20 Takeaways from Create and Cultivate’s 2019 Desert Pop-up

I’ve always understood the importance of connectedness among women, but never have I felt such impact in one room than recently at Create & Cultivate’s 2019 Desert Pop-up. The event, which took place at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs (right around the corner from Coachella), was infused with positive energy and left me feeling refreshed, motivated and inspired.

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Though the event was geared toward the fashion and beauty industries, I walked away with key lessons that I believe apply to any woman at any stage of her career or entrepreneurial journey. Here are 20 main takeaways from this year’s Create & Cultivate Desert Pop-up event:

1.       Is it authentic/worth it?

When making moves for personal and/or professional growth, Social influencer Jill Wallace of Little Black Boots suggests asking: “Is this something that will feel authentic and I’ll be proud of?” It’s a simple step to ensuring our actions are always in alignment with our greater “why.”

2.       Know your worth

A simple point but one that can never be understated. If you’re going to engage in bartering, for example, or offer discounted or pro bono work, remember to have a reason behind the offer that’s more than just “being nice” or “helping someone out.” There’s a way to help everyone involved, and those who are worth doing business with will understand, recognize and honor that.

3.       You don’t have to have everything planned to a tee

Social Influencer Jessica Franklin challenged the audience to avoid the “five-year plan.” I couldn’t agree more. This is emphasized by employers in job interviews and generally something that seems to have great importance in a person’s life. But there is such a thing as planning too much, to a point where it can be detrimental to organic growth and success. Franklin instead suggests having a one-year plan (yearly goals, milestones, benchmarks) and to be open-minded, ready to embrace change.

4.       Don’t compare yourself

Instead, measure yourself based on your own growth and achievements. This was a key message from Karena Dawn, co-founder of Tone it Up. Consider where you were six months ago or one year ago financially, professionally, personally, etc. Keep sight of your own path. Stay focused and proudly own your journey. Understand what you’re working with, and create a strategy based on that.

5.       What’s for you is for you

This is something Franklin said her father taught her as a young girl, and I love it as a personal mantra. If something is meant to be, it will naturally work in your favor. If it doesn’t work out, it’s for a reason (one that I have found to usually be far greater than anything I could imagine).

6.       You don’t have to be good at everything

Celebrity Stylist and Costume Designer Lindsay Albanese (one of my favorites of the day), reminded the audience of the importance of partnerships. “You don’t have to be good at everything. Sync up with other people, it’s okay not to be perfect.” Actress and activist Jameela Jamil agreed later on in her keynote speech: “We’re not omniscient, nor were we ever made to be.”

7.       Focus on the feeling

Oftentimes in life and business, it’s not a matter of what we want but rather how we feel. It can be difficult to articulate that feeling—that “something” that we know we should pursue—but if it lasts long enough then it’s worth it, says Albanese. “Focus on what you want and how you want to feel and see what comes your way,” she explained.

8.       At the end of the day, no one knows what they’re doing

This was a point cemented by all speakers and panelists, and it can never be emphasized too much. Don’t be afraid of not knowing what you’re doing and just do it. Don’t think too far ahead, just stay in the moment and know what you need to do in each step along the way. Prioritize the outcome, then figure out the process for getting there.

9.       Listen and be prepared to pivot

Another great takeaway from Albanese. Be okay with change. You aren’t the same person you were 10 years ago and chances are you’re probably glad you’re not (I know I am). Embrace change and know that it’s necessary for breakthrough growth. You’re going to continually evolve into better and more successful versions of you.

10.   Your health is a priority

Co-founder of Tone it Up, Katrina Scott, encouraged the audience to focus on their health. “If you were to say, ‘My health is not a priority,” that’s not okay,” she said. Take care of yourself and imagine how much more you’ll get done being in a better headspace with improved mental and/or physical health. Always remember the correlation between personal health and the health of your business. 

11.   Never say “yes” if it feels wrong to your core values or your “why”

Another one from Albanese (I told you, she was a favorite!). It was a short but impactful statement that certainly left a mark on me. Another great reminder to align your actions with your intentions and greater purpose. Otherwise, what are we doing anything for?

12.   If you’ve got it, make it happen

Continuing with Albanese, she explains, “If you have an idea, and something just keeps pulling you to it, figure it out and make it happen. It’ll be worth it.”

13.   Over-deliver if you can

Another thing that will be worth it? Over-delivering, according to Emmy-winning ET Correspondent Keltie Knight. Always over-deliver—keeping in mind at all times what you’re worth—and you’ll drive client satisfaction and likely make more money in the long run.

14.   If you’re not reaching out for something, someone else is

Another great point from Knight and one that I passionately agree with. I have found in my own life that game-changing opportunities are the result of taking action when others won’t. Opportunities are usually found in the unlikeliest of places. Take a chance, you’ll never regret doing so.

15.   You don’t always have to focus on the next new thing—consider leveling up your current situation

I loved this point made by Jaci Marie, co-host of the What She Said podcast. “I get bored easily and constantly think of the next new thing to do, but it doesn’t always have to be that way,” she explained. “You can work on leveling up your current situation.” For example, focusing on getting that much better at the things you currently do or enhancing the look/feel of what you already offer.

16.   Only the strong survive in business

There are no two ways about it. You can tell within the first minute of interacting with someone whether they struggle emotionally or lack the thick skin necessary for conducting business. It’s certainly not something you have to be born with; however, if you weren’t, it’s imperative that you strengthen to survive and thrive.

17.   Don’t take things personally

Another good point across the board but emphasized by Knight. Even if you have tough skin, it can sometimes be difficult not to take something personally. Shrug it off and keep it moving.

18.   Remove “just” from your vocabulary

This was an interesting point from Knight that I had never heard until now. Instead of “just following up” or “just checking in to see how things are going,” simply state it like it is. “Following up.” It keeps things cleaner, more professional and more assertive.

19.   Trying is winning. Everything else is just cake

I absolutely loved this point from keynoter Jamil, who currently stars on NBC’s The Good Place and manages the ever-inspiring @i_weigh Instagram account. To actually put yourself out there and have everything that comes along with it—learning, failing, getting back up again—is the real prize and one worth celebrating.

20.   Make space, don’t take space

This was perhaps the most important takeaway of the event, emphasized by Jamil. “There’s room for us all,” she said. “We don’t need all of the glory, just to be part of something amazing. This is a time of sisterhood.” I couldn’t agree more. I always encourage women to transfer their power instead of wielding it as a weapon against others.


I highly recommend checking out Create & Cultivate because they’re up to some amazing things for empowering women. If you remember this time next year and you’re in the area, check out their 2020 Pop-up event as well. It was a wonderful experience that I look forward to next year!

Allison is a Freelance Content Marketer and Author of “The Everyday Woman’s Guide to Entrepreneurship.” She helps disruptive brands drive extraordinary outcomes as a writer extraordinaire, and in her spare time consults female entrepreneurs as a personal brand strategist. She loves helping women discover their innermost power and confidence, which is what she believes to be the most effective drivers of sustainable change and long-term success.