Laid Off Camp Phoenix, Recap.

August 13, 2009

My mind has been buzzing for days with aftereffects of Laid Off Camp Phoenix. I’m thrilled that I was able to be a part of it, and I cannot wait for the next one!

So, let’s step back. First: my history & background: I was laid off in December. I was actually laid off via voicemail while I was on vacation in another country. At the time, I was so burnt out that my only thoughts were, “zomg, sweet! I don’t have to stop being in vacation mode!!” I danced around the house and took the dogs to the dog park. Just hung out and did whatever I felt like for a couple weeks. At that point, a contract had fallen into my lap, so I started working on that. Fast forward to February, and I heard about three different friends being laid off in one week. A couple of us chatted, and we decided to bring Laid Off Camp to Phoenix.

It started slowly (very slowly). Ideas for sessions trickled in & ideas for speakers; we chose a date, lined up gangplank for the venue & set up Facebook, Eventbrite, Meetup and twitter accounts/pages.Then, just as things started to come together, everything needed to change. :) There was so much interest in helping, I started to get more speakers, more signups… I wanted more space, more rooms, more tracks. I spoke to several venues, started pricing things, wondered where on earth a sponsor would fall from the sky to pay for it all. And then, Derek Neighbors and Gangplank saved the day! & hooking me up with the Town of Gilbert, AZ. In a matter of hours, I had a new (fully sponsored) venue, a second food sponsor and a ton of help. I’m extremely grateful to them for *everything*.

I ended up with five rooms. A lunch/networking room; a large room for talks; a smaller room for talks; a room for panels; and one for impromptu sessions. I wanted to keep the unconference/-Camp idea alive, but I wasn’t sure how a mostly non-techie crowd would take to it. So, for the most part, I scheduled the sessions, but left the one room open. I know a couple sessions popped up there, so I’m glad that was utilized.

Overall, I think Laid Off Camp was a success. Enough so, that I was talked into doing another one that night, in 6 months-ish. So, c’mon speakers! Start ramping up your sessions!! Honestly, I’m still processing some of the feedback. I had one woman tell me that, for her, it was “life-changing.” That will stick with me probably forever. Beyond that I think my favorite comment was @jillinski‘s tweet about “visions of reinvented me dancing in my head.” That so exactly and perfectly summed up my intent. A lot of people seemed to come away honestly inspired; & for that, I thank the speakers & panelists. I’m just glad I could gather everyone there to make it happen. :)

Thanks again to:

Followup networking: Susan Baier has created a list of everyone’s twitter handle who was there. Check her blog post to connect! And I created a LinkedIn group for everyone.

Thanks again for an extremely successful Laid Off Camp Phoenix! And I hope to see you all next time!

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posted in Phoenix Tech Scene by rach

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