We are excited to spotlight Yellow Conference founded by Joanna Waterfall. Joanna was inspired with the idea by looking up to women making a difference in the world, desiring to use her gifts to change lives, and wanting to connect entrepreneurial women with a purpose to learn from each other. Yellow Conference 2016 will be the third annual conference held late this summer. Learn more about Yellow Conference and get inspired from our interview with Joanna below!
Tell us how the Yellow Conference started.
It was an idea that came to me in the shower – a place where our brains can finally slow down for a moment, allowing us to pay attention to our ideas.
I had recently met some amazing women who were working hard, running businesses and doing it all for a positive purpose. I thought about how special these women were and what a great example they were to me. I asked myself- Do other women have these kinds of examples in their lives? They should! How great would it be to get a group of women like this together to talk about and teach others how to use their gifts to spread good?
I have a lot of ideas on a day to day basis (too many!!), but this was one I knew I had to follow through with. It was one of those things that made my heart beat fast, made me feel extremely scared, yet totally excited at the same time. I knew it had to happen!
You say on your website that you are a “community of creative women who desire to make the world a better place by using our gifts, skills and talents.” What inspired this mission?
The mission was inspired by my own personal desire. I am a graphic designer and was always searching for ways to use my skill set for good. I didn’t want to just do graphic design, I wanted my work to have purpose and meaning behind it. Once I expressed that, I found I wasn’t alone. This mission is to get these women with similar desires together, so that we as a whole can make a greater impact on the world and do more purposeful work.
What is the significance of the name of Yellow Conference; why Yellow?
When I was thinking about what I wanted this conference to be, I started thinking how I wanted to encourage women to be like bees. Bees are hardworking, they live and work in community, and they do nothing but what they were created to do. In doing what they were created to do, they make flowers bloom, plants grow, and give us fruit to eat. They don’t even realize the impact they are having on the world, because they are just being themselves. This is what I wanted to encourage our attendees to do. Be themselves, work hard, and see the blooms spread. Bees are yellow! Also, being a graphic designer, I loved the idea because I could see the entire brand in my head. Everything yellow. I knew it would stand out- it’s happy, positive, and bright. Everything fell together! And the domain name was available. Always a good sign.
In addition to overseeing all things Yellow Conference, you are also a graphic designer (in fact, you did our branding and website for our Anchored In Love Conference!). What does a typical day look like for you?
My days are each very different, but here’s what it looks like on average:
I start my day with coffee, every day. It’s the most consistent part of my day. I get ready for the day, then head to my office in the Arts District downtown LA. I start my day with emails, and usually work on Yellow Conference stuff during the morning to early afternoon. I’ll take a break for lunch then finish the day off with designing and listening to music. I really love my life, and the ability to have my hands in many projects is really fueling to me.
What does Yellow Conference look like- who are your featured speakers and how often do you host it?
Yellow Conference is a 2 day event, and we are experimenting with a third day just of workshops this year. We have speaker sessions, interactive exercises and ways for our community to talk with each other and connect. This year we have Jessica Hische, Alexis Jones and Jedidiah Jenkins as a few of our featured speakers. We host our main conference once a year.
How do you hope that Yellow Conference changes lives in the future?
My true desire is that the connections that are made, the ideas that are sparked, the advice that is received and the relationships that are built will create a ripple effect of good throughout the world.
Do you have any stories from a past conference about women growing and learning?
Two Yellow Conference 2014 attendees, Avery Johnson and Sarah Furman, met at the event and proceeded to create Founded Magazine, an online women’s magazine that serves as a “a guide to living an authentic and fulfilled post-grad life.”
Another prior attendee, Jamie Delaine Watson, was inspired at Yellow to create School Sessions, a movement of photographers dedicated to raising funds through their work to build a school in Haiti.
“In an afternoon brainstorm session in a small group, we were encouraged to think of one specific area we wanted to help in… sex trafficking, orphans, widows, the elderly, babies, education, etc. It was the first time I had stopped to think about honing in on one specific area. ‘Education’ came to mind and we never looked back.”
These are such great example of the things that can happen when a group of passionate women get together in a room under the same purpose.
How can younger women, late teen to early twenties get involved with Yellow Conference and be inspired by entrepreneurs changing the world?
First off, come to Yellow! We have a scholarship that you are welcome to apply for if funds are tight. We are always looking for hard working volunteers as well! If you have any interest in that, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
“Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future”… Coming to and participating in events like Yellow is a great way to make friends who are just as passionate and willing as you are to truly make a difference in the world. Getting inspired by female entrepreneurs is a great way to boost your confidence and have some awesome women to look up to. You should come!