What an amazing two days it’s been for Sitecore Symposium 2020. It certainly was a different experience going all-digital, but as a result it turned into the biggest Symposium ever with more than 5,500 people registering across more than 70 countries.

The highlight of the day was the keynote and singing performance from actor and musician Leslie Odom Jr. The Tony and Grammy-winning star engaged in a wide-ranging Q&A with Sitecore CMO Paige O’Neill, where they talked about his experience playing Aaron Burr in the Broadway hit Hamilton and his fight for equal pay when it came time to film the Hamilton movie.

He wrapped up the conversation with some inspiring advice that both business executives and professionals can take to heart.

“It comes from the top down and Hamilton was a great example of that,” Odom Jr. said. “Lin-Manuel (Miranda) and (Director) Tommy (Kail) really set up an environment where we felt safe to risk, we felt safe to fall on our faces. And when we finished, they would help us dust our knees off, and say ‘Well, that kind of crashed and burned. Let’s try something else.’ But there was no danger in that because our hearts were in it and we all knew what the mission was. And the mission was to do something daring that had never been done before.”

He finished his keynote with an unforgettable performance of three songs that likely had every Hamilton fan singing along from home when he broke into “Wait for It” from Hamilton.

Ultimate Experience Awards winners

The Ultimate Experience Awards are a staple each year at Symposium, and a hearty congratulation go out to this year’s five winners. We actually have two winners in one of the four categories this year because their submissions were so strong. 

In the category of “Most Impactful Human Connections in a Changing World”, the winners were Johns Hopkins Medicine, along with their partner The Berndt Group, and EPA Victoria and their partner Deloitte Digital. For “Most Intelligent Content Optimization”, Triumph Motorcycles and their partner Dept took home the prize. Soho House, along with their partner EPAM, was named the winner for “Best Innovation with Emerging Technologies”, and Coates Hire and their partner Switch was awarded “Most Sophisticated Implementation”.

Customer showcases, CMO-CIO roundtable, Forrester

Day 2 showcased four customer success stories that organizations can use as inspiration for their own Sitecore implementation. Each of our Influencer sponsors selected a Sitecore customer that has done really great work – Microsoft with General Mills, Valtech with Ferique, EPAM with Project Management Institute, and Horizontal Digital with DP World.

Paige then led an important gathering of other CMOs and CIOs to discuss just how crucial it is for Marketing and IT departments to collaborate effectively. An effective and efficient digital transformation requires both teams to be on the same page, and their session offered some great advice on how to make that happen.

Forrester VP and Principal Analyst Rusty Warner gave a highly insightful keynote on how to build an effective martech stack in our quickly changing world. Keeping up is no easy feat, and Rusty provided some great advice that can only come someone as tuned-in to the industry as he is.

We’re going to Vegas, baby!

Even though Symposium 2020 was highly successful as an all-digital event, I’m sure everyone is crossing their fingers that we’ll all be able to gather in-person again for 2021. And we revealed that we’re planning on having Symposium 2021 at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas from October 4-7. Vegas is a highly popular destination for our attendees, and we hope to see you all there!

And for those attendees who had a General Pass or didn’t register, we have a special post-event package available that will allow you watch the premium keynotes and the breakout sessions on-demand. Simply upgrade or register here and for $195 you get access to the content.

I want to thank everyone for being a part of this year’s event, the biggest Symposium we’ve ever had. To our sponsors, partners, customers, MVPs, the event team, and the countless Sitecore team members who had a hand in putting together a digital event of this scale, thank you so very much. 

Zarnaz Arlia is the Vice President of Corporate Marketing at Sitecore. Connect with her on LinkedIn.