A Look at Foothold Technology Expo 2016: Cultivating Growth

This past June saw the 9th Annual Foothold Expo, our day-long users conference aimed at educating and enlightening the members of the Foothold Technology community. Over 300 clients and colleagues from across the country (and Puerto Rico) came together in New York City for a chance to network, learn about our latest software developments, discuss industry trends, hear best practices from peers within the community, and, of course, have some fun.

Our theme this year, Cultivating Growth, was designed to nurture some newly sprouted seeds of knowledge, as well as reflect on the growth we’ve seen both within the Foothold Technology community and on an industry level. Foothold Technology has experienced growth this year by adding additional staff, welcoming new customers, and building a stronger team to support our customers. We’re always proud of all our clients who continue to grow their agency’s use of AWARDS, and many of our sessions at the Expo offered methods to support that agency growth.

For example, this year’s sessions included a dive into the newly-developed PlanBuilder in the session “PlanBuilder – A Greenhouse for Your Service Plans,” and we included a session on how agencies can use Social Media to grow their communities in the session titled “Tending to Your Online Community: Using Social Media to Grow Support, Funding, and Awareness.” Members of our Client Services Division offered an I/DD-focused session called “I/DD Services – Can Concurrent Documentation Work?,” and the session “Branching Out AWARDS – Development in the Year Ahead” gave attendees a glimpse at upcoming AWARDS developments. Our other sessions focused on improving internal help desk operations, outlined recent changes to HMIS, and shared tips on how to use AWARDS for billing.

Daniel Kish kicked off our day with a moving keynote address. Losing both eyes to cancer as a baby, Daniel Kish learned a new way to see. By clicking his tongue and listening to the patterns of information that echoed back to him, Daniel began to construct images in his mind of near and distant surroundings that allowed him to navigate as freely as if he were seeing. Daniel has devoted his life to helping other who are blind not let fear dictate their abilities and development. Our CEO, Marlowe Greenberg, had the chance to sit down with Daniel following to ask him more about the work he does. You can view the conversation here.

At every Expo, we try to include some extra additions to differentiate the day from previous Expos. This year, we launched a social media campaign called #ThatsMyWhy. Here at Foothold, we talk a lot about the great work human service providers do, but we don’t often talk about what drives them to do it. In the human services sector, it’s not money or fame. So what is it? This is where #ThatsMyWhy comes in. Attendees provided videos, comments, and photos on social media depicting why they do what they do, and the result was nothing short of inspirational. Check out #ThatsMyWhy on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

To add to the fun, and to kick off our Networking Social at the end of the day, attendees gathered together for an interactive presentation we entitled “Gator Garden,” which was very similar to the setup of the TV show Shark Tank. Gator Garden gave Foothold clients the opportunity to pitch ideas that could change the way Foothold Technology operates to a panel of Foothold “Gators.” In exchange for these ideas, participants received rewards, and we’re in the process of implementing these winning ideas already!

Expo 2016: Cultivating Growth turned out to be our best Expo yet, and we’re already busy planning for Expo 2017. We hope to see you there on June 22, 2017!