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The BAM Conference in Vegas: In Which I Kiss and Tell

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I’ve been dragging my feet in regard to writing a post about the BAM (Bloggers at Midlife) conference in Las Vegas, mostly because I don’t have many good pictures that tell the tale. The reason for this unfortunate lack of photographic evidence is because I was busy running around like a chicken with its head cut off. I served as volunteer staff. I acted as a gopher,  and it was my goal to serve each and every woman who planned, organized, and ran this stellar event, as well as the conference attendees. Sometimes, I failed. Sometimes, I was at the right place, at the right time. I tried.

But here’s my point.

What I’d *like* to give you a picture of is what *I* saw, from my vantage point, which, admittedly, not everyone had. I was both a conference attendee (albeit a distracted one, as timekeeper), and close to the women behind the curtain, the ones pulling all the levers. 

Here’s what I saw, and this message will be pertinent, I hope to both future potential attendees, future sponsors, and to the advertising world in general.

The Women of Midlife are a dynamic group of individuals with voices that are strong, articulate, and powerful. We’ve been through the fire, and have come out on the other side with quite the education: not only in terms of graduate and post-graduate degrees, but also from the school of hard knocks. We’ve faced all life has tossed at us, from sickness, and loss of loved ones, to joy and achievement, and we’ve surfaced on the other side, still swinging,  still vibrantly alive, and ready to tell our tale, and inspire others.

We’ve not only conquered the internet, we know how to wield its power. And those of us who have more expertise than others are there to lend a helping hand to the ones following behind us.

So this word is to businesses and to the advertising firms with whom you work: USE US.

People of our generation listen and respond to authentic voices! We influence others. There are research studies that bear this out. USE US! If we’re standing up in your faces, waving our arms, telling you we love your product, and can authentically support it, by telling our very own personal story about it? For gosh sakes! Use us. 

Our generation IS brand-loyal. No one knows what the heck millennials respond to. Brands and advertisers are scrambling to try to figure that out. In the meantime, PR folks, while you’re working on that weighty problem, the people/women of Midlife ARE brand loyal, and we care about quality. AND – and this is the biggie – in general, our wallets are much fatter than the wallets of millennials. Enough with the age-bias. Nothing is sexier than confidence. You know that, right? And we’ve got confidence, in spades, because we’ve earned it. 

And this comment is directed toward women who are considering attending this conference in the future. What I saw that I loved, was women across a 40 year age span, helping women. We shared our knowledge. We shared our tips. We shared laughter. I learned from authors, storytellers, social media wizards, fashion bloggers, travel bloggers: there wasn’t one speaker who didn’t have a helpful and pertinent piece of expertise to share, regardless of his/her speciality.

So, if you’re sitting on the fence about attending the next conference, sit no longer. Just climb down from your perilous perch and come. You’ll be so glad! The networking is awesome, and WORTH IT!!! So very worth it.

OK, a few more points of interest.
The first morning of the conference, I got to participate in breaking the World’s Record for the Largest Outdoor Merengue Lesson taught by Mary Murphy of “So You Think You Can Dance”, on a street in downtown Las Vegas, with the many other notable street people and drunks. (Their presence was a comfort, as it allowed me to dance better than someone.) This record breaking event was sponsored by Osteo-BiFlex, who totally understand that we were ALL made to move, no matter what generation we come from.

Doing the Merengue in the Streets of Vegas

Oh, just Breaking the World’s Record for Doing the Largest Ever Outdoor Merengue Class, in the Streets of Vegas with A Couple of “Old” People, but not the aforementioned street persons and drunks.

I attended a disco party – also sponsored by Osteo Bi-Flex- and was dipped by the gorgeous, but tragically gay, Will. (And by tragic, I refer to his loss to the female community at large.) My dear soul sister Candace Karu and I engaged in a mock cat fight over Will. (A mock cat is entirely different than a mock turtle.) Candace very kindly let me use this photo, knowing I’d only use it on the entire internet, because if you’re a blogger, what happens in Vegas is GOING TO LEAK.

The BAM Conference: In Which I Kiss and Tell

Candace actually WAS a Go-Go Dancer (which was my life goal, as a child), so she had an unfair advantage on me, aside from being cuter, and physically rock-solidly fit, due to CrossFit. But I decided to let her win, anyway.

Post-conference, I finally got to go to the beautiful swimming pool at the J.W.Marriott Resort in Las Vegas. I’m so glad I stayed for one more day, to unwind.  

BAM Conference 2016 in Las Vegas in which I Kiss and Tell

Taken under the waterfall at the beautiful pool of the JW Marriott Resort property in Las Vegas. A little slice of paradise!

I went to the pool  with my Kissin’ Cousin, Teresa Kindred, (who may, or may not be related to me somehow).  Both of us have ancestors who hail from Turkey Neck Bend, KY. Turkey Neck Bend is a small town somewhere deep in the bowels of Kentucky. Teresa is the great mind behind the website Nanahood, and is quite possibly my kin, by some form of marriage, because you know everyone marries their third or fourth cousin back in them hollers. Despite our advanced age, we attempted to bend no turkey necks in the making of this picture. 

Kissin' Cousins: kin, fer sure!

Kissin’ Cousins, or at least some form of relative, fer sure, is my kindred spirit, Teresa. We’re almost bound to be kin!

And while it LOOKS like Anne Parris and I kissed in the video at the top of this post, if you watch my lips closely, you’ll see I never really kissed the girl (unlike Katy Perry, who’s probably kissed Anne thousands of times). I do have some incriminating pictures of some of my fellow roomies and staff members, but I’ll reserve those for future blackmail purposes. You never know when desperate times will strike.

On a personal note, it was my pleasure to serve, both the conference organizers and planners, as well as the sponsors.

Hello, I'm Fabulous

Hello, I’m *that* Susan Williams, and I’m *that* Fabulous!

And, to get ready for this conference, I went shopping at Chico’s for this fabulous white crop top jumpsuit, from Chico’s Black Label line. (I already owned that necklace from Chico’s, too. ) All the Chico’s sales clerks back in Nashville were THRILLED when they found out I was going to wear it at a conference, sponsored by Chico’s! And I was thrilled by the simple and elegant lines. I’ll bet I got stopped ten times that day by people complimenting me on this outfit! Hey, jumpsuits aren’t just for prison, anymore!
So, to Chico’s, or any other sponsor out there who wants an authentic voice to tell your story:
Yo. Look at my page entitled “Work With Me“, and if you’re lucky, you can have all this fabulosity <—– telling YOUR tale. (If I like YOU, that is.) 


Monday 2nd of May 2016

Loved our time together at lunch and am so happy you and Teresa stayed to unwind. xoxox, Brenda

Sheila DelCharco

Monday 2nd of May 2016

Sooooo glad I came and was able to reconnect with the fabulousness that is YOU!!


Making the Most of Every Day

Susan Williams

Monday 2nd of May 2016

But we DIDN'T get ENOUGH time to together. But sadly, such is the way of a conference. :(


Monday 2nd of May 2016

This was excellent coverage of the conference. I hope the brands will reach out and use us! Thanks for the recap! b My recent post Misogyny and Politics are Strange Bedfellows

Doreen McGettigan

Monday 2nd of May 2016

What a great wrap-up! Barbara Hammond and I looked for that pool the next day and couldn't find our way in:(

Thank you for everything you did for everyone, so generous!

Rena McDaniel

Monday 2nd of May 2016

I was so bummed to have missed it this year, but next year for sure! My recent post Seniors Who Embrace Technology Do Better Longer