From JoomlaDay Denver To The Joomla! World Conference

Written by | 10 October 2016 | Published in Joomla! Community Magazine - October 2016
Joomla! is shining bright in the North American spotlight this season. The first JoomlaDay Denver took place on October 1st 2016, and the Joomla World Conference takes place in Vancouver November 11th-13th. The final months of 2016 have much to offer Joomla! users on this side of the world, and the close timing and proximity of these two events is creating a new buzz around Joomla in the USA and in Canada.
JoomlaDay Denver October 1st 2016 JoomlaDay Denver October 1st 2016

JoomlaDay Finally Comes To The Mile High City

The first JoomlaDay Denver (aka JDEN16) was successful in many ways. The event offered extensive resources for Joomla! users and brought an entirely new group of people into the Joomla community. The program featured an all-star line up of digital professionals and community leaders from inside and outside of the Joomla community. The goals were very ambitious for a first time JoomlaDay in any area and organizing an event of this magnitude is a tremendous and time consuming process, but anyone who was there can tell you it was well worth the wait.


JDEN16 Joomla! BoothJoomla! comes to Denver, Colorado USA.
Photo by Cliff Pfeifer


The fun and friendly spirit of the Joomla community was on full display at all times. We welcomed speakers and guests from around the world who span the entire history of the Joomla platform. There were many old friends and many new faces from outside the Joomla community coming together for the first time.

The event delivered as promised: we all learned something, we all made new friends and we all left with new connections. This is what Joomla events are all about, and sharing the Joomla community spirit with the city of Denver was always the goal of JDEN16.


"Attending events like JoomlaDay Denver and the Joomla World Conference is very important in our community. While communication technology has never been better, it can never replace a real life experience. These events give us the chance to put the computer away for a while and interact with each other face to face.

At a community event, we are able to communicate more freely and more effectively. We get to feel the energy and enjoy the atmosphere, we get to share smiles and hugs, we can eat together, we can learn and share with each other. Most of all, we get to have fun together. It is not possible to download these experiences, we have to be there in person to receive them." 

Cliff Pfeifer, JoomlaDay Denver organizer


JDEN16 lunch 02
Lunch with local Joomla users, the current and former OSM president, Joomla co-founders, and guests from all over the USA
Photo by Cliff Pfeifer


The World Conference Experience At JoomlaDay Denver

JoomlaDay Denver provided the local community with an opportunity to experience a World Conference level event atmosphere right at home. In many ways, the JDEN16 program was similar to last year's JWC in India. It was a much smaller and shorter event, but featured many of the highlighted speakers from the JWC 2015 program. We were honored to have Brad Frost of Atomic Design fame deliver the same cutting-edge presentation and responsive design workshop he shared with the international community in India. We were lucky to have OSM president Sarah Watz visiting the US from Sweden near the time of our event to share her inspirational insights with the Denver community and provide the first official Joomla! Certification Exam ever held in the USA.


 

JDEN16 Brad Frost keynote
Brad Frost delivering his Atomic Design Opening Keynote Presentation at JoomlaDay Denver
Photo by Cliff Pfeifer


JDEN16 also featured 2 of the 4 speakers from the JWC 2015 founders panel session: Joomla co-founder and Colorado local Andy Miller talking about the latest features in Gantry 5, along with Ken Crowder visiting from Nebraska to provide on-site Joomla support to the event attendees. Others from JWC 2015 in attendance were Mike Demopoulos our current OSM Treasurer, and of course the event organizer and host Cliff Pfeifer (me). 

Other notable speakers were the undisputed queen of FabrikRobbie Adair from Texas. Hailing from Minnesota along with Mike Demo was Randy Carey, who both stopped by to share their knowledge with everyone at the event. We also had local developer Nicolas Ganivet from CiviCRM and Daniel Baron from the Denver JUG.


jden16 discussion
A casual afternoon Joomla! discussion between Cliff Pfeifer, Randy Carey, and local Joomla users David Schenk & Richard Sparks 
Photo by Robin Woodburn


Building Our Local and Domestic Communities

The JoomlaDay Denver audience included a mix of Joomla! users, Denver tech professionals, traveling executives and exam participants, along with former and current Joomla community leaders and contributors from the Colorado area, and from all over the world. It was a fun and friendly atmopshere, and it was educational and emotional for everyone who attended. We all came together on this day to put Joomla on the map in the Denver community, as well as put Denver on the map of the Joomla community.


"JoomlaDay Denver was a pro-active step in building awareness of the Joomla platform and growing the Joomla community in this area and across the USA."

"I feel the USA is a largely untapped market for the Joomla platform and I feel we're missing out on important and beneficial opportunities. This event was my contribution towards changing this, and I believe it was a successful first step in the right direction."

Cliff Pfeifer, JoomlaDay Denver organizer


JDEN16 connections
Will Banks from Accenture interviewing OSM President Sarah Watz about Joomla! and how it can fit into their business solutions in the future. Denver JUG volunteer Tim Brown was nice enough to shoot the video interview. This new connection offers a lot of potential to the entire Joomla platform and we are excited to see where it goes.


"Event attendance was average for a first time JoomlaDay, but we planted a lot of seeds. We brought in big name speakers from inside and outside the Joomla community and we welcomed non-Joomla users to attend. Along the way, we exposed tens of thousands of people in this area to the Joomla brand name through our marketing, promotions and event materials. As a result, we formed new connections for the platform, we helped our local community and brought new people into the Joomla community.

