by David Gautney, CTA, Phoenix CUGC Leader
I have been very fortunate to have attended the past six Synergy conferences in a row, so when I asked my management about this year’s conference, I impatiently waited on an answer. Planning was already taking place amongst my friends and colleagues as well as volunteering opportunities within the CUGC, so I was anxious to hear if I would be able to attend. In March, I finally received the word from my employer that I would be unable to attend this year. While disappointed, I understood and was grateful for being able to attend as often as I had.
I had signed up for the CUGC the second I heard about it. Soon after, I was honored and humbled to be asked to be a part of the leadership team in Phoenix, with two others I have the utmost respect for: Steve Greenberg and Rory Monaghan. Being involved in my local community, I quickly discovered how much I enjoyed both sharing experiences, and having conversations and learning from others. It was those same reasons that led to my disappointment upon hearing I would be unable to attend Synergy this year, as I truly am passionate about our community.
It was the 2018 Synergy that had me so looking forward to this year’s event. Last year’s conference really took the community feel to a whole new level. On the first night of Synergy 2018, I had made plans to meet up with CTP Scott Osborne (Oz) for a beer. Ozzy was waiting for the arrival of one of the other Omaha CUGC leaders, Steve Elgan. I was accompanied by my co-leader of the Phoenix CUGC, Rory Monaghan. Given it was Steve’s first Synergy, he wrote a great blog detailing his experiences. https://blogs.mycugc.org/2018/05/29/my-first-citrix-synergy/.
Little did we know how that meeting would start something so special. While we chatted and discussed our beer selections, I talked about the nitro that was on tap with Steve, recommending he try it as well. For non-beer drinkers, nitro or nitrogen, is used as opposed to the more traditional CO2. Nitro tends to provide a creamier and smoother taste. That conversation in hindsight has turned into something remarkable, something we now call the #NitroCrew.
We would all go through our days and sessions at the conference taking it all in. One thing that could be counted on was meeting up every evening over more nitros. Each night, our group grew larger with a who’s-who in the industry and EUC community. I had the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful people from around the world that I had only known via twitter or the Slack channels. Meeting people like Kevin Howell, Trentent Tye, George Spiers, Gareth Carson, Dave Brett, and too many others to list. It was such a great experience. Each night, we would meet and not just to discuss technology, but also get to know one another and form a bond. By the end of the week, I would say we easily had 20-30 joining in the spirited gatherings.
Knowing how awesome the 2018 Synergy was for me personally, I was so disappointed upon hearing I would be unable to attend in 2019. I shared word of my news over Twitter with my friends and colleagues. Upon hearing of my news, others also shared my disappointment. One of my #NitroCrew friends wasn’t ready to accept my news. He messaged me and asked what I thought about a gofundme to get me there. While flattered, my initial thought was, “is my mate crazy? Who am I?” After some back and forth Kev Howell went ahead and put it in motion.
I was shocked and amazed by the support that I was given by the Citrix community. So many people gave to support my cause. People gave of their finances and time to support me. I will forever be grateful. Many of those who gave I had either known for years or were a part of our now infamous #NitroCrew. There were also many others whom I had never met previously but who had heard about the effort and gave so graciously. The community had banded together and raised over $1,000 to cover my registration costs. The remaining balance was picked up by my friends at @ControlUp. I am so grateful that a company that I am a huge fan and advocate of would join the cause to ensure I make Synergy 2019.
What has been dubbed as the #NitroCrew is really nothing more than a collection of individuals passionate about the EUC community and open to all who would like to gather over a beverage or two to discuss the community, technology or absolutely anything that comes to mind.
I would like to recognize all of those who contributed of their finances and time to help get me to Synergy 2019. More than just financial support, it was the tweets, and retweets, and words of support and encouragement. I look forward to seeing you all and thanking you all in person.