Super Users Find Learning, Inspiration, and Entertainment at Workday Rising 2019

To learn about the vast array of Workday financial and human capital management products, more than 13,000 excited attendees from around the world – among them a team of Super Usersfrom UM – traveled to Orlando, Florida, for Workday Rising 2019. Over four days, in Deep Dives, Hands-on Labs, Table Talks, Theater Sessions, Breakout Sessions, and Ask Workday Sessions they learned, and were inspired and entertained.

Five UM Super Users were selected in a lottery for the graduates of the first Workday Super User Certification Program class last spring.

super users at rising conference

“I had no idea how massive Workday is – it’s a billion-dollar-enterprise,” said Cristina Barrera, an office manager at the Rosenstiel campus. “I thought it was simple – the University rolled it out a few years ago, and so we use it. But now I see Workday from a different perspective, see how people use it from the retail side to education and much more – and I’m excited by some of the new products that are coming.”

When the nomination period opened in Spring 2019 for the first Super User Certification class, Barrera asked her supervisor to nominate her for the Procurement Track. He did, and she was chosen as one of two candidates from her campus.

“The program has been super beneficial,” Barrera said. “It was a little nerve-racking with the four-hour test at the end, but it was an amazing opportunity – and I tell everyone they should do it.”

At the conference, she attended a range of sessions and conversed with groups from around the world to learn their experience of Workday, some who had used it for a few months, some for years.

“Now I have newfound appreciation for Workday – Rising was really an eye-opener,” Barrera said.

Lu Li, a finance manager with Health Information Management, enjoyed connecting with her Super User colleagues in a new way and also starting her days off with such inspiration, both music and metaphor.

“The drumming and the music to start the day was fantastic, part of the Workday culture, and there were such inspiring performances to remind us that it’s supposed to be fun and not stressful,” Li said. “I liked the messages such as ‘we are a symphony of change,’ that each of us has a part to deliver and that when you help each other the outcome is better.”

When the first Super User class launched in the spring, Li asked her supervisor right away to nominate her. She had served on the Workday Financial User Network (FUN) in 2016 and wanted to learn more. She even asked to follow both tracks – Expenses and Procurement – but accepted to just do one at a time and so earned certification in Procurement.

At a dinner on the first night, she enjoyed meeting her colleagues and other University personnel who were attending Rising. “Work is so formal, at the conference you get a different perspective and you see the fun part of the people, see their personalities,” Li said, adding “I made very good friends with the other ladies.”

Li keeps a busy schedule between work, going to school and taking care of her family and four children. She’s proud to be a Super User graduate and feels so lucky to have won the lottery to attend Rising. She attended lots of financial-focused sessions and learned from hearing how other businesses address their Workday challenges.

“I never have time for myself, so this was really a treat for me,” she said. “I really appreciate the opportunity the Enterprise Business Solutions team have provided us, the experience will last in my memory forever.”

Gina Gonzalez, a senior administrative assistant with Budget and Financial Planning, did a lot of learning on her own and found the personal sessions with Workday personnel the most satisfying.

“I had some questions of my own and didn’t want to take up the lecturers’ time, so I went downstairs and waited in line for a bit to meet 1:1 – my sessions were fantastic,” Gonzalez said.

“They were they able to answer my questions or, if they didn’t know, tagged someone else. It was so hands-on, very cool,” she said. She also enjoyed learning about Workday Community, an online blog-type space for Workday customers to share their knowledge.

Gonzalez’s supervisor nominated her back in the spring to attend the Super User program.

“I’m the one in my department who mostly uses Workday, and thought that Super User was integral for me,” she said. “I’m interested in tips or tricks or anything extra that will make my job easier and anything that I can pass along.”

After attending Rising, she has lots of new tips and tricks to share with colleagues about Workday and some entertaining memories to savor, too, like listening to Lin Manuel Miranda, composer, singer, and playwright, and Soledad O’Brien, broadcaster and journalist, share their stories about teamwork and creativity. 

In addition to the Workday Super Users, a team of University personnel associated with Workday also attended Rising 2019.