Eleven Women Entrepreneurs on Why We Are “Better Together!”

Take Time to Toast and Danielle Gibson Events present: Better Together at K2 Ranch in Sonoma, CA

A Women’s Networking + Empowerment Event

Two years later…we find ourselves reminiscing about our biggest-ever Take Time to Toast event. Thanks to Coronavirus for the free time and the need to dig into all our happy memories! Anyone else feelin’ this? Now more than ever we wanted to take the time to share about how special this event was and highlight the 11 incredible speakers who graced our stage that day. Their messages were powerful then and still hold true today. Read on to learn more about each bad-ass woman who was in attendance and find some resources that will help support you during this time.better together

DGE is the planning and design power behind all Take Time to Toast events! You can learn more about these Napa Valley Event Planners, here! This Sonoma Women’s Networking Event brought us together on a beautiful ranch to hear awesome guest speakers (from influencers to business owners to members of the US Coast Guard!), drink wine, and grow our businesses. You can follow along with both Take Time to Toast and Danielle Gibson Events on Instagram!

Our Take Time to Toast #BetterTogether event was a full-day conference that created an environment of collaboration among the women in attendance. Our attendees were made up of social and corporate event planners, influencers, wedding planners, florists, caterers, photographers, and other entrepreneurs!

The theme of this event was built on a Danielle Gibson Events foundational belief in collaboration over competition. Our goal was to bring together as many inspiring, creative, and just plain badass entrepreneurs as possible, and encourage them to lean on each other.

A carefully curated range of speakers spoke to attendees in engaging ways (read: live-podcasting, interactive meditation, Q+A sessions, and so much more!) on topics specific to being the best entrepreneurs possible.

The day went a little something like this…

better together schedule

Take Time to be Present: Morning Mindfulness and Meditation with Emily Leahy of Return to Sacred. On Instagram as: @returntosacred

Emily is a certified healer and guide in the Modern Mystery School, where she shares healing modalities, meditation classes, training, energetic tools and more! We love that she touched on ways to ditch burnout and create balance in our daily lives. Not only that, she provided attendees with the tools to be their most present selves in everything they do or pursue. Walking away with solid action items is a sure-sign of a great presenter!

Take Time to be Grateful: Fireside Chat with Amy Paulson and Noel Russell, moderated by Jodee Debes

This one was a real tear-jerker. For starters, Amy Paulson is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Gratitude Alliance, a program that focuses on trauma healing training and counseling for the most vulnerable communities around the world. Amy, once an orphan herself, is passionate about helping children heal from the loss of their mothers through transformative exercises. She had our audience mesmerized by her message of resilience and importance of gratitude.

Coupled with Amy, was Noel Russell, who has done countless projects with the homeless youth population in the San Francisco Bay Area. Together, Amy and Noel led a conversation based on gratitude and the ways in which practicing gratitude can better all of our lives. Noel spends her free time traveling with her husband and two adorable dogs in a van they call Francis Ford Campola (we’re obsessed). van life

Her Instagram feed, @Noel_russ, is filled with mountains, dreamy sunsets and plenty of #vanlife reality shots. We love the work/life balance she has achieved (and is constantly working on). In Noel’s words, “Every minute of free time I have is spent in the wilderness, but it’s always bookended by 50+ hour work weeks, and lots of long days and late nights.”

Led in conversation by the outstanding Jodee Debes (a San Francisco based wedding photographer and entrepreneur in her own right).

Take Time to Connect: Behind Your Dream Job LIVE Podcast hosted by Jodee Debes with Emily Merrell

During this live podcast taping, Jodee Debes of the Behind Your Dream Job podcast and professional photographer, interviewed Emily Merrell of Six Degrees Society. The Behind Your Dream Job podcast was Jodee’s look into the lives of some of her best friends and colleagues who have what most would consider a “dream job”. The subject of this podcast episode with Emily Merrell was Emily’s Dream Job as a connector! Emily is a San Francisco local, founder and CEO of Six Degrees Society, a monthly networking group that empowers millennials to get connected and be their best selves through networking events! Emily spreads a little sunshine wherever she goes, and the Take Time to Toast Better Together event was no exception! Prior to the conference, Emily matched up attendees by similar interests and sent out the matches via email so that you had someone you were specifically looking to get connected with throughout the day. If you’ve ever attended a networking event alone, you know just how comforting this sense of purpose can feel. You can still get involved with Six Degrees Society today and attend an event in San Francisco, New York or Los Angeles.better together

Take Time to be #BetterTogether: A Panel Discussion with Daphnie Yang, Deana Mamlieva, Elise Armitage, Lauren Denham, and Victoria Gurtler.

Talk about a powerhouse panel of women speakers! We were beyond inspired by the energy and advice that these ladies had to offer attendees. As individuals, they are each amazing examples of women we can strive to emulate. Together, they are the epitome of what women can do!

Daphnie Yang (on Instagram as @Daphnie Yang) is a personal trainer and creator of HIIT It!, the ultimate high intensity interval training workout in New York City. Her contributions to this discussion helped us learn how to be the boss of our body, business, and life.

“Happiness takes vision; vision takes the first step,” says Deana Mamlieva. We were thrilled to have her share her story of pursuing her dreams. Deana grew up in the USSR before following her heart to the USA years later where she is now a professional speaker and helps women activate their personal power and claim their dreams.better together

Elise Armitage is a self-proclaimed social media addict and founder of her fashion and travel blog WTFab! She’s an OG influencer and she dropped some serious knowledge! She has been lucky enough to work with major brands like lululemon, Airbnb, and Nordstrom. She shared some tips on taking a blog to the next level, but more importantly she shared how all of us can achieve success in our businesses starting at the ground up.

