Dad 2 Summit 2020 Washington, DC in the Rearview: A Second Timer’s View

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Dad 2‘s Summit is a fantastic event. Brands, dads, and dad influencers, creators and our allies, all meet up for a few days to learn, share and revel. The last time I was able to attend was in 2016 where I was invited to speak. This latest installment of the conference was at the same exact svelte, luxurious Mandarin Oriental in D.C. the same venue as the conference in 2016 and I was back to present as a Spotlight Blog reader.

As a second-time attendee of the Dad 2 Conference, it was great to revisit. Reconnecting with friends, being present, vulnerable at times and lots of opportunity for learning and working to challenge the norm on fatherhood. There are also impromptu happenings that make this an even richer experience for men (and their advocates) willing to be at the forefront of fatherhood.  

My flight landed and I Ubered from DCA to the hotel and checked in. In a word, the Mandarin Oriental in Washington DC is magnificent.


I spent part of the morning at the Holocaust Museum and then joined up with the gathering attendees and friends we decided to walk 6 miles around DC. It was a beautiful day.

A Walking Tour of DC, Compass Coffee, White House & more

The Second Day, My Blogger Spotlight

Picture: https://www.THATAWAYDAD.COM

My late wife Angela agreed early on to my sharing the “story” of our journey with her brain cancer. That led to many wonderful things happening (and continuing to happen). I was selected to read from that experience in a Dad Blogger Spotlight. It was my honor to share a moment from my experience with many others who took the stage on the second day. They included:

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I am deeply honored to join these men and the others who previously joined the fraternity of Dad Blogger Spotlight readers. The Dad Blogger Spotlight is a tradition of the conference to highlight many of the dads and documenting various struggles and slices of life.

An Unexpected (and Fulfilling) Show of Faith

Among all the learning and connecting, a group of us took a moment on Friday night to welcome Shabbat and say the Mourner’s Kaddish for the founder of our dad blogger movement, Oren Miller. It was a great group of both non-Jews and Jews. This really filled my soul in an unexpectedly moving way.

Evolving the Fatherhood Platform

A big focus of this conference is connecting dads with information (and brands) that move the conversation of fatherhood in a new and ever-evolving way. We seek to inform, influence and move away from stereotypes and limiting beliefs of fatherhood in the past. And instead, move the conversation on to new models and modes of inclusive fatherhood. This includes advocating for enhanced paternity paid leave, creating awareness around protecting your teens with vaccines for meningitis and protecting your kids from online predators and grooming, to recognizing and embracing the many ways fathers father in all types of relationships.

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Dad 2 is About Connection

In addition to the information sessions, sponsors, sights, tastes and sounds… it’s an opportunity to connect in person with people we know from our time online. And as a second-time attendee who experienced a loss with many of these men, it was important to me to return to thank, appreciate and honor those connections and make some new ones.

Brandon Billinger – The Rookie Dad, ever since we first connected at Dad 2 in 2016, I’ve been grateful to count him among my friends. He was especially supportive of me at one of the most pivotal times in my life.

Spike Zelenka – Families of Multiples – Another friend from back in 2016. You can count on Spike to be ready to create a great time with distilled spirits and cigars. Some of the finer things in life. As life should be enjoyed, right?

And how can you not convene a group of men and not indulge in the most primordial of foods… Meat cooked with smoke and fire! Our gathering at Hill Country Barbecue of D.C. was filling, soul-satisfying and dare I say, downright delicious! If you are accustomed to Texas-style barbecue, there is one exception at this restaurant, your usual pickles and onions are NOT free.

As well as some old & new friends, too!
Ariel IsenbergBud WardSean Hill, Eric Boyette, Chelsea ChapmanAaron Yavelberg


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