What It's Like to Go on a 36-Hour All-Female Networking Trip

My first Power Trip diary.

Product, Youth, Team, Community, Sky, Uniform, Tourism, Event, Stadium, Crowd,
(Image credit: Kathryn Wirsing)

From the moment I joined the Marie Claire team as digital director earlier this year, I'd been looking forward to Power Trip. I'd seen the 36-hour women's networking extravaganza all over my Instagram feed the year before, and I couldn't wait to be a part of it.

From the incredible Marie Claire-only plane ride to the celeb and CEO-packed panels to the conversations with fellow Power Trippers, the event is like grownup summer camp packed into two short days. And Power Trip 2018 didn't disappoint. Here, everything that happened.

Day 1:

The itinerary is always kept a secret so that everything is a surprise in the moment. While that makes the whole thing that much more fun (imagine the cheering when a celeb speaker walks onto the stage), it proves a little difficult for packing purposes. Thankfully, Marie Claire sent each guest a partially packed suitcase the night before to help. Each bag was outfitted with a pair of Sorel shoes (I quickly became obsessed with this white combat style), some day-to-night clothing, and a box of chocolates...because you always need chocolate.

Day 2:

Okay first, THE PLANE!

We arrived at United's terminal at 7 a.m. for our flight to San Francisco. Every single employee that worked with us, from the TSA guards to the pilots, was a woman—and the grounds crew even wore pink vests in our honor.

Marie Claire Editor-in-Chief Anne Fulenwider and Publisher Nancy Berger welcomed everyone before we boarded the plane and were off. But—surprise!—it wasn't your normal cross-country plane ride.

Power Trip is all about women sharing how they got where they are & how they get it all done.

The 747 was in full Power Trip mode with first class decked out like—well, like no first class I'd ever seen. Instead of having passengers in the seats, there were stations to get a facial, a bra-fitting, a makeup touchup, and, my personal favorite, a consultation with a Sorel stylist about how to find the just-right shoe that's stylish enough to wear for a full day, but also ready to put up with inclement weather.

Everyone was moving around and chatting, taking selfies, and eating rainbow cake balls. It was fantastic.

Straight off the plane, we drove through San Fran and across the Golden Gate Bridge (where we stopped for an Instagram opp, naturally) to a ranch just outside the city limits. There we met the Power Trippers who were coming from the West Coast and started our adventure with a hike.

Unlike New York, San Francisco was gloriously (and surprisingly) warm and after a six-hour plane ride, the outdoor walk felt like heaven. As we trekked up the hill, I got to chat with some of my fellow hikers (and by chat, I mean that thing where you take turns trying to breathe and talk while walking at a steady incline) and meet the women I hadn’t had a chance to speak to on the plane. At the top of the hike there were cows, scenic views, and SNACKS. Hallelujah.

Eyewear, Green, Cool, Yellow, Sitting, Sunglasses, Glasses, Fashion, Footwear, Photo shoot,

Me, snacking.

(Image credit: Katie Thompson)

Post-hike we went straight into panel discussions. The programming at Power Trip is all about women sharing what makes them successful, how they got to the positions they’re in now, the roadblocks they met trying to get there, and how they get it all done. You can catch up on all of our panels here.

(And yes, this was all day one.)

We heard about the importance of women supporting other women & why we need to take risks.

After hearing all from all of our inspiring panelists, it was WINE TIME. We mingled with wine and cheese and super smart women for an hour, all in the same gear from the plane and hike mind you—just like summer camp we were comfortable, busy, and having way too much fun to worry about changing into fresh outfits.

Red, Yellow, Outerwear, Adaptation, Room, Textile, Performance, Event, Photography, Talent show,

Mayor London Breed

(Image credit: Kathryn Wirsing)

After a stop at the hotel to shower and change, we headed to dinner, where San Francisco Mayor London Breed welcomed us all to the city. We relaxed and rehashed the day together with more wine. After, it was back to the hotel where there was a movie-fire pit situation set up with cozy cocktails, which I bypassed in favor of BED.

Day 3:

The second day started with 6 a.m. yoga—a wake-up and refresh moment to get the day started on a positive note. I, however, chose to skip yoga because we’d each been given fluffy, full-length robes the night before and at 6 a.m., the thought of drinking coffee in bed (and in my robe) felt a lot more refreshing that putting on clothes.

Between a morning of donut decorating, essential oil mixing, and sweatshirt decal'ing (I know!), we heard about the importance of women supporting other women from two Silicon Valley veterans, why we need to take risks from four female bosses, and the difficulties of negotiating as a woman.

After, we made our way straight to the airport to board our flight back to New York (did I mention this trip is a whirlwind? Because this trip is a whirlwind). We had one last SF photo moment before getting on the plane (perks of a Marie Claire Power Trip flight include the opportunity to take a dramatic, uninhibited tarmac photo), and then settled back to relax with the new friends we'd made (and for some people, potential business collaborators) and some Champagne to return to our regularly scheduled lives in New York.

Product, Youth, Team, Community, Sky, Uniform, Tourism, Event, Stadium, Crowd,

(Image credit: Kathryn Wirsing)

When I got home I was exhausted—but already looking forward to next year's trip.

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Sally Holmes

Sally is the Editor in Chief of Marie Claire where she oversees coverage of all the things the Marie Claire reader wants to know about, including politics, beauty, fashion, and celebs. Holmes has been with Marie Claire for five years, overseeing all content for the brand’s website and social platforms. She joined Marie Claire from ELLE.com, where she worked for four years, first as Senior Editor running all news content and finally as Executive Editor. Before that, Sally was at NYMag.com's the Cut and graduated with an English major from Boston College.