Avaya ENGAGE Helps You Stay Ahead of the Curve

By Slade Besson, IAUG Vice President
Director of Telecommunications and Networking at Nicholls State University

Over the years, attending Avaya ENGAGE has allowed me to stay ahead of the curve in directing our telecommunications at Nicholls State University.  From staying in compliance with Kari’s Law/Ray Baum’s Act to our journey to a full cloud solution, the annual conference has always given me the information I need to make strategic decisions to help move our university forward.

Thanks to the countless professional development sessions over the years and the networking with other telecommunications professionals, my professional career has grown exponentially over the years because of the Avaya ENGAGE conference.

I remember my first user group conference in 2004 in Orlando. I was a bit overwhelmed with all the sessions to choose from on the printed agenda booklet in my registration package!  Thankfully technology has made this process much easier by offering session details in the Avaya ENGAGE app before you arrive this year.  Most sessions also include presentation slides to help understand what will be covered.

With over 80 educational breakout sessions and several general sessions at ENGAGE 2023, it will be a tough decision to decide exactly what to attend!  I am particularly looking forward to the general sessions and roadmap sessions to gain better insights into Avaya’s strategic direction as a company and the direction of its products.  With sessions on cloud migration, artificial intelligence, 911, Women in Tech, contact center, ACO, IAUG Councils / Feature Request Tracker, and a tremendous number of tips and tricks sessions across the entire Avaya product portfolio, it will be very difficult to pick just one per session time slot. Thankfully, we will have some sessions recorded for viewing after the conference.

As the IAUG Member Education and Advocacy Committee (MEAC) chair, I get to witness the tremendous amount of work that goes into providing great educational content at Avaya ENGAGE.  Conference planning is essentially a year-round process between Avaya and IAUG. 

The MEAC is constantly keeping our finger on the pulse of what is important to our IAUG members through council calls, chapter meetings, webcasts, blogs, technical forums, and the feature request tracker.  All these different interactions with our members help us determine what content we need to seek out for conference. 

Once the conference call for content process begins, the MEAC, a team of Avaya champions, and a subcommittee of IAUG volunteers begin reviewing every session submission.  Each session is divided into its appropriate track and graded. After the call for content closes, the team of roughly 30 people determines if we have any missing topics.  Once all areas are covered, the entire team meets in person to make the final session selections and slot the final sessions into their time slots for conference.  It is truly a remarkable experience to see it all come together! 

If this process seems interesting to you, keep your eye out for emails from IAUG headquarters.  Each year, IAUG members have a chance to apply to be on the volunteer subcommittee to help with IAUG content selection.

So if you are thinking about attending, stop considering and register for the conference!  There is no other place you will get great educational content, intriguing general sessions, and outstanding peer networking – plus, the parties are fun, too!

I also encourage you to push yourself outside your comfort zone. I challenge you to make an effort to network with your fellow IAUG members and conference attendees.  Go speak with Avaya professionals and the various Avaya business partners.  Build that professional network that will pay you dividends throughout your professional career. 

You can even take this to the next level by volunteering with IAUG!  Become a chapter leader, join a technical council, join the women in tech council, or become involved in any of the many other volunteer roles that IAUG has to offer.  Unleash the power of the IAUG user community today – you won’t regret it!

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