You Say It. We Build It.

BlogHer Original Post

One of my favorite seasons is upon us. I'm not alluding to sweater season or snowmen (though I'm all about those leather boots you're wearing, you fashion maven, you). I'm not even referring to the holiday season. Nope, I'm talking about something much, much hotter: BlogHer's annual summer conference.

I am Jes Ferris, and I'm BlogHer's Conference Programming Manager. For the past three years I have worked with BlogHer on a volunteer basis, organizing conference speakers and ensuring they were prepared for their respective panels. I loved that job, so you can imagine my delight when the opportunity presented itself for me to work with BlogHer full-time. Now I'm knee-deep in all-conferences, all-the-time, and sometimes I reach over to pinch my own arm, it's just that fun!

In my role with BlogHer, I help create conference agendas, from researching, developing and staffing sessions, to organizing speakers, to analyzing and applying data from previous conferences. My job is a lot like piecing together puzzles – the really great kind that require interaction and exploration. In my own time, I chronicle my life at Chirky.com. I love playing board games, cooking, shopping and traveling. And obviously, I am smitten by BlogHer conferences.

I know, I know. The '09 conference is more than eight months away! What could I possibly have to say about it? Well, plenty. We're already working on the conference programming, and I have begun assembling this summer's puzzle. I've culled through the post-conference surveys from BlogHer '07 and '08 – yes, humans really do read them! – and created a catalog of all requested panels and suggestions for improvement. I've made my lists, I'm checking them twice. And honestly, all these fantastic ideas have left me wanting more. So this is my reminder to you: we recently announced our '09 Call for Ideas, and you still have over three weeks to respond.

What sessions did you always hope we'd highlight (but never have)? Which panels have you loved so much that you'd attend them again (and again, and again)? Would our conference be incomplete without a certain speaker? Do you want to be a speaker? We want you to share with us the who, what and why.

BlogHer is all about inclusion, which is why we're asking you to participate in this way. The five tracks we're featuring at BlogHer '09 include: Identity and Passions; The Business of You; Politics and Activism; Mommyblogging; and the Geek Lab/Tech Track.

Our Call For Ideas will remain open until November 24, 2008, and our goal is to debut the conference schedule by the end of this year. If you feel inspired by any of those tracks (and we hope you do), email your ideas to both Elisa (elisa@blogher.com) and me (jes@blogher.com) with the following:

  • Who you are and why you want to speak (or why you want to nominate someone to speak)
  • Which of our tracks you'd like to participate in, and your experience/expertise/knowledge/perspective about that subject
  • Specific links that highlight that experience/expertise/knowledge/perspective
  • Your contact information and a link to your blog(s)
  • Who else you think should be contributing

BlogHer '09 is our fifth annual conference – a milestone for sure! – and we're determined to make it our best event yet. Those are high stakes, I know. But with your participation, we're certain to take BlogHer's conference season into every season. And that's something that never goes out of style.

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