“Users helping users” doesn’t exclusively apply to the Applied Client Network online forums.
On July 20-21, 2017, the Applied Client Network Tri-State Epic and New Jersey chapters came together for a two-day meeting in ocean-facing Atlantic City, New Jersey. Respective chapter leaders Collin Passman and Michelle D’Argenio talked with Connections about the power of coming together to learn from and alongside fellow Applied Systems users in person.
Connections: Learning is becoming increasingly digital nowadays. What do you believe is the value in coming together in one physical space to learn?
Collin Passman: As far as I’m concerned, you don’t learn any better than when you work face to face. When you’re face to face, you have the full attention of the person you’re speaking to. You get a lot more out of that. If you’re working over the phone or email, you don’t see facial expressions, which is important — facial expressions tell you if people are comprehending things, or even if they even care!
Michelle D’Argenio: Networking — having that in-person connection — is so important. The next generation coming into the workforce is very digital, and it’s important to show that it’s good to have face-to-face connection. People in physical spaces tend to speak up more and participate more than if they were interacting over the phone, where they might not have the same enthusiasm.
Connections: Did you notice any trends at this two-day event?
CP: People don’t even realize half the things that they’re missing! When you’re sitting at these conferences, people begin to realize that they’re probably not doing three quarters of the things they can be doing, or should be doing. A lightbulb goes off in a lot of people’s heads that says, “Wow! When did that happen? We should have been doing that! Why don’t we start doing that?”
MD: I completely agree. One of the reasons that we never used myEpic was because we thought you couldn’t customize it; now we know that that is a capability, but nobody ever told us that. It’s just learning little things like that that makes coming together to learn worth it.
CP: People don’t even know to ask about it! Applied Systems is evolving with the digital agency. Applied is catering toward the younger people: those who want to get on cell phones and laptops to conduct business. I mean, Applied Mobile — who would have ever thought you’d be able to look at documents on your cell phone? Applied has really helped its users come into the twenty-first century. I think it’s great.
Connections: What did you notice at this event?
MD: Members want a more formalized, less-roundtable-focused event. Overall, a lot of great feedback from members and sponsors alike.
CP: These people wanted a very structured environment. Very surprising! We get a lot of people to these things. We registered about 65 people. Eight or 10 were TAM users; the rest sat in the Epic classes.
I think people were very surprised when [Applied Client Network CEO] Brian [Langerman], [Applied Client Network Board of Directors Chair] Amber [Bosma], and [Applied Client Network Chapter/Membership Support] Anna [Munz] came. They were very responsive to the feedback, and I know a lot of people were happy to see them there.
Connections: What do you feel is the specific value in attending chapter meetings, versus simply attending the largest events and online groups?
MD: I think it’s easier to have one-on-one conversations, which, like I said, is key to growth and connection.
CP: When you go to chapter meetings, it’s going to be people from your area with the same issues as you: same carrier issues, geographical issues, etc. It’s very helpful.
Collin Passman has been in the insurance industry for over 28 years, and has been using Epic since 2011. He has presented at the Applied Net Conference, and is the president of the Applied Net Tri-State Epic Users Group. He also serves on the Communications, Chapters, Lead, Education and Epic Impact Committees. He has expertise in workflow management, myEpic workflow creation, and implementation and cleaning data in your Epic Database and what the effects of not doing so can have on your day-to-day operations.
Michelle D’Argenio is the president of Applied Client Network New Jersey chapter. Currently working at William H. Connolly & Co.,LLC as an executive assistant and IT Support Specialist, Michelle manages the daily operations and IT challenges of the private insurance brokerage. Michelle graduated from La Salle University with a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with a dual major concentration in Marketing and Management. She also serves as a New Jersey Notary of the Republic.