I’m fresh from the experience of volunteering at the Breathe Now conference this weekend in Victoria and what a great event it was. I asked to work behind the scenes for a few reasons, two of which were to help out where I could and look “behind the curtain” at a conference and see how other people run them.

This one appeared to have come off without a hitch. Organizers Yukari, Janice, Angela and Janni were calm, cool and collected the whole weekend – and they should have been. By all accounts the weekend was fantastic, and highlights for me were being able to meet and talk with – as the conference’s speaker coordinator – keynote speakers Rona Maynard and Bif Naked in the green room.

Delivering the keynote address on Saturday, Rona Maynard was a good speaker, reading from a prepared presentation which was full of humour and kept us interested. As a speaker myself I wasn’t surprised to see that the quiet woman that I’d met in the green room became a lively comic during her address. She was “on”!

Here are some sketchnotes that I took during her talk:

On Sunday, however, Bif Naked was an excellent speaker. For an hour she spoke without notes, from the heart, and laid herself bare. She talked about being born an orphan in India, her family, her experience having cancer, going through heart surgery three weeks ago, and hitting menopause at 40. She had a slowish way of talking that kept everyone captivated. The proverbial pin could have dropped while she spoke and we all would have heard it, everyone was paying so much attention!

Here’s what I captured during her talk:

Later I tweeted these notes and got Bif Naked’s Twitter reply below. So honoured!

On top of being able to hear these two great speakers this past weekend, I got to meet, get to know better, and reconnect with a bunch of people that I like and respect around town. (You know who you are!)

Volunteering at Breathe Now was one of the highlights of my year so far. If you want to follow back what happened at the conference you can check out the Twitter hashtags #BreatheNow and #BreatheYYJ, or follow the @Breathe_Now feed. The conference organizers have told us that they are planning another conference next year, so I highly recommend putting this great women’s event on your future calendar!