On June 17, 2020, I attended the Atelier Digital 2020 conference.

I first heard about The Atelier Collective in the spring of last year, likely through some of the ladies I follow on social media, I don’t remember. I do remember feeling a pull to the conference, a community “Created for Ambitious Women in Business.” Formed by two strong, successful Canadian businesswomen, the Atelier Collective strives to bring women in business together through workshops, blog posts, social media and their yearly event to inspire and support other women in business not only across Canada, but also the world, now that it has gone digital!

Atelier Digital 2020 - Social Media

Conference Setup - Social Media
(Peep my Tweet!)

Atelier Digital 2020 - Jillian Harris and Tori Wesszler

Closing out the conference: Jillian Harris and Tori Wesszler

In the lead up to last year’s event, I tried to justify the cost to not only attend the conference, but also fly across the country and stay in a hotel for a couple of nights, leaving Brad to take care of things at home.

Costs aside, I couldn’t. I couldn’t convince myself that I was worth investing in in this way. I was just a writer after all, I don’t technically have a business. The conference passed and I didn’t give it another thought, until this year when they announced that because of Covid, they were hosting the usual in-person event online. And I am happy to report that since last year’s conference announcement, something in me has shifted.

I am worth the time to invest in conferences like these, not only the ones specifically for writers, but this one in particular that gathers like-minded women, fellow authors and successful ones at that! Writing is my art. I signed up right away and was even able to score one of their Experience Boxes, which included snacks, beauty care and a bottle of wine to enjoy the day of the conference at home.

So what is it that shifted in me? Confidence in what I’m doing, that the path I’m following is not only right for me, but it’s where I’m supposed to be. What I’m supposed to be doing. Everything about me has changed in the last year. I love myself, unconditionally, which is something that I have struggled with in the past. My choices, that I make for myself and my family, aren’t always well-received, but I’ve come to realize that other people’s reactions to the things I do, however big or small, are theirs. Not mine. I am responsible for myself, my happiness, and I am responsible for furthering my persona as an author, as this is truly what I want to be doing for the rest of my life. And I was bound to find women on similar paths as me, regardless of what their business or career was at this conference.

It didn’t hurt that one of the major speakers for the Atelier Digital 2020 was successful author Elizabeth Gilbert, of Eat Pray Love. That was the biggest sign to me that I was supposed to be there. I belonged.

The day started off early for me, since it is based out of Toronto, but I managed to get up and ready for the 6:30am PST start, and I only missed one speaker through the whole day. Luckily, I can go back and watch as they have kindly offered a free replay for ticketholders of the event included in the price of the ticket.

Following an inspiring welcome and visualization, Elizabeth Gilbert spoke with the hosts in a question and answer format that we saw throughout the day. She started by discussing her Share the Mic Now, which took place on June 10 and involved multiple known white women handing over their Instagram accounts to various black women for the day. I’ve been letting my life lead me in these days of racial unrest, and was happy to learn from someone with a higher impact than my own and see what she has been doing to help make a stand and change these unjust patterns that have been going on for far too long.

Elizabeth also spoke about female resilience and power, and as she echoed what she wrote in her book Big Magic, encouraging us to embrace our curiosity and surrender to the fact that we are not in control, I truly felt as though she was speaking directly to me. To hone my creative side, I must trust in the day and recognize that the things I thought I had control of, I didn’t have any control over anyways. Which is hard for a control freak-type personality, but is truer than anything I’ve heard in a long time.

Atelier Digital 2020 - Notebook from Experience Box

A New Notebook (on the right) for this Notebook Lover

She talked us through some tips for working through this pandemic, and I realized that instead of worrying about what I will do when Covid has passed, I should be at ease now. Living life waiting for something to happen isn’t healthy, and it isn’t living.

If we start by learning how to be a better human to other humans (her words, not mine), we will be so much better off.

And we will be giving hope to future generations for the change we want to see in ourselves and others (my words, not hers).

Following this inspiring author, there was an AMPLIFY panel that consisted of four beautiful, strong black women that individually encouraged us to be involved in the movements that are going on around us today, to take care of ourselves, listen learn and read. Coach Raia Carey, a life coach, shared her tips for how to be an ally and also how to take care of ourselves—BE AUTHENTIC with yourself, your message and as an ally. Karlyn Percil spoke also about listening, learning and leading with yourself. No one else can take this journey for you. Which is truth for me, I am my own path, and the only one that can walk it.

TSN announcer Kayla Grey shared with us her recent experience standing up against a white journalist’s use of the n-word in his writing (you can read about TSN’s most recent statement surrounding the incident here). During Kayla’s speech, I was tremendously moved when she discussed what it was like last year following the Toronto Raptor’s Championship win, to be hosting the celebrations on air, and to turn and see no one that looked like her at the top. She has since made the point that other People of Colour shouldn’t only be beside her, but also behind the scenes producing, editing and writing, and she is so right. This path she is on isn’t easy, and I am in awe of her, and the other women that spoke at Atelier Digital 2020, and the way they are using their voices.

Another strong and impactful speaker was one of the most decorated Canadian figure-skaters, Tessa Virtue. Fun fact, I used to figure skate and I love watching all things skating related and even got Archer into it when the last winter Olympics took place. I was excited to hear Tessa speak, and she inspired me when she spoke of failure, as others had, as an inevitable bump in the road, and something to not only learn from but anticipate and conquer. The ability to adapt to situations is part of what makes us as women so unique and powerful. She encouraged everyone to find what they love and stick with it.

I’m listening.

The last speakers of the day were Jillian Harris and Tori Wesszer, co-authors of the cookbook I’ve been really digging lately, Fraiche Food Full Hearts. They continued the theme of the day, telling the story of their failed online antique shop, and how they didn’t let that failure stand in the way of future successes. And that’s the main thing that I took away from this conference. Be true to who you are, believe in where you want to go and when you fall take a moment, but always get back up.

Thank you Atelier Digital 2020. I hope you see my books on shelves very, very soon.

On the inspired path,


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