Last year, a really cool conference for socially conscious companies was brought to my attention. What if different companies and organizations could get together to trade ideas, share insights, and make connections? Well that’s just half of what goes on at The Heart Series. I was delighted to meet the founders of The Heart Series, Gail Cayetano and Megan Sette and to get to catch up with Gail about how they got started.
How did The Heart Series come about?
My family has a socially conscious jewelry line (cayetanolegacy.com) so I had asked Meg if she knew of any conferences I could/should attend that attracted truly socially good businesses. I wanted to learn best practices from companies that were working hard to make an impact. Meg has done a lot of work for and alongside socially responsible brands through her consultancy, so I figured she’d be the best person to ask! Between us we couldn’t think of any conference quite like what now is The Heart Series, so we set out to create one ourselves. Just a few months after our initial conversation, we held our first annual The Heart Series in Feb 2015.
How did you get the word out in the beginning?
That first conference was such a whirlwind; we pulled it together in just a few months. We passed the word along through socially conscious groups (such as Net Impact), as well as with strategic partners like GOOD Magazine that traded us advertising. We also put together a simple social media campaign through Twitter and Facebook. Between all of that and spreading the word virally through our networks, we were able to bring together a great group of attendees that set the tone for future years.
What were you doing before you started THS?
THS isn’t mine or Meg’s full time jobs; it’s more of a passion project for us both! In my career I am a partnership marketing consultant, where I work with brands to partner them with other brands that share a similar target demographic (clients include Hasbro, SoulPancake, FabFitFun, Sony Pictures Entertainment, etc). Additionally my family has a socially conscious jewelry line where we work with small communities of women artisans in the beautiful yet still third world country of the Philippines, to source and handcraft each product, enabling both the creation of jobs and economic growth there. This endeavor has really opened my eyes to strive to be an upstanding socially responsible business.
What has been the hardest thing in running THS, you make it look so effortless?
Oh wow, where to begin? ;) I think personally, I am not the best person to deal with stressful situations so the actual event execution always throws me for a loop. No matter how much planning goes into any event there will still be last minute, out-of-the-blue fires that need to be put out, so when something goes wrong then I am not the person you want to solve the problem; I’ll most likely be stressing out alongside everyone else. So Meg and I have developed a pretty consistent system now, after three years of producing The Heart Series. I do a lot of the initial planning of the conference, and then she oversees a lot of the final details through the onsite execution.
Is there anyone that has not been to THS yet that you would like to see there?
I think it’s sometimes difficult for those that don’t live in California to make it out every year, so our goal now is to conduct pop up events throughout the country to cater to people in other markets outside of Los Angeles.
What's most rewarding about your work?
My favorite part of what we’ve built here is that there is a passionate community behind The Heart Series now; an entrepreneurial group of people who share similar goals in doing good in the world. So when I hear of attendees who continue to stay in touch with one another past the conference, or decide to do a business deal together, or continue to come back to the conference year after year, I am at my happiest! I love when people feel a connection to one another and if we are in the slightest bit catalysts for making that happen, then my job is done.