By Gail Bymun, SHARE Board, Director of Volunteer Services
As the IT mainframe engineering director at Fiserv, it is my responsibility to offer IBM z Systems training opportunities to the employees in the organization. Developing talent is one area of my job that I enjoy immensely. At the same time, I have budget targets to meet, so I must choose wisely from the many training classes and conferences that are available. It is important to meet the needs of each individual while focusing on increasing the specific skill levels that provide the best possible service to our customers and peers.
There are many industry conferences available that provide z Systems training; however, most of these conferences are vendor-hosted and the content is specific to their industry offerings. They also tend to include content that spans multiple platforms and disciplines. While this may give a conference attendee a broader spectrum of topics to choose from, it often results in fewer sessions that are pertinent to their specific career focus.
This is where SHARE differs from other conferences. SHARE is an independent, volunteer-run, technology association that provides education, professional networking and industry influence. It hosts two onsite events each year that feature more than 500 technical sessions, covering many z System disciplines. There are sessions specifically designed for individuals new to the z Systems platform, hands-on labs are available for those wishing to do deep dives, a vendor arena is open to learn more about products that support and protect z System and many networking options throughout the week. But SHARE is much more than two conferences. The SHARE.org website is packed with industry information provided for its member companies and blogs for ongoing interactive conversations.
At our most recent conference in Orlando, I spoke with many attendees about why they selected a SHARE conference as their training choice and, if in a management position, why they selected SHARE as the conference for their staff. The responses across the board were very similar. There is no other conference that offers so many networking opportunities and sessions specific to the z Systems platform. The atmosphere at a SHARE conference is very welcoming and positive, inviting the attendees to share information while forming life-long friendships with others who can relate to their challenges and issues in the workplace.
I could not agree more. In my position, I have attended many conferences over the years and overwhelmingly choose SHARE as the best conference for myself and my team.
Thank you and hope to see you at SHARE in San Antonio next spring.
Gail Bymun, who has more than 30 years of experience in IT, is the director of mainframe engineering at Fiserv, a provider of technology solutions to the financial community. In this role, she is responsible for mainframe hardware, software, operational support, capacity planning and mainframe databases. She also serves on the SHARE Board as the director of volunteer services and holds positions on the SHARE membership, executive forum and editorial advisory committees.