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 AUG 23, 2017

(2 minute read)


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Conferences are a good place to stimulate new thinking and network with people who are pushing on creative and unique ideas. We attended one recently in Atlanta called Plywood Presents. The conference centered around the theme ‘The Future is Good’ and explored the power of positivity.   

In a nutshell, Plywood Presents was a gathering of creatives, social entrepreneurs, leaders, and innovators structured around speakers who encouraged community, sparked action, and empowered attendees in their work. The conference was hosted by Plywood People, a community of like-minded folks in Atlanta who are interested in developing concepts that are built on the foundation of doing good for people.

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A favorite speaker at the conference was Inky Johnson, a former University of Tennessee football player. A single game changed his life forever—an accident left him paralyzed on the right side of his upper body. A personified example of the power of positivity, Inky didn’t let that get him down. He now works as a motivational speaker, encouraging people take what life throws at them with grace and not to take anything for granted. Within his family, he is the hero to his kids and a powerful role model.

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Another inspiring story came from Eryn Erickson of So Worth Loving. She began her journey with an inspirational blog where she posted a shirt spray-painted with the words “So Worth Loving” and a message of embracing your past and empowering your future. From there a movement was born along with a clothing company, spreading the message of positivity and love.

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Finally, Dallas Clayton's talk focused on the word "love," and finding it and happiness in everyday experiences. The children's author, street artist, and poet explained that the most meaningful moments and ideas tend not to happen alone. They involve other people who help make the moment special. His point? Experiences or interactions with other human beings bring us all closer together and enrich our lives. When we engage in simple conversation with one another, love and acceptance tend to replace skepticism and judgment.

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Plywood People founder, Jeff Shinabarger, did a fantastic job in putting together the gathering, introducing speakers, asking good follow-up questions, and curating the speakers. We left at the end of the day knowing that the world is full of good people with great ideas and fresh concepts. We are all more alike than we are different, which is a refreshing reminder in the current social landscape. We also left with a few new friends and connections. Like a lot of these events, from the TED conference to SXSW, it is important recognize that one of the greatest values of these conferences is the connections to be made and the networking before, during, and after the talks.

Any other recent conferences or gatherings that have left you feeling positively inspired?