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My First Tech Conference

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By Jessica Sansaet |December 19, 2014

As I enter the large exhibit hall at the Gaylord National Resort and Conference Center, I’m immediately surrounded by hundreds of people, all here for one purpose – to see what’s “new” in the technology world. Wandering around the ASAE Technology Conference and Expo, one could stumble upon just about anything, from 3D printers to projector signs and even… a trailer?


Photo Dec 16, 2 07 48 PM Admittedly, I wasn’t sure what to expect at my first tech conference. To be completely honest, I definitely didn’t expect it to be so BIG. My first thought as I walked in was, ‘How will I possibly see everything?’

Our first stop was Personify for a quick demo appointment. Jay scanned our badges (price-check at the Personify booth!) and invited us to the reception later that afternoon. We gladly accepted just before we were joined by Scott and Lindsay who gave us a preview of some of the newest features that Personify offers. It was interesting to check a product I haven’t had the opportunity to use yet.

As my colleagues and I stopped by booth after booth, visiting a few of our partners and checking out some of the newest tech items, I noticed that many of the booths were offering some pretty nifty giveaways. I made sure to enter a few of these drawings as we passed (how could I not!).

Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of Abila’s giant gumball machine. I was so excited to find out what was inside. It turns out they had those plastic containers with rings inside, the kind you’d expect to receive from a gumball machine. Some of these pods contained more – a tiny slip of paper for another prize: a $50 Visa gift card, a Starbucks card, or a few other surprises.



Then we turned a corner, and I was surprised to see… SANTA!

Okay, (maybe) Mark from Strategic Fulfillment Group isn’t Santa… But he still gave me a gift – a “Diva” ribbon to stick onto my badge!


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At the Timberlake booth we learned a surprise announcement: Timberlake is now a Naylor company! This decision had been finalized “at 7:33pm” the night before, as quoted by Debbie during our “interview.” It was exciting for me to hear about a huge announcement so soon after it was made.


Reception time!

Later that afternoon, we attended a few receptions. We stopped by Abila, where they even had their own drink! We stayed awhile and chatted about the convention and the upcoming user meeting in Austin.

Next was the reception for Higher Logic and Timberlake for some tasty margaritas. This felt a little more like a celebration, and it should, since we were celebrating Timberlake’s newest announcement.


We made our final appearance at the Personify reception back inside the resort. Here, it was SNOWING inside! Yes, you read that correctly – snow! On our way up, I had noticed signs for a contest to win an overnight stay at the Resort: Take a selfie and post it to Instagram with their hashtag? Done! Being the dork that I am, I decided to take one during the Personify reception in front of everyone. Wish me luck!

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Jessica Sansaet
My First Tech Conference

Jess is a Business Analyst for Enterprise Solutions at fusionSpan. Since 2014, she has been providing support to associations as both a consultant and analyst for AMS, CMS, website, and event management needs. She has co-presented at the Abila Users and Developers Conference. Prior to fusionSpan, Jess worked as a manager at a popular retailer and received a Bachelors of Arts degree from the University of Maryland at College Park.

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