Posts in Entrepreneurship
My First Women's "Out Of Office" Retreat

Yo. I’m finally getting back on my blog post grind! I realized how much I love the inner workings of entrepreneurs and their behind the scenes that I’ve been inspired to share a bit more of all the shit I do here on my site.

I wanted to start off with a recent retreat I held an hour outside of Philadelphia called The Out Of Office Retreat. I was approached by Jaimie, the lovely Founder & CEO behind Harlow Grey Homes. She and her team have curated stunning vacation homes in Philadelphia and New Jersey, and they are designed to the max. I mean it took me forever to choose which one I wanted to host my retreat in because they are that gorgeous. I ended up picking The Hepburn because the size was perfect, and come on, that huge U-shaped couch surround by fur rugs! I could smell photoshoot in each room and the natural light had the photographer in me giddy like a little schoolgirl.

So what was the plan? I recently opened an old diary of mine and saw a blank page with the title “Women’s Retreat 2016.” It was a sign. I toyed around with how I wanted to approach my first retreat and who I wanted to invite, especially after all of the conferences and retreats I’ve attended these past few years. After a few iterations, I decided to just put it out there into the universe. I created all of the basic info on a page here on my site, included a sample schedule, all of the beautiful photos of the space and put up tickets. From there, I emailed about 50 of the dopest women I knew and said a prayer.

And yay people started buying tickets. They believed in this retreat! They believed in me! Okay, obviously I have some issues with self-doubt, but entrepreneurs aren’t perfect. However, like my pops always says in his beautiful Bengali accent, “Mamoni, if you build it, they will come.”

We ended up having a full house of some amazing women - some who were close friends and some who I’ve never met (thanks internet!). I brought on BumbleBFF as a sponsor (aka the ladies got to leave with some fun swag) and hired my friend Hava to cook for all of the women. Which let me tell you. I’ve honestly realized in the past year how amazing it is to hire people to help you. I’m so used to doing everything by myself and digging myself in my own hole, so to be able to now a) afford to hire help and b) afford to hire your friends to help you is seriously a huge milestone in my random ass career. Hava took the lead and created some delicious and healthy meals for the two days we were there (and mostly while I slept because I was pretty much a sloth the whole retreat). Like seriously - if you are reading this somewhere out there Hava, I. Love.You.Long.Time.

The two days for Out Of Office were spent doing the following: chilling, working a little, more chilling, hanging with the other women, sharing stories, more chilling, journaling our thoughts, playing mafia, snacking, morning yoga and sleeping. When I said that this was going to be a chill retreat with a super flexible and open schedule, I meant it.

Anyway, this post is getting way too long and I need to start doing some actual work hehe. I wanted to thank Harlow Grey Homes for providing me with such an epic space and for giving me the opportunity to flex my retreat and leadership skills. And thanks to all of the women who came out to the middle of nowhere New Jersey and hung with random other women in the middle of the week. Y’all are the real MVP. Check out the rest of the photos from the retreat below!

When In Atlanta...
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So here's the thing. I haven't blogged in ages or updated my portfolio, business is going great and I'm trying to grow a team, and I'm speaking at like four conferences this spring. There's soooo much I could post, but I'm going to take it slowly. 

Before I delete these pics off my desktop (it's like a guilt trip to write this post since having the urge to clean the files on my desktop), I wanted to talk about my Atlanta trip last week. I booked a cheap flight to ATL back in December and stayed with an awesome friend and fellow girlboss, Karen of wedding and event design company Pop & Fizz). I like to capitalize on my trips when possible, so I thought to myself (which I do often), "Why not host a little event in Atlanta while I'm there?" Especially because I have another awesome, event-planning and branding ninja friend like Porsha of #GoWrkGrls who I've already collaborated with in the past. We hosted a women's panel in Philadelphia like four years ago, so I knew it would be an easy partnership. I hit her up and we ended up planning the whole event within the day. We pooled our resources (especially Porsha's local connects like WeWork holla holla) and were able to create a Sunday meetup and panel discussion for women called "Women Conquering Media."

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Speakers included:

  • Diamonde Williamson of Blossom (a personalized tv experience for women of color curated and created by women of color)
  • Beca Grimm of Dope Girls (a zine for women and nonbinary people who get high & still get shit done) and 
  • Umama Kibria of Sass Brands (a marketing agency serving clients in the health and fitness industry)

...I made that into bullet points so y'all can follow them, duh!

The WeWork venue was absolutely gorgeous and we had food and drinks sponsored by friends (thanks Karen and Paul!) The best part was Priv joining forces and doing makeup, nails, and massages for attendees before the event. Totally missed a free massage opportunity, but shit happens.

I mean overall, it was a success and I'm so happy to mark off Atlanta from my "cities to host events in" list. The best part was the community of women that came to the event. One attendee said that "this type of event and space for women is so needed here." If I take FearlessCon on the road, Atlanta is definitely a stop. Here are some pics from the event below so you know I'm not lying ha ha.  

Back to deleting things from my desktop!

EntrepreneurshipMelissa Alam
Go On, Pick My Brain

Update: view the video from my hangout here:  

Hey friends!  

I've been getting multiple requests from awesome entrepreneurs, boss ladies and creatives who are interested in picking my brain. As much as I hate that saying, I figured I could reach most of you all at the same time with a Google Hangout happening next Wednesday, October 26th from 12:30pm-1:30pm EST. This is my first time testing this method out, but I'm sure it'll be fun! If you're interested and the time works, sign up below (or use this form here) and I'll shoot out the Google Hangout link right before the event.  

Topics that I can cover include how to host your own conference, lessons I learned from opening (and closing) an all-female co-working space, how I handle clients and so on. I'm also available for private, strategic consulting sessions if you'd like to dive further than just this Q&A session - hit me up via email if so. Looking forward to chatting with you all next Wednesday!  

Photo by the amazing Cheyenne Gil!

The Art of Transition
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Every April, Technically Media hosts their amazing "Philly Tech Week." It's a week full of creative, tech, entrepreneurship, and media events for the startup and business community here in Philadelphia. Organizations/companies can host their own events, add it to the main calendar for all to see and expect a great turnout, thanks to Technically Media. 

I hosted my first event during this week about two years ago - we had a Femme & Fortune panel with three local business women talking about how they turned their passion into a business. About 70 people came out, making it one of the biggest events I've ever hosted. This year, I decided to throw another panel discussion for my fellow creatives. The topic - transition. After experiencing my own career transition (post-Hive) and meeting so many other people going through confusing/exciting career transitions of their own, I knew that it was a topic a lot of people could relate to. I asked some friends who I knew would have varied outlooks on this topic to be on the panel, and brought on my new friend Johnathan of Waterfront Ventures to co-host/collaborate with me. The end result was a full house packed with awesome people!  

Take a look at the photos below to see what the event was like. Shoutout to Napoleon, Cheyenne, John, Anh, Emily and Conrad for being so dope on the panel. And thanks to Saxby's Coffee Headquarters for hosting this event and Technically Philly for the love/organization of this week!  

View the rest of the photos from our event here!


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