Connecting with Lauri Rottmayer

First in a series of interviews with the people of Y’all Connect Presented by Alabama Power …

As conference organizer, I expected to see people from all over the state come to Y’all Connect. I even expected neighboring states to bring in attendees to Birmingham.

I did not expect someone from 680 miles away. Who drove.

Lauri Rottmayer is my hero. She spent some 10 hours in her car across five states to reach our conference from her home in Bartlesville, Okla.

It’s only fitting that we kick off this series of interviews with our Y’all Connect community by talking with Lauri by email to find out what compelled her to drive farther than any other attendee (or speaker!) last week.

• How long have you been a follower of either Mack Collier or #blogchat (or both)?

I don’t remember how long I’ve been hearing from Mack. I believe I learned about “Think Like a Rock Star” [aff. link] from an earlier newsletter he put out. It’s been a long time, I think.

Have you attended other business conferences, either related to marketing, social media or communication? If so, which ones?

I was marketing director for a sensory lab earlier in my career and attended many food conferences which were fun. I have also attended conferences for women entrepreneurs and the fabu CoffeeCon in Chicago, but Y’all Connect was my first social media conference.

Map - Oklahoma to Birmingham

• What was your main reason for attending Y’all Connect? Was it to meet Mack Collier in person? (If so, what was meeting Mack like?)

I learned about Y’all Connect from Mack (pictured above with Lauri), and his being there was a big factor in why I chose to attend. I was able to read a galley copy of “Think Like a Rock Star” before it was published. Since Mack responded to the first tweet I made about his book, we have been friends.

I am firmly of the belief that social media is a starting point and I hope to meet all of my friends/followers in real life at some point. That’s my goal.

• Tell me about what you do for a living.

This is a tough question! I directed the Mrs. Oklahoma Pageant for five years before giving up my directorship for a proposed move to Saudi Arabia, the one place in the world you probably can’t run a pageant from. In the end, we didn’t make the move.

Pageant SavvyI spent the past 2 years writing my book, “Pageant Savvy, Social Media for the Savvy Pageant Gal” [paperback | Kindle aff. links], and helping pageant contestants with their graphic design and social media. My love of social media bloomed as I worked with a zero-dollar marketing budget with the pageant. When I saw what could be accomplished via social media, I was all in.

Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, “Crush It,” was the first book to get me extra excited.

Now, I’ve decided to move on in my career, and I’m not sure exactly what that looks like. I decided that since I love social media, I needed to start going where social media folks are, and Y’all Connect was my first stop.

I’m also writing my first novel which both excites and terrifies me.

• Was this your first trip to Birmingham and to Alabama? If so, what did you think?

We actually stayed overnight in Birmingham when we moved from Florida to Oklahoma in 2003, but we didn’t stay long or do much other than sleep. I think Birmingham looks like a great place, and the people I met were so nice and fun. I’d visit again!

• Why drive instead of fly?

I don’t mind driving. I like to have my car with me when I arrive someplace, and I’m more free to move around if I have it. I’m impatient with waiting and lines. I was a Marine — you get sick of that. LOL! 🙂

• You didn’t drive back to Bartlesville after the conference, right? What was your next stop?

I drove to Hamilton, Ohio, where I met up with a pageant friend I hadn’t seen in 13 years. I got to meet her kids, whom I’ve only seen in photos, and get to know her husband, whom I’d only met once, a little better. It was awesome!

• What did you get out of Y’all Connect?

I was thrilled to meet Mack, of course. Also, I was very much looking forward to hearing from Erika Napoletano. Her session and the story we told as a group was so much fun!

It was great to hear from Ike Pigott, as he works for a utility, and it’s quite possible I may find myself in that spot in the near future. I really appreciate Deb Krier taking me under her wing. I felt like I knew her forever.

There were so many great people I connected with, as well. It made the experience a lot of fun!

• What would you change about Y’all Connect for 2014?

I can’t think of a thing I’d change. It was a great learning experience and a great social experience. It was fabu! 🙂

Who should we profile next?
Nominate your pick, and we could feature them in our next interview! 

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About Wade Kwon

Wade Kwon is conference director for Y'all Connect. See his full bio.

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