“It was all a dream…” the infamous Biggie Smalls lyric hung high over the event’s main stage and became the first thing attendees saw when walking into the first ever Build Your Own Brand (BYOB) Retreat. Those words held so much symbolism into what was to come in the days to follow. Held in Washington, DC the BYOB Retreat was an epic weekend of personal development, corporate growth, networking & creative/entrepreneurial acceleration. Hosted by Andrew Nguyen (@brandwithdrew) the event featured a multitude of knowledgeable panelists such as Pauleanna Reid; a writer and Forbes contributor, Tome Kolleh; associate of the Chairman’s office overseeing all 6 businesses under the Combs Enterprise umbrella, and Lola Plaku; who has worked with tons of artist in the music and entertainment industry including French Montana, Big Sean, The Weekend and more. The panelists held a series of sessions focusing in on topics to enhance personal brands. The topics ranged from Digital Marketing & Sales Funneling to Getting Published, Non-Profits, Building Brand Content and a host of others. In addition, attendees were treated to quite a few gems from the keynote speakers Jon Jackson, a co-founder of Blavity and Yvonne Orji, who is best known for her role as Molly on HBO’s hit show ‘Insecure’.
When you’re making money for someone else you forget what your purpose is.” –Yvonne Orji.
Throughout the event Biggie’s lyrics, “it was all a dream…” resonated in a magnitude of fashions. The entire event was a testament to what can happen when your dreams meet your faith. From Andrew Nguyen’s brain child came the evolution of an event catering to over 1,000 attendees, the fruition of increased net-worth’s through networks, and a wealth of inspiration accumulated from the messages received through the speaker’s intimate testimonies. Beyond learning the technicalities behind building a brand, more significantly, panelists and speakers engaged personally with the audience. Detailing the reality of the struggles behind their own journeys. Struggles engulfed with issues of mental health, personal insecurities, and absent support. Speaker Jon Jackson shared that after finally quitting his job to pursue his company, Blavity full-time he hit a wall of unknown anxiety. Keynote, Yvonne Orji reminisced on feeling that she was working so hard, yet within the hustle of LA she simply felt forgotten… Despite the relentlessness of their obstacles they still managed to navigate their way through the journey to attain the platforms of achievement they hold today. Currently, Blavity boasts a readership of over 30M readers a month across all platforms and ‘Insecure’ is headed into its third season and known by many as the show of the culture!
While the indispensable hacks and tips and knowledge I picked up throughout the retreat left me feeling prepared, it was those stories like Jon and Yvonne’s that left me feeling encouraged and realizing that life really is a faith-walk. Not everyone’s walk is going to be exactly like yours, not in the way you do it… the decisions you make… nor in the things you accomplish… and that is COMPLETELY OK. Your story may start out with, “It was all a dream…” but a little faith can translate it into so much more. With that being said, collectively the Build Your Own Brand (BYOB) Retreat was more than just informative, it was transformative. Andrew Nguyen has planted a seed for those wanting to take a faith-walk… it’s blooming into something amazing… and I can’t wait to see the beauty of its growth.
Hope to see you at the next one in ATL! Until then reserve your ticket and check out the interviews and pics to see what you missed!
Throughout their interview session Yvonne Orji and Gia Peppers shared tons of laughs. In these moments Yvonne tells us what it meant to be crackhead crazy chasing after her dreams!
I overcame so much anxiety completing my first on the spot live interview with Gia Peppers! There’s tons of room for improvement, but I’m happy I made it through!
Know that you belong anywhere you are…” –Gia Peppers.