Nutanix “.hearts” New Orleans

By Michele Taylor-Smith
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.NEXT… What an experience in one of the best cities in the US! I was fortunate enough to lead the .heart program at .NEXT NOLA where we encouraged attendees to “share your .heart.” The only thing better than spending time with an assembly of happy customers and partners is spending time with an assembly of happy customers and partners collectively giving back in a meaningful way—it’s nothing short of inspirational.

.heart focuses on giving back to the community, and in particular, helping women and underrepresented groups pursue their love of technology. The .heart at .NEXT efforts began in March with International Women’s Day with our offer to provide free passes to women who became Nutanix 5.0 certified. With 3x the uptake from last year, it was a fantastic way to encourage women to add some key skills to their arsenal.

Hacking for Good

On location, we kicked off .NEXT with an inaugural hackathon, where 14 teams competed not only for the bragging rights of 1st place and a cash prize, but also to designate a nonprofit where Nutanix would donate $2500 on behalf of the winner and two runner ups. Jason Langone, who ran the hackathon, commented that “the groups were incredibly excited about the donation, and some of the participants were hacking for social good.

In fact, team “Virtually Amazing” came up with a clever way that Nutanix products could be used during off hours to help organizations with compute power.” (Read more here for full details on the hackathon). The team “We Did it All for the Cookies” won by hyperconverging the competition’s three themes into one: Life, Work and Play. They leveraged their Apple iWatch to interact with the Nutanix API, and also deployed an application shim on Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

As a result, we are pleased to make a donation on their behalf to Ronald McDonald House of Seattle and to PAWS Atlanta, and ( on behalf of the runner ups: Team Copper and Team Not That Special.

Empowering and Celebrating Women in Tech

On Wednesday, we had a “Celebrating the Women of .NEXT Luncheon” with nearly 130 attendees – double the attendance of last year. Sarah Robb O’Hagan, CEO of Flywheel Sports, captured the feeling in the room when she said how inspirational this group of trail blazers was to her. She was joined by Sue Bostrom, Nutanix’s first female board member, and Sherry Lautenbach, SVP of Nutanix Americas Sales.

These accomplished professionals motivated the room with direct career advice and a call for both women and men to work together to solve diversity issues. We all left the luncheon with new business contacts and great energy to go forth and make an impact.

Companies Making a Difference

We also celebrated our customers’ and partners’ .heart initiatives as part of the .NEXT Award program. The .heart Giving Back Award recognized companies that are simultaneously making a positive impact on their communities and the world. This award honored a socially responsible organization that has dedicated time, resources, and energy toward STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics) programs and diversity initiatives in order to foster a passion for technology and education.

Congratulations to our three customer finalists: GOAL Academy, Starbucks and JetBlue, and to JetBlue for taking home the award! And to our three Partner finalists: HYCU, Zenoss and Commvault, and to Commvault for taking home the award.

.heart-felt activities on the Expo Floor

On the expo floor in the .heart booth we featured four outstanding organizations: Girls in TechWorkforce Opportunity ServicesWomen’s Sports Foundation and The Foundation For Hospital Art. Along with our exhibitors, we distributed “Share Your .heart” $1 tokens to participants for donation to their choice of featured organizations. We exceeded our goal and raised $10,800 – thanks to the enthusiasm and generosity of our .NEXT community.

For people looking to give their right brain some exercise, we offered up a unique artistic experience. Attendees were encouraged to stop by and paint as little or as much of a blank mural as they wanted. As a result—along with the monetary donation—we are donating two beautiful murals to brighten local hospital rooms.

There will be more opportunities to Share Your .heart at .NEXT On Tour events over the coming months and in .NEXT London in November.

As always – thank you to all those who supported and participated in these events. We couldn’t have done it without you!

To learn more about .heart, visit