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  • Lorenzo Gallardo

First Time Synapse Experience

Hi there, my name is Lorenzo Gallardo, and I am a digital marketing intern at RL Engineering and Technology Solutions. I am currently studying both industrial/organizational psychology and marketing at the University of Central Florida, with an anticipated graduation date in December 2024. This past month I was given the opportunity to attend the Synapse Summit through my role at RL Engineering and Tech Solutions, and I loved it!

Attending my first Synapse Summit tech conference was an enlightening experience. The tech summit, located in the Amalie Arena of Downtown Tampa, was buzzing with excitement and innovation. From the moment I received my guest badge and set foot in the arena, I was greeted by a diverse and friendly community all seeking to learn, network, and share stories. Examining tech exhibitors, attending workshops and panels, and watching innovative awards presentations filled my day with fun and learning. So today I would like to share my first-time experience from the point of view of a marketing intern at a technology consulting firm.

Community

As a business student and digital marketing intern, I know relatively little about the technology industry. I may know how to utilize programs relevant to my business goals, but for the most part, I am a business buff and technology is not my forte. So, leading up to Synapse Summit I was a bit nervous about being unable to relate with a tech-devoted crowd. But very soon upon arriving I was pleasantly surprised, realizing that would not be the case.

Walking around the arena talking to exhibitors and other attendees, I found that virtually every guest there wanted to share their story and learn about others. A simple “Hi nice to meet you, I’m Lorenzo, what do you do?” could lead to conversations where I would learn others’ stories, successes, or suggestions. Chatting with managers of 3D printing farms, drone cinematographers, and AI developers relieved my nerves and filled my day with delight. It was truly incredible to witness CEOs of small businesses, students, field specialists, and hundreds of others, come together as equals to create such a collaborative community.

Exhibitors

While preparing for Synapse Summit I was most excited to see the company and product exhibitions. I expected to spend a good chunk of my day touring a few dozen exhibits for a couple of reasons. For one, I was looking forward to catching up on the latest tech innovations, and for two, I was hoping to watch a robot in action. I am happy to say Synapse Summit’s exhibitor floors exceeded any expectations I had.

Expecting about a hundred exhibitor tables in total, I was astonished when I discovered hundreds of exhibitors each displaying a product, service, innovation, or developing technology. Entering the convention brought me to the third floor where exhibitor stations lined the perimeter of the arena. There were close to a hundred exhibitors there, and that was just one floor, the second floor and main stage area were equally bustling. On the third and second floors, I met drone developers, researchers from the University of South Florida, an augmented reality artist, and numerous other professionals. All happy to reveal their story and explain the workings of their featured innovation. These floors were immense, and I wished I could have spent even more time there, but no one could resist spending time at the main stage area.

The hockey rink of the arena had been converted into a non-frozen main floor area including dozens of booths, exhibitors, and the main stage. Before I cover the main stage presentations, I must share the exhibitor experience on the first floor. The exhibitors on the second and third floors had interesting demonstrations and stories to share, but nothing could rival the exhibitor engagement on the main floor. The main floor exhibitor area featured a pilotable drone course, a space bus tour with a shuttle flight simulator on board, and of course – robots. Interacting with these exhibits and many others there kept me captivated on the main floor between showcases.

 

Showcases

I would have spent a full day touring the exhibitor stations on the first three floors had it not been for the mini stages on the fourth floor. Six mini stages constantly featured workshops, presentations, and panels all hosted by experts in their respective fields. I first found myself drawn to the showcase floor by a presentation on foundational marketing by Wes Lehman, a co-founder of Synapse Summit and marketing agency, Urban Buffalo. As a marketing student, I found this presentation informative and practical, so I figured that I would stick to the more business growth-centric showcases. It did not pan out that way.


The next showcase I planned on attending was a workshop that revolved around decision-making strategies related to expanding organizations. Instead, I found myself listening to a panel of aeronautics engineers discussing innovations in flight technology that could be the precursor to air taxis. Skipping my intended workshop ended up proving worth it as I found myself absorbed in the tech advancements coming in the not-so-distant future.


I finished my time at the showcase mini stages by attending a gathering of black tech talent and innovators, hosted by the Black Innovation Leaders of Florida (BILF). Co-founders of BILF including Ebony Vaz, Cherise Wilks, Dr. Wanda Eugene, and CEO of RL Engineering and Tech Solutions Rose Lejiste, shared the accomplishments and objectives of the organization. BILF promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion, for black innovators looking to make their mark on the digital landscape. It was amazing to see an audience of all backgrounds come together to support BILF in its goals to promote growth in the technology realm.

 

Awards Presentation

As the day neared its end, I found myself in the front-row seats to watch the climactic Innovation Awards presentation. Of the many companies and organizations in attendance, a select few had been nominated to receive awards for their strides in innovative technology and solutions. This presentation featured innovative leaders highlighting their developments in the field and was truly incredible. From the company VU, which is making strides in perfecting AI-generated backgrounds for filmmaking, to PreCover, an organization developing a preventative solution for delayed onset muscle soreness, all the companies recognized featured innovative solutions with the potential to revolutionize the way certain industries operate.

 

Conclusion

Overall, I had a fantastic first experience at the Synapse Summit tech conference. Visiting the conference and talking with other attendees fueled me with inspiration. Between the lively community, the vast array of exhibitors, the captivating showcases, and the awards presentation, it is hard to choose which aspect I enjoyed most. But I can say that following this conference, I am eager to attend the next Synapse Summit and explore the world of other tech conferences. If you are interested, check out our social media posts for more pictures and videos from the event!

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