Thousands Worldwide Attend Higher Ed Summit Virtual

By Traci Depuy | June 23, 2020 | Conferences & Events, Education, Higher Ed Summit

COVID-19 Response and Racial Equality Topics Take Center Stage

Last week, nearly 8,000 members of our education community came together from 82 countries across the world to network, learn, and re-imagine a more equitable future for education. Within the context of the global pandemic and racial inequalities, attendees listened to renowned keynote speakers and education leaders share how accelerating digital transformation is critical to better understand and meet students’ needs. They also explored timely ways to stabilize, reopen, and evolve to thrive in the next normal.

Higher Ed Summit Virtual Speakers

Headliners like Ariana Huffington, Soledad O’Brien, Trevor Noah, and Samantha Power took to the stage in the virtual keynote auditorium.

Exploring the Digital Transformation & Innovation in Higher Ed

The Education Cloud keynote featured higher education experts, including leaders from our co-host, Indiana University. IU President Michael McRobbie, as well as IU’s CIO, CMO, and CFO shared the why and how of transformation change in higher ed. The keynote covered the digital imperative and how the question is no longer if institutions will digitally transform, but when. There’s no doubt about the vital importance of innovating quickly, scaling virtual service centers, and driving always-on digital engagement for higher ed and K-12 institutions.

We also announced how Work.com will help education institutions reopen safely. Shea Lewis, Senior Director of Solution Engineering at Salesforce.org, showed how Work.com can aid education leaders in making critical decisions on when and how to reopen safely, no matter where they are in their reopening journey, wherever they’re at in their reopening journey.

As our education community continues to grow internationally, we dedicated a session on embracing digital transformation in the UK and Europe and shared best practices from the London School of Economics, the Universidad Francisco de Vitoria, and Bucerius Law School LSE.

In a panel conversation, we explored what higher ed innovation will look like in the aftermath of the pandemic, a conversation led by New York Times bestselling author Jeff Selingo, American Council on Education President Ted Mitchell, and Braven CEO Aimée Eubanks Davis. The speakers consistently hit home the point that what happens now will set the foundation for how this industry transforms to support every lifelong learner well into the future.

All-Star Speakers and Customer-Led Content

The powerhouse lineup of speakers we had at this year’s Summit was nothing short of incredible. TV host Trevor Noah, former U.N. ambassador Samantha Power, Thrive Global CEO Arianna Huffington, and journalist Soledad O’Brien provided insight on recent events and optimism for the future.

With a “choose-your-own-adventure” experience, attendees explored 37 breakout episodes led by experts from K-12 and higher education. With the digital imperative top of mind for everyone, the breakout sessions were educating, empowering, and impactful for attendees focused on accelerating their digital transformation.

The Networking Lounge provided opportunities to virtually connect with peers in the education community, as well as tune in to “Ask an Expert” conversations on topics like the Education Data Architecture, Governance, and Success Communities. Our Salesforce.org staff of technical experts answered an average of three questions per minute throughout the duration of the event.

Summit Awards Winners Announced

Last, but certainly not least, we had a big, virtual celebration throughout the day as we announced this year’s Summit Awards winners. If you weren’t at the event to see the winners announced live, here’s who took home the five prestigious awards this year. Drumroll, please…

Summit Awards 2020 Winners

This year’s awards finalists received more votes than ever before, with our Community Champion award in particular garnering an incredible response for its first year as a community-voted award. Relive each award announcement with this video compilation of all five winners.

Thanks to everyone who attended Higher Ed Summit Virtual — you truly made this event one for the books!

Looking to continue the conversation on innovation in higher education and hear from institutions about their reopening plans? Join us for a virtual panel on reopening safely this Thursday, June 25th at 9AM PT/12PM ET.