Dazey Lady Feature: Joanna of Yellow Conference

October 05, 2017 1 Comment

Dazey Lady Feature: Joanna of Yellow Conference

Last month I had the honor of attending Yellow Conference, an amazing two day event focused on female entrepreneurs looking to make a positive impact on the world. It was seriously so incredible to be surrounded by like minded women for two whole days talking about our hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. They go above and beyond not only to teach you, but to foster a community. I left Yellow feeling inspired, refreshed, and with a ton of new friends! 

The speakers they lined up we're literally all my dream Dazey Ladies! One of the speakers, Moorea Seal, invited me via Instagram to the speakers dinner because she had been following Dazey. I had always wanted to go to Yellow and thought it would amazing to meet some of the women involved. I ended up having the best time and met Joanna, the boss babe behind the conference. I talked to her a bit about Dazey and told her I would love to come and shoot everything for the Zine. 

Below are some photos I snapped at the conference and of Joanna! Be sure to read about her incredible journey and event she has poured her life into. 

Walk us through your early career before Yellow. School, first jobs, basically your path!

My first two years of college I was a fine art major. I learned all about drawing and painting, I studied abroad in Italy learning about art history and about the great artists who came before us. My junior year of college I transferred schools and changed my major to graphic design and digital media. I got a job doing design at an agency in Newport Beach my senior year, was hired full-time after I graduated, and worked there for about a year.

After about a year at the agency, I moved to LA, got a part-time job doing graphic design at a small boutique studio in Echo Park, and worked on building up my blog and freelance work the other half of my time. The studio I worked for eventually switched gears and I got let go, but with that, I had the opportunity to take some clients from there with me. Through that, I was able to build up my freelance work enough for me to go full-time with it!

I worked on building up my graphic design business, Waterfall Creative, for the next few years, had an idea one day to start a conference, and boom- Yellow was born!

Tell us about the graphic design business you had prior. What made you decide to stop doing that?

It was a really slow progression. I didn't decide one day to stop doing it, and I still to this day take on a few clients here and there if it's a good fit. After the very first Yellow Conference, I knew this was something I wanted to be my full-time job, but I had to figure out the business side of it all. It took awhile and being that I worked for myself in the first place, I could slowly start taking on less and fewer clients, and slowly move more and more  into Yellow. It really wasn't until this year, 2017, that I was able to own the fact that I worked on Yellow full time and not put any effort into getting new clients for Waterfall Creative. 

What gave you the idea to start Yellow? What's the main mission behind Yellow and why do you think it's important?

It was an idea that came to me in the shower - a place where our brains can finally slow down for a moment, allowing us to pay attention to our ideas. I had recently met some amazing women who were working hard, running businesses and doing it all for a positive purpose. I started thinking about how special these women were, and what a great example they are to me. I started to think- do other women have these kinds of examples in their lives? They should! How great would it be to get a group of women like this together to talk about and teach others how to use their gifts to spread good. To elevate the world around them instead of focusing simply on ourselves. I have a lot of ideas on a day to day basis (too many!!) but this was one I knew I had to follow through with. It was one of those things that made my heart beat fast, made me feel extremely scared, yet totally excited at the same time. I knew it had to happen!

Our main mission is to empower creative women to become agents of good. An agent of good is someone who invests in herself, her relationships, and the world. We believe that when a woman is living as an agent of good, she is then able to make an impact on the world, simply by being herself. There's big power in the ripple effect!

This is important because as women, we have an inherent desire to nurture. We want to change the world, but often we end up forgetting that first and foremost, that starts with showing ourself care. Once we learn to do that, and we can lean into quality relationships and encouraging friendships, then we naturally change the world. The world needs us to come alive, to be our best selves, and to work for something greater than ourselves. This is important because the world needs us.

Walk us through the process of doing your very first conference! The fears and feelings you may have had.

The very first conference was me completely stepping into the unknown. I had literally no idea what I was doing. Never had run an event before, had no experience with events, and had only attended one conference in my life. I remember talking to my friend the day before the conference telling her how I felt like we lied to everyone and this isn't really happening. We had all of these people buy tickets to this thing that we didn't even feel was real! 

I was so overwhelmed the night before. Completely freaking out. I had no idea what to expect or what would go wrong or what it would be like- the unknown is so scary! 

It ended up being a magical event that everyone loved. We had a great time and enjoyed every minute of it! 

How many years have you held the conference? Would love to hear about it's evolution! 

2017 was our fourth conference. We've grown in many ways. Our first conference was about 150 people, nowadays we're around 500. We've added a marketplace for our attendees to shop goods that we stand behind and are doing good in the world. We also added a third day with just workshops. We found that people were craving more practical content, so we added in the workshop day to really allow them to dive into the tangible take home stuff. It's evolved a lot over the past four conferences, but the heart has always remained the same.

You host panels, speak, and work with some huge speakers and accomplished women. Does this ever intimidate you?

Heck yes it does! Last year I had to do a Q & A with Jessica Hische- who growing up was my design HERO! I was so nervous even talking to her in the speaker room, and interviewing her on stage was definitely scary! But she was so nice and we ended up having a great time.

But yes, I'm constantly intimidated by the women I'm around and am always trying to remind myself that we're all human beings, we're all equal and no one is better than another. I say that at the beginning of every conference mostly because I have to remind myself of that all the time!

Why is it called The Yellow Conference?

When I was thinking about what I wanted this conference to be, I started thinking how I wanted to encourage women to be like bees. Bees are hardworking, they live and work in community, they do nothing but what they were created to do. And in doing what they were created to do, they make flowers bloom, plants grow and give us fruit to eat. They make the world a more beautiful, nourished place just by being themselves.

This is what I wanted to encourage our community to do. Be themselves, work hard, work together, and see the blooms spread. Bees are yellow! Also, being a graphic designer, I loved the idea because I could see the entire brand in my head. Everything yellow. I knew it would stand out, it's happy, positive and bright. Everything fell together! Aaaand the domain name was available. Always a good sign.

Tell us about your newer project, The Yellow Collective.

The Yellow Collective is our membership platform. We noticed that our community who was coming to the conference wanted to connect year round, but our conference was only annually. We decided to create a membership that brings similar inspiration, content, and community to our audience year round. That's where the Yellow Collective comes in! Members receive monthly Empowerment Packets (that come with a periodical, do-good challenge, discount or download for a product we love and other goodies), online access to our speaker videos, tools and resources and online community, and monthly gatherings either in person or online. We currently have 17 chapters (including a new one in Kenya!) and we're just getting started. It's been so awesome to see a new, deeper community form and come together. It truly feels like we're at the beginning stages of connecting and empowering the women of the world - and that's such an exciting feeling!

How do you see your brand evolving over the next five years? What is your longterm goals for Yellow and yourself?

I have a dream of having a Yellow Conference on every continent. Not sure if that will happen in five years or ten, but that's what I'm working towards! We're going on tour next year and will be really working on expanding our membership platform, connecting and empowering as many women as we can to become agents of good!

 What does being a Dazey Lady mean to you?

It means joyfully embracing who you are. Imperfections, quirks and all. It means being unafraid to let your true colors show. It means living your best life in your own skin. I'm a total fan of the Dazey Lady!




1 Response

 Jenny Larkin
Jenny Larkin

October 11, 2017

I love this zine! I was wondering what this conference was all about. Really enjoyed your BTS on your stories from this and it’s refreshing and inspiring to read about it from Joanna’s side. :) Always enjoy reading. Keep writing <3

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