Inspire 2013: Mark's Thoughts

Inspire retreats owners Where to start? I was going to talk about the conference time in February, but I can’t because Inspire is a year in the making and it takes planning and a ton of time, but the conference is so worth it! The time we spend planning Inspire for me is my “fun” time. Everyone on the team has become close with one another so we enjoy the camaraderie of the team and building a new conference every year.

We had many changes earlier year, and the first big change was forming a LLC partnership between Carla, Eric, Enna, Krista, Paul, and I making us all equal partners in Inspire. I really believe that this was a big catalyst in making this the best Inspire yet. We all love and respect one another so much that we really want to work our tails off.

OK, now we’re at Inspire in Sturbridge! WTH!!!! Why do we have to have a good old nor’easter over the weekend! Hey, the shoveling took off a ton of calories that I could make up for with G&T's and great food!

When we all arrived on Sunday on the tail of the blizzard we could only laugh and have fun when Carla arrived in snow pants from digging out all afternoon. It made me laugh out loud to see her like that, but on a serious note it shows the commitment we all have. Carla, you can work a snowsuit like no one I know!

Monday began as a blur, before I knew it we were at doing registration for all the Monday classes which just set the tone for education people would expect through the conference. Allana and Jared really knocked the ball out of the park with their afternoon intensive classes. Jared’s class was one of the classes that sold out in under one minute when it went live for sign-ups, and I know everyone was ecstatic when they walked out.

Every year we plan and plan and plan, but there is always something we did not expect and this year it was Amy Deputy! She just blew the conference wide open with her openness, honesty, and willingness to share on that first night. Come on I know everyone was either crying at some point or acting tough and pretending dust got in their eye. Who doesn’t like a big hug? How could anyone miss Chris Riley and me hugging it out at our table. As Mainers we are confident in our masculinity and can hug it out anytime!

I walked out of the opening night thinking “holy shit! This is going to be an intense couple of days” and it was everything and more.

I love meeting new people, and the assigned seating at dinner was awesome! I had some great conversations at meals, mentoring and just grabbing a beer and having a chat! A shout out to Catie McDade, Jeff Turner and the crew at Blackthumb Studio of Alana, Kayleena, and George, along with Matt Wood, Chris Riley, Kate Preftakes, Smita Jacob, Katie Noble, Jessica, Maureen Cotton, Tom Flint, Maria and Erin Obrien, David Murray, Amy and so many more that I had the opportunity to hang and chat with!

The nights went late with all the fun everybody had with karaoke on the first night and the DJ and the band on the second night. I saw some hilarious dancing, (thanks for the dance lesson Sharona) but it was great seeing everyone having a blast. I mean who doesn’t enjoy letting out their inner Bon Jovi after a couple of pops.

The portfolio reviews with David and Amy were on another level. WOW...just WOW. It started as an impromptu session where people could watch the review, and the reviews wound up stretching to close to 11 on Tuesday night. It was awesome seeing the dedication of all involved in wanting to improve their craft. Thank you David and Amy for the time and thoughtfulness you put into the reviews.

People really came prepared to work hard at learning their craft and business while making true friends while having and having a great time in the process, and the talent level at Inspire this year was off the charts. The entire conference was just chock full of talented people.

I spent much time running around, but I did manage to see David Murray’s class on the edit of a wedding, and I love to see how he sees a wedding and what he considers for a deliverable image for the client. Beth Fitzgerald was just fabulous, and it was just chock full of great information for running your business in a competitive environment. Tomas Flint’s “Seeds” talk was the final class I attended and It was a class that made you look inward and required contemplation of the classic who, how, why. It really made me look at why I love photography and what I can change in my life as a photographer.

When you do a viral “Harlem Shake” video to end Inspire you know it’s been a great three days. People were dog tired by that point, but everyone was game for one last bit of fun.

I woke up that Thursday after Inspire, and I was ready to get to work even though I could have slept for two days. We were so eager to get going on Inspire 2014 that we started planning that morning with a three hour meeting before checking out of the hotel. We just couldn’t wait to get the ball rolling for 2014!