IMAGINE: Education

IMAGINE: Education conference presented by AWS

Monday, September 27 | 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM EDT

Walter E. Washington Convention Center | Washington, DC 

About the event

Join us in Washington, DC at the annual IMAGINE: Education conference. After a year of learning, teaching, and collaborating at a distance, this year’s IMAGINE: Education conference provides an opportunity for education leaders to reflect on the challenges of the 2020-21 academic year and look to the future to identify new ways technology can support the evolution of the education landscape. Our full-day, in-person conference will convene innovators and thought leaders from across higher education, K-12, and education technology (EdTech) to share perspectives on modernizing our education institutions and leveraging data to make more informed decisions. We will also dive deep into the future of teaching and learning, the student experience, and workforce development.

The IMAGINE: Education conference will take place Monday, September 27.
Join other education leaders for a day full of learning designed to leave you with inspiration, new connections, and tangible ideas to take back to your institution. If you are looking for more opportunities to discover how organizations like yours can continue to push boundaries, stay for the AWS Summit Washington, DC which kicks off on Tuesday, September 28.

Kim Majerus-Skonie, U.S. Education, State & Local Government, and Vertical Sales,  Amazon Web Services, Worldwide Public Sector

Kim Majerus-Skonie 

Vice President, U.S. Education, State & Local Government, Vertical Sales
Amazon Web Services, Worldwide Public Sector

Kim Majerus-Skonie leads the Amazon Web Services (AWS) U.S. education and state & local government organization. Her sales organization includes GovTech ISV’s, solution and vertical strategy leaders who focus on Health and Human Services, Justice and Public Safety, Transportation and the Internet of Things for state and local government customers.

Prior to joining AWS, Kim spent 16 years at Cisco Systems in the US and Europe. She served as Vice President of Cisco Public Sector for US State, Local and Education Market Segment. Prior to moving to public sector, Kim held positions in engineering, service provider sales, partner channels, global channels and General Manager for Ireland.

Kim dedicates much of her time to mentoring young women and STEAM education in her local community. She has received many honours over the years, including State Top 50 Women in Technology, recognized as YWCA Silicon Valley leaders, and Top 50 Business Leaders in Ireland.

Kim, her husband Michael, and their two daughters live in Chicago, IL.

Kathryn Finney, Founder and CEO of Genius Guild and General Partner of The Greenhouse Fund

Kathryn Finney 

Founder and CEO of Genius Guild and
General Partner of The Greenhouse Fund

In the Summer of 2020, Kathryn created Genius Guild, a business creation platform that uses the venture studio model (Lab & Venture Fund) to invest in Black entrepreneurs building scalable businesses that serve black communities and beyond. Pre-launch, Kathryn and Genius Guild raised over $5MM in investment from a number of partners including Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company founded by Melinda Gates, Impact Seat, an investment company led by serial investor Barbara Clarke, First Close partners, led by former Surgeon General Regina Benjamin and Lowenstein Sadler partner Ed Zimmerman and individual investors such as Andrew Bosworth from Facebook.

In April 2020, Kathryn founded The Doonie Fund with a $10,000 personal donation, to encourage other black women entrepreneurs to continue to build their businesses in the middle of the COVID-19 crises. One Medium post, a few emails and 6 weeks later, the fund grew to over $150,000, providing micro investments to over 1,500 Black women-owned businesses.  Kathryn’s $10MM Greenhouse is a pre-seed venture fund that invests in market-based innovations that end racism. They apply an investment lens that proactively addresses how capitalism has been manipulated to limit, exclude, and defraud Black communities.

Kathryn is the former CEO and founder of digitalundivided, a groundbreaking social enterprise focused on creating a world where women own their work. Kathryn started digitalundivided after selling her company, The Budget Fashionista, a lifestyle media company. Her pioneering research, “#ProjectDiane”, drew widespread buzz for disrupting the dialogue around women of color and tech entrepreneurship. She grew the organization from a simple idea to a dynamic ecosystem builder with a seven-figure budget, 20+ staff, two offices (Newark and Atlanta) and partnerships with major institutions such as Pivotal Ventures, Microsoft for Startups, UBS, Surdna Foundation and JPMorgan Chase. After eight years as CEO, she stepped down to create Genius Guild.

A Yale-trained Epidemiologist, Kathryn has received numerous honors and awards including the Echoing Green fellowship, Eisenhower Fellowship, Entrepreneurs Magazine’s “Woman to Watch”, Grace Hopper ABIE award, Marie Claire’s Women to Watch, Ebony Power 100, Black Enterprise “40 under 40” list and more.  A White House Champion of Change and past member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) appointed by the Obama Administration, Kathryn was honored by the Borough of Manhattan with the “Kathryn Finney Appreciation Day.” She has also received an Honorary Doctorate from Mount Holyoke College and was inducted into both the African American Alumni Hall of Fame at Rutgers University and Spelman College’s “Game Changers Academy.”

Kathryn’s latest project is Build The Damn Thing - a podcast where she shares a narrative of her journey and storied career as an entrepreneur, inclusion champion, and investor to encourage Black founders and women entrepreneurs to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. Listen to Build The Damn Thing.

