Opening up the conference on Thursday evening, President/CEO of the Center for Equestrian Performance, Barbra Schulte, who was also the 2020 Zoetis Equine Industry Visionary Award Winner, gave the keynote address. She reminded the group how to rekindle our creativity and ‘mine our uniqueness’ by thinking positive (right up our keyword alley) and to be a STAR:
- See yourself from a place of strength.
- Trust the journey, the path you choose.
- Act on your goals, that will fuel action. Take small steps, love errors, they are part of the path.
- Rise to your potential. No one escapes ‘falling off of the horse.’ Be resilient, don’t give up.
She noted that hope is a verb, not a noun. Remember what you love and why you love it.
The 2021 Zoetis Equine Industry Visionary Award Winner was Breyer Horses. For 70 years, this company has epitomized the essence of this award – “leadership, ingenuity and innovation and serves to inspire those qualities in others.” Stephanie Macejko, VP of Marketing for Breyer, talked about their engaged clientele, children and adults alike; how horses inspire timeless values, and how Breyerfest has evolved due to the pandemic. A popular in-person event, usually with thousands of Breyer fans in attendance, had to ‘pivot’ to offer fans the event virtually. Participants from 107 countries joined in to a sold-out virtual Breyerfest, exemplifying how widespread and engaged their audience truly is!
With a variety of breakout sessions on Friday and Saturday, we attended 45 Ideas: Tips for Networking & Personal Branding, with Moderator Pat Trowbridge, English Group Publisher, Equine Network, LLC, and panelists Catie Staszack, representing her media company, Emily Marquez-Dulin, Executive Director of Brooke USA, Whitney Allen, AHP President and Managing Director of USHJA Advertising and Sponsorship, and Kathy Dando, representing her media company via Pat Trowbridge, as she could not attend. With literally an idea from a panelist every 45-60 seconds, a slew of concepts and advice showered the audience. Interesting, active, and engaging! Some nuggets we pulled from the hour were:
- It’s all about relationships. Genuine relationships that include first names, handwritten notes, and healthy conversation.
- When reaching out, be kind. Be thoughtful.
- When giving out merchandise, consider the use.
- Be unique. Evolve. Have mentors. Always follow up.
- Be persistent. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- Be a good listener. It’s an opportunity to grow.
- Collaborate. Connect. Love what you do.
We also attended informative lectures on SEO and data analytics. And we wrapped up the sessions on Saturday at Free Your Mind – and the Creativity Will Follow, where we started with a blank sheet and, guided by Larri Jo Starkey, used our crayons to free our creativity.