This year, SAS users are flocking to the Western Users of SAS Software’s (WUSS) annual conference. I had a chance to catch up with Operations Chair MaryAnne DePesquo, and she shared her excitement about this year’s conference. This is the first year that WUSS will be hosted in Las Vegas and MaryAnne said “we are betting that the excitement of Vegas is carried through the three day conference, Nov. 13-15. It’s a good time to put those probability statistics to practice!”
As a long time attendee and volunteer, MaryAnne shared that she first got involved with WUSS when she “moved to Arizona from the East coast and found a great group of SAS users. I couldn't resist getting involved.” She described the group as being “energetic and fun” and kept coming back year after year. She stressed that one feature that contributes to WUSS’ dynamic atmosphere is its wide geographic spread. “Our regional covers a wide area, from the Pacific northwest to portions of the Southwest and everywhere in between.”
Besides having a blast and meeting other dedicated SAS users, MaryAnne described her involvement with SAS users groups to be instrumental to her professional development. “Being involved has helped my career by always being on the cutting edge of upcoming new SAS software and always learning new techniques, impressing my management and peers,” she said. “My involvement has helped my organization because of the networking. Knowing SAS experts either within SAS or outside provides resources to help in troubleshooting and being aware of what others are doing that can be brought back to our business.”
Users can expect to gain tangible professional development and new skills, but these are just a few of the many benefits WUSS has to offer. Check out some of MaryAnne’s top reasons for attending:
Learn the secrets of the casinos: Conference goers can look forward to keynote speaker Natalie Osborn’s talk on “Behind the Scenes: Game-Changing Analytics and the Modern Casino.” MaryAnne expects the talk will be an “engaging keynote” since Natalie has over 18 years of experience in the hospitality industry. MaryAnne said that conference goers should be wondering “what secrets will we learn?”
Come one, come all: “We’ve got something for everyone,” MaryAnne said. “There is a wide variety of SAS users in all industries from Pharmaceutical, Biotechs, Government, Finance, Retail and of course Entertainment!” Novice, intermediate and advanced SAS Users can all find plenty of work-relevant material and take away new techniques and tricks to impress their colleagues since WUSS offers a “full spectrum of high powered presentations.” MaryAnne expects that “Enterprise Guide, Statistics and Business Intelligence will likely be very popular.” If those don’t pique your professional interests, check out the full list of sections and descriptions for even more offerings.
Viva Las Vegas! As MaryAnne put it: “It's VEGAS! What more can we say?” The conference itself will be hosted at the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino, which boasts amenities fit for rock stars and should please even the most selective of attendees. Las Vegas is a statistician’s paradise, but if you want to stay away from the slot machines, have no fear: “There are so many attractions to see here: Bellagio fountains, Circus Circus, gondola ride at the Venetian, shows and more,” MaryAnne said. If you’re less of a ritz and glitz kind of person, the area outside the famous strip also offers stunning outdoor adventures like hiking, bird watching or river rafting.
How can you convince your boss to send you to WUSS?
“Where else for the price can someone get three days of professional development, meet with the SAS gurus, network and gain industry knowledge?” asks MaryAnne. All excellent points. You can also check out the posted sections to see which interest you or could benefit your organization the most. Take a look at the many half-day training sessions available and see if the offerings align with your goals. Also keep in mind that the conference will offer many opportunities for you to gain on-the-job relevant skills, via hands-on workshops and tutorials.
Thanks again to MaryAnne for taking the time to talk to us about WUSS! Register now if you haven’t already secured your spot and visit WUSS.org for the most up-to-date information. You can also join them on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for more conference updates.