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FUNCon 19: Recapping a Truly Super Show


The 2019 Fonteva User’s Conference — AKA, FUNcon 19 — is now officially in the books, and what an extra FUN(con) time it was. This year’s theme, “Discovering Your Inner Superhero,” celebrated customers who harnessed their powers to advance their missions and amplified their efforts through the Fonteva platform. 

Bigger and bolder than ever, this two-day deep dive into Fonteva user journeys was held in the massive (justice) halls of the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. and featured four customized journeys dedicated to business users, administrators, event managers, and developers. Each of those tracks included applicable content and insights for associations and organizations, and featured sessions and content designed to address the specific needs of the users:

Business users learned how to improve benefits to members and donors, streamline operations, and increase staff adoption of new technologies.

Fonteva/SalesForce Administrators discovered offering new techniques and strategies to alleviate common pain points.

Event Managers learned how to increase registrations and enhance attendee experiences, from the registration progress to on-site logistics.

Developers interested in integrating with or developing on the Fonteva Platform learned about best practices and discovered new insights. 

Let’s take a closer look at what happened at the show. 

Day One

Scott Shellstrom Loosens Things Up

The first day’s content focused on supplying users with information on the platform, product, and integration updates, especially as they pertain to SasS technologies. The goal was to ensure that users were aware of the updates and implementations, as well as the most current tips and tricks to make their jobs as simple and efficient as possible. 

The day kicked off with a keynote from Scott Shellstrom, an artist and business innovator who teaches people how to rediscover their inner creativity. He’s worked at big creative agencies, gone on comedy tours, been featured at prestigious art galleries, and claims to be the first white guy to be featured on Soul Train. 

Keynote speaker Scott Shellstrom [far right], leads attendee volunteers in an improv game on the main stage during the opening session of FUNcon 19 in Washington, DC.
Photo Credit – John Jack Photography

Scott energized the audience early on with a lively banter on how to insert creativity into the doldrums of daily business life. He offered easy to follow techniques and a creative approach for audience members to step out of their shells and breathe a new perspective into their work.

Next, Scott jumped into an interactive, thought-provoking brainstorm session that expanded from his morning keynote. Attendees participated in improv challenges to spark innovative dialogue and break down barriers between one another. 

Scott’s brainstorm taught the audience how to change their perspectives as they go into an ideation session. He emphasized the need to loosen up, respect the process and ideas, accept  criticism, listen to your audience (i.e., your customer), and more. These are the keys to being creative and unearthing great ideas. 

A Focus on Continuous Improvement and Transformation

Day one also included a heavy emphasis on the need for continuous improvement. This involved taking time to explore new feature sets to see how day-to-day business can be improved, and then discovering what more there is to learn. It helps to keep teams hungry for additional learning, and not to settle for “just okay.”

Digital transformation is related to continuous improvement and, as such, remained  a common theme among all presentations. Although digital transformation means different things for different companies, everyone seems to be experiencing at least some sort of transformative experience. Customers shared their challenges and taught each other how to overcome these obstacles to effectively accomplish their business objectives.

We also brought back the popular “Ask the Expert” program. This gave customers the opportunity to have one-on-one  conversations with Fontevans and ask technical questions specific to their organizations.

The day ended with its own unique kind of transformational experience — drinks and hor d’oeuvres at the always-amazing POV restaurant at the W hotel. The incredible views of the Washington Monument at dusk were the perfect way to end a truly super opening day. 

Day Two

The Need for Agility

All superheroes share certain  common attributes, including agility. Take a look at the Avengers; would they have been able to defeat Thanos without the ability to move and respond quickly (oops, spoiler alert!)?

Therefore, it  made sense that day two of FUNCon began with Fonteva Co-founder and Chief Customer Officer Paul Lundy talking about the need to be agile. Companies must be ready and willing to change if they are to succeed both today and tomorrow. 

Fonteva VP of Customer Success Suvro Kahn (center) leads a panel discussion with Fonteva customers including (L to R): Garth Jordan, SVP and Chief Strategy Officer for the Healthcare Financial Management Association, Edima Elinewinga, CTO of ZERO TO THREE, National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families, Frank Grace, Director, Information Management at Smart Electric Power Alliance, and Michael Smith, VP and CIO at the American Academy of Family Physicians. Photo Credit – John Jack Photography

The highlight of the second day opening session was a customer panel, featuring four Fonteva superheroes and moderated by Fonteva’s Senior VP of Customer Success, Suvro Kahn. The superheroes on stage included: Michael Smith, VPand CIO at the American Academy of Family Physicians; Edima Elinewinga, CTO of ZERO TO THREE, National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families; Frank Grace, Director, Information Management at Smart Electric Power Alliance; and Garth Jordan, SVP and Chief Strategy Officer for the Healthcare Financial Management Association.

Our panelists shared their insights on a variety of topics related to managing technology, change, and expectations, for both internal and external stakeholders. The entire conversation is available for Fonteva customers to view in the training section of our FUN Community. 

Day two also featured information about new services and product features currently in development, as Fonteva is focused on facilitating agility and change through technology and services that are accessible to all of our customers. That’s why we’re introducing two new support services to help customers achieve greater agility and embark on their own transformational journeys. Firstly, our new quarterly digital evolutionary workshops will help customers to plan for, accommodate, and encourage  employees to embrace change in their organizations. Second, we’ll soon be introducing a new digital online education platform with special content on digital evolution and organizational change management. Employees will be able to take these courses and become certified in specific areas as they grow their skills. 

Our product team shared details on how our users impact the development of the Fonteva platform, sharing a range of recently introduced features which originated from customer ideas in the FUN Community. Through our ideas board, any customer can submit and/or vote on existing ideas and recommendations for new product features and functionality. The board is regularly reviewed and the most popular ideas are added into our product road map for development. Our customers continue to inform our roadmap because they are on the front lines using our product and features every day — we are listening to, and incorporating, their feedback.

As we close, we’d like to give a special heroes’ salute to our conference partners, including Mogli SMS, Comm Partners, fusionSpan, Higher Logic, Fionta, HighRoad Solutions, BlueSky, US Transactions Corp, OpenWater, Aplusify, Web Courseworks, Boomset, Association Analytics, Breezio, Results Direct, Benel Solutions, Gather Voices, American Eagle, and Know Who. We wouldn’t have been able to pull it off without your support.

A final thanks to all or our amazing customers. You are our superheroes; our conference (and, indeed, our year!) wouldn’t have been successful without your input, support, and participation. We look forward to the year ahead and assembling again at FUNcon 2020!

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