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This time two months ago I was decompressing from the sensory overload that is SAPPHIRE NOW. The conference took place over the course of three days in Orlando and it was more rewarding than I could have ever expected. Along with 25 other students, I had the privilege of networking, attending keynotes, exploring the show floor and, last but not least, seeing Jennifer Lopez perform. While meeting SAP customers and partners and perusing the in-depth microforums were invaluable opportunities, one specific event stuck out to me – the announcement of Project Propel.

On the first day of SAPPHIRE at the ASUG (America’s SAP Users’ Group) booth, University Alliances VP Ann Rosenberg, along with Brian Reaves, Sr. VP of Products and Innovation, Danny Allen, Sr. VP of Global Design and User Experience, and Donna Covington, Dean of the Delaware State University College of Business, introduced Project Propel. The initiative aims to work with Historically Black Colleges and Universities not only to teach SAP in the classroom, but also introduce a new generation of talent to the SAP ecosystem and vice-versa. It’s not that Project Propel was an entirely new concept to me – I did some work on the t-shirt and prepared for the event with Colleen Raftery, University Alliances Senior Marketing Manager. The difference, however, was witnessing the signing ceremony and getting to know the first students to feel its impact.

My roommate at SAPPHIRE, Julian Vanderhost, and his Delaware State University classmate, Leah Williams, were two of the students present at the ceremony. In the two months since the conference, both have graduated from DSU and accepted positions at SAP. This is why Project Propel is important to me – thanks to the initiative I am now able to work with Julian and Leah on a frequent basis and the SAP ecosystem as a whole can experience the next generation of talent and diversity.

My experience is only one narrow view of SAPPHIRE NOW and Project Propel. With that, I would like to challenge some of my fellow attendees to blog about their experiences! So, Julian Vanderhost, Leah Williams, Jorida Cakeri, Jake Lee and Sam Alexander – I look forward to hearing from you!

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