“Technology is not good or bad. It’s neutral. The question is how it is applied. Sometimes innovation in technology is not matched by wisdom,” Dr. Condoleezza Rice explained. The Stanford professor and 66thU.S. Secretary of State opened this morning’s Super Session with a thought-provoking discussion that touched on topics from growing up in the segregated south protected by faith, family and education to the enduring ideal of democracy.

Super Session highlights

As the first African-American woman Secretary of State and the first woman National Security Advisor, Dr. Rice is a living inspiration of leadership with a unique perspective on global politics and the rise and fall of nations. She shared her thoughts on the challenges facing our country—“If it feels chaotic, that’s because it is. We’re dealing with the struggles of a system that has served us well for more than 70 years.”—including what she calls the four horsemen of the apocalypse: populism, nativism, isolationism and protectionism. However difficult the challenges facing the west and the U.S. in particular, though, “the greatest challenge to the United States of America is not what they can do to us but what we are doing to ourselves: creating two societies,” Dr. Rice said. She called upon the country to regain its confidence and its leadership position, and explained that people come to the U.S. to be part of an idea. “It doesn’t matter where you came from, it matters where you’re going,” she said.

Tim Minahan, Citrix SVP, business strategy, and chief marketing officer, joined Dr. Rice onstage for an excellent and wide-ranging Q&A on diversity, immigration, mentorship, and world conflicts. Ultimately, Dr. Rice offered her own optimistic view. “I’ve seen so many things that seemed impossible in retrospect become inevitable in retrospect,” she said. Thank you to this inspiring leader and diplomat for sharing her thoughts in an unforgettable Super Session.Sweet tweets

One of my favorite things about this conference is following #CitrixSynergy on Twitter and capturing your impressions in real time. My header photo is a great shot from our adventure and exploration–themed Synergy Park, courtesy of our own chief marketing officer Tim Minahan. Here are a few more of my favorites, commenting on the Battle Bots competition, session presenting, the Super Session with Dr. Rice, and the Solutions Expo:

Hot sessions yesterday, today and tomorrow

After the excitement of yesterday’s keynote announcements, attendees swarmed the Citrix Experience Center for the immersive experience, expert discussions—and the demos. One popular theater session was Ron Oglesby’s SYN506: Move any app to any cloud or hypervisor with Citrix App Layering. Also yesterday, attendees were especially interested in Kees Baggerman and Jarian Gibson’s session, SYN237: Citrix and Nutanix: the 2018 inside scoop. One attendee called it “detailed and informative. The presenters are some of the most experienced and informed engineers I’ve ever heard.” We’ve been getting lots of feedback and we really value all your comments. Thanks for taking time to give us your input — and keep filling out the surveys!

Plus, check out some of the sessions that your colleagues have been tweeting about throughout the day. @johnbillekens and @Patrick_Braam called out the great demos in SYN230: Discover Citrix Workspace Hub. @bHAvInSOdhA said Citrix Intelligent Traffic Management is a “show stopper”: check out SYN227: Protecting applications and infrastructure with Citrix Networking. And @reillyusa gets his demo vindication at SYN128:Future of work. You can catch these sessions on demand on Citrix Synergy TV if you missed them live.

There’s still an opportunity to dive deeper into the technologies discussed on the keynote stage: tomorrow’s technical breakouts will focus on Citrix Networking, Citrix Analytics and more. Watch for these sessions:

SYN110: Identify security threats with Citrix Analytics, 10:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

Matt Wheeler and Michaela Morrissey will demonstrate how analytics can reveal external threats such as ransomware and malware, and how analyzing usage is critical to securing data.

SYN142: SD-WAN digital transformation in action, 10:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

Learn how Citrix SD-WAN provides a more resilient, agile network with integrated visibility into applications across hybrid-cloud environments.

SYN215: Secure hybrid unified endpoint management in the cloud and how to get there, 1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

Learn why a unified endpoint management solution must include fully integrated support for security, and see how administrators can employ a common set of processes for recording device information, patching and updating software components, provisioning applications, and ensuring continuous security compliance.

Finally, our popular Match.Geek sessions continue through tomorrow. If you are stumped by a technical challenge or need some help fine-tuning a deployment strategy, choose your match from Citrix and industry experts along with Citrix Technology Professionals for these half-hour, one-on-one sessions.

Best of Citrix Synergy Awards

Media partner TechTarget hosted the Best of Citrix Synergy Awards 2018, 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 TechTargetjudges and executive editor Jack Madden, who announced the finalists and winners at the award ceremony in the Citrix Experience Center theater this afternoon. Congratulations to all the companies who are transforming tech in their respective spaces!

Winner: Digital Workspace NVIDIA, Virtual GPU (March 2018 release)

Judges’ comments: Virtual GPUs have been a key enabler for more desktop virtualization use cases; and VM live migration has been a staple management technique for years. This release finally allows IT administrators to use the two together.

Finalist: ControlUp 7.1 by ControlUp

Winner: Application, Access and Content Security ExtraHop Reveal(x) by ExtraHop

Judges’ comments:ExtraHop Reveal(x) is intuitive and technologically smart; it enables resource-constrained IT departments to maximize security automation. ExtraHop Reveal(x) provides value in Citrix deployments by marrying artificial intelligence with administrative ease.

Winner: New Technology  Cloud Cache byFSLogix

Judges’ comments: Cloud Cache takes a unique approach to handling user profile storage that can help IT address challenges around cloud storage costs and application availability. The ability to sync data to multiple locations without downtime is extremely useful.

Finalist: Login AT 1.0 from Login VSI

Best of Show — Cloud Cache byFSLogix

Judges’ comments:This new technology is really very exciting for everyone that does VDI. It’s valuable to be able to manage profiles without tacking on additional back-end infrastructure.

Looking ahead: Super Session

Tomorrow, you will not want to miss our second Super Session as we welcome New York Timesbestselling author Michael Lewis. His most recent works are Flash BoysThe Big Short, and Boomerang, narratives set in the global financial crisis, and several of his books have become Academy Award–nominated movies, including The Blind Side. A sharp observer of politics, finance, and the evolution of American culture, Lewis will offer a unique perspective on the human factor in technology, and explore how it adds layers of complexity that are not yet fully understood.  We’ll be back in Hall D for this exciting presentation tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. PT.

Up next: Diversity in Technology

By the time you read this, I’ll be at the special session, Diversity in Technology: taking action today for a better tomorrow. Donna Kimmel, SVP & chief people officer at Citrix, will be welcoming two dynamic speakers: Reshma Saujani, president & CEO of Girls Who Code, and Paul Butler, global client partner of Newleaf Training & Development, to share the influence diversity and inclusion will have on organizations both today and in the future. If you’re able to join me, it’s in California Ballroom B in the Hilton Anaheim.

I hope you’re having a great Synergy! I’m updating my feed with news as it happens, so be sure to follow me on Twitter: @merisummers.