Redondo Beach, CA
“I didn’t go to therapy … I went to FierceCon!” – Cat Coluccio
You know it’s a successful event when women are already signing up for the next one before it’s even over!
FierceCon 2018, sponsored by Saranghae Korean Skin Care, and hosted by the incredible folks at the Crown Plaza Hotel, Redondo Beach, is just barely in the rearview mirror but the ripple effect has only just begun. From the very beginning, the intention of FierceCon was vastly different than anything else out there. “FierceCon isn’t a Conference. It’s a Connection.” It wasn’t long ago on a team call that Linda Williams, the COO of Forever Fierce Media, mentioned that a friend of hers asked her to explain FierceCon. Linda shared that she wasn’t quite sure what exactly to tell her friend. No, it wasn’t a conference. Yes, it was a connection. But…what is it? How do I define it? As Linda shared so beautifully in a raw and vulnerable Facebook post following the event, FierceCon is simply an experience … and a deeply personal one at that. It’s the experience every woman in the world has been waiting for: the experience to allow those inner walls and shields to fall and to be immersed in an unconditional world of love, kindness, trust, compassion, and acceptance, unlike anything you may have experienced before.
As women, we’ve been raised in a culture where we’ve learned to see one another as competition. We’ve adopted a false set of beliefs resulting in low self-esteem and live in an inner world of self-doubt. Once a woman hits Midlife, the cultural programming only intensifies to one that is deeply negative. Older women are stigmatized as no longer relevant and are forced into a world of invisibility. The Forever Fierce Revolution calls “Bullshit!” on that. We’ve ignited a cultural shift to a new, empowering and vibrant perspective on what it means to be a woman at Midlife & Beyond. Marketing and advertising may be stuck in a time warp with AARP showing images of feeble older women in wheelchairs downing handfuls of prescription drugs. But the women of Forever Fierce will have none of it. We are the Perfect Storm! Women from all over the globe joined us for the theme of “Rewire & Inspire,” and rewire and inspire we did! Why don’t you come along and join me as we revisit the weekend together? If you didn’t happen to join the FierceCon crew this year, I’m pretty sure by the end of this post, you’ll be making plans to come along for FierceCon 2019!
The first to arrive was the fabulous Cat Coluccio, the Founder of the Rocking Midlife Community, who was the winner (by far!) for the largest amount of miles logged to LA from New Zealand! Cat was celebrating her birthday and couldn’t wait to meet her virtual sisters for the very first time. We did a super fun Mevo Live soon after Cat arrived in LA sharing her excitement as well as inspiration for joining FierceCon. It wasn’t long after that the FierceCon crew began arriving in droves. The night before the weekend celebration, the early arrivals met up at newly opened Rockefeller Gastro Pub in Redondo Beach. The Rockefeller provided the delicious buffet from last year’s event and was the perfect venue to kick off the weekend.
Onto the weekend with the Friday night kick-off Gala and Global Livestream (did I tell you that we have never done a live stream before…that’s the beauty of Midlife…you just do it…or hope and pray!!!) The evening began with a series of fabulous Co-hosts who brought our virtual Forever Fierce Sisters along for the ride. We were lucky to have an incredible team of inspirational Co-hosts including, Cathy Williamson, Janet Gunn, Melissa Meyers, Jacqueline DePaul, Jan Correll, Anita Morris, Jodie Filogomo, Cat Coluccio, and Loretta Sayers to kick off the Gala celebration. Every duo shared a fabulous and generous giveaway from our amazing sponsors including Grace Fodor Studio 10, Saor Perfume, Rivahil Winery, TheBiasCut Cashmere Jumpers, The Golden Years, Ecru Clothing, Lily Lark Parasols, Maja Arnold Necklace, Queen Bitter, Serena Whaley Custom Oil Portrait, Chara Free Bracelets, Cucumber Clothing, Wills Leather Goods, Theresa Martin Bracelets, GlamSquad, Madison Reed, and Andes Florists with a grand prize pair of luxury designer shoes offered by the lovely Jaclyn Jones, Founder of Jaclyn Jones USA along with a luxury gift set by the team at Saranghae, our Title Sponsor who made this weekend possible. Andrea McDonald and Chantal Dubois lead the social media and public relations team at Saranghae. If you haven’t yet heard of Saranghae, trust me, you will soon! In Korean, Saranghae means “I love you” which set the tone for the weekend as their tagline became our tagline, “Our Fierce Love Story Starts Now!” and it certainly did!
