Create & Cultivate: Being a Modern Woman in the Working World

Hi Copal fam! Marissa here, Social Media Coordinator at Jennie Fresa Beauty.  One of the perks of working at such a killer company that genuinely cares about teaching women about healthy beauty choices, is the opportunity for further education and advancing my career. So when Jennie first asked me if I’d be interested in attending the Create & Cultivate NYC Conference, I could only think: “Woot, woot!!!”

This entrepreneurial conference is dedicated to providing women with the resources and experiences to create and cultivate the career of their dreams- what more could I ask for?!  As I looked through the itinerary for the day, I saw it was jam packed with motivating panel discussions and real-life engagement.


My goals for attending were to gain insight on best social media practices, learn new tips to keep us current and ahead of the curve in the media world, and of course to feel inspired by the back stories of all the successful women on stage and in the audience.

I was drawn to Jennie Fresa Beauty because of the brand mission that safe beauty is essential, not alternative.  

Back when I first started to unveil the dangers of toxic ingredients found in most traditional cosmetics, it was the only destination where I could find a carefully curated collection of natural yet effective clean beauty brands along with honest, expert advice.  I knew I wanted to be part of the clean beauty movement and educating women so they can make smarter, more informed decisions about their health.

Fast forward to May 4th, I jumped out of bed at 3:30 a.m. (mind you, I’m not a morning person) and hopped on the first train into the city. We arrived promptly at 8:30 a.m. for check in, where we joined our fellow attendees in line, rocking their bright colored power-suits, flowy floral dresses, fresh fashion sneakers and gold statement hair pins.

Attendees were broken up into two different tracks. Track 1, geared more towards entrepreneurs + business owners like Jennie while Track 2 focused on social media + marketing (that’s me!). The two differed slightly in the types of influencers and panel discussion topics so we decided to divide and conquer to get the most out of the day. The whole event took place out in Industry City, Brooklyn where they completely transformed a blank warehouse into Instagram worthy photo ops from floor to ceiling. Rows and rows of creative booths set up ranging from the Moroccan Oil hair station, Glam Squad ready to touch up your makeup, La Croix for a quick refresher, and so much more! I was in heaven.


Upon entering, the first thing we saw was the pastel pink Main Stage where the majority of the panel discussions and interviews took place. First stop was breakfast up in the food court, so we grabbed some Purely Elizabeth blueberry oatmeal and Chameleon Cold Brew coffee before scoping the POP-UP’s. Branding inspiration was in every corner, girl power jams were blasting throughout the building and positive affirmations were scattered everywhere along the walls and floor.


Then it was time to part ways with Jennie.  To be honest I was a bit nervous about flying solo for the day. One of Jennie’s (many) strong suits is being able to talk to anyone and everyone. I made it one of my main goals for the day to get over that fear and network with at least 5 people, baby steps, right? I made my way towards the front, trying to get the best seat available, and a friendly woman asked if I wanted to squeeze in next to her.  I plop down and we get to chatting about what brought us both to the conference. One down, that was easier than I thought.

As an ice breaker during the first panel, the moderator had us all stand up and instructed us to introduce ourselves to someone new. I obediently followed her instructions, turn around, stick my hand out to introduce myself and who other than Indie Lee is standing in front of me. She recognizes me from when she came to Madison back in March and goes in for a big hug. Woah, did that make me feel 100x’s less anxious!


My favorite panel discussed building a brand you love that other brands want to work with.  This panel was moderated by Tiffany Reid, Style Director at Hearst Fashion Group. The panelists included an array of inspiring women in the beauty industry such as:   

  1. Justine Marjan, Celebrity Hair Stylist and Brand Ambassador, GHD

  2. Mari Mazzucco, PR and Influencer Marketing Manager, Olly

  3. Laura Minch, Digital Brand Manager, Biossance

  4. Wendy Nguyen, Founder & Blogger at Wendy’s Lookbook

  5. Dr. Dendy Engelman, Dermatologist

The speakers reinforced some main points that Jennie embodies in her launch of Copal:

Find out what your goal and mission are and stay consistent in the content you deliver to meet that goal or express that mission. Own who you are and what you stand for.  Try not to let fear get in the way. Your loyal followers will stand by you and the message will attract the right types of people who align with your vision.

Answer these questions in every post: What is our added value? And why do people want to follow us? Lastly, the panel spoke about authenticity.  That’s what attracted people in the first place and they want to see more of YOU. People really crave the behind-the-scenes content and want to see your day-to-day. Stay tuned!

Overall, Create & Cultivate was an eye-opening, creative, inspirational, and motivating experience. Listening to these female entrepreneurs face to face has so many more benefits than you can even imagine. I have so many ideas bubbling at the surface that when I got home on Sunday afternoon, I was actually really anxious because I wanted to implement them all at once. I can’t be more thankful for this experience- hope I get the chance to do it all again!

katherine bellando