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August 2012

Aug 14, 2012

Outgoing SHARE President Reflects on Her Tenure

By Mike Westholder

The SHARE conference in Anaheim, Calif., last week was Janet Sun’s last as president of the enterprise IT community. For Sun, a software engineering manager with Rocket Software, it was a “bitter sweet” experience as her two-year term comes to a close.

“We’ve done a lot of good things, in terms of year-round engagement with our members and increasing the visibility of SHARE through things like webcasts and articles,” she said. “Those are all things that have tremendous impact and deliver ongoing value to our members. I’ll miss being able to shape that direction, but I’ve had my term. I’m fine. I’m ready to move on.” Her successor is Brian Peterson of UnitedHealth Group.

During her term, a key objective was year-round engagement, Sun said. That turned out to be a single unifying theme that led to several positive developments for the SHARE organization. As Sun explained, that objective manifested itself in the form of:

  • A new website, which offers a platform for discussions and all of SHARE’s data in one place
  • Monthly webcasts
  • The President’s Corner blog, which focuses on what’s going on in the industry
  • Greater recognition of SHARE volunteers
  • The SHARE Select option, in which members can access recorded content online, including classes and conference sessions, and
  • Social media efforts, including a LinkedIn group that now boasts more than 1,000 members

“We’ve focused a lot on social,” she added. “Two years ago, we weren’t tweeting. In Atlanta, we had 93 people tweeting about the conference to 93,000 followers. That’s an amazing reach.

“All of these are tied to year-round engagement.”

The Anaheim event featured a focus on big data. “I’m just delighted with the interest and excitement I see,” Sun said during the conference. “Big data isn’t new, but there’s renewed interest from our members because of the implications of the variety, velocity, and volume of data. This gives them a chance to discuss and learn about  the new issues.”

Based on attendee feedback, each conference features a Spotlight, which includes keynotes and sessions focused on a particular topic over two days of the five-day event.

For example, keynote speaker Brian Gallagher, president of EMC Enterprise Storage Systems Division, provided a focal point for the spotlight sessions with his talk, “Cloud and Big Data Driving IT Transformation.”

Another highlight for Sun was the opening keynote address, “Crossing the Generational Divide: Leveraging the Power of Generations for Your Strategic Advantage,” presented by Jason Dorsey of the Center for Generational Kinetics. “It was so dynamic and fun, and focused our attention on the growing concerns of each of the four generations currently in the workforce, as well as giving each generation some insight into how to work more effectively with the other generations,” she said. “His keynote received overwhelmingly positive feedback. It was a homerun.”

Likewise, attendees seem pleased with the scope and breadth of the lineup of speakers and technical sessions, she noted. “Everything I’ve heard has been good and positive,” Sun said. “In the hallways, at sessions and keynotes—I’ve got good feedback on those. The social media buzz has been good as well.”

Looking forward, the next conference will be Feb. 3-8 at the Hilton Union Square in San Francisco. The Spotlight will be on mobile technology, including sessions on creating mobile apps, security, managing mobile devices and BYOD. Also during that conference, SHARE will conduct its third ExecuForum, another initiative started under Sun’s watch. The forum provides IT executives with an opportunity to share best practices and learn from their peers, she explains.

“One of the reasons, to co-locate it with SHARE is to have execs see what their people are doing at the conference, experience the energy and vitality of the discussions, and generate more interest,” she added. “They get to see how vibrant the community is.”

While her tenure as president comes to a close, it won’t be the end of Sun’s involvement with the SHARE board of directors. In her new role as immediate past president, she will serve as a mentor to incoming board members and chair the nominating committee.

“I’m not going anywhere, which makes it easier to not be president,” Sun concluded. “I’d be sad if I had to walk away entirely.”