Cliff Pfeifer, JoomlaDay Denver organizer


Denver Talent In The Spotlight

Denver local, and Emmy award winning video producer, Sara Morris from StoryCatchers Media shared her insights on the power of video storytelling. Her business partner and camera specialist, Everett McEwan worked all day to capture the event and also fielded some questions from the audience during the session. Their presence at the event was informational and was greatly appreciated by the audience, and they ensured the JoomlaDay Denver memories will last forever.

JDEN16 StoryCatchers Media
Sara Morris and Everett McEwan from StoryCatchers Media, sharing insights and capturing the event at the same time.
Photo by Cliff Pfeifer


Joomla! Administrator Certification Exam

JoomlaDay Denver featured the first official Joomla! Administrator Certification Exam held in the USA. There were 8 participants, only 3 were from Colorado, the other 5 travelled from Texas, Nebraska, Montana, Toronto and Georgia to take a shot at becoming the first certified Joomla! Administrator in the USA. This honor was claimed by Scott Lavelle from Atlanta, Georgia USA.

JDEN16 Scott Lavelle
Cliff Pfeifer and the first officially certified USA Joomla Administrator, Scott Lavelle from Atlanta, Georgia USA
Photo by Robin Woodburn


The Joomla! Certification Exam is part of the new Joomla! Certification Program which creates a new world of opportunities for the Joomla platform. Only a handful of exams have taken place world wide, and very few have passed. It is not wise to underestimate the difficulty of the exam, and many have. It is a college level examination and preperation is required to pass.

The next chance to take the Administrator Certification Exam will be at the 2016 Joomla World Conference in Vancouver. You have to be there to take a shot, register now!


 

JDEN16 certification
Sarah Watz and the participants of the first official Joomla! certification exam in the USA at JoomlaDay Denver
Photo by Cliff Pfeifer


Joomla! Cares, We Care, And Nothing Goes To Waste

At the end of the day, the event was a success and the outcome was priceless, but we didn't quite hit our budget numbers. The goals were very ambitious and we didn't cut many corners so the financial outcome was not unexpected. We had a significant amount of catering left over from the event, and the first item of business after the event was donating the extra food to the Denver Samaritan House, a community resource for the Denver homeless. We believe nothing should ever go to waste, and while this action only took a few minutes, it made a difference and brightened the day for some hungry people in Denver who need all the support they can get. It's least we could do for the city we live in and love.

jden16 food donation
JoomlaDay Denver volunteer Robin Woodburn delivering extra box lunches to the Denver Samaritan House
Photo by Cliff Pfeifer


Final Thoughts From The Organizer

Without question, organizing this event was the most challenging process I've ever faced in this community. It took years of effort and I faced many frustrating setbacks along the way. I was never entirely sure I could pull it off until it was over. There were so many times I wanted to give up, and it would have been very easy to quit, but I knew couldn't do that and I never did. I had faith in myself and in my community, and I pushed as hard I as could and gave it everything I had to give until the very end.


jden16 banner signing
I've been waiting a very long time to sign this banner.
Photo by Robin Woodburn


When it was all said and done, it was the most rewarding experience of my entire life. I met many of the attendees for the very first time, and so many of them travelled long distances to be at the event. The stories and sentiments they shared touched me so deeply it brought tears to my eyes. It was a long and difficult road for me personally, but the when I saw the smiles and the connections that were being made, I knew efforts had been worthwhile. It was without a doubt the most I could possibly do to show my appreciation for the communities I love so much. I gave it everything I had and I'm glad I did.


jden16 closing sarah cliff
I've been waiting a very long time for this hug from Sarah Watz.
Photo by Robin Woodburn


This day brought people together in new ways, and it brought emotions and inspirations out me I never knew I had. There was magic in the air, and I'm honored I was able to play a part in creating this magic for everyone who was there. The experience was priceless and I will cherish these memories for the rest of my life.


JDEN16 drink
I've been waiting a very long time for this drink at the post event reception
Photo by Robin Woodburn


I would like to personally thank all of the attendees, the volunteers, the sponsors, and everyone else who supported this event in any way. We couldn't have done it without every single one of you. I am forever grateful to have you in my life and in my community, and I can never thank you enough for your love and your support.


Will I See You At The 2016 Joomla World Conference?

Now that JoomlaDay Denver is over, my focus is on the 2016 Joomla World Conference, and you still have time to experience the biggest Joomla! community event of the year for yourself. There will be much to learn and share, you can take a shot at passing the certification exam, and you can hang out with me and many other hard working volunteers from the global Joomla! community. We want you to be there.

It will be a very busy weekend for me but I won't be too hard to find. I am providing sessions and workshops on every single day of the conference weekend. I hope you can join us, be sure to say hello if you see me. I look forward to meeting you and seeing the Joomla! family once again. 

It's been a long year for many of us, and in many ways 2016 has been a transitional year for our platform and our community. We plan to wrap it up with the best event of the year next month in Vancouver. We'll have a great time and we'll set the tone for the future of our community. 2017 will be a big year for Joomla! and we plan to lay the groundwork at this year's Joomla! World Conference. You can be a part of the future by getting yourself to Vancouver next month for JWC. Cheers to all the Joomlers around the world, I'll see you in Vancouver next month.

Register For The 2016 Joomla World Conference While You Still Can!


Learn more about JoomlaDay Denver and the Denver Joomla! Community:


Come meet Ciff Pfeiffer and other great Joomlers in Vancouver. Buy your ticket now! 

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Cliff Pfeifer

Cliff Pfeifer

Cliff Pfeifer is a passionate Joomla contributor and savvy business owner from Denver, Colorado. He is the Joomla! UX Team Lead, Organizer of the Denver Joomla! Community, and a member of the Joomla! Marketing and Community Leadership Teams.