Hosting CreativeMornings — But what do you get out of it??

Karlijn Moll
Nov 20, 2016 · 6 min read

The last 5 years I’ve been hosting a CreativeMornings chapter in my hometown Utrecht, The Netherlands.

If you don’t know what CreativeMornings (or CM in short) is, an introduction. CM is a monthly breakfast lecture series. Founded in 2008 by Tina Roth Eisenberg in New York to meet the local creative community. The CM’s talks are free of charge (very important) and always include coffee or tea and a small breakfast.

In 2012 I founded CreativeMornings/Utrecht as the first Dutch city, together with my husband Michael and my work colleague Marjolein. I’ve known my husband since college and we always wanted so “do” something together (apart from getting married), that became CreativeMornings/Utrecht.

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Selfie of team CreativeMornings/Utrecht with founder Tina Roth Eisenberg during CMSummit 2014 in NYC

Now, 5 years later, I have organized over 50 events and I its time to pass the torch to a new host. Talking to people in the search for that new host people always ask me the same question: But what do you get out of it? Somehow a lot of people find it strange to organize a monthly event, spending your free time and a Friday morning every month and not to get paid any money. And yet every month 1774 CreativeMornings volunteers worldwide invest in this great event without getting paid. Why?

For me money has never been a motivator, I have a regular 9 to 5 job, at an awesome app agency, that pays the bills. So I thought hard about what drives me to spend time on this awesome event.

Huge network

But I do network, my own way. Meeting with the speakers before the event is great. Getting to know them, talking about our event, being proud of the local community and the worldwide CM community.

And talking to visitors, one on one, asking what brings them at CM, what they do etc. I love standing in a corner, looking at the happy people all excited for the talk chatting to each other, that gives my so much joy. Or greeting people at the door, welcoming them in our venue, showing them the coffee, triggering them to fill in the icebreaker tags.

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Me, chatting with Marcel from 31Volts, our sponsor for 5 years

So yes, my Linkedin has grown, but not with 50 people a month, but with people that are important to me.

Local and international friends

A few of our speakers became real friends. I see them around town and have a chat, follow them online and support their work. People I would not have met without CM are now people I love spending time with.

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CreativeMornings hosts at the CMSummit 2014 in NYC

So I have found some new, local, friends. But what I love most is the international friends I have gained. The CreativeMornings organizer community is big, we spend a lot of time together online and sometimes in real life. CM friends from abroad visited us, we have visited CM friends abroad. It is great to share your thoughts on your event with your worldwide friends.

Work

So CreativeMornings got me a job, sort of!

Soft skills

Finding speakers, learning how to sell your event. Making them enthusiastic to speak for free. And don’t forget coaching speakers, calming their nerves (every speaker is nervous).

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Early coffee and meeting people before a CreativeMornings/Utrecht

Hard skills

Seeing over 50 speakers preparing, speaking, answering questions. Also watching 50 talks in 5 years, looking at good and not so good talks gives you great insights in what works in a talk, what makes the audience participate and what not.

Credibility

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Quote by Stephen Hay — lettering by Arianne Notenboom

Organizing an event, every month, for 5 years, with around 75 visitors a month gives you credibility. Employees or clients know that you can organize, that you invest in things, that you are passionate, are dedicated, that you know your customers, that you connect to people, that people want to “work” for you or speak for you, that you can motivate people, lead a team, can get groups together, are open to new things, that you are not only driven by money.

Happiness and inspiration

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Voting with slices of bread (photo 31Volts)

So yeah, I might not get any money for organizing a monthly event, but things that are far more precious to me! And not only for me, as you can see by watching the video below. So with a heart that is hurting, it is time for me to pass the torch!

If you want to be a host for your city read this first, and then apply!

If you want to volunteer at your city, visit an event and get in touch!

If you want to be the next host for CreativeMornings/Utrecht of volunteer click here.

Karlijn Moll

Written by

PO @Ultimaker * introvert Owned host * Do-er * maker @awkward_sisters and @lekkersamenklooien * cut my own bangs * former @utrecht_cm host * ❤️ @mchaste

Karlijn Moll

Written by

PO @Ultimaker * introvert Owned host * Do-er * maker @awkward_sisters and @lekkersamenklooien * cut my own bangs * former @utrecht_cm host * ❤️ @mchaste

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