I know many of you have already heard the big news that I have recently taken the role as the new CEO of ShiftCon Eco-Wellness Influencer Conference.
If you aren’t familiar with the conference, ShiftCon is one of the largest media events that brings together online eco-friendly, health-conscious bloggers and social media influencers into one powerful, collaborative and influential community. It’s a 3 day event, featuring exclusive blog marketing and wellness content, Non-GMO meals, over 50 eco-wellness brands and more.
So how did all of this come about, you ask? Well, I’ll give you the long and short story. The moral of it all, you’ll find, is that the universe has a way of bringing everything full circle and that my God always finds a way to bring light into my life, even in my darkest of times.
The past 2 for me have been pretty bittersweet for me, both personally and professionally. For the longest time, it felt like every bit of joy I could feel would become clouded by a sadness. Each success accompanied by a failure. Every passion plagued by indifference.
I witnessed 2 incredible miracles in 2016. From coming within moments of losing my little brother to liver disease to, only 6 months later, nearly using my step-sister to leukemia as she stayed in a coma for almost 3 months! While they became my reasons for believing in miracles, many people didn’t realize that I was also desperately in need of one more miracle that year. My husband had fallen very ill all of a sudden and all we had to go off of were a series of misdiagnoses from doctors. Our first course of action had to be to massively change our eating and lifestyle habits, as well as to remove any toxic triggers to help him recover.
The Universe Coming in Full Circle
2016 was also my first time attending ShiftCon Eco-Wellness Conference as a blogger. I was promised 3 full days of education and networking with brands and other wellness bloggers, but what I got was so much more. I found invaluable health and wellness resources to share, dozens of supportive brands I could honestly advocate for, and best of all, a community of like-minded people to help through my journey. I can truly say that I left that conference feeling more empowered in my professional and personal life than ever before!
I’ve kept in touch with members of the ShiftCon community, used those resources to grow, implemented those brands into my everyday lifestyle and I continue to do all of those to support my family’s health. The impact of that experience still weighs so heavily on my life today.
So fast forward to earlier this year, I ran into ShiftCon founder Leah Segedie of Mamavation and I tell her all of those things and more. She is a kindred spirit and our energies meshed instantly. We ended up talking for over an hour about ShiftCon and the strengths and weaknesses of the eco-wellness community as a whole. Things like affordability, lack of diversity/representation, deceptive labeling, lack of transparency, and more. I get frustrated as a black woman in the eco-wellness space of often being the only one in the room, while at the same time feeling like an outcast in my community because of all of the barriers to entry in the eco-wellness space so many minorities fight to overcome.
She also shared with me some of her personal challenges with maintaining ShiftCon, as she’d been struggling to take her mission to a greater platform while still fulfilling some of her other big dreams, including the promotion of her incredible green living guide for moms called Green Enough. The result of the conversation was Leah determining she was finally ready to pass the torch, so to speak, and I was the person to grab it!
The irony of it all was the fact that neither of us were supposed to be in that place at that time, but somehow, the universe orchestrated the whole experience, along with my girl Dani Faust who gave us both an extra nudge to move forward with this idea! (Here’s to women uplifting other women!)
So the plans of me taking over ShiftCon has been in the works for months and we finally got to make the announcement to everyone via Facebook Live! The response I’ve gotten has been amazing, both from the ShiftCon community and my blogging community as a whole. In 2019, I brought the conference to my hometown of Atlanta and officially created and set a brand new table for a whole new wave of eco-wellness influencers!
Setting the table…
The theme of the 2019 conference came to me on a whim. I’d witnessed so many conversations about the eco-wellness community and organic food movement over the past few months and the overwhelming consensus was the idea that it was just a matter of privilege. It’s highly unfortunate that such basic things as healthy food, non-toxic ingredients, etc. are truly considered “privileged.” There are communities where families struggle to just put food on the table, much less worry about whether or not it’s non-GMO food or certified organic or grass-fed beef or whatever. And there’s a real tragedy in this whole system. The notion that if you are not wealthy, you somehow don’t deserve the option to protect your family’s health and well-being, to eat real food, or not be subject to environmental triggers and toxic air is an incredible tragedy.
So, while many people think the eco-wellness movement is just about flaunting privilege, I want people to understand that it’s about environmental justice for all. It’s about changing the laws and systems in place that are further widening the gap between certain communities. It’s such an important topic because it affects ALL communities, but yet certain communities have been overlooked and downright left out of the conversation. This is the shift we need to make in 2019 and I’m ready to lead the charge.
The truth is that access to clean foods and products and non-toxic air environmental triggers is very limited. There are those communities who aren’t even privy to the truth of what’s going on, and many that do can’t afford or access it. Then the core issue is the fact that it is designed this way, not because it cannot be done, but because of laws and systems in place that support it. The decision makers, the men who sit at the big table, do not represent everyone. Nor do they welcome us at their table.
So we are setting our own, big and powerful table and fighting to bring about the changes we want for our lives and our families! Thus, our 2019 ShiftCon theme was Environmental Justice!
I would love for you all to join me this year at ShiftCon – Oct 8-10, 2020 and my goal is to empower each and every one of you as much as Shiftcon has empowered me!
Edited to add: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, plans for the upcoming conference are being reviewed and potentially revised for everyone’s safety. Sign up for our newsletter to be among the first to know how you can be a part of the magic!