It’s no secret that I’ve been a huge proponent of getting dads to do more with their kids. When Isabella was born, I looked for resources that would connect me with dads who were willing to hang out with their kids and not be afraid to talk about things that mattered. I came across the City Dads Group and I loved what they were doing– so much so that I started the City Dads Group for Orlando almost 2 years ago.
What I didn’t know at the time was that a whole world of dads existed who were working hard to change the narrative of what modern fatherhood looks like. They were all types of dads: working dads, stay at home dads, LGBTQ+ dads, bloggers, influencers, writers, and creators who were using their voice to speak to brands and share their personal perspectives on aspects of fatherhood that makes us all better. Once a year, many of these dads, along with friends and brands, gather together for the Dad 2.0 Summit.
In its 8th year, the Dad 2.0 Summit positions itself as an open conversation about the commercial power of dads online and presents an opportunity to learn the tools and tactics used by influential bloggers to create high-quality content, build personal brands, and develop business ideas. I decided this year that I wasn’t going to miss out, and I’m so glad I attended. As a first-timer, these were my biggest takeaways:
1) Conversations Change the World- The gathering immediately started with a new member orientation where it was very easy for a more socially-awkward person like me get oriented very quickly. During the opening party that same night, I had an absolute blast getting to meet a lot of guys which I followed on social media but never met in person. I also got to meet people I had never met before but were quick to inspire me. Throughout the conference, so many conversations took place, both through personal-level opportunities and also through the summit’s planned agendas. We heard perspectives from celebrities like Shaun T, Dax Sheppard, and Rhys Darby. But most incredible to me were that our sponsors were there to listen and make an impact. The presenting sponsor Dove Men + Care announced their #PledgeforPaternityLeave campaign and their commitment to providing $5,000 grants for dads who can’t take paid leave but still want to spend time with their kids.
2) Words are Powerful- Throughout the Summit, words were shared from creators who have a talent of positioning words with a beautiful message. I learned from their life experiences, some of which were very raw and delicate. I cried during so many moments— dads shared stories of resilience and pain, being able to turn those into motivators. I also laughed– words went beyond just dad jokes in hilarious narratives and opinion pieces that spoke to anyone with kids.
3) Diversity Matters- There were all types of people in attendance. All facets of the dad spectrum were present, we had amazing moms in attendance, we had media companies and agencies. But everyone was open-minded. We all come from a variety of different backgrounds and places but all have a very big part in sharing that with others. I learned so much from individuals who have had a very different journey than what I had, but I was able to learn so much from them. Shaun T. shared his story about going through surrogacy with his husband, writer Jonathan J.O. Oliver motivated us as he talked about overcoming dyslexia and ADHD in order to become an author, and my new friend Amber Leventry taught me new ways to learn how to better position my language when I speak so that I can create open spaces for kids outside of the toxic constraints of a gender-binary society.
4) We Still Need Our Tribe- As a Latino father, I had an opportunity to bond with other dads on issues regarding cultural identity as a Latin-American. [Big shoutout to you guys Sergio (Soy Super Papa), Angel (Papi Preschool) for some really cathartic conversations]. I felt like we were part of the same tribe, and it helped me feel as if I wasn’t alone in this journey. I also got to meet other fellow organizers from City Dad Group cities and I immediately felt a great sense of belonging in this awesome group.
All these dads welcomed me in their circle and in a sense, this really helped me fill a void that I had regarding connecting and socializing with other individuals who were passionate about fatherhood.
5) All Dads Need This- I needed this, we all need this. I think this summit is extremely beneficial to any parent. With topics that expand on the conversation on fatherhood, toxic masculinity, and how we view life, we obtain inspiration on how to be better for our own children. I want you to come with me next year, I promise you’ll have an amazing time.
Overall, this Summit was the best summit I’ve ever attended, and in my career as a marketer, I’ve been to too many conferences that focus on ego-centric speakers, mundane presentations and fake networking. I’ve never felt so inspired, excited and genuinely happy in any gathering than I did here. I’m happy to say I’ve purchased my pass already for next year’s summit and I’m excited to get to once again hang out with all the new friends I’ve made.