Now in its third year, the UC Berkeley annual IT Summit brought over 500 campus information technology professionals together at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Union on Tuesday, May 24, to hear an inspiring keynote from Jessi Reel of LinkedIn, engage with campus IT leadership, network, share their work, and learn about new technology.
Multiple activities throughout the day centered around Building the Future of IT at UC Berkeley, the theme for this year’s summit. Paul Robles, Associate Chief Information Officer (CIO) in Student Affairs Information Technologies (SAIT) and IT Summit Chair, welcomed attendees, sharing his thoughts on the importance of One IT and holding this annual gathering, especially noting this year’s record-breaking attendance as, “The largest gathering of IT professionals on the Berkeley campus since 1868.”
Larry Conrad, Associate Vice Chancellor for IT and CIO, kicked the morning events off with his State of IT address, reminding participants, “The impetus for starting this annual event three years ago, and more generally the One IT movement, was to bring us together, to help build community, and to offer opportunities to learn from and leverage one another’s skills and expertise.”
Conrad acknowledged the financial challenges UC Berkeley is currently facing, but followed with how IT is a key enabler in these times of constraint. “It’s very clear that technology is pervasive here at Berkeley, and IT has traditionally been a vehicle for improving efficiency and saving money. IT has also been a strategic enabler for the University’s teaching, learning and research missions. Faculty, students and staff need the services and support we all provide to them to remain productive and efficient. So in the face of the challenges, we still have important jobs to do. In difficult times like these, it’s even more important for us to work together and look for creative ways to leverage each other in addressing problems as they arise.”
Several examples of successful teamwork efforts were shared as Larry outlined accomplishments and major milestones across campus IT units that have brought technological advancements and improved services to the campus community. He thanked and commended the crowd for the progress made in tight financial times, “I have great confidence in all of you, in the strength and momentum we continue to build through our collaborative efforts, and in our overall resilience to together build the future of IT here at Berkeley.”
Following Larry’s address, LinkedIn’s UX Design Lead, Jessi Reel took the stage to share insights along with the initial ups and downs of her experiences at the company. Reel works with engineers to design and develop tools for Linkedin. She started by laying the foundation of what we do as technologists, “We help people by identifying issues they face, and solve those problems by building products/services that make their lives easier.” Building on this, Jessi spoke about how despite the roles we all play in an organization sometimes highlighting our differences, we all work together to solve problems and, therefore, we all have a role as designer. Jessi closed with a challenge to summit participants moving forward, “Talk with someone new, look for opportunities to add value, and know that the patterns we practice in the little things can add up in the big things.”
Following Jessi’s keynote, Conrad and Patricia Donnelly, CIO and Assistant Dean in the School of Law, presented an Award of Distinction to Andrew Szeri, Vice Provost for Strategic Academic and Facilities Planning, for his support and advocacy of IT at Berkeley over many years.
The last group session of the morning featured an IT Leadership Panel, moderated by Kevin Cornish, Chief Information Officer for Haas Business School. The panel included IT leaders from various departments on campus - Larry, Patricia, Berkeley’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Bill Allison, Student Information Systems (SIS) Project Executive Angela Blackstone, and Director of Strategic Initiatives and Chief of Staff Liz Marsh. The panel addressed several questions submitted from participants both prior to and during the event.
After lunch, sixteen different breakout sessions were available for attendees to choose from as well as Birds of a Feather meetups on topics of interest and conversations related to building the future of IT. The Exhibit Hall featured staffed poster displays and demos from IT staff organizations and teams across campus. A photo booth was available for staff to capture fun moments with colleagues throughout the day. As the day’s program ended, participants were invited to the Bear’s Lair to toast fellow colleagues as a conclusion to IT Summit 2016.
The takeaways for the day were summed up in Larry’s address, “Despite what is happening around us, we can leverage the power of our One IT community to serve the campus needs -- because the truth is: we are building the future of IT here at Berkeley - together.”