Millennial Move Makers creates connections


Photo Courtesy of Betty Bowles

Jeffrey Kelly, Contributing Writer

Katrina Waelchli, a senior majoring in sports and entertainment public relations, is looking forward to seeing the response the audience and the campus has to a new conference, Millennial Move Makers, focusing on creating connections among entrepreneurs, influencers and content creators at The University of Alabama.

“I have never attended a conference that was so specific to what I’m interested in,” Waelchli said. “I think to be surrounded by like-minded individuals that have a love and understanding for the creative industry would be a really good opportunity to find motivation and inspiration because it’s a hard thing to love because you can’t just wake up and be an influencer.”

Millennial Move Makers will take place on March 3 from noon-4 p.m. in the Ferguson Student Center’s Great Hall. The conference will start with check-in from noon-12:30 p.m. During this time, students will be able to socialize and take advantage of the photo stations that will be set up. Then there will be a welcome from 12:30-1 p.m.

“My main goal of this conference is just to kind of create a place for creatives here at the University,” said Betty Jean Bowles, a junior majoring in political science and co-founder and head of operations for Millennial Move Makers.

Following the welcome, a keynote titled “She’s got the Keys” will be given by Alicia Gettys, a UA alumna and established social media influencer who has worked with over 25 brands a year. Shortly after, Bowles and Carina Villarreal, the co-founders, will give a presentation. After that, there will be a panel composed of five undergraduate and graduate students – Waelchli, Summer Bell, Lillian Roth, Mack McCullum and Walt McDole – from the University who are content creators, entrepreneurs or influencers.

“I believe that we will be discussing how we’ve utilized our passion and our skill set in the creative industry and where we will be going next,” Waelchli said.

Waelchli said the panel has a variety of creators who specialize in different things and for her, she feels a stronger connection to fashion.

“I think that’s where my uniqueness will come up in the panel,” Waelchli said. “Just my love for how fashion influencers are on social media, plus that understanding and that desire to be within the fashion industry.”

The Millennial Move Makers conference will be the first of its kind at the University and was brought into fruition by Bowles and Villarreal with the help of their team Lindsay Martin, Kayla Riggs, Ariyana Dyer, Sydnei Lilly, Jordan Watkins, Sydney Broady and Kyah Harris.

“I feel that [Millennial Move Makers] is going to be different than if the business school did it,” said Ruth Tolen, a freshman majoring in business management and content creator and influencer. “It feels more friendly because it’s for students by students.”

Bowles said she had the idea for this conference after interning at a public relations firm where she got to work alongside people who were invested in the creative realm and enjoyed building their brand.

“Interning alongside them I got the chance to see that part of the world,” Bowles said. “It’s something that has always interested me – creative content – but I never saw it laid out in front of me.”

After coming up with the idea of the conference, Bowles then refined it and created a pitch that she presented to the Women of Excellence, a student organization on campus that encourages leadership, equality and womanhood. From there, she took applications for her core team of seven, and they began putting it together.

Bowles said after this conference, the Millennial Move Makers plan to do it again next year.

She said if anyone is interested in getting involved, they could contact Millennial Move Makers through its Instagram @millennialmovemakers or by email at [email protected].

“Hopefully, in maybe three or four years, I’m able to come back and be like, ‘Wow I founded this, and it’s still going,’” she said.

The attire for the event is trendy business casual. The conference requires that students RSVP online, which can be done through the Millennial Move Makers website, and at the conference, Bowles said there would be a surprise announcement that attendees will have to be there to see.

“I think it is very important that we get [the conference] out there because upon getting everything ready for the conference, I realized there are quite a few creatives on campus,” Bowles said. “It’s just, you never know because we are all spread across the population of UA, so it’s great to have one central place where we can all come together.”