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Member Spotlight - Sara Shidal

By Community Manager posted 03-16-2023 11:15


Member Spotlight - Sara Shidal

Hello Cvent Community!

We are back with our second Member Spotlight of the year. The purpose of the series will be to highlight and acknowledge stand-out individuals within Community. The idea is that these Cvent users will be able to provide some insight and perspective around their roles, industries, and how they use Cvent. Our team will be hand-picking these individuals based on their Community involvement and Cvent expertise.

With that said, our next Member Spotlight features... (insert drumroll sound effect)

       @Sara Shidal 

Sara Shidal headshotBio:
Sara is entering her 16th year at CSI (Computer Services Inc) headquartered in Paducah, KY. In the last couple of months, she has switched positions and is now on the Marketing team (Marketing Specialist II). However, the bulk of her Cvent experience came as a 10-year member of the Education Services team (Application Administrator). 

Sara is a member of the Cvent Celebrity program.

You can connect with Sara on LinkedIn here:

@Kameron Kidd was able to have a chat with Sara and ask her some questions about her experience using Cvent. 

Can you share a little about what your company CSI does?

CSI is a service-minded FinTech partner that provides technology, regulatory, and cybersecurity solutions. We were founded as a core bank processor and have been doing that for over 57 years. However, through product partnerships and strategic acquisitions, we are also recognized for our regulatory compliance solutions as well as cybersecurity and IT management.

How long have you been using Cvent? What Cvent products do you currently use?

I believe we began using Cvent in the summer/fall of 2013. I was heavily involved in using Event Management & Survey solutions.

Do you have a favorite Cvent article or training that you think really helped you be successful with Cvent technology? If so, please share the link(s) to those.

In the beginning I lived/died by the Data Tag Cheat Sheet! Stemming from that I also learned about and highly utilized Custom Data Tags as well as the explanation between URL and Link Data Tags and how to customize the default text. I ended up creating my own data tag cheat sheet to reference the ones I used the most. It included variations of data tags as well. For example, there are several date format data tags (that aren’t referenced in any articles I’ve seen) but I somehow stumbled across them. These formats can display dates in various ways – e.g. January 23, 2023; Jan 23, 2023; 01/23/23; 01/23/2023; etc.

Are you Cvent certified? Which certifications do you hold?

Yes! I recently retook the Event Management Certification as mine had expired. I’m also looking into the Advanced Event Management and System Administrator certifications.

How have you helped others within your organization be successful with Cvent technology?

I served as the primary Cvent contact within Education Services for the last 5+ years. I spearheaded the transition from Classic to Flex in all areas of our account – Event & survey creation, migration from Parked Report Groups to Access Portal, new reporting, etc.

For those who are just starting with Cvent, what advice would you share with them?

Try not to get overwhelmed! When you’re first starting in the Event Mgmt platform, it can be a lot of information at once. However, there are PLENTY of resources available to help! Take advantage of the Knowledge Base and its extensive list of articles. Ask the Community – In my experience, Community members are VERY responsive and often answer questions in a matter of minutes! 

If you still struggle to find exactly what you’re looking for, you can chat for help or submit a case. An added bonus is your account’s Client Success Manager. We’ve had several in our tenure and without question, our current one is the BEST there is! I will take any opportunity I can to brag on @Erica Wise! She’s knowledgeable, attentive, personable, and most importantly RESPONSIVE! In the rare instance, she doesn’t know the answer, she’s quick to let me know she’s researching or reaching out to others for help. She has always circled back in a reasonable timeframe as well. We love Erica and having someone on the other side that you’ve come to feel like you know and can trust their answers, speaks volumes!

What is your favorite Cvent feature and why?

This is a tough one to answer because there are several.

    1. I love Planner Alerts but would like to see those expanded to include more options.
    2. Data Tags! Custom Data Tags! Anything Data Tags! – Simplifies the build process, especially if you copy events or use templates!
    3. Templates – event, email, survey, certificates. We don’t utilize these as much as we could/should but still one of my favorite features.
    4. I may revisit this question and submit additional answers. 😃

You can find some of Sara's recent contributions to the Community below:

Huge thanks to Sara for her time and contributions to the Community. Congratulations also for your very impressive tenure and beginning your 16th year with CSI! Also as a small token of appreciation, Sara will receive a Cvent care package.

Anyone with comments or questions for Sara can respond below. To get notified of future posts, subscribe to #Blog and #MemberSpotlight