In this series of blog posts we are introducing the folks who are team members and organizers for Inspire 2013. Coco wrote about her Inspire experience and what it meant to her in establishing relationships in a new city!

"Recently I've been trying to think about how to quantify my experience at Inspire over the past two years, but its so hard! What has Inspire been worth to me? A barrel of cuddly puppies, 15 of those super fancy espresso machines, free grilled cheeses for life? Seriously though, I've realized that every success I've had in the two short years I've lived in Boson are thanks to Inspire and the wonderful people who put it together, especially the wonderful lady, Krista Guenin, who made me go in the first place.
Arriving in Boston the Monday after i got married, having turned down a job at a newspaper in rural Missouri, (I know, sounds dreamy...) to follow my new husband, I had no idea how I was going to get started in my new self appointed job of wedding photographer. I eventually got in touch with Krista who was looking for free work, ha who isn't, and agreed to let me bother her and mess up menial tasks at her office once a week. It was from Krista that I first heard of Inspire, and in the dead of that nasty winter she convinced me to volunteer as an intern at Inspire (this was it's second year). So in between waitressing, catering and everything aside from begging I found myself in Concord, a room full of very talented strangers. What ran through my brain was that I had NO idea what I was getting into...Thankfully though I have a completely ridiculous name, and because I was taken on and introduced as an intern, everyone knew my ridiculous name! It was magical. An instant ice breaker. It gave me the confidence to talk to anyone I could find. And what I found in that room was a group of inviting, friendly, hilarious, and generous people. No one was too cool to talk to me or let me pick their brain for a minute or two.
That first night I made so many new friends, and pretty much set up my entire next wedding season. I met Deborah Zoe, a fellow former newspaper photographer, who took me on as a second shooter for almost her whole season. I assisted for Krista as much I could, and even got a couple weddings of my own to shoot. The following season I met and worked for more photographers and got more weddings. This season I'm an Associate Photographer for Krista Photography and am finally tilting the scales from 75% second shooting and assisting to 75% real weddings of my own. BOOM. Awesome.
This brings me to my Inspire advice column (since I'm so qualified to give it...) Whether people know your name or not, just know that we are all in this together. We are all photographers, no matter what you shoot, looking for something at Inspire. I was looking for friends! (Sad I know) And for some sort of leg up in this overwhelmingly scary new career of mine. THAT is your instant ice breaker, the fact that you are there at all.
So come see me at the check-in booth this year and say HI! Because you can!"