GEM Conference - Amanda

GEM Conference - Amanda

GEM Conference

Organizer: Amanda Cockburn

Date: Thursday May 30, 2019 // Time: 9:15am-8:00pm //

Venue: Horticulture Building

Photography: Marianne Rothbauer, Rothbauer Studio


What is GEM Conference all about?

Gem Conference is an inspiring community of modern business women, entrepreneurs and thought leaders who all have one thing in common- their pursuit of growth. Being a modern business woman has nothing to do with age, race, or where you live. Its a mindset, and you know that by showing up, we rise up together.

This one day conference is a full day of keynote talks, panels and fireside chats featuring 30 speakers, locally made food and drink, breathing + meditation workshops, popup market featuring Smithery Style and other vendors. 

Our credo is to offer a visually inspiring day full of beautiful corners, a well appointed stage co-designed by West of Main, beautiful (and delicious food), but not sacrificing deep meaningful content in the pursuit of an insta-worthy day. Our panelists and keynotes are coming ready to get deep and vulnerable, inspire you with key takeaways, funny anecdotes from career and business, and to connect. 

What inspired you to start Gem Conference?

Ottawa has so many talented entrepreneurs, ambitious career women, budding side-hustlers, mompreneurs, and people thinking of leaving their 9-5. Ottawa has so many amazing events and people serving a community or audience. But I saw a gap in the local conference scene to really give the creative entrepreneurs and driven career women a conference experience that we're seeing popup in cities across North America, but that wasn't happening here (yet). The creative entrepreneur doesn't want to just go to a stuffy board room or convention centre, eat conference centre food and go. They want to learn AND be inspired. We are bringing in speakers from Toronto and Winnipeg (and we have a coast to coast wish list for 2020) to offer something fresh- although there is a constantly growing crop of local talent, we can learn from their point of view of what's happening in other cities! 


So this isn't a one year thing?

No!!! Ticket sales, buzz and engagement has shown us that this is something that has the potential for longevity. Our hope that this isn't a one-time experience for attendees. We are committed to keeping the offering of topics and speakers fresh and relevant each year, and we’re hoping that GEM becomes an annual event for our local community every year. We believe that people should take time to work on the business, not in the business and that they should be investing in their personal development. 

We’re also looking at meaningful ways we can engage the community at other times throughout the year. We have a few ideas up our sleeves, but let’s get through May 30th first! 

What should attendees expect?

The conference is a one day event, designed to inspire and educate. Thirty speakers are taking our stage in a series of panels, keynotes and fireside chats to discuss business, careers, authenticity, leadership, money, impact, wellness and more. 

Attendees should expect a series of emails starting next week to start getting them ready, along with a worksheet so that they can do a check in on their branding, career, values and goals. 

Come with open hearts and minds: if you’re coming in a group, prepare to break out and meet new people. Come prepared to be moved, to learn, to support, and to connect. You get out of it what you put into it. Be prepared to show your belly, to be open to new point of views.


How have you used conference experiences to shape how the day will unfold?

When I worked for Tiffany & Co. I had the privilege to attend the North American directors conference. If you can imagine, no expense was spared to make it the utmost inspiring experience. What I remember is the collective desire to grow and succeed, and the small touches. The smells, the small details that show care for others’ experiences. It was a living example that when people show up for you, you show up for them. 

On the flip side, early this year I attended a conference in early 2019 in Squamish BC. This conference was no-grills (they first need to! The backdrop of old growth forest was backdrop enough!). This conference was simply about the content and connecting. 

GEM is going to fall somewhere in the middle of these experiences. 


What local brands have you partnered with? 

Do you have all day?!  Obviously it was important for us to engage with local businesses, and we passed on a lot of venues where you have to use in-house food and drink. It was important to us that for a creative event we have the liberty to get creative with the food and drink experience. 

The prime food content will come from RAW pulp and grind. They have amazing and easy to eat bowls that are vegan, we will also have an assortment of their cold pressed juices. We have Doughbaby Doughnuts and Rocket Scones, Culture Kombucha and County Bounty soda. The end of the day cocktail hour is sponsored by Beaus where they will be featuring a brand new drink! We’re still working on a few other details, all local and inspiring. 

We have brought on some amazing sponsors! Our keynote sponsor is heart & crown pub (we all have a story of history going to H&C!). We have also partnered with Fresh Legal, Stay Creative Box,  Uashmama, Undercarriage, West of Main, Wild Ivy Events, Banging Balloons, Short and Suite bnb, MDRN Photobooth, Brittany Fleming Photography, Rickshaw Printing, SIP beverage bike, Spark Clarity... and more in the works. 

This is as much about the content as connecting other local brands. 

Where can people buy tickets? 

On our website ... we are 80% sold out so if you’re interested I wouldn’t wait. If you miss out on tickets, I would sign up for our newsletter so that you can get first access to tickets for future events. 

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