The Forever Fierce Sisters celebrated during the live stream, dining on delicious hors-d’oeuvres, an endless buffet, dancing to the tune of a DJ, capturing the moment in a rocking photo booth, or via the fabulous photog, Cheryl Ogden capturing the moment! And as a special treat, we were all treated to a special song by our Fierce Sister, Lesley Wolman, who performed her own rendition of Shania Twain’s “Man, I Feel Like a Woman” which brought the house down!
It takes a Fierce woman to party all night yet wake up for a morning meditation by the fabulous, Davidji. “Ji” is world renowned for his gift as a Meditation Master and a best selling Hay House author. Having apprenticed under Deepak Chopra and leading the Chopra Center meditations for over a decade, “Ji” went off on his own to inspire men and women around the globe to embrace meditation. He kicked off the morning by shooting an edition of The Forever Fierce Show (after driving 2 hours from San Diego!) and then onto lead a meditation that was life-changing and brought many of the Forever Fierce Tribe to tears. Following a moving meditation, Ji began the Beachside Chats by sharing his personal story of rewiring. All I can say is if you haven’t experienced the power of “Ji,” do it now! He was the talk of the weekend as he inspired every single person in the room. His gift lies in having you feel that his message is just for you and you alone.
Following Ji was a day of inspiration with a morning panel filled with one uplifting talk after another. We were blessed to have an amazing and diverse group of women including Cathy Williamson, The Middle Page Blog, Janet Gunn, The Grateful Gardenia, Jacqueline DePaul, Yellow Brick Runway, Jan Correll, Silver is the New Blonde and Wendy Packer, Fashion Over Fifty. One woman after the other shared their deeply personal story leading to a room filled with deep emotion. You can watch the entire morning panel here! The inspiration was only just beginning as Loretta Sayers moderated an equally moving afternoon session with talks by Linda Barnby of Hello Sweet Life, Rosie Dalton, Coach Rosie Dalton, Patricia Talbott, Founder of Saor Perfume and an event sponsor, Tamera Batsell of TB Styleworks, and Cat Coluccio of Rocking Midlife. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, or on the panel for that matter, as women opened up and shared as they’ve never shared publicly before. There were even a few men in the audience, partners there to celebrate with their significant other, who were also deeply moved and shared their surprise in the messages being both universal and genderless. Make sure to watch this rocking panel right here!
The afternoon sessions capped off with a well-needed discussion centering around finding your voice and creating a powerful presence on social media. Lead by Andrea and Chantal of Saranghae, a colorful discussion was lit as the audience joined in sparking fascinating conversation. Even Peter Lee, the CEO of Saranghae, piped in with his personal and corporate insights on social media. Although it had been a full day, being the Fierce women that they are, they weren’t done yet. Following the talks were a series of popular sessions by GlamSquad with mini makeovers and makeup generously donated by Pro-Aging Activist, Grace Fodor, Founder of Studio 10 Beauty. Grace was initially scheduled to join the celebration at FierceCon and was called away to a huge event in Shanghai. She not only provided us with a beautiful collection of makeup for the mini makeovers, she gave every woman who attended a full-size lipstick in the most glorious shade of peach and a concealer in a beautiful, universal shade, to help us cover those under eye circles from a weekend of festivities. And all during the weekend, the Crowne Plaza Hotel and grounds were the stage for 42 individual photo shoots by award-winning women’s branding photographer Courtney Paige Ray for our upcoming Faces of Fierce!
Following the mini makeovers, the sisters made their way over to the famous Hermosa Beach Pier for our annual photo shoot. I’m pretty sure herding cattle is a layup compared to gathering this many women for a group shoot. But, given the talent of Mike Castagna for being a boss in his own right, along with being the main photog behind the Forever Fierce lens, the sunset photo shoots captured the essence of the day. Lisa Selwitz of Lily Lark, a Forever Fierce Sister, donated the gorgeous, handmade parasols for the shoot and as gifts for the weekend raffle. Julie Bee joined the party as she launched her drone into the sky and shot the women from the air. Following a successful series of shots, many of the troops made their way to the world famous Comedy and Magic Club for a night filled with fierce giggles on the most irreverent of subject material.
Sunday capped off the weekend with an elegant and delicious brunch sponsored by the team at Saranghae. The party relocated upstairs to the Promenade Ballroom, overlooking the scenic Redondo Beach Marina. The buffet table at the fabulous Crowne Plaza Hotel was overflowing with everything from homemade granola, yogurt, fresh fruit, and tea breads to homemade omelets with our own private chef. The tables were graced with the most beautiful floral arrangements by Andes Florist, another generous sponsor of the weekend. Peter Lee, the CEO of Saranghae, topped off the event with a heartwarming and vulnerable personal story of riches to rags to awakening. He touched many hearts in the room with his raw journey as he opened up about what he’s learned about himself through being humbled, like so many of us, by life. His talk inspired by tears and laughter and was a beautiful and fitting tribute to a weekend like none other. The brunch was followed by an endless stream of fierce hugs and goodbyes along with the Saranghae team’s resident videographer, Krusan, capturing the emotion on film. I talked with Krusan as he shared how he was deeply inspired by the events of the weekend. The Saranghae team wasn’t simply a sponsor. The Saranghae team was now part of the Forever Fierce Family!
