There are conferences all around the world that collectively bring people of like mind together – TED Talks for those who seek ideas, inspiration and new genius, Awesomeness Fest for world changers and innovators, TBC Asia for passionate travel bloggers in Asia and TBEX for savvy social media travel professionals – the list goes on, and on. When I heard of the Asian Women Empowerment (AWE) conference in 2013, I was a little skeptical at first. Not another one off pump-it-up, you-can-do-it, feel good conference, I thought. But since it was in Kuala Lumpur and I had no plans for that weekend, I decided to pop in and registered for the conference. I wanted to drown the skeptic in me and truth to be told, I wanted some me time as I had just become a mom six months prior – so a breather at a women’s event sounded like fun!
Since the first AWE in 2013, in Kuala Lumpur, I’ve been hooked and I found myself registering for the second conference in Kota Kinabalu last year. 2015 would make it the third year running and network of people have grown stronger, AWE Alumni’s are now friends instead of acquaintances and most significant of all, AWE has not lost its special authentic touch to connect and empower. More of what makes AWE so special?
- It’s a small conference born out of a vision to empower women the same way Juno Kim of Runaway Juno was empowered to take a daring step out of the career world into the world of travel. You can feel the heart and soul of Juno throughout the conference – it’s nothing like another event based, sponsor-centric, soulless mega-conference.
- The people! I made friends there that I continue to keep to this day thanks to Facebook and Twitter. I reckon because the event is so intimate, we end up befriending almost everyone and some special ones stay on as friends event after.
- The conference is down-to-earth and relatable – while it is fantastic and valuable listening to high-flying CEOs and professors speak, there is a connection that can only be made with peer exchange and shared experiences. At AWE, successful entrepreneurs, budding writers, and promising trendsetters share their success stories, but they also share the struggles involved in the journey. I have been incredibly inspired by people like Lois Yasay of We Are Sole Sisters, Nila Tanzil of Taman Bacaan Pelangi, Caroline Nguyen Ticarro-Parker of Catalyst Foundation, Jeannie Mark of Nomadic Chick, Amalla Vesta Widaranti of Swanky Traveler and of course, Juno!
Sadly, I won’t be attending this year’s AWE as my schedule is packed. A couple of months back, Juno asked if I would like to shoot a short video to say hello to the participants. I was delighted and thought hard and long about what I wanted to say in a few short minutes. The past year and half have been a steep learning curve for me with many exciting life changes and daring leap. I’ve gleaned so much in this short time and sometimes I wonder if I’ve gained a few extra strands of grey hair as signs of added wisdom! 🙂
P/s: There is a short appearance of a very special little boy named Seth in the video. Enjoy!