I made a bittersweet announcement today. I’m stepping away from organizing Social Media Breakfast: Waterloo Region (smbWR). I founded this nonprofit community organization three years ago and it has been a tremendous success.
We’ve held 21 early morning events, 1 evening event and an All Day Breakfast. There’ll be one more in June.
Each attracted large, enthusiastic crowds. We normally attracted between 70 and 100 people with an all-time high of 170. Participants have come from a diverse backgrounds including large businesses, nonprofits, small businesses, tech companies and the public sector. There’s been people launching their careers and others with plenty of experience. Some participants live fully immersed in social media, while others are dipping their toes into the water or desire to take their use to the next level.
I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and how I’ve contributed to enhanced social media use across Waterloo Region. But it’s time to hand over the reins and move on. I’ve decided to take the time I’ve been using for smbWR and dedicate it more directly to my business including launching my own speakers series called inspire! The first inspire! event is Social Media inspirations! on June 10 in beautiful downtown Galt at the Cambridge Arts Centre (home of the organization formerly known as the Galt Little Theatre).
Long live Social Media Breakfast: Waterloo Region
I have been fortunate to have been assisted by Kayleigh Platz, Ronak Patel and Jacki Yovanoff.
Over the past year, I’ve been helped by Liana Kraemer, Carla Bowes and Nathan Robertson. Having a strong team in place that planned to continue volunteering made my decision easier. They will take over full organizational responsibilities with a new season set to begin in September. I can’t speak to their plans but smbWR will remain a nonprofit community organization.
Ingredients to the success of smbwr
There are many ingredients to the secret sauce that made smbWR click over the past three years. Here are some of them:
- A thirst for knowledge about social media as people have recognized it’s here to stay and they should get a grip on how to use it better
- The relationships that I developed through my personal use of Twitter helped to attract the early participants
- Relationships that I developed through my professional use of Twitter helped to arrange speakers
- Expert speakers and panelists who generously shared their knowledge (more on this in a future post)
- Events held regularly in all parts of Waterloo Region. We’ve been to Cambridge often, three events in St. Jacobs and several in Waterloo. Being deliberately inclusive has involved people who may not have come otherwise especially since at times we were close to where they lived and/or worked.
- Enthusiastic groups of participants. When you start your day with a high energy group of 70 – 100 people, it leaves a positive impression that draws people back.
- The diversity of sectors, career levels and social media experience mentioned earlier. I’m proud of how smbWR brought people together who normally attend events with a more limited reach such as the tech sector, the social profit sector or Chamber of Commerce events.
- Interesting venues! smbWR started at the Kitchener Market’s Marketplace and we put it on the map as an event location. We’ve continued to try to find venues that are interesting enough to help attract people.
- E-mail marketing. Social media helped gather people for early events but the e-mail list that now numbers over 800 past participants has been key to keeping in touch with folks and getting them to come back.
What have you enjoyed about smbWR? Why have you come? Why did you return?
Do you have any smbWR memories to share?