One of the reasons I love being at SXSW, is that I have an opportunity to learn a lot from people who are coming from different industries, perspectives and backgrounds.



You don’t even have to go to a marketing track session to learn a great deal about how to be a better marketer. Over the past two days I have gone to sessions about digital marketing, filmmaking, body positivity, accessibility, breakthroughs in cancer research, our current political landscape and virtual/augmented reality, only to find out that each session came back to the same idea. 


We are better in business, art, science, politics and yes, even marketing, when we work together in the creative process and include people who are different than we are. The more diverse the people, the better the ideas.

This is not a new idea. It’s not revolutionary. However, now more than ever, it seems like we need to tap into others creative brains in order to get the next out of the box idea. 

I correlate this idea with Rippe Keane Marketing’s creative brainstorming process. We’re always asking ourselves how we can improve and how we can craft ideas that are better than the last. One of our ideas was to collaborate with people in our brainstorm sessions who come from completely different backgrounds from those of us on the project. Little did I know; this was already a global trend.

Even as a tuned-in woman, my eyes were opened to some serious biases I had about design and marketing that came from being too isolated from ideas that are different from my own. Sometimes it may seem scary to ask for help during a creative process, but the result is well worth it! Since meeting people at SXSW who come from different cultures around the globe, I am more inspired to create masterpieces than I have been in a long time. I feel a breath of fresh air flowing through the depths of my creative brain.

I encourage you to look outside your circle of creatives and get inspiration from places and people you don’t normally access. Be dedicated to asking more questions, exploring diverse inspiration and tapping into the global community to find new ways to be creative on projects while inspiring others.


It’s SXSW in Austin, TX. This is the time when the city is taken over by geeks, musicians and filmmakers.



I’m here to learn more about interactive marketing and digital design, also to take in all the peripheral learning that comes from listening to new ideas. Each day, I leave my hotel at 7 a.m. and take a ride downtown in Austin’s version of Uber.


Your backpack is your lifeline at SXSW. A few have asked me what I carry around each day. Here’s what is in my backpack right now: my laptop, a bag full of device cords, water bottle, wallet, iPhone, Macro bar, chapstick, sweater, SXSW pocket-sized guide for maps, Arbonne fizz sticks for energy, iPad (probably don’t need this extra weight), hair ties, glasses, umbrella, trail mix, business cards, two pairs of glasses (don’t ask) and a pair of sunglasses. All that weighs enough to make me feel like a sherpa climbing Mt. Everest (well, almost.)

This conference is all about lines. Waiting. Anticipating. Meeting people. I’ve met designers from Japan, a team of developers from Bosnia, a fun group of gals from an agency in Atlanta and many more. Meeting all these people who do work similar to what I do makes me feel like I am in a much bigger community than I even realized. There are people typing on their laptops from all over the world, which proves how relevant and important digital is globally.

My high-tech Apple watch is freaking out because I’m moving so much more than normal. I see this as a bad sign for my current lifestyle, but am enjoying moving each hour as I track down my next event. Events are scheduled all around downtown Austin. You may be in the convention center for one session and then have to run across the Congress Avenue bridge for the next.

Note for people who want to come to this conference in the future: get in line early. If you want to ensure that you get into a popular session, be there 60 minutes beforehand. If you are interested in something, and want to chance it, 30 minutes beforehand. You may get in, but you may not. I sacrificed standing in line for coffee in order to save my own seat. This makes planning for the conference essential. You should always have a backup choice just in case you don’t get into your first option. Let go of the fear of missing out on something great because you always are. There are so many fascinating sessions and people that you can’t possibly see everything.

I fall into bed each night exhausted but filled up with new thoughts, new ideas and new methods that I want to bring back to our clients. In case you are interested, here are a few of the most amazing keynote sessions that I attended thus far!

Sunglasses. Backpack. Power adapter. Four different Apple devices. Green juice. I’m ready!

Today I leave for Austin, TX to participate in SXSW Interactive. This interactive festival is the highlight of any digital marketer’s year, and I am planning on taking full advantage of all of the opportunities to learn the latest interactive tips and tricks.

For those of you who haven’t heard of SXSW (South by Southwest), it is a nine-day interactive digital, film and music festival that takes over Austin every March. Hundreds of thousands of artsy, creative, nerdy, interesting people descend on downtown Austin in shorts and cowboy boots.

I’m so blessed that Rippe Keane sends me to this conference. While it is loads of fun, it is also the place where I learn trends and techniques related to digital communication, marketing, wearable technology, artificial intelligence and accessibility. This event attracts companies and individuals from all over the world, so it is the one place I feel like I can take the pulse of what is happening outside the sweet bubble of Madison, WI. I feel connected and in-the-know, at least for a week.

This year I am planning on attending sessions related to creating great stories through interactive user experience (UX), designing for mobile devices and how I can get more involved with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs to encourage young women to study and create opportunities in high tech. I am going to learn how wearable technology will change the way we interact with our daily lives, and how something as simple as a temporary tattoo could be the next wifi hotspot. (WHAT?)

I am going to see Cory Booker, Joe Biden, Buzz Aldrin, Cecile Richards, and heaven help me, John Cena (the autograph will be for my son, really.) I am praying for a sighting of Rachel Maddow, who is my #girlcrush. Whenever she’s been at SXSW, her insights and perspectives always make my mind swirl with ideas!

SXSW inspires me. It helps me figure out how I can take our clients to the next level. It helps me plan for what kind of digital experiences I want to produce in the future. I go for my own professional development, but optimally, I hope to bring back nuggets of insight for our team and our clients.

Look for regular updates and social stories in the upcoming week here and on Rippe Keane social!