Upstate Social Sessions is a day to inspire and educate the community on the value of social media in our personal and professional lives. This day-long conference features sessions with national and local professionals who’ve proven social prowess in their field. It's the largest (and only) conference in Rochester, NY covering social media and it's only a month away! So we sat down with co-founders, Danielle Raymo (Rochester Brainery) and Leah Stacy (Boomtown Table) and asked them some questions about this year's conference. Take a look! (And psssst... it's coming up quick on Friday, September 15 so snag your tickets HERE).
Upstate Social Sessions is a month away! Are you stressed yet?
DANIELLE: I would compare what I'm feeling right now to the lead up to my favorite holiday- except this is a new kind of social media holiday! I'm not a last minute shopper so all the pieces to the puzzle are there, they just haven't all been wrapped and given out yet (aka we'll be releasing our day-of schedule on our website soon!).
You've reconfigured the breakout sessions a little different this year. Tell us about that.
DANIELLE: We received a lot of great feedback last year and one of the things we heard is that attendees loved our smaller breakout sessions. Last year there were only a few, so we focused a lot on providing more of those opportunities this year. Everyone attending will be together for the first and last sessions of the day, but aside from that they'll have a lot to choose from and drop into. There will be a few super limited breakouts that we'll be asking people to register for ahead of time, so if you've already purchased your ticket keep an eye on your email and if you haven't purchased your ticket yet, please do!
This year Upstate is at the historic George Eastman Museum. What about this space made you decide to host the conference here this year?
DANIELLE: The location is going to provide our attendees with some unique learning opportunities. We'll be holding our photography breakout sessions - taught by Roc The Shot and Cara Livermore of Chickpea Magazine- in the Palm House which will provide beautiful, natural light. We will also have a few discussions related to exhibitions being presented within the museum. When the conference ends the museum will be free for attendees to tour until 5pm, too!
What sort of subject matter will the conference focus on this year?
LEAH: Upstate Social changes with the trends and challenges of social media each year. We try to bring in speakers who are doing neat things in their social media space, working with cool companies, experimenting, and excelling. We'll talk about everything from live video to the ever-relevant topic of managing a brand (whether it's your personal brand or a client). We'll also hear lots of stories about how these folks landed in their jobs, because social media is still a very new career in the grand scheme of things.
What speakers are you most looking forward to hearing from and why?
LEAH: I always look forward to hearing from all of our speakers - there's a reason they're joining us, after all! - but there's a few who really intrigue me this year. Kelsey Sweet, a Nazareth graduate (before my time as a professor there!), now works as a social media editor for Pegula Sports & Entertainment. She'll be talking about that journey as well as what the job entails. I love that she's a young, kickass female working in sports media! We also have a few guests from Buffalo, including Kevin Heffernan, who is one of the founders of Rise Collaborative, a platform I've been following for years. And of course, I am excited about our opening session with Evan Dawson and Adam Chodak - they are quite a dynamic duo!