Behind the Scenes at Voices of the Year

BlogHer Original Post

As we announce this week our #BlogHer16 Voices of the Year honorees, my mind is back in the main ballroom of last year's BlogHer conference.

Behind the Scenes at Voices of the Year

Though I became VOTY chair in 2014, 2015 was the first time I really saw behind the curtain to everything that goes on to produce the Community Keynote. Friends, it is crazy.

After multiple rounds of judging, notifying everyone who submits a piece, gathering all the posts, creating those big beautiful boards you see at the reception afterward, working with the SheKnows team to create the videos and the awards and the BlogHer conference team to create all those magical details, I end up backstage with our show producer, Jamie.

Behind the Scenes at Voices of the Year

Jamie looks like a producer on the set of UnReal. She's got the headset and the clipboard. She's all Go, Monitor One to some person up in the booth that I can't see. She peppers me with questions that I only hope I can answer. Because after all the months of preparation, I'm always still starstruck by meeting the honorees.

Prior to the Community Keynote, Elisa Camahort Page gives a toast. We hand out awards. People cry and hug and take pictures. Then we line up those who will appear onstage and walk through the order. We sit. We line up, person by person, and they walk onto that stage and connect with the 3,000 attendees like they're already friends.

This year, I'm even more excited because Aisha Tyler will be emceeing the VOTY community keynote. Which means I will totally be cool when I meet her. And share the stage with her. Not.

Behind the Scenes at Voices of the Year

But really, all this is just lead-up to the Community Keynote, my favorite part of a BlogHer conference. I'm so inspired by you, the community, and the magical content you create. Every year I think we can't top the year before, and every year I'm just in awe of you all.

I hope you'll join us for #BlogHer16 and the Voices of the Year Community Keynote on Friday, August 5, 2016, at the JW Marriott in Los Angeles. Because really, the best seat in the house is in the audience.

You can't see the show if you don't go to #BlogHer16. Register now for your seat in sunny Los Angeles August 4-6, 2016.

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Rita Arens is the author of the young adult novel THE OBVIOUS GAME & the managing editor of