So... it's been a little over a week since I got back from Cleveland and my first WMC Fest. To say that it was an overwhelming experience would be an understatement.

Overwhelming in that I got to meet so many amazing people. Many of whom I have interacted with on Twitter and Facebook and that I can now call friends.

Overwhelming that I was asked by Joseph Hughes to be a speaker on such a diverse, inclusive, vibrant and talented roster. I have admired all the other speakers for a long time and to stand on the same stage as them was, frankly, mind-blowing.

Overwhelming that the attendees, volunteers and organizers were so friendly, supportive and helpful.

Overwhelming in that each and every talk that I heard struck a unique chord and I left feeling empowered, inspired and humbled in equal measure.

 Of course there are far too many highlights to list and amazing people to say thanks to but here are a few of my personal highlights. Moments and interactions that really meant something special. I'll try to keep it short...

1. Getting to the hotel in Cleveland, feeling kind of nervous and instantly being put at ease on stepping out the taxi by way of meeting Margot Harrington,  Chad Kouri and Christen Carter.

2. Hearing These Are Things give a powerful and honest talk on the ups and downs of carving out a career and a living as independent designers. I was sitting beside their parents in the front row and I could see the pride on their faces as Jen and Omar talked. An amazing moment.

3. Meeting some familiar faces in a new setting. I know Lisa Congdon, Clay Walsh and Rena Tom from San Francsico and I just loved chatting with them and hearing Rena and Lisa's talks. Their conversational style was a really nice change of pace and tone. Completely absorbing.

4. The talk by Caroline Moore on "How Punk Rock Made Me a Better Entrepreneur" was one of my favorites from the weekend. I could tell you all about it but you can check out her own recap here. 

5. Troy deShano. Such a privilege to get to know Troy and to hear him speak. He is honestly the most wonderful, humble, engaging and inspiring individuals I have ever met. Truly a special person and the world is a better place for having him in it.

6. Special shout to Mikey Burton and Carli Dottore. The time we had to chat was all too brief but it was most definitely awesome!  

7. I really feel awful that I didn't get to hear Ann Friedman and Dylan Lathrop give their talk. I had to catch a flight back home. However it was a huge highlight of the weekend to meet them in real life. As far as people go, they really are the best of the best.

8. Finally, there is the best of the best and there on a pedestal on top on that is my wife Sara. Thank you to her for her endless love and support. I could not do any of this without her. Thank you honey.

Thank you to everyone else I met and chatted with. It was truly wonderful to meet you all and I for one really appreciate the effort that everyone put in to make the trip out. From near or from far. Meg LewisDan Cassaro etc I'm looking at you! Can't wait to see you all again (and meet new friends) next year.