All photos courtesy of Beth “I should be folding laundry”
When people ask what cities hosted LTYM shows this year, I go down the list alphabetically. They nod from Austin to L.A. and on through Madison, and when I get to NW Indiana and Spokane they make that quizzical dog head tilt Errrr? Valparaiso and Spokane are both college towns, but not exactly known on a national first-name basis like Austin and L.A. Then I explain that I chose the first national LTYM cities for the people, not for the location.
I met Stephanie
one thousand years ago in January of 2010 at a little blog conference she and Heather organized here in Madison called Cupcake ‘10. As is common—even with small conferences—we connected but only had a few scattered conversations. Steph seemed confident, down to earth, and warm. I could tell she’d built her platform and stellar reputation not only from excellent content on her blog, but through authentic, genuine connections with other bloggers and businesses alike. She seemed almost like the very hub of her thriving regional blog community.
In January 2010 Listen To Your Mother wasn’t even a protozoan of an idea yet. Steph made such an impression on me because at that time I struggled with my own goals and purpose in the online space. Steph clearly knew hers and used them with intention to build something quality, and I admired her for it.
After I put the 2010 show online, Steph tweeted that she watched it from start to finish while cleaning her closet. A 90 minute video online from start to finish? How many of us make it past 50 seconds when someone sends us a “must-see” youtube link? It meant so much to me that Steph took that time, and soon after I received the very first request of its kind for me to consider–
How could I get you to come to Valparaiso?
Although this was supposed to be my “rest and reflect” period, I am already thinking about next year and thinking big. Not sure how big yet. I will definitely keep you, Valparaiso and this email in mind as this all marinates.
Then I took three months to assess what made the Madison show successful, and what it would take to replicate it. I’m learning the easiest and most successful towns to produce LTYM shows are those communities where relatively low overhead expenses meet sizeable venues, and combine with a strong sense of local community. Add an experienced person skilled in networking and relating authentically and effectively in that community like Stephanie (both with social networking and with local people), and you can hit it out of the park.
And I didn’t even know Steph had an undergraduate degree in Theater when I selected Valpo as a city and her to direct. Can you say meant to be?
Thank you so much Stephanie, and the entire cast of LTYM: NW Indiana. You’ve inspired me with what you accomplished (especially in a first-year event!), and have taught me what an incredibly successful local LTYM looks like. If only I could borrow Stephanie to help with my Madison show next year!
With hugs, gratitude, serious props, and huge anticipation for the videos…