Nannypalooza Wrap Up
Last month we celebrated the tenth annual Nannypalooza. It was a rousing success and I wanted to share some highlights.
This year approximately 60% of our attendees were returning nannies and 40% were new to the conference. This is about what it is every year and I am happy to share that our new attendees had a great experience. We had attendees from 3 continents and one Caribbean island in addition to many states including Washington, Missouri, Illinois, Virginia, Florida and more!
The venue this year, the Renissance Orlando Airport, was beautiful and quite a bit more upscale than most years. It was nice to have our welcoming reception out by the pool and the rain held off until the end. Nannies enjoyed lounging about with drinks and snacks and meeting people. It’s fun to me each year to see friendships develop between nannies who come year after year. Hugs, laughter and stories are shared and the weekend kicks off in a great way.
This year we had Amy Zolessi from Conscious Discipline come and give a keynote- not something usual for Nannypalooza. She also did a series of workshops through out the weekend. Nannies quoted her during workshops reminding themselves to take a breath when they got overwhelmed.
We had great sessions by a number of seasoned expert nannies. Thaty Olivera shared info on second languages. Laura Schoeder told of her personal and professional experiences working with families affected by autism. Helen McCarthy, who came all the way from London, England, helped us think about weaning those babies. One of the sessions that could have used a few more hours and a lot more space was the workshop presented by Stephanie Hage and Kishta Allen on planning activities for children. They had a great many hands on things to try and next time we will have to get them a bigger room!
In between sessions, attendees had a chance to shop from some amazing vendors selling toys, nanny shirts and swag and jewelry. Or to have a complimentary 5 minute back rub from our chair massage person.
There were many great spaces in the hotel to sit and chat and share ideas and gain insights. I noticed many groups of nannies throughout the weekend enjoying those moments. These encounters can be one of the most valuable times at any conference.
I reflected, as you often do when you hit a milestone, about the past 10 years. Lora Brawley, who co founded Nannypalooza with me had faith from the moment we had the idea. But I was not so sure it would all work. And for many years, I signed that hotel contract and sweated and worried that no one would come, that I would be sitting in a ballroom by myself.
In truth, thousands of nannies have now been introduced into the Nannypalooza community. These nannies continue to bring in more and more “newbies” and come back year after year. So many people lend a hand, carry a box, share a flyer, organize roommates or simply suggest ideas. It is a more than a community- it is a family.
All along, the one driving passion that has sustained me and kept me going when things get tough is this vision- that every nanny needs a little Nannypalooza in their life. Every nanny needs to feel connected, keep learning, be challenged, have fun and be inspired. Every nanny need to do this at a reasonable price and on a regular basis. And while there are some that might not agree, I feel confident that for most, attending Nannypalooza is valuable.
And as if that weren’t enough, if thousands of nannies have attended Nannypalooza and been affected in some positive way, that means that tens of thousands of kids will have been impacted as well.