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Three fall festivals where I learned, ate, and was invigorated

By Emily Prawda Weiss

In-person work events and networking opportunities are back–hello 2022! Not new news yet I couldn’t be happier. I work from home and have been for the past 13 years. I thrived on attending baby and toddler product launches, conferences, summits, and expos and when everything was shut down in March 2022, that all stopped. Fast forward to September and October 2022, I had the privilege of attending three events from downtown NYC to Philadelphia to Chelsea Piers, NYC. Here’s a glimpse of what I learned and experienced at each one:

Fast Company Innovation Festival, September 19-22, 2022, Convene, New York City
Innovation. This word is everything! Don’t you love it? I attended this event for inspiration, to hear Jennifer Garner, Priyanka Chopra Jones, Wayne Brady, Jessica Rolph, Katerina Schneider speak and more. These are all parents who are celebrity business owners and entrepreneurs. I love to hear new trends in the work world and how they can be applicable to my parenting wheelhouse—professionally and personally. There were hosted happy hours each night so we can meet and greet one another, design awards, sustainable messaging throughout, healthy snacks and cold brew all day!

In addition to the main stage fireside chats, there were breakout sessions—one was where I had to interview another festival attendee next to me.

Expo East, September 28-October 1, 2022, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia
I live for Expo West and Expo East. I love meeting founders and entrepreneurs who are filling niches with their delicious yet nutritious products. I ate my way through two and a half days of sparking beverages, non-alcoholic drinks, snacks, collagen, plant-based products, supplements, sustainable, compostable(!), keto and of course, gluten-free not to mention kosher products. I also heard two keynotes, one about CPG(Consumer Packaged Goods) Omnichannel sales – the growth and decline and the other was from a marine biologist. Some favorite snacks and beverages finds are RIND, Sound, Lesser Evil, Caulipower, Carbone, Saint James and Oatly. The best part was schlepping home samples for my daughters so every day my younger one can go to school with a new snack and promote it to her class so their parents can ask for it at their nearest Whole Foods, Target, Duane Reade and Fairway!

Alt Summit, Chelsea Piers, October 6-7, 2022
I was fortunate to attend Alt Summit which was finally back in person. Alt Summit is a conference and community for creative entrepreneurs and influencers to learn from one another. I sat in on many discussions on how brands want to work with influencers, financial wellness, rise of the pivot, creating community, and my favorite roundtable was Closing the deal with Caroline Kalentzos, founder of PoshPR. I also had the privilege to hear from Sallie Krawcheck, founder of Ellevest and overall kick-ass financial mastermind. The evening prior, Alt hosted a reception and gifting party at the Shopify retail store in Soho which was so much fun! We were sent home with products and got to meet amazing brands—some I included in BCB’s Holiday Gift guide. I left feeling inspired, met so many interesting women, learned about up-to-date concepts and business trends and my favorite part was the books that we were able to take home from BookSparks—all guests amassed this table.

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