Our CWA Writers’ Track Panels were a huge hit! YEEE-HAW! But CWA expertise was everywhere this year…along with many experts in social media, marketing and more. Although I’m one of the “old cats” and have been to dozens of conferences over the years, there’s always more to learn and great new people to connect with. I have a stack of biz cards more than an inch thick to add to my twitter/Facebook connections. I even got to connect again with Robert Semrow, Pet World Insider, in a fun interview (top picture), as well as a fun segment for a new cat treat “experience” (stay tuned, will share when available). Here are some pictures and a quick recap of the BlogPaws experience.
Both Thursday sessions were filled with very engaged audience members eager to learn more about publishing, good writing, journalistic integrity and more. Publisher/author Bob Mayer, and authors Lisa Erspamer, Pam Johnson-Bennett and myself presented on the first Publishing Panel.
Then CWA members Layla Morgan Wilde, Deb Barnes, Janiss Garza and Alana Grelyak presented on their panel. The audience members kept us with questions long after we were scheduled to stop, and then dozens (yes, I said DOZENS) of aspiring CWA members made their way to the CWA Booth to find out more about our organization.
That evening, longtime member and CWA booster Steve Dale spoke at the opening ceremonies about one of our favorite causes, Winn Feline Foundation. He not only gave a lovely shout-out to CWA and Lorie Huston (sniff), he presented the Winn Media Appreciation Award to Fran Pennock Shaw. Mee-Wow! A highlight for me on Saturday was lunch with Steve and reconnecting/catching up.
Friday morning’s Keynote, Peter Shankman, had the audience rolling in the aisles. He is an incredibly entertaining and generous speaker, with great insights and information. CWA members will remember he also spoke at one of our conferences in White Plains, NY–and he’s a CAT GUY! Stay tuned, I hear-tell that one of our members got a picture of him wearing cat ears. (Hmnnn, why isn’t he a member yet?!).
Wendy Christensen sent 100 copies of her beautifully designed booklet with details about the organization–I came home with only about 20 copies left. Fran Shaw had arranged for CWA members to host the booth where they not only provided great PR for CWA, but they also signed/sold a bunch of their own books. Speakers had a second signing opportunity and we signed quite a few Saturday afternoon, too.
Lea-Ann Germinder and her GoodNewsForPets team designed/created two fantastic free-standing banners for the booth that we’ll use at future events. We also created CWA “contest discount” postcards added to the cat “swag bags” hoping to encourage more nonmember cat writers to join our furry throng. That’s right, there are many cat folks at the event but also dog bloggers (horse bloggers, hamster bloggers etc) who also share their lives (and writing) with cats. Hey, we’re all in this together–for the good of ALL pets, right?
CWA was one of about 50 booths in the exhibit hall, where attendees got to meet all kinds of pet products companies catering to dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, you-name-it. Another whole section (about 25% or so) was dedicated to Kate Benjamin’s “Cat Style Lounge” containing cat-astic feline products.
The Nose-to-Nose awards this year included seven CWA member nominees, and three CWA members Debbie Glovatsky, Alana Grelyak and Christine Michaels took home awards! What a testament to the quality of our members’ work, right? It also makes CWA look good for those aspiring to make this their chosen career, and also to potential sponsors and other pet professionals. I am so very proud!
All the speakers sessions were great, and I learned a lot. The sponsors outdid themselves. Mark Johnson, the President of Mars Petcare US (presenting sponsor), was there along with Dr. Tiffany Bierer, and a host of other great sponsors including Pet360 of course. Did you notice the CWA logo on that page, too? Yep, we’re listed as a sponsor and got lots of PR from BlogPaws.
I can’t say enough good about Yvonne Divita, Tom Collins, Chloe Divita and their team of tireless folks running thither and yon, including Carol Bryant, Felissa Elfenbein, Robbi Hess and I don’t know how many others (please forgive me if I accidentally left out your name!).
Frankly, I had a blast. I also lost my voice. There were so many dogs there, wow, but also more cats and cat-centric folks than have ever attended before. I met one blogger who came from Australia and said the deciding factor to attend was CWA’s presence. That’s humbling. And exciting.
That’s why I am so very pleased to announce some exciting news–just released to CWA members and so now we’re able to tell the world. The 22nd Annual Cat Writers’ Association Awards Banquet will be held Friday, June 24, 2016 concurrent with the 2016 BlogPaws Conference at the Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa. Details about all the CWA events will be shared as they become available–and I’d encourage those interested to get in on the early bird rate for BlogPaws so you can double your pleasure!
In closing, I’ll leave you with this…Awwwwwwww!
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