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Catching up with Sean O’Neill Part Two

Catching Up With: Sean O’Neill

Senior Strategy and Community Manager, SOLIDWORKS

Recently, we had a chance to catch up with Sean O’Neill.

After spending about 5 years working as an Applications Engineer and in product marketing at a SOLIDWORKS reseller, Sean has joined Dassault Systems as the Senior Strategy and Community Manager. Sean has taken on an exciting opportunity to create programs and content to inspire SOLIDWORKS users around the world.

Sean helps connect community members who go above & beyond in sharing their SOLIDWORKS passion and expertise. In his role, Sean also looks to amplify the voices and efforts of many community members who seek to inspire others through their use of SOLIDWORKS products.

If you missed it, you can catch Part One here.

In this second part, we will be talking about how the pandemic has impacted the SOLIDWORKS Community and reminiscing on previous world events.

How has the Global Pandemic impacted the SOLIDWORKS Community over the last year?

It’s an interesting question, you can look at the world as it ‘was’ and you can almost see how things were moving in the direction where we are ‘now’.

I don’t believe that we are really living in two different worlds; they were just travelling parallel for a while until they converged over the last year with the pandemic.

We (the world) were already starting to embrace technology and become more virtually and digitally connected, the pandemic just accelerated the process a bit. I believe that we were always headed toward where we are right now.

We are a global community, and our programs and groups are taking full advantage of technology to share, network and learn with others from around the world. As we start to go back to events, I think it would be shameful to not try to co-exist with both ‘in-person’ and ‘virtual’ situations.

An example would be the SOLIDWORKS user groups. There are a lot of groups that were already covering large regions. Hosting virtual meetings has allowed those groups to grow even more and provide an opportunity for people to attend that may not have been able to attend in the past for whatever their reason (location, family, work, etc.). People who may be able to attend in-person meetings want to get together local to meet each other, and to get back to in-person meetings is an important item. It’s also about keeping those other connections intact and keeping the virtual audience engaged.

We had a lot of success with our virtual 3DEXPERIENCE World 2021. As we started planning 3DEXPERENECE World 2022 – we discussed ways to offer content through a virtual platform as well to reach as many people as we can.

Sean – speaking of the last year, have you taken up any new hobbies?  

Over the last year, I have spent so much more time with my family and have enjoyed having a chance to do more as a dad. We have a younger family – a 2-year-old and an 8-month-old.  With the pandemic, we haven’t been able to do a lot of things or go anywhere so we created this really awesome playroom for the kids.

Having the time to just be home forces you to slow down and just be home with your family. Keeping younger kids occupied as well has made life pretty interesting and has taken a lot of our time the last year.

As far as hobbies, an area that I’d like to get more involved in is woodworking. I think woodworking is so interesting and I love that there is such a vibrant community around it. As a technical and creative thinker, it’s a great hobby as it requires both precision and creativity.

We’ve been reminiscing with others, and I’ll ask you the same – do you have a favourite SOLIDWORKS World/3DEXPERIENCE World from years past?

While at Prism, we took turns going every other year, so I’ve been to about 6 or 7 events. If I had to say which ‘world‘ event is a favourite I would have to say it was 3DEXPERIENCE World 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. It was the first event that I attended as a member of the Community team, and I was super busy all week meeting people and taking in everything that the week had to offer.

Another reason why it was my favourite is that it was the launch of the ‘newly rebranded’ 3DEXPERIENCE World and there was a lot of excitement and buzz around that. While some may have had their own concerns with the changes that were happening, I realised that week that the event as a whole wasn’t at all about the name – it was about the people who were there and the passion for design that we all share.

On top of everything else, it was a really special year for me as I was involved in the Magic Wheelchair project. Christine Gattman from Magic Wheelchair is a great person and has such a wonderful energy around her. Listening to her speak and talk about the program you can see how hard she works and what she’s doing is very inspiring.

Sean – how do you want people to remember you and your role in the SOLIDWORKS Community?

Over the course of my career, I have had opportunities to work with some really awesome (and sometimes famous) people doing really amazing things. To be honest, I don’t know that I want to be remembered for just that.

If I had to say, I would want to be remembered for being successful in creating opportunities to connect people and put people in a position where they can do more to inspire other like-minded people. Creating programs like the SOLIDWORKS Champions and Influencers are things that will hopefully long outlast me. In my position, I like to think that I don’t do what I do for the notoriety of it – I do it because I really love what I do and I’m good at making connections with people.

Honestly, I get so much more out of creating these connections and opportunities as those that are consuming it.

It was a pleasure speaking with Sean, learning about his role at SOLIDWORKS, hearing about his time creating and working on the SOLIDWORKS Champions Program and the SOLIDWORKS Influencer Program and how he thinks the pandemic has impacted the SOLIDWORKS Community.

3DEXPERIENCE World 2022

3DEXPERIENCE World 2022 will be held as a hybrid event on February 6-9, 2022, with the in-person event being held at the World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

Our team has already started to plan for attending the event in Atlanta – it will be our 17th year as a sponsor for this event!

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