Interview

Talk Shop with Joanna Waterfall, Founder of Yellow Conference

The thing that stands out most about the Yellow Conference is that all of the speakers talk in the same room. As an attendee, you experience one inspirational, insightful talk after the next, and over the two days, you're experiencing all of this with the same group of ambitious women. 

The creator of this game-changing conference is Joanna Waterfall, and she's just as optimistic, hard-working, and creative as you might expect. While pursuing a career as a freelance designer and feeling the tension amidst women in her industry, Joanna created the Yellow Conference and it's been a hit year after year. She's our next Talk Shop speaker and we can't wait to to ask her all the things about how she's building an impactful community around her conference with her new project, the Yellow Collective. Read more from Joanna below and RSVP here.

 Talk Shop with Joanna Waterfall, Founder of Yellow Conference  Talk Shop with Joanna Waterfall, Founder of Yellow Conference

“I think it's easy to think that when you've had one thing go right that everything from there will go right too.”

Why “Yellow?” 

When I was thinking about what I wanted this conference to be, I started thinking how I wanted to encourage women to be like bees. Bees are hardworking, they live and work in community, they do nothing but what they were created to do. And in doing what they were created to do, they make flowers bloom, plants grow, and give us fruit to eat. They don't even realize the impact they are having on the world, because they are just being themselves. This is what I wanted to encourage our attendees to do. Be themselves, work hard, and see the blooms spread. Bees are yellow! 

Also, being a graphic designer, I loved the idea because I could see the entire brand in my head. Everything yellow. I knew it would stand out, it's happy, positive, and bright. Everything fell together! And the domain name was available. Always a good sign.

What's the toughest skill you had to learn to run a conference?

So many things! I think the toughest thing I've had to learn is that you're never done. There's always something to be learned, something around the corner, something you can improve upon. I think it's easy to think that when you've had one thing go right that everything from there will go right too. But our world is changing constantly, and we always have to be in the know, and never stop learning. The better I can get at that, the more everything falls into place.

What’s been the craziest thing to happen at a Yellow Conference?

It's hard to say because there are so many things that happen that I don't hear about until later, or even years later, or never hear about at all. With 450 women in one inspirational space, it's hard to know everything that's happening! Honestly though, I think the craziest thing for me is always seeing how passionate, caring, and amazing our attendees are. Hearing from them how much they have been impacted by the conference, how they feel like they finally found their people, all of that continually blows my mind. I'm grateful beyond words to be able to play a small part in impacting these women's lives. It's surreal for me!

 Talk Shop with Joanna Waterfall, Founder of Yellow Conference  Talk Shop with Joanna Waterfall, Founder of Yellow Conference

Who is your dream speaker? 

Jessica Alba, Brene Brown, or Elizabeth Gilbert — if you're out there, call me!!

How do you keep from getting overwhelmed as you get closer to the conference?

I constantly think about what I'm going to do after the conference. I know it might sound funny, but when I envision myself going through my day to day routines on the Monday after the conference, it helps me to know that life goes on, soon this conference will be over, and to not be overwhelmed by it. It's easy for me to pour all of my energy into it and then completely burn out and hit a low after it's over, because I didn't envision anything afterwards! I keep my eye on the long term. It really helps!

Where do you see the Yellow Conference and Yellow Collective in 5 years?

I hope to be in a place where we are the go-to for creative women who want to make a difference. Where anyone looking to live a purposeful life and do it through creating a business they love knows that the Yellow Co. community is where they need to start and stay in order to make their dreams a reality.
What that looks like practically, I'm not sure, but I know I'm aiming high!

Feature image by Kelsey Daly by way of Boss Ladies Magazine.


Come talk to Joanna about going from freelance graphic design to building a city-wide community with her own conference. RSVP here.

When: Thursday, October 6. Talk is at 7 p.m. Wine, cheese, and mingling at 6:30.

 Feel free to come early and check out our HQ!

Where: 3828 S Santa Fe Ave, Vernon, CA 90058

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