MRI Software International Users Conference – my first MRI IUC!
The annual MRI Software International Users Conference (MRI IUC) is four days packed full of educational sessions on MRI’s full suite of offerings. The event is attended by over 1,500 MRI Software users and is a favourite amongst staff at TopUp. For this year’s event in Atlanta, I finally got the nod.
Before I could get too excited, my colleague and MRI IUC veteran Rebecca Milton, made sure that I successfully overcame the important organisational hurdles. This included: confirming my registration; deciding which informational sessions to attend; and, importantly, arranging an appropriate wardrobe for a choice of parties after the hardworking days.
Day one – pre-conference event
My first impression of the IUC was via the pre-event cocktail party on Sunday night. It was a relaxed and happy atmosphere. Everyone was familiar with other attendees and a festive feeling immediately filled the room. Attendees, sponsors and MRI representatives were genuinely pleased to reconnect and catch up since last year. I managed to put many faces to names I had been working with over the last three and half years – which was a real pleasure for me.
Day two – the MRI IUC conference begins
Day two started with an energetic opening session in which Pat Ghilani, MRI’s CEO, and other members of the MRI Leadership Team updated us all on MRI’s progress over the last year, as well as the new and exciting developments and user benefits that are being rolled out. The team’s enthusiasm was passed on to each attendee and really set the pace for the rest of the conference.
Following that, it was over to snacks – which were always outstanding – and specific sessions relevant to particular users. I used this time to meet and greet people and to familiarise myself with the layout of the conference – it really is vast. Lunch was followed by more informational sessions which are invaluable for users as their MRI use journey continues.
The Evening Extravaganza
At the end of the day, our attention turned to the MRI Extravaganza. Legend has it that the Extravaganza is a show stopper – and I can confirm this to be true!
We were transported from the conference venue to a rooftop venue named Ponce, which was the perfect venue for 1500+ conference attendees to let their hair down, network and enjoy the lovely Atlanta skyline.
The event included food from all corners of the globe, arcades and games (personal favourite), putt-putt, two separate dance floors, jazz band, and even a doughnut self-service bar! Needless to say, no one really wanted to leave, but closing time did arrive and the buses left to take everyone back to the hotel. A wonderful, fun and unexpected evening was had by all.
Day three – motivational
Day three initially got off to a slower start, but MRI’s guest speaker during the opening session energised the attendees for the full day ahead. Aron Ralston’s talk was moving, inspiring and motivating and, as well as livening the room, provided an ongoing discussion point for the rest of the day.
After Aron’s talk, the announcement of Anaheim as next year’s MRI IUC host city added excitement to the mix.
The rest of the day mimicked the previous in terms of schedule and you were free to attend sessions which best suited you. My day was packed with networking, getting to know MRI’s other partners as well as representatives of MRI themselves.
We were also happy to find out we’d won an award for most referrals through MRI’s web portal. You can see our MD, Kyri Striftombolas, being presented with the award by Pat Ghilani in the image at the top of this page. To top it off, Kyri was also interviewed by MRI’s Nick Frank for their video channel, which you can watch below.
My evening kicked off with a wonderful Partners’ Dinner, where I got to know more about MRI’s partners as well as the MRI personnel who assist us in making the most of our partnership. It’s a lovely event and one that I was very proud to attend.
Day four – heading home
The final day was slightly different, as most people had flights to catch. However, what struck me was the slight sense of disappointment that it was over for another year. This highlights the fact that people make friends, keep friends and create pathways to the same at MRI IUC, and I think this is crucial as we all stay ‘open and connected’ through MRI Software (excuse the pun).
My top priority is to improve our clients’ operations, so it’s important for me to be informed and connected – and that’s exactly what the IUC does. There really is no better opportunity to find out more about MRI’s products and partners and to connect with the MRI community. I look forward to seeing you there next time!