By Lauren Woodman, CEO, NetHope
As I reflect on our week together at the NetHope Global Summit 2019, I leave inspired, energized and, yes, a little exhausted. I am sure you all share my sentiments. We’ve learned, we’ve shared best practices, we’ve networked, we’ve socialized, and we’ve had some moments of laughter and respite.
Some of us have enjoyed the beach and the pool, and we deserve that. We work hard. But we didn’t come for the tropical location. That was a perk. Being here in Puerto Rico has reaffirmed what we can do together to make the world a better place, how we can leverage the power of technology to improve the human condition. It connected us with Puerto Rico’s recovery and the generous, resilient people who live here. It reinforced the Summit theme—Vision. Action. Hope.—which really does define our NetHope community.
This week underscored that our past and our future are defined by collaboration, which is central to our work. This can in many ways be exemplified by numbers: Five Working Groups, 10 Workshops, 22 Keynotes/Plenaries; 60 Breakouts; four Service Projects. These numbers are impressive by virtue of the tremendous amount of information that was shared amongst our more than 600 attendees.
A big moment for me was the #IamNetHope group selfie, which underscores that—whether you are a member, or a tech or funding partner—NetHope is not about what you gain, but about what you give. And, so many individuals have given and given so much. So, I’d like to extend a couple important thank yous.
- You’ve seen them. Our NetHope staff is small but mighty. They work day-in and day-out to advance our mission, to serve our members, and to nurture relationships with our tech and funding partners. A contingent of our staff has been preparing for this Summit for well over a year, managing the logistics and working with members to prepare the agenda. I think they have done a fantastic job hosting this Summit and deserve our gratitude.
- Our Summit sponsors make this annual event, this family reunion, possible. Some have committed to partnering with NetHope since its inception 18 years ago. Others are newcomers. But now they are all part of the NetHope family and we hope to see all of them return next year. A side note: relationships are forged during the multitude of meetings, workshops, breakouts, plenaries, and they are forged off hours during informal conversations. Last night, CDW and Unit4 hosted us, and I saw a lot of people on the dance floor. And tonight, Splunk hosted the farewell reception in the Technology Solutions Exhibit Hall.
- Last, but certainly not least, the Caribe Hilton staff has been remarkable, and theIMG_0411 food has been outstanding. It’s hard to believe that, after an extensive remodel, they just reopened a few months ago. It was so touching that they wanted to thank us, when the reality is that they deserve our profuse thanks. The staff send-off performance is a memory that we all will never forget.
While today is technically the last, many of will extend the Summit by participating in trainings or service projects tomorrow. If I don’t see you, know that I am looking forward to the next year. The Board has adopted our strategic plan refresh and, in the coming months, we will realign our work to bring our ambitions to life. This will better serve and engage all of you. I have no doubts that we will do great things together this year and look forward to seeing all of you at the next family reunion!
Wir sehen uns in Berlin!