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ASU IT professionals are invited to SOAR into the future at Empower 2021


All IT professionals and academic faculty working across the university are invited to come together for the fourth annual Empower! Taking place virtually from May 13-14, this is the premiere event for ASU's IT professional community to design, ideate and partner with their peers. Who will you catch at Empower? Data scientists, learning designers, professors, support staff, human resources personnel and beyond.

   “I liked seeing how the concept of motivating stories can move people into action.”

  “I enjoyed the open environment & sharing of ideas. Every voice is important to build our future.”

  “This is the best, most engaging conference I attend every year.”
                                                                                                                -2020 Empower attendees

Back by popular demand is President Crow to kick off the two-day community event with a view from the top about the present and future of ASU. Following his keynote address, President Crow will engage in a Q&A discussion, with questions sourced directly from ASU’s IT community. Empower invites all registered participants to submit a question for consideration. 

Day 1 will continue with fellow ASU community members sharing how their ideas and projects align with one of the five Empower 2020 projects, including: Empowering Student + Employee Growth & Change, Collaboration Across the University, Public Dashboards, Hybrid Virtual Working & Improved Work-life Balance, and Sustainable Technological Practices.

Over the course of three, 30-minute rounds, participants will be invited to join a range of session topics, including “techie” discussions around ASU and global trends and challenges, as well as the culture work being done across the university. Check out a sampling of the 16 sessions across the three rounds on Day 1:

Round 1:

  • “Mindfulness and ambition: can they coexist?” with Dr. Teri Pipe, ASU Chief Well-Being Officer, and Dr. Nika Gueci, Executive Director of the ASU Center for Mindfulness, Compassion and Resilience

  • DevSecOps: State of the Union” with Doug Nguyen and Jesse DeFer of the University Technology Office

Round 2:

  • “Humanize and personalize email communication through video” with Edward Garcia, Director Law Information Technology at Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law  

  • “Empowered to stay” with Cary Lopez, Director of Strategic Initiatives at University Design Institute and Abby Baker, Program Manager at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Round 3:

  • “No one sits by silently: driving the future of teams” with Dr. Linda Elkins-Tanton, Vice President and Professor in the School Of Earth and Space Exploration

  • “Creating a Smart Fleet for ASU” with Bobby Gray, Director of Digital Transformation at the University Technology Office 

This isn’t just a sit-and-get, however. Participants will actively collaborate with these headliners on their ideas and projects using the SOAR Analysis as the guiding framework. Similar to the traditional SWOT analysis, a SOAR Analysis takes a more appreciative approach by highlighting the strengths and opportunities as well as aspirations and results of a particular activity. As such, the SOAR framework allows for an analysis of present and future initiatives while also incorporating both internal projects within the university and external partnerships with regional and global organizations. 

Day 2 will open with a keynote from Dr. Jaqcueline Stavros, originator of the SOAR framework and professor in the College of Business & Information Technology at Lawrence Technological University. Stavros will discuss the ways in which this appreciative inquiry model is perfectly poised for designing the future of the New American University. 

Participants will then spend the bulk of their time in Open Space gatherings where fluid, dynamic groups will form their own agendas exploring issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging through a technological innovation lens. Creating time to focus on each groups’ unique needs and interests will support each other in positive transformation through improved communication and enhanced collaboration.

According to Christine Whitney Sanchez, Chief Culture Officer for the University Technology Office, “Both days of Empower are loaded with opportunities to take responsibility for what lights you up. Through the power of self-organization, you are invited to learn and contribute to fostering an enabling, catalyzing culture within the ASU-wide IT community. Coming out of Empower, your ideas and action commitments will lay the foundation for ongoing collaborative tech innovation at ASU.” 

More than 800 of your ASU colleagues are ready to SOAR to Empower — are you? Register now and then join the conversation in the #asu-it-community Slack channel or on social media platforms using #ASUEmpower.

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