MIcahel Hund

Michael B. Hofherr 

Director of Higher Education Strategy and Business Development
Amazon Web Services, Worldwide Public Sector

In his current role, Hofherr leads the Amazon Web Services, World Wide Public Sector (WWPS) Education Business Development and Strategy Team consisting of the K-12, Academic Medical Centers, Research, and Higher Education verticals.

Hofherr previously served as Vice President and Chief Information Officer for The Ohio State University. This role included the leadership of three departments - the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), the Office of Distance Education and eLearning (ODEE), and Enterprise Security (ES).

His responsibilities included the planning, alignment, budgeting, design, implementation and operation of information systems and in support of the university's strategies and objectives. He established the IT strategy, policy, standards, and direction of processes for the university's 35 indirect and distributed IT organizations.

Hofherr was also responsible for the distance education and learning technology work at the university. His responsibilities included all forms of the university's distance education and eLearning efforts, including online degree offerings, credit courses, non-credit certificates, and hybrid offerings. He was also responsible for supporting the delivery of classroom technology and eLearning efforts, along with the delivery of classroom technology and eLearning efforts.

In addition to these projects, Hofherr served as vice-chair of Ohio State’s COVID response transition task force, responsible for the transition to online learning in spring 2020 and the safe and healthy return to campus for Ohio State students in autumn 2020.

Mike joined Ohio State from Penn State University in 2011 bringing an extensive background in managing and leading all aspects of learning technology projects. Prior to his work in Higher Education Mike worked as a Technology Consultant for Andersen Consulting.  He was named Ohio State's associate vice president for distance education and eLearning in 2012 and Vice President and Chief Information Officer in 2014. He holds a BS in communications media from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and an MS in instructional systems from the Pennsylvania State University.


  • 8:00 AM – Networking breakfast

    Fuel up with some breakfast and meet with other leaders in education, AWS Education Competency Partners, and AWS staff.

  • 9:00 AM – General session & keynote

    Join Kim Majerus, Vice President, US Education, State and Local Government for Amazon Web Services (AWS), to hear how the education industry has been solving challenges and innovating in the Cloud. The general session will also feature, Kathryn Finney, CEO and Founder of Genius Guild and General Partner of the Greenhouse Fund, showcasing her passion for innovation, inclusion, and entrepreneurship in our future.

  • 10:15 AM – 11:00 AM Breakouts

    Creating a cloud-ready culture to support digital transformation

    Organizations across the education vertical are implementing cloud technology at an accelerated rate. However, leaders may not understand how to create a cloud-ready culture and drive their digital transformation. Join this session to learn about the various components of a successful technology culture. Discover the steps needed to transform the culture to one that empowers employees and better aligns to your organization's mission and objectives.

    Speaker: Shonte Eldridge, Executive Government Advisor, Amazon Web Services

    Preparing underserved high school students for STEM careers

    Students from underserved communities and school districts face unique entry barriers to some of the fastest-growing technical careers. In this session, learn how the National Education Equity Lab, Arizona State University, and AWS are preparing 10,000 students from underserved high schools for careers in cloud computing by 2025. See how students are earning transferable college credits while attaining AWS Cloud Certification and advancing their socioeconomic mobility.


    Leslie Cornfeld, CEO and founder, National Education Equity Lab

    John Rome, Deputy CIO, Arizona State University

    Andy Durren, Senior Business Development Manager, Amazon Web Services

  • 11:15 AM - 12:00 PM Breakouts

    From the office of the CIO: Transformation that meets the moment

    The past year tested core components of the missions of education organizations—particularly technology infrastructure. To meet the moment, CIOs across education aligned with institutional leadership to rapidly invest in technology and transform their institutions by providing accessible and secure learning environments. This panel of CIOs will reflect on the lessons learned in 2020 and how they are applying them looking forward, from best practices for engaging peers to exploring the implications of remote work for institutions.


    Keith W. McIntosh, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, University of Richmond

    Sharon P. Pitt, Vice President of Information Technologies and Chief Information Officer, University of Delaware

    Raechelle Clemmons, Senior Manager, Higher Education, Amazon Web Services (Moderator)

    Developing careers in the AWS cloud through statewide collaboration

    To make effective change at scale, leaders at all levels of an education system must collaborate effectively. In this session, learn from leaders at Northern Virginia Community College, the Virginia Community College System, and George Mason University as they dive deep into the work of creating cloud-skilled talent via flexible, stackable pathways for cloud learning across the Commonwealth of Virginia.


    Chad Knights, Vice President of IET and College Computing, Northern Virginia Community College

    Marc Austin, Executive Director, Professional Education and Academic Ventures, George Mason University

    Kamaljeet Sanghera, Interim Exec. Director, Institute for Digital Innovation, George Mason University

    Mariana Holliday, Global Lead of Academic to Workforce Solutions, Amazon Web Services (Moderator)

  • 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM Networking lunch

    During lunch, we invite you to take a minute to meet with other attendees and AWS Education Competency Partners.

  • 1:30 PM – 2:15 PM Breakouts

    Improