The Return From GovCon 2019

collage of hook 42 team members at gov con

This year, Drupal GovCon had an amazing turnout. So great that the registration was at full capacity and had to cap attendance at 1,500 people!

Our team had an amazing time exploring Bethesda, from the conference grounds to the thriving community around it. While there we enjoyed conversing with the community, and forging new relationships. We learned many things, and shared our experiences with many others as well. Overall, it was a great environment for exploration and growth.  

From Hook 42 we had a first-time ever Drupal event attendee, an experienced Drupal veteran, and a goldilocks somewhere in the middle community member join forces. With the variety of community involvement just from our team alone, there were many different expectations attending this event and each person had their own goals and takeaways from this experience. We’re excited that an event can bring so many different people together and provide an experience that resonates with many different community members. Here's what we took away from this GovCon this year.

Aimee's Thoughts

GovCon 2019 delivered another great experience for me. I am a huge advocate of GovCon. I have found great value in my time spent here and look forward to returning each year. This camp is such a well run event that consistently delivers an inclusive, supporting and rewarding experience. I very much enjoyed my time there as a speaker, member and participant. I appreciated the structured content as well as the well attended after events where I got a chance to catch up with old friends, and meet many new people.

The sessions line up at GovCon 2019 was packed full of talented and useful information. There was so much I couldn’t attend that I’m especially grateful for the YouTube recordings. A big shout out for Kevin Thull and the team for getting these up!

It was an honor to be able to deliver my keynote, CommYOUnity: Fostering Healthy Contribution, at GovCon. Community is such a vital, core value to Drupal and that community is built on you and me. When we can build healthy relationships and make time to take care of ourselves we’re actively working on taking care of the community.

Thanks again for the wonderful opportunity and great experience GovCon!

Ryan's Thoughts

First, I wanted to give a big thank you to the event staff and volunteers who made GovCon 2019 possible. I am a first time GovCon attendee and had a great time. I knew when and where the sessions I was interested in were and found my way around NIH easily. The great planning and coordination that went in to GovCon made my experience very enjoyable.

Janessa Worrell and Brianna McCullough, from Acquia, gave a great presentation on governance, "Winter is Coming: How to Use Good Governance to Prevent your Organization from Becoming a Game of Thrones". They brought awareness to some of the harder to reach topics that help an organization align to make better project decisions and did it in an entertaining and informative way.

It was a pleasure to meet David Minton and Stephen Pashby from DesignHammer and then later see their presentation on estimation, "Successful Project Estimation: How To Get Your Weekends Back". Their modeling on historical throughput with detailed task tracking is an engaging idea I think we could put to use. 

I really appreciate the community that came together to share their thoughts and experiences and I look forward to my next opportunity to attend.

Lindsey's Thoughts

I’m semi-local to DC, and very familiar with the area so much so that I would come here as a child on field trips and such. I wasn’t coming here with the excitement of exploring the local community and the city, but more so with the intention of bonding with the Drupal community itself. Making connections with people that are experiencing similar situations as I evolve within the Drupal world is very important to me.

I spent most of my time holding down the booth, talking with many people about the great things our team has to offer. It’s a great way for a new Drupal-member to get to know a lot of people. For the first time ever, I experienced the joy of seeing connections I made at another Drupal event, and seeing their faces in the community again. Those bonds are already strengthening and I couldn't be happier! I am getting to understand just how connected our community really is.

When I wasn’t at the booth I attended sessions about accessibility. One common theme in all of them is that the speaker always shared empowering experiences that would resonate with the audience. They weren't necessarily technical, or Drupal related, but they provided a very humanistic connection to an issue that is usually backed by threatening legal concerns. 

I enjoyed hearing Shawn Brackat from Forum One sharing a story of a blind couple receiving a 3D model of an ultrasound, and Catharine McNally from Phase2 sharing her stories about growing up deaf and receiving the first ever study on cochlear implants. These are aspects of accessibility that people really bond with. Being inclusive is more than just avoiding a lawsuit. It’s about making things easier for everyone, and providing ways to accommodate those that do things differently. Everyone experiences things differently, disability or not, and it's important that we keep that in mind as we build digital experiences for the masses.

I enjoyed participating in my first GovCon in a variety of ways. Whether that was sitting at the booth, attending sessions, or dinner with great friends - I have had so many wonderful experiences. I’m already looking forward to next year.

Wrapping Up

The community always goes above and beyond, providing experiences that everyone can resonate with. GovCon did not fall short of those high standards. We’re so thankful to all of the organizers, and happy to have been one of many great sponsors that can help support events like these. All of us had a wonderful time, and we’re happy to be so involved with a community that has a great ecosystem. We’re already planning our next event... we’ll see you in Denver!