Southeast User Group Leadership Summit – Wrapup

This past weekend Microsoft and O’Reilly Media hosted the first (hopefully annual) Southeast User Group Leadership Summit at Microsoft’s Alpharetta, GA office. SEUGLS as we called it was designed to pull together the leaders of technology user groups around the southeast and allow them to brainstorm, network, and have fun. I was inspired to plant the seeds for this event from a similar event in the Northeast.

O’Reilly was a huge supporter of this event, sending lots of books to give away. Marsee Henon, manager of the User Group and Professional Associations program at O'Reilly Media, even made the trek down to Atlanta and helped out immensely!

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There were quite a wide variety of tech groups represented. They included Microsoft groups but also many others like Ruby, PHP, Perl, Linux, Mac, and more. Many groups were from Atlanta, but we got a lot from Alabama & Tennessee, and even some from the Carolinas. The full list is at

The event kicked off with an engaging conversation starter activity based on the Retail Alphabet Game by Joey Katzen. I also scored some cool Microsoft lunchbox coolers for everyone. Then we solicited topics from the leaders, and had breakout sessions to discuss. At the end of each hour of breakouts, each group gave a summary to the others of their conclusions, salient points and next steps.

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Putting the notes and summaries of the conversations on the wiki ensures that the information continues to add value to the leader of the groups. The wiki is at and hopefully will continue to be updated by this community of user group leaders.

The event concluded with a catered dinner, XBOX gaming, time on a Microsoft Surface table, and even Jenga!

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Many, many thanks to the “organizing committee” including Marsee, Chris Spruck, Robert Cain, Cheyenne Throckmorton and Brendon Schwartz.

Photos are available via Flickr at

For me personally, this was a very energizing event. Everyone was passionate about running their groups, really shared their best practices, and had some eye opening realizations.It seemed to me to allow folks to forge some great connections. I’m hopeful that the community will want to do this event again next year!

Comments (1)

  1. It was definitely a fantastic and much needed event for user group leaders.  As leaders sometimes we get locked up in our groups, trying to hammer out solutions without realizing that the group next door has the same problems or better yet had them and found a solution.

    Sharing our experiences, thoughts and ideas at this event should make for a stronger UG experience among all groups individually while beginning to cultivate a strong new community of leaders regardless of technology or group purpose.

    I look forward to visiting more of the other groups when I can, especially now that I’ve had an opportunity to get to know a few of their leaders ahead of time.

    A BIG thanks to Glen, Marsee, Chris, Robert, Brendon and the others who helped make this happen.  Also, another big thanks to Microsoft and O’Reilly.

    I definitely look forward to this event again in the future.

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