This great shot of Synergy Park wraps up my favorite photo series—after months of planning, it’s hard to believe another Synergy has ended. Hope you had a great one; save the date for Citrix Synergy 2018, May 8–10 in Anaheim!

“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier,” said General Colin Powell in a wide-ranging and motivating closing keynote. The former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs gave the speech as our final Innovation Super Session presenter, sharing anecdotes and inspiration with an enthusiastic audience who honored him with multiple standing ovations. It was an incredible speech and a great beginning to the final day of Synergy 2017. Read about some other Thursday highlights:

Innovation Super Session

Our second Innovation Super Session was as fascinating as it was insightful, with former U.S. Secretary of State Gen. Colin L. Powell sharing stories of his 50 years of public service across four U.S. presidential administrations. From the fall of the Berlin Wall to Operation Desert Storm, General Powell has been on the front line of major world transitions, and he had some important messages to share about cybersecurity, the role of leadership and why America is still a beacon of hope for so many immigrants.

General Powell touched on many themes, and encouraged attendees to keep up their focus on innovation. “Any success that I’ve had depended on my ability to move information around rapidly and securely,” he said. We’ve come a long way from cybersecurity in the age of Desert Storm—faxes between General Powell and General Norman Schwarzkopf—but still face many challenges. “The kinds of technology you’re coming up with and the way that Citrix is leading is so important,” he told the audience. “One of the challenges we are all facing now is to make sure you’re not cluttering the system by overclassifying things and that you have leaders you trust to use good judgement.”

General Powell also spoke about the necessity for changing mindsets in times of transition and the vital importance of leadership from the top. If you want to be an effective leader, you always have to think about the people who get the work done, he explained. “Make sure you are trusting people. Make sure you are giving people authority. Unless you build these bonds of trust by giving people authority, they won’t trust you.” He said leaders need to ask themselves, “Am I empowering my people? Do they believe in me?”

Many thanks to General Powell for a thrilling beginning to the end of Synergy.

Wednesday highlights

“Maslow was wrong: belonging is the most important need for human beings. Even more than food and water.” Diversity strategist and author Lenora Billings-Harris led a fascinating Diversity in Technology networking event last night, focusing on the neuroscience of bias and how to redefine diversity and examining how unconscious bias can interrupt team effectiveness.

Giving offense. Taking offense. Being put in the position of defending a deeply held value or belief. These are just a few of the many reasons why we have such a hard time discussing diversity, but Lenora demonstrated with humor and positivity some strategies for tackling this difficult subject. “We see the world the way we are, not the way the world is. It causes us to not examine all of the biases we have that are not positive or negative, they just are,” she explained. Companies that do make the investment in diversity enjoy significant benefits, though: the more women and men are equally represented at the top levels of organizations, the more profitable they are.

Thursday recap

Media partner TechTarget hosted the Best of Citrix Synergy Awards 2017, awarding the most outstanding products on display in the Solutions Expo. Prizes were awarded in four categories plus an overall Best of Show. Thanks to the independent TechTarget judges and Gabe Knuth and Jack Madden, who talked about trends in cloud and security, and announced the finalists and winners at the award ceremony in the Solutions Expo this afternoon.

Best of Show—ExtraHop Addy from ExtraHop Networks

 “This use of machine learning is ahead of the curve, and the insights it gleans can help all organizations improve security and management without sacrificing performance.”

Winner: Application, Network and Data Security—ExtraHop Addy from ExtraHop Networks

 “This product uses cloud-based machine learning to analyze anonymized on-premises network traffic and identify problems and their likely causes.”

Finalist: Unified Security Service from CensorNet

Winner: Desktop and Application Delivery—ControlUp and ControlUp Insights V6 from ControlUp Technologies

“This platform is instantly valuable to IT administrators. Its new features provide even more value in the form of historical reports and comparisons to similar desktop environments.”


Ask SysTrack for Citrix from Lakeside Software

Winner: Storage, Networking and Infrastructure—Cisco Network Automation Solution with Cisco ACI and Citrix NetScaler from Cisco

“This solution makes Citrix NetScaler more valuable by providing additional application deployment and lifecycle management capabilities, along with hybrid management that allows administrators to work more closely together.”    


FlashStack Converged Infrastructure for XenDesktop and XenApp from Pure Storage

Winner: New Technology—Hypervisor Introspection from Bitdefender

“This product adds a layer of antivirus and antimalware at the hypervisor, allowing IT to detect threats that could elude traditional security measures that reside in the guest OS.”


Login PI 2.0 from Login VSI

Congratulations to all the companies who are transforming tech in their respective spaces!

I just left the Root Beer Float, enjoying a craft root beer with a scoop of ice cream as we walked around the Solutions Expo for the final time. Thanks to our great sponsors and exhibitors for their innovative, complementary solutions and their high energy throughout the conference—hope you picked up some prizes and great swag!

Industry Forum events are still going on, with exclusive content for leaders in healthcare, education, financial services and government. These events are a great way to connect with others in your industry and hear how they’re addressing unique IT challenges—you still have time to get over to the Tangerine Ballrooms in West Concourse, Level II, where the events are running until 5:30 p.m. Also, the Certification Center is open until 6:00 p.m. in W209C on West Concourse, Level II. It’s your last opportunity to pick up the free Citrix certification of your choice!

Up next: Final Night Party

General Colin Powell set the bar pretty high for exciting closes. We’re looking forward to an equally thrilling night as Synergy takes over Universal for the night. The party starts with a dining and entertainment experience from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Universal CityWalk™ and moves to Universal’s Islands of Adventure™ at 8:30 p.m. for unlimited rides and attractions along with snacks, dessert and drinks through the park.

This universe of action and excitement is all yours—but only if you have your two to get through: be sure to pick up a Final Night Party wristband at the Giveaway Desk and wear it with your conference credentials. Transfers leave from each conference hotel at 7:00 p.m. with return trips running continuously from 8:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. It’s going to be an unforgettable night—can’t wait to experience it with you!

Coming soon: Citrix Synergy TV and Citrix Synergy 2018

It’s been a blur of a week, with intensive learning and networking around the clock. You can revisit the highlights anytime on Citrix Synergy TV, which features the keynotes and selected breakout sessions on demand. Attendees will also have access to downloadable presentations from your My Synergy Account beginning June 9. Plus, watch for Synergy Unplugged events, coming to a city near you.

Thanks for joining me at Synergy 2017, whether virtually or in person, and for following me on Twitter @merisummers. Stay in touch as we begin the planning for Citrix Synergy 2018, May 8–10 in Anaheim, California. Visit to join the Synergy 2018 interest list and get the latest news and special offers.