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Meet the AUG leaders of Northern Virginia


@Rachel_Wright__Jira_Genie_, @Billy Poggi AUG NOVA_ DC, and @Dana Jansen - Confluence Queen are just some of the folks that lead one of the world's most active Atlassian User Group (AUG). Between their expertise in Atlassian products and their creative ways of engaging their group, this crew is a force to be reckoned with. Read on to discover more about these Northern Virginia AUG leader's favorite memories, future aspirations, and much more. 


How did the NOVA AUG get started? How has it evolved over the past few years?

Rachel Wright: In 2013, I attended my first Atlassian Summit, visited the Community area, and learned there was no user group in Northern Virginia. With NOVA’s huge technology and government presence, I knew there should be! I signed up to create the group at Summit. Since then it’s grown to 691 members who regularly meet to talk shop, learn, and share stories. **Fun fact - the very first AUG event was held in Northern Virginia in 2006!**

Billy Poggi: 2013 was my first summit, I started attending the local NOVA User Group, led by Rachel fall of 2013. 

Dana Jansen: I got sucked into the wild world of Northern VA AUG at Summit 2016 by Michelle and Billy.

What kind of content works the best for your AUG?

Content about new features + content from outside companies.


A photo of Rachel, @Michelle Simkonis _NOVA_, and Billy (kids in tow) at an AUG event

What’s the #1 challenge in running AUGs? 

Rachel Wright: For me, it was always finding the right venue due to large group size in a sprawling, expensive, and traffic-afflicted geographical area.

Billy Poggi: For me, it’s the time commitment challenge. I want to do a good job, but balancing this along with family and normal work stuff is tough.  

Dana Jansen: I find the biggest challenge for NOVA AUG is the large geographic area we support. Getting the community members to attend is a challenge based on where the meetings are held, their personal responsibilities and commitments and the traffic prevent a number of the members from attending.


What are your goals for the NOVA AUG group for the rest of 2018?

  1. Maintaining the momentum :) and not being repetitive
  2. Spreading the word

What is your #1 favorite moment from an Atlassian event / the NOVA AUG

Rachel Wright: My all-time favorite event was an AUG first––a regional “mini Summit”! The NOVA, DC, and Baltimore groups converged to recap announcements from Summit 2017 and hear presentations on the just announced Jira Service Desk and Portfolio for Jira. We had a scavenger hunt activity. Details here

Billy Poggi: It’s hard to pick just one! But the event we had with Jay Simmons while he was live in another AUG was fantastic!  It really brought together a lot of people!

Dana Jansen: Team Tour 2018 


Stickers for mini Summit attendees to identify their AUG (Nova, DC, or Baltimore)


What is your current role + what Atlassian products do you use?

Rachel Wright:  Atlassian Certified Jira Administrator and Author of the Jira Strategy Admin Workbook. Products: Jira, Jira Service Desk, Confluence, Crowd, Stride (also known as the Jira Genie)

Billy Poggi: Striving to become a better unicorn ;), Building systems that enable teams. (From buying hardware to set up the virtualization infrastructure to running and maintaining confluence and Jira for Teams)

Dana Jansen: Atlassian System Administrator: Jira (all parts and pieces: Core, Software, Service Desk), Confluence (known as the Confluence Queen) and as many add-ons as I can utilize to make my job and my users experience better

What do you like to do for fun outside of work?

Rachel Wright:  I’m on year 3 of a long-term RV trip. I just crossed a long time goal off my Jira Bucket list:  "BUCKET-70: See Flowing Lava" It required a 6-mile hike, on uneven terrain, in the rain, but I finally got up close to lava! Photo of me and lava here! 


Billy Poggi: I like photography

Dana Jansen: I make jewelry


BillyP Community Leader May 17, 2018

Thanks @Bridget Sauer for putting this together!  Realizing the NOVA AUG has been around for so long is intense!  I still remember my first few meetups with @Rachel Wright !  Plus DC AUG is growing too!  

Shout out to @Dana Jansen - Confluence Queen and Michelle for keeping me focused!

Fadoua Community Leader May 17, 2018

Glad to be part of the NOVA user group! Great Atlassian leaders, thank you for your hard work in organizing our meetups!

Mark A. Atlassian Team May 17, 2018

Wait, I know some of you! Keep rocking the AUG!

Rachel Wright Community Leader May 18, 2018

Being part of the AUG program is one of the coolest things I've done.  I encourage every Atlassian product user to join your local group or start one! 

Looking forward to organizations and activities in China


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