In February 2019, a fellow French support community member (Jonathan Benghozi from Dreem) told me about an international community of support specialists: Support Driven. I checked out the website and really liked the content (clear and with actionable ideas). I was impressed by the fact that people overseas faced the same problems as I face everyday as Head of customer care.
Support Driven organizes various annual events across Europe and the US. I missed the European event and decided to apply for the role of running the Support Driven Expo Americas workshop.
Few weeks after I’d sent my application, Elsbeth contacted me with good news. My application had been accepted! I was super excited but knew it was going to be a challenge as well: my first workshop in the US with an English-speaking audience.
What is Support Driven Expo Americas?
Two days of events and conferences with various themes such as ‘How to evaluate and buy tech solutions for CS/CX’ and ‘How to Empathize 40 hours a week’?
I had just landed in Portland and was impressed by the warm welcome. Even the customs agent was really kind and wished me a good stay. I arrived at the PSU I had to stay at and realized that I couldn’t check-in before 3pm but Scott, founder of Support Driven had organized a 2pm hike at Washington Park. I didn’t know how to make it and was super nervous. I decided to work a little bit on my presentation and… suddenly Scott appeared before my eyes. Magic exists! He offered to take me to the hiking grounds and keep my bag in his car. Yay!
It was a great time to discover the best of Portland’s greeneries, the amazing rose garden and a cool moment to network and build connexions with people from all around the US and the world (Greece, India, Bolivia, Canada…). As soon as the hike ended, it was time to go to the Tymeshift and Zendesk Party. We were truly spoilt with really cool swag and gifts (I definitely loved the Zendesk lipbalm) and delicious Mexican food. We ended the day at the Pub Cascade drinking beers with other support driven people.
Once the welcome announcement was over, it just the perfect time to grab a coffee and say hello to the people I’d met the day before and then the conferences began. I participated in the Mythbusting: Establishing Common Knowledge & Language Across Teams conference.
Inappropriate language can kill a team dynamic. How myths can destroy relationships between care team and product team. Then I participated in the How to evaluate and by tech solutions for CS/CX teams conference. This conference was gold.
Lunch Time : I decided to try chinese food at the Duck House with amazing people working in various companies such as Airbnb,Kayrus and Loopio… We decided to share food to try different types of recipes. What is better than sharing food and having interesting conversations ?
The afternoon was pretty busy with amazing workshops. I really loved Jenny Dempsey’s workshop of about self-care. It was the moment to talk about personal challenges and create special connexions with fellow participants. This workshop was so amazing, that I’ve also did it with my team barely back in France.
I was totally stressed when entering Room 3 but saw familiar faces of people I met during the hike and the workshop actually went very well.
Some people congratulated me towards the end. I felt so happy to have successfully completed the challenge. After the rollercoaster of emotions, it was finally Happy hour at Zappier! I tried Oregon’s famous wine and networked with new people.
We composed a small team of people who wanted to try famous Portland ice-cream and drink a beer like real Portlanders.
The day began with an early run with Paul from Miuros, after which we were ready for a day of learning. I decided to focus on workshops because I realized that workshops are the best way to make great connections with people.
I particularly loved Nae Morris’ workshop, Developing Driven and Autonomous Badass Support Team. It helped me have a clearer view of my role as a manager and how can I help my team to improve.
I also loved famous Portlands pizzas and donuts but it’s another story.
Leaving the wonderful city of Portland and these amazing people was really hard. Now I just have one thing in mind coming back next year. I’m Support Driven addicted. So if you don’t wanna be addicted to learning new things, meeting funny, friendly and super talented people you should not come to the Support Driven Expo. I will never forget our karaoke of Rihanna’s Umberlla.
Big thanks to Jacquie Chow, Jenny Dempsey, Scott Tran, Chris Todd, Brian Mantenga, Paul and Benoît (Miuros) and all amazing persons I’ve met for your good vibes.