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The Future of Now: SHARE’s New Memberships and Digital Innovations

Updates from Scott Fagen, SHARE president, on what to expect from the user group in 2024

Now that we are three years into the post-COVID environment, new realities and challenges have emerged for people, businesses and organizations. SHARE’s members and volunteers have been working hard to meet them head on, and SHARE looks forward to continuing the evolution of the organization in 2024.
 
In addition to continuing to provide the gold standard for premiere technical education at our in-person conferences, SHARE has been working diligently to create a great online experience that is available 24-7-365. Read on to learn about the exciting innovations SHARE is leaning into this year.

1. Volunteer-Led Content and Concepts 

Dusty Rivers, SHARE’s board director of leader development, will focus on engaging SHARE members in activities like content creation and curation, forum moderation and live online event support. “In 2024, we’re looking to get more volunteers involved with SHARE through a smoother onboarding process and to provide them with interesting areas to which they can devote their time and effort,” he said. “We’re eager to continue providing leadership into what topics and areas of interest are evolving in the tech-verse for SHARE to offer sessions in both in-person and virtual content. SHARE is the go-to place for technical knowledge, and we need to keep evolving with new people and content.”

2. New Individual and Emeritus Membership Models 

Dusty’s work goes hand-in-hand with the work of the Membership Committee as it works to determine the intersection of types of membership, benefits and responsibilities. Cynthia Overby, director of membership, is excited about the new SHARE individual membership model.
 
“Our SHARE’d Knowledge. This system was designed with the individual member as the focus.”
 
With SHARE’s new Emeritus Membership, retirees from the mainframe platform can remain engaged with the organization and its members, providing mentorship and guidance to SHARE members at no cost.
SHARE Member Benefits Chart
According to Preston Rominger, director of year-round education, “Expanding membership to provide individual access beyond corporate affiliations ensures that young professionals can now enjoy year-round education independently, fostering continuous learning and skill development. This access to SHARE’d Knowledge empowers them with flexible and personalized educational opportunities, contributing to their professional growth and adaptability in today’s dynamic work environment.”

3. Online Learning Resources 

SHARE is hard at work integrating technology into its offerings to provide more education at members’ fingertips. SHARE’s work is driven by the speed of business, and SHARE’d Knowledge is a new resource with on-demand education that will include conference material and sessions and a variety of learning opportunities for our colleagues.
 
Sean Waldron, director of member engagement, points out there are a number of digital volunteering opportunities with SHARE. “Everyone can volunteer year-round to help grow and contribute to the SHARE community. Have an exciting upgrade or production issue story that might help others avoid some pitfalls? Or come up with a great automation solution to a manual process? Think about contributing a story to SHARE’d Intelligence to share your experience with the SHARE community. Or maybe you have some z/OS or Db2 tips and tricks or knowledge that you want to share with new mainframers. Consider submitting content to SHARE’d Knowledge to help grow our community’s knowledge and skills.”

4. Growing SHARE’s Community in New Ways 

SHARE Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer Art Gutowski has been working with the entire board and SHARE staff to build a budget for 2024, maintaining the high standards for SHARE’s 2024 events and enabling prudent investments for the future.
 
“In the coming year, the top three items I want to see us accomplish are to grow our membership, build out our year-round education platform and continue to provide the best mainframe education conference in the industry,” Gutowski said. “The Finance Committee, the board and I will work to maintain profitability of SHARE’s conferences, so additional funding will be available to improve future conferences and to drive our year-round platform and membership initiatives into self-sustaining projects over the next decade.” He added, “Along with these initiatives, I want to support our strategic planning efforts, so that we have a documented road map for the incoming board this August.”

According to Brian Langerman, executive director of SHARE, “Our deep dive into the organization and its operations led to the creation of a task force, which will reimagine the art of the possible.” The task force is in its early stages and is very excited to get to work leveraging SHARE’s history and modernizing it and its membership offerings for the future. “2024 will be about thinking through the reimagining process and seeking feedback from the ecosystem so that member voices help shape the future of SHARE,” he added.
 
The future of SHARE is its members in the mainframe community. Members have valuable benefits, but SHARE offers value to non-members as well—for example, through the resources found on the digital content hub SHARE’d Intelligence. All are welcome to join our community, and we hope to see you at our upcoming conference, SHARE Orlando (March 3–7).
 
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