Lauren Denham, who constantly inspires us with her amazing Instagram posts, joined us to share her story of overcoming depression from loss, divorce, and other hard life lessons. She says, “My point is that mentors are ALL around us if we pay attention. And even if they aren’t our mentors personally, we can still use their knowledge and wisdom to take inspired action in our lives.” Her encouragement was a true asset to this event.

Last, but certainly not least, we had a Commanding Officer of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter PIKE: Victoria Gurtler. At the time of speaking on our panel, she served as the highest ranking officer aboard a $4.4 million warship with missions that have included counter-narcotics, port security, and search and rescue. We are stunned by all that she has accomplished, including her role as the Vice Chair of the USCG Women’s Leadership Initiative.

Together, these 5 leading-ladies talked our attendees through the ups and downs of life and entrepreneurship and what it’s like to be a woman in today’s world. The underlying message was that we are all #bettertogether and that it’s important to lean on each other for support.better together

Take Time to be a Boss: Keynote Speaker, Jackie Sorkin of Candytopia and Hollywood Candy Girls.

What has Jackie Sorkin not accomplished?! This boss woman is known as the Hollywood Candy Queen and for good reason: she is the co-creator of Candytopia and owner of Hollywood Candy Girls. This serial entrepreneur is a girl after our own hearts, and we felt so fortunate that she could visit with us to share what it’s like to make your dreams a reality. She said it best during her fireside keynote with Danielle Gibson, the owner of Danielle Gibson Events, when she reminded us, “All I offer is me. I just bring myself and myself is good enough! Yourself is good enough! You offer unique gifts to this world that no one else can, remember that.”

Toaster’s Faire

No Take Time to Toast event would be complete without an engaging activity to get creative juices flowing. Our “Toaster’s Faire” allowed attendees to visit a variety of carefully selected booths from vendors that offer insane amounts of value. We made herbs and salts alongside the crew from Clubhouse Caravan. Moon Cycle Nutrition educated us on women’s wellness and nutrition. Honeybook shared their business management tools. Return to Sacred offered mini clarity sessions. Sephora provided quick makeup touch ups. Delfino Madden LLP gave attendees the opportunity to ask a lawyer their most pressing questions. All of these booths were available to attendees all day.better together

Mind + Body Fuel (aka delicious Food)

As corporate event planners, we’ve experienced a range of food and beverage options at all-day conferences. We’ve found that too often, the options are unhealthy and food-coma inducing. When deciding what food and beverages we wanted at Take Time to Toast Better Together, we opted for options that would be healthy sources of energy—for both your body and mind. This included small breakfast bites from Smoke Catering, Crisp Kitchen juice shots that left attendees feeling refueled and ready to digest more conference content, healthy lunches with sandwiches and salads from Nappalachia, and an Instagram worthy happy hour spread of small bites by Natalie and the incredible La Saison team. Baked goodies from Teeny Cake fulfilled everyone’s sweet tooth (I mean, salted mini chocolate chip cookies?!). Last, but not least, an array of candies from Hollywood Candy Girls gave attendees the final push they need for the afternoon sessions.

Take Time to Toast

We ended the day with a literal “toast” featuring MTGA Rose Wine poured by fellow Napa Valley event planner + friend, Brittany Anderson of L’avventura. The wine is produced by her husband, Mike! We love a power couple. It was incredibly important to us to end with everyone in one room, sharing a moment of connection. It was an impactful day, from the unexpected rain and the vendors + friends who helped us quickly reorganize inside, to the speakers, to the moments of community building, we truly experienced the meaning of #BetterTogether.better together

Sponsors who made Take Time to Toast #BetterTogether possible –

Behind Your Dream Job @dreamjobpod

Candytopia @thecandytopia

Clubhouse Caravan @clubhousecaravan

Crisp Kitchen & Juice @crispkitchenandjuice

Danielle Gibson Events, Planning and Design @daniellegibsonevents

Deborba Events @deborbaevents

Elysium Productions @elysiumweddings

Encore Event Rentals  @encoreeventsrentals

Giggle and Riot Photo Booths @giggleandriot

Gratitude Alliance @gratitudealliance

Ink Me This @inkmethis

Jessamyn Harris Photography @jessamynharris

Jodee Debes Photo @jodeedebesphoto

K2 Ranch (Our beautiful venue!)

La Saison Catering @lasaison_napa

La Tavola Linens @latavolalinen

Love in the Mix DJ’s @loveinthemix

Meghankaite Co. Stickers @meghankaiteco

Milou & Olin Photography @milouandolinphotography

MTGA Wine @mtgawines

Nappalachia Catering @nappalachia

Olea Hotel @oleahotel

Packed Party @packedparty

Return to Sacred Meditation @returntosacred

Sense of Security @sosc_hope

Sephora @sephora

Six Degrees Society @six_degrees_society

Smoke Catering @smokeopenfire

Standard Party Rental @standardpartyrentals

Studio Noel Signage @studio.noel

Subconscious Coffee @subconscious.coffeecart

Teeny Cake Bakery @teenycakebakery

The Posh Privy Mobile Restrooms @theposhprivy

The Whiskey Chaser Mobile Bar @thewhiskeychaserbar

Theoni Rentals @theonicollection

Arvo Floral Studio @arvofloralstudio

Vanity Portrait Studio @thevanityportraitstudio

Zim Balloons @zimballoons