A few years ago I attended the Broccoli City Music Festival, I had been asked to volunteer to work the festival for one of my previous employers. After working the festival I was able to visit the different vendors, enjoy the live music and some good food. That was the year Erykah Badu headlined the festival, I also remember vividly the chicken and waffle food truck that year, the line had made the food well worth the wait. This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Broccoli City Conference for the very first time. The Broccoli Con is “a series of events where attendees learn proven strategies, tactics and hands-on techniques to turn conversations into action.” While I had began the process of starting to lay the groundwork for my business I needed information on finding investors and creating a social platform for what I had planned for the organization in the future.

Six months into the launch of Books & Brunch Book Club, I felt the #BroccoliCon conference would provide me with an opportunity to connect with people who have started their own businesses as well and gain insight or to people who are in the process of starting their own soon. The conference was held at the Google Headquarters which seemed slightly ironic seeing as though Google had been the company I had been praying to work for since I was able to work. Cost for the conference seemed very reasonable, a $35 donation to the Broccoli City Foundation and your RSVP. 

The conference was held on a Thursday and Friday which means more than likely you would have to take two days off to attend the conference. Although this may seem like somewhat of a inconvenience it helped to filter out those who may not be serious in their pursuit of becoming an entrepreneur. The conference caters to millennials, entrepreneurs, young professionals and students. The two-day schedule included network and idea sharing, hands-on workshops, professional development, and new approaches to problem solving.

I arrived slightly later than planned Thursday, with the Google DC headquarters being located in the heart of the city I was able to find street parking with no problems at all. Check-in was organized to perfection. You gave your name to a few ladies who handed you your name tag on a nice yellow lanyard and gifted you with a nice reusable swag bag full of goodies. There was no club line formed where you had to wait patiently while people buzzed past as if you were invisible and you are kept waiting to make people walking by think this was the place they needed to be.

There were five panels scheduled for Thursday ending with a panel on environmental gentrification moderated by Amanda Seales. Following the days events there was a beautiful cocktail reception with a spread of healthy food options and vegan alternatives; hands down the crab balls were my faavorite. Cocktail hour allowed you the time to really mix and mingle with people you may have met during the day but not had a chance to talk to. There was a DJ spinning a nice mix of music to keep you energized and two photo booths for you to takes pictures as you wait, one booth for selfies and another where you could receive a instant 5x7 copy of your picture.

Friday’s events were scheduled for a full day of panels covering topics from “Black Business Beyond Music and Sports to Corporate Social Responsibility.” Friday’s panels were packed full of insightful information that was well worth ticket cost and then some. Since Friday’s events covered a full day, there was a lunch break scheduled mid-day and food trucks lined the street outside with a variety of food options available for very reasonable prices.  

Overall I would highly recommend this event for anyone, whether you are at the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey or well on the path to success, the information you receive will help you to take your business to the next level. You are able to connect with people who have similar interest and learn more about how you can personally contribute to creating a more sustainable environment. I look forward to attending next years #BroccoliCon conference not as an attendant but hopefully as a panelist.