Message from SHARE: A Look Back at 2017-18

From Buzz Woeckener, SHARE Vice President & Chief Information Security Officer, Strategy

I have had the privilege of being a SHARE Board Member for over five years. In that time, I have seen the association make a great deal of progress, which I think is important to reflect on here with you our members. Everything the SHARE Board of Directors does is carried out with you in mind, to ensure our actions are meaningful and positively impact your experience in this association.  

One of the biggest accomplishments this year was the development and implementation of a new strategic plan. The plan consists of six strategic goals and supporting objectives, which were vetted by the board, program managers and select volunteer members, to ensure alignment throughout the association. This new plan is a huge win for SHARE – it gives clear direction, consistency and guidelines necessary for decision-making that will continue moving the association forward.

I can think of a few examples where you may have seen the effect of these new strategic goals. We’re ramping up efforts around engaging students and the academic space, with programs like Student Career Day, the Hackathon, and new this year at SHARE St. Louis, The Z Escape game. These are investments to get the word out about SHARE and Enterprise IT as a viable career, and will help grow the future of this association and the industry.

We’ve also made additional investments which have had significant impact. This includes upgrading audio/visual capabilities at conferences to ensure better video recording quality, providing an overall improved experience. Revamping the SHARE booth was another upgrade, making it more functional, so vendors can give presentations. It also provided a new place to host the Hackathon. While these updates came with additional costs, they aligned to several of our strategic goals which we viewed as necessary investments for the future of SHARE.

This strategic plan also forces us to look at what SHARE offers with a magnifying glass and get out of the habit of doing things because “that’s how it’s always been done.” The world around us changes rapidly and SHARE must be prepared to adapt. Programs or offerings may change or take on new life in the future, but it will always be done with the strategic plan as a guide, with an end goal of increasing the benefits and positive experience to SHARE members.  

I would be remiss not to address SHARE’s transition from SHARE Inc. to SHARE Association, which was done to take advantage of a tax-exempt, non-for-profit, 501(c)(6) status. After much discussion and making sure this decision aligned with our strategic goals, the Board of Directors determined the time was right to make the transition and become SHARE Association. You can read more about it here when SHARE President Harry Williams announced the news in December 2017.

Finally, I’d like to close on a personal note. In the last year, the SHARE community experienced two great losses – that of John Ehrman and John Hogan. Both men were powerhouses of knowledge, not just for SHARE, but the industry at large. For many decades, they were driving forces of the organization and a friend to many. John Ehrman, a talented, giving man, had given an astounding 260 presentations at 34 SHARE events in his time with us. For those who knew John Hogan, he became a mentor to many, had a sharp sense of humor and outstanding character. (Not to mention a great guitar player and singer at many after hour social events.)

We will never forget these great men who uplifted our community and made SHARE what it is today.

As SHARE moves forward with their spirit as a foundation, we look to a hopeful future. It’s a future where we continue to learn from each other, grow, make positive changes and continue to be a driving force for all things Enterprise IT and mainframe.

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