GEM Conference – Part 2

You can see from Part 1, the GEM Conference had a lot of takeaways. In this post I cover from lunch to the Midday break and my favourite panel of the day, related to… guessed it MONEY.

The second panel of the day was on the “Art of Negotiation”. The panelists were:


Some of my favourite points from this panel were:

  • Laura Kelly spoke about how when you’re in a service based business you’re essentially making up a price for yourself and having your talent compared to others and how she did her first photo shoot for free so that she would have a portfolio to show future paying clients
  • When asked about some common fears about money, Susan mentioned that everybody is fearful about the numbers, so if you are, you’re on par. It’s about starting out with what feels right and then making sure 2 out of every 10 customers are out based on price, if you’re not losing 20% of your opportunities due to price, you are leaving money on the table, you’re likely pricing too low – Raise your prices. In negotiation – courage comes before confidence – be aware of who you are competing with and ask double what you’re thinking. Women tend to focus on what customers can afford and value for service. In general, women ask for less than men – particularly when it comes to salaries, loans, etc. If you are asking for a raise – add 10-20% to the number. If you’re asking for a loan, double it.
  • Desirae spoke about looking for mentors and people in your industry who are ahead of you who can coach you on figuring out your value, and what the market pricing is for the job you are doing or service you are providing – ask what would you advise I charge? You’re gathering opinions – you’re not limited to the advice you’re given but it’s helpful
  • When talking about how to deal with if your prices are challenged, Laura talked about making pricing available upfront and providing detailed pricing on your website, set the tone so that the conversation with the customer doesn’t become awkward, it helps to avoid that type of challenge. You will have to defend your worth during negotiations, whether it’s relating to your pricing, agreement terms, salary or vacation time during salary discussions.
  • Different customers have different propensities to pay – bigger client vs. smaller – if someone can’t pay a certain amount, change the scope of the work depending on what the client’s budget is. If the price you are saying and everything that comes with it is too much – cut out some bullets.
  • Go to your big picture self vs. right now self – what does compromising now do to you later on?
  • There is a ceiling for the service in the market you’re in – but it depends on the audience you are/want to serve with the price you’re charging
  • Keep your rates the same but change the scope and payment options
  • Figure out your cash flows and do what makes sense for you to get regularly paid

The third panel of the day was “Making S*** Happen”. The panelists were:


Some of my favourite points from this panel were:

  • Secrets to growth –
    • Be authentic and genuine, people don’t care about the product as much as the person behind the product
    • Connect people to eachother
  • When to pivot-
    • A decision doesn’t have to be a final decision- you can experiment and switch course
  • How to cultivate community –
    • People want to belong to a community, make them feel part of something
    • Think about the people you already have, not about getting more
  • How to Scale –
    • Pick the right partners – when you scale up, your customers expectations of quality stay the same, the right social media or influencer coverage can turn into exponential growth
    • E-Commerce – don’t build from scratch, don’t think you need all the bells and whistles from the beginning – start small and build up
  • At what point do you start hiring?
    • Freelancers vs. full time – there’s a tipping point when you can’t physically handle all the requests yourself
    • Know what you’re good at and not – allow experts to be experts
    • Find the right fit, and then figure out where they fit
  • Priority list vs. To Do list, Amanda and Tom talked about how they have a WIG wall – yes actual WIGS are involved but also Wildly. Important. Goal. They suggest picking one big W.I.G for the year and every week the team meets at the WIG wall to say one thing they can each do to reach the W.I.G – everybody becomes accountable to each other

The next Fireside chat was with Anna Lambert, of Shopify Glass Breakers. Some of my favourite points were:


  • Process should make something previously impossible, possible or make things easier. She spoke about Cy Wakeman’s No Ego book and Ted Talk.
  • On Tips for growing into leadership roles she mentioned picking roles that have an impact and asking yourself – is the person you’re working with down to teach me things?
  • On the mentor/men-tee relationship – the men-tee should bring a list of questions/topics every time, they should be responsible for the agenda
  • On sponsorship – get comfortable asking for what’s fair and surround yourself with people who bring you up

The last panel before the midday break was Social Darlings and the People Slaying Their Careers, the panelists were:


My favourite takeaways:

From Katie:

  • Community: know who your audience is – make them a part of the conversation.
  • Concern yourself less with likes, and more with impact…use your influence for good – it’s about the quality of your posts, not the frequency
  • Check back in with yourself and remember your WHY
  • Social media is a great platform for learning. Use your accounts to explore other talents
  • Digital personal branding is essential today, from job searchers all the way up to C Suite

From Dominique:

  • Set some ground rules  for working with partners – make sure they’re following the standards – (CRTC Anti-span rules, Canadian Blogger and Influencer Disclosure Guidelines…)
  • Partner with companies/brands that align with your WHY…this will only further your own reach and exposure. When you work with big brands, they tend to have their own plans, whereas other smaller brands don’t and you can decide how you work with the brand.

You see all this content right…it’s a good thing the midday break involved a bit of a sugar high from Doughbaby Doughnuts – Yum!

Stay tuned for the third and final part of the GEM Conference.

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