The Story of What If
What If was founded by Jen and Steve Bebb, accomplished photographers and no strangers to risk. Jen and Steve felt that creatives weren’t being educated in a way that catered to their unique learning styles.
“From the beginning, they wanted to do more than simply sit at a conference and have speakers pontificate from the stage. Rather, they were interested in facilitating the creativity of our community, encouraging, helping, disagreeing and cheering them on.”
The What If journey has been a complex one. The first event took place in January, 2012 at an all-inclusive resort in Cabo. The Innovators were all photographers, but it was quickly recognized that the lessons transcended genre. After Cabo, Jen and Steve began introducing Innovators from other genres, Innovators who hit roadblocks and u-turns in their journey and who were trying to change the world, one pair of sandals at a time.
After the Portland event in July, 2012 Jen and Steve wanted to quit, but they were urged on by the attendees who literally passed a hat and filled it with crumpled dollar bills and coins. It wasn’t much in terms of dollars, but it was everything Jen and Steve needed to forge ahead. For them, the knowledge that this mattered was enough to try again. Never complacent, Jen and Steve launched What If Dominican Republic in February, 2013.
At What If DR the mission evolved again. It wasn’t just about facilitating the work, dreams and lives of individuals, but it became about giving back to the global community and doing more. They announced What If 2014 on the closing day with no dates, no location, no speakers—and it sold out in three days. Change happens when people do something, not just talk about doing something—so they’re doing something! Jen and Steve held What If Bali in August, 2013 and in the fall of 2013 introduced one-day events, known as DayCamps. They are thrilled for the sold-out event at a dude ranch in Arizona in February of 2014.
What If Co-founder, Jen Bebb @WhatIfConf
My name is Jen Bebb and I’m a creative. A one-time-wedding-photographer currently on sabbatical, I’m spending my time these days exploring creative solutions to a variety of problems, doing a lot of writing, and generally trying to break every mould I can find.
What If was born from frustration, from knowing that there was nothing that spoke to us (me + Steve) as creatives. We wanted inspiration. But more than that, we wanted to learn from people that were doing amazing things, people who inspired us regardless of genre or work product. Since we’re not sit-around-and-wait kind of people, we started What If!
Here are some of the things I’m proud of:
• I’ve written and published 2 books
• What If, 2014 will be our 5th three day event
• We sold out What If, 2014 in just three days
• I spent 13 years working with my hubby and we’re still married