Saturday night, and many of the ladies pulled out all the stops! My roommate Jill Lorentz coordinated having a few beauty experts come in and do hair for some of the ladies in our room! Jill’s passion is helping families and caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s. She also is a beautiful singer. We have some truly amazing women in this community!
I sat on the bed and visited while all the ladies were chatting away getting their hair done… this was one of my most fun moments! Total Girl Talk!
The beautiful Sophie Davies above getting her hair done. Sophie came all the way from the United Kingdom for this event (for the 2nd year in a row!)
And it was time to go to the Gala! Just look at these beautiful ladies, so kind, I just adore them all! How fun to get all dressed up!
Check out Catherines sparkling dress above! Isn’t it gorgeous?
This is with my dear friend Loretta, this bond is so strong! It is such a treat to get to be in the same room with her!
The women who were our speakers and panelists were here to soak up the moments with all of us! Because hanging out with really nice and kind women and just having fun is priceless!
Here I am speaking with the gorgeous Marjorie Goodson, who sponsored the Gala on Saturday night.
I just love the entire spectrum of fashion, so beautiful and unique and gorgeous and bold!
Well, as the party came to an end, we went to bed tired and full of wonderful memories. And Sunday morning we had a beautiful brunch!
Tamara Batsell had us in the palm of her hand, laughing so hard one moment and wiping a tear the next as she gave us the “charge” to go out and speak our truth and to help each other out along the way.
Then our keynote speaker for the brunch, Jennifer Dulski, author of “Purposeful”, gave a very inspiring talk about how to start a movement. She talked about how in the wake of disasters, people rally to try and help, but it starts with that one person who stands up first and rallies the troops. That person can be anyone, young or old, rich or poor, any experience level. They just have to be willing to stand up first.
After the brunch, there were hugs and more pictures!
And most of our ladies had to get back on a plane and head home. But…
A few of us hung around for one more day to go shopping! First stop, coffee!
I kid you not, Dr. Carole Parker Walsh stopped at the same coffee shop on her way to work!
Sophie looking gorgeous as she tries on this faux fur jacket.
Rita found a new dress for an upcoming wedding she is attending!
Christina Rothenberg stopped by with her dog Max!
Time for lunch!
We soaked in every single moment! And after this, it was time to head back to the hotel. To pack my bags, and glimpse one more beautiful amazing sunset!
And to fly back home to my precious family in Michigan. I was refreshed. I was renewed. And I was ready.
There were a lot of working parts to this weekend, and Catherine and Loretta and a whole host of people worked so hard behind the scene to make this weekend happen. But the most precious part of all was the special bond that formed so quickly among the women. By the end, all of the hugs were a little tighter, as were the relationships. There was no fear, only love. This was the vision of Catherine Grace O’Connell all along. A place where we desire to lift each other up, because that is what you do when you truly love someone.
Each woman now felt like she truly had a tribe. As Catherine puts it, “The Tribe with the Kind Vibe”.
Maybe next year, you can join us! Wouldn’t that be a blast?
I hope you have a fantastic week! Take care, my friend!
Throw kindness around like confetti. ~unknown, but when it happens, it is pretty amazing!
Wowza! What a great post! (Thanks for the shout-out).
Looking forward to seeing you again next year!
Anne, your kindness and sharing your incredible gift with each and every woman there was priceless! And it absolutely inspired me and was a megaphone loud and clear about what this community means, it demonstrates “Love First” – I am taking it all to heart and learning from you! Thank you for being such a bright and shining light!
You are a beacon, my friend!
Oh my stars! Thank you!
Looks like it was a wonderful weekend with amazing and talented women! I hope I have an opportunity to attend in the future.
Oh LeAna! I hope you do too! It really is such a gift for your soul! Thank you for the kind words!
Wow Wow Wow sister!!! You covered it all just beautifully. I’m so grateful you were with us – your poor leg as it was a wild and wonderful weekend on the go much of the time. You sure filled every moment with memories that will live forever. Thank you for your gigantic heart and your beautiful self that radiates love and goodness from the bottom of your tippy toes to every inch of your heart and soul. I adore you!!!
Thank you for following your heart, Catherine! You have made your community a life giving oasis in the desert!
Amy…you captured everything about this weekend so perfectly. Do you know that I hardly have any photos?? I was enjoying catching up and visiting with everyone for once. I’m so glad you shared this. I’m going to tell my email subscribers to come read this tomorrow.
Thank you, Jodie! I know what you mean! I actually took only 1 photo I think when I arrived on Thursday, and then I figured I better kick it in gear for the rest of the weekend, hah! I’m glad we both got time to just “hang out” with all the FFR Sisters that could make it!
So fun and so difficult to read this. I was heartbroken to have to miss at the last minute, but so happy to see so many smiling faces! Another great FierceCon!
Helen, I can’t wait till we meet again! You helped make the event what it was, so wonderful, and we missed you dearly! But it will be such a sweet reunion when we all can be there, won’t it?
Amy, I’ve been trying to find the right words to describe this weekend. You did it fantastically! Loved reading and reliving this event start to finish! Quite a few people have asked me to explain this event, now I can just send them to your post!!!
Awe Thank you, Lori! I really wanted to convey the heart of it all! I am so glad we got to meet and oh how fun was that weekend!
What a great recap of Fiercecon weekend and the sisterhood that is growing in leaps and bounds! What an amazing weekend!
Thank you so much! It’s by far my favorite conference, this year was just so special!
I smiled the whole time I read this. You are truly a wonderful, kind, loving person, who made me feel so welcome at FierceCon. Thank you for being YOU! Love you, Maria
Oh Thank you so much, Maria! I felt the same about you! It was a wonderful weekend!
Just seeing this now. How lovely to wander through the fabulous memories. Looking forward to someday getting together with everyone again! xo
Oh wouldn’t that be lovely? I look forward to that day as well!