On February 20th 2019, I flew to San Antonio as a first-time attendee of the Dad 2.0 Summit, an annual conference where marketers, social media leaders, and blogging parents connect to discuss the changing voice and perception of modern fatherhood. My experience has been rich and fulfilling which compels me to share the highlights of my trip. My hope is to encourage you to attend the next event and to acknowledge some of the people I met.
Here are the chronological highlights of a first-time attendee of The Dad 2.0 Summit.
I flew in the day before with thought leader, inspiration and friend Mark Greene (follow him everywhere). We shared a room at the Westin Riverwalk where the conference took place. I really appreciated the one-on-one time I had with Mark. You do get to know people better when you travel with them. I feel grateful for the enriching conversations we had, along with the fun times and the personal connection we fostered during those three days.
A beautiful community
The first day set the tone of it all. What you will (probably) take away from the Dad 2.0 summit is a one keyword: community. The first-time attendee session hosted by the awesome Whit Honea, (read this piece from him and follow him everywhere) was way beyond communicating practical information. I felt that it was geared toward breaking the ice and encouraging people to connect with one another. During the welcome cocktail, you could feel the genuine love that previous attendees had for each other. There were plenty of hugs, laughs and an overall sense of joy. I met great fathers that night including Danny, Angel (hashtag #Papitribe 😎), Nevon, Sunil, James (hashtag #Fatherhoodislit 🔥), Isom (give them a follow on social media) and many others. I would like to thank you all for your stories, your vulnerability and your kindness. I feel blessed that I get to stay in touch with you online and that we may connect IRL ( I see you New York dads 😎🗽)
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Powerful blogger spotlights and keynotes
All conferences have keynotes and the ones at the Dad 2.0 summit were impactful. I was happy to see again on stage Dr. Wizdom Powell, whom I had a privilege to see on a paid leave panel last year in New York City. I also loved Jordan Shapiro’s presentation about the evolution of parenting and fatherhood. I cannot wait to dig into his book.
My favorite moments of the summit were, by far, the blogger spotlights. Some dad bloggers went on stage to read their pieces or share their stories. Some of them made me cry profusely namely Victor Aragon , Scott Baradell, and Aaron Gouveia at Daddy Files. The story of Aaron hit particularly close to home as I too experienced a great deal of online hate as a result of what I write here. Other bloggers made me laugh out loud, literally. In that regard, Jason Greene‘s piece was everything. You can find it here. After his keynote I went to meet with him and shake his hand. As we were talking, little did we know that not only do we live blocks from each other but our sons go to the same school and are both on a dual language program. What a small world!
In a nutshell, the blogger spotlights took me on a rollercoaster of emotion, one that I was not prepared for.
— Ludo Gabriele (@LudoGabriele) February 23, 2019
Informative workshops and breakout sessions
I want to give a special mention for the amazing Jeff Wenzell for a great 20-minutes session on crowdfunding. His ability to communicate clearly about his company and to bring value in just a few minutes were astonishing. I will send a RFP to the Woodshed Agency and I encourage anybody interested in crowdfunding to check out their work. If you have imposter syndrome because of your “small audience”, I really wish you could have attended the session of Jessi Sanfilippo. She was both hilarious, insightful and brought us tips and personal experiences that were informative and applicable.
On non-business related sessions, I want to give a special shoutout to Mark Greene (yes, he is my friend but he is also a rockstar, humble and a leading voice in the healthy masculinity space) for bringing in the 🔥in the awesome panel about gender equality. All participants were very knowledgeable and gave us great perspectives about traditional notions of gender and the evolution of it. Special shoutout to New York dad Aaron Yavelberg from bringing his educator background in the conversation. I would also like to acknowledge the superb panel of Josh Levs on parternity leave and thank him for this leadership on the matter. Finally, thank you so much to Doug Zeigler, Nick North, Brent Almond and Amber Leventry for educating us on gender identity, sexuality and for being so vulnerable and open about your respective journey. 🙏💕
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Amazing sponsors. (Really!)
This is not a sponsored post, therefore you can really believe me when I tell you that the sponsors were really great. Dove Men+Care, historic partner of the summit brought their A game both in terms of goody bags, lounge but most importantly by showing yet and again their commitment to paternity leave. I have been aware of their leadership of the matter for a while now. I acknowledged their great work in my blog here, and I also took the #paternityleavepledge. Again, thank you so much for everything that you do to support fathers.
I also wanted to highlight the two technology companies that were here to promote the safety of our children online: Bark and Google.
Bark, really impressed me with their knowledge, their capability and the results that they are showing; all while not forcing the parents to spy on their children. In partnership with parents and schools, Bark is protecting 2.8 million children, prevented 16 school shootings and detected 10,000 severe self-harm situations. Kudos to you friends!
Google was here to promote a healthy / responsible use of the internet for children, which is a great initiative that deserves a standing ovation. However I cannot ignore the Momo controversy that erupted this week from Youtube Kids, and I want to encourage them to do better. Much better. Even if ultimately, parents are responsible for monitoring their children’s internet consumption, it is also up to you google to #BeInternetAwesome.
There you have it! I hope these highlights of a first-time attendee of the Dad 2.0 Summit will encourage you to attend next year. I do hope you follow the people and the organizations I mentioned here. My only regret was to not find the time to engage with Doug French (one of the summit co-founder) who radiates a beautiful energy.
That will give me the opportunity to do it next time!