Although FierceCon 2018 has come to an end, the life-changing ramifications are only just beginning. I’ll continue sharing the posts from my Forever Fierce sisters in the hopes that you’ll be rewired and inspired as we have. And, if you weren’t able to join us this year, remember there are lots more to come and FierceCon 2019 is already in the works. We hope you’ll be able to personally experience FierceCon for yourself. Only then, can you truly understand what we know for sure…that FierceCon isn’t a Conference. FierceCon is a Connection. It’s a Fierce Love Story that Starts Now and continues to build and to grow…with every one of us and you!
A huge thank you to the Saranghae team for joining forces as this event wouldn’t have been possible without your unending support and generosity. We look forward to sharing the weekend captured on video by the Saranghae team!
It truly takes a village to create the FierceCon experience. I couldn’t have done it without the incredible FierceCon Events team members. Thank you for giving us the greatest gift you can give, your time and energy! My immense gratitude to you for creating this inspirational weekend experience and for being the fierce village behind The Forever Fierce Revolution! Linda Williams, Jodie Filogomo, Julie Bee, Loretta Sayers, Deb Gutierrez, Helen Greenwell, Eugenia Hargrove, Barbie Holmes, Kim Higgins, Rebecca Phillips, Rose Dalton, Lana Lindgren, Amy Kennedy, Valerie Koob, Wendy Hodge, Angie Weihs, Lesley Wolman, Cat Coluccio, Carmen Guerrero and of course, our fierce and fabulous Instragram husbands, Big Rich Holmes, John Gavin, and Rob Filogomo.
Oh my stars, Catherine! What a treat to read this beautiful review of the event! And your pictures are gorgeous! It took me back play by play of everything from that weekend. Thank you thank you thank you! My heart is full and dreaming of next year!
Catherine Grace O'Connell
Isn’t it such fun to relive, sister! Can’t wait to do it again but with your beautiful sister with us! Love you!
FierceCon 2018 was so much more than I expected. Coming from a place of uncertainty about attending alone this year, I can truly say that it was an experience I’m so glad I didn’t miss. I needed to be there to see my sisters from last year and gain new ones this year. I felt tremendously blessed and can’t wait for 2019. Thank you FierceCon Team and Sponsors for blessing us so good!!!
Catherine Grace O'Connell
I’m so grateful, my friend. I can’t imagine how difficult that was for you. We are here for you anytime. I’m on my way to NYC and gone for 2 weeks but we would love to arrange a time to go to the chapel with you when we return. Sending you so much love and congrats on the redo of your blog. How exciting. And, I wouldn’t dare do all the backend stuff…brave girl!
Catherine, thank you for putting together this event!! There were so many wonderful women, all there for a common cause: simply to support each other. I know it was a lot of work, so I appreciate all the hard work, seen and unseen. So thank YOU. ? julie bee @Over_fifty_in_Hollywood
Catherine Grace O'Connell
Next year…you’re not going to work so hard and you will have to experience the weekend. We missed you and so appreciate your talent and your time. Love you!
I loved reading every word here because it brought me back to FierceCon 2018. I had goosebumps!! It was such a wonderful, inspiring, magical weekend that touched so many of us. Thank you, Catherine, and all of the sponsors who were so generous and made our event possible!! Xx
Catherine Grace O'Connell
I could just keep reliving it over and over again. Thank you for all that you did. I couldn’t have done it without you!
You paint an exquisite picture of Fierce Con. So sorry I could not make it. I am inspired to get there next year!
Catherine Grace O'Connell
Oh, it was fun and I can’t wait for you to experience it with us next year!
Catherine, this event was life changing and I am SO glad I attended and met new lifelong friends. I can’t wait for next year and I want to thank the wonderful sponsors for their support and for all of the goodie bag swag 🙂
Catherine Grace O'Connell
And look how many lives you’ve touched and hearts you’ve opened since that weekend. You are a brave one and I’m so grateful to have you alongside us on this journey. Onwards and upwards!
It certainly was the event of the season!! So much love, so much hard work, and so much to be thankful for!!
Catherine Grace O'Connell
Yes it sure was!!!
Love you to pieces and look forward to many more adventures together!