By Christine Churchill
June felt like one long road trip. I had three conferences in a four week period. All were absolutely fantastic and I wouldn’t have wanted to miss any of them, but I wished I could have stretched out the time between conferences.
The first week of June was Danny Sullivan’s new conference SMX Advanced in Seattle where I spoke on the Better Ways panel with Alex Bennert (Alex is a class act and I hope to be on another panel with her soon), Greg Boser (who never fails to make me smile with his quick quips), Jim Boykin (whose company WeBuildPages should rightfully be called We Build Links), Todd Friesen (Todd claims to have come over to the white hat side, but he’s not fooling anyone – we love him either way), Cameron Olthuis (Mr Social Search Extraordinaire), and Aaron Wall (SEObook himself). You can see Danny trying to keep this motley panel in check in the picture below.
There have been numerous articles covering it and the rest of the show, so I won’t cover the content of panels here. To me, the conference was a networker’s dream – the small size and relaxed feel made it a fabulous place to informally develop business relationships. With the web becoming more socially oriented, having a network of friends and business acquaintances to call on is growing in importance. That may not be the case for all, but I’m finding I’m working with more of my peers than ever before. I’ve included a few pictures below just for fun.
From Left to Right are Stephanie, Alex Bennert, Jane Copland and Christine Churchill
This is my all time favorite picture of Matt Cutts. It really shows his fun side and why he is loved by SEOs.
Did I mention the food at SMX was fantastic? It reminded me of food at SES in the early days when we still had hot meals. Here’s a picture after lunch – notice no box lunches! From the left are Jonathan Hochman, Stephan Spencer, Christine Churchill and Dave McClure.
Todd Malicoat after “yet another strike” during the bowling match at the SEOMOZ party.
The second week in June was SES Toronto hosted by Andrew Goodman and Chris Sherman. Andrew did a super job of planning out a phenomenal conference. He came up with some new sessions and elegantly mixed new with seasoned speakers to give the Conference a fresh feel. Andrew, pat yourself on the back because you pulled off a great conference! I also have to congratulate Incisive for moving the conference to June – the weather then was perfectly delightful. The only downside was I somehow managed to miss my friend Toronto native Brendan Kerin which bummed me out because I wanted to drop a baby gift by to his lovely wife. Sorry Brendan.
My third conference of the month was in Denver, one of my favorite cities in the world. I have fond memories of Colorado from my college days when I attended Colorado State University and from visiting my parents who lived in Estes Park, Colorado. The Denver conference was the High Rankings Seminar which I always enjoy because it’s an excuse to combine work with friendship. Jill Whalen, Scottie Claiborne, Karon Thackston, Jennifer Laycock, myself, and my charming husband Mike Churchill gave presentations on a variety of search related topics.
The weekend after the conference I played hostess to my friends and gave them a tour of some of my favorite Colorado places – Boulder, Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Trail Ridge Road over the Continental Divide and then through parts of ski country. It was a thoroughly enjoyable trip and it was great to be able to share places I love with people I care about. The gorgeous picture below was taken at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. In the picture from left to right are Christine Churchill, Scottie Claiborne, Lee Laughlin, Kaitlin, and Jill Whalen (in the back – yes, the one putting rabbit ears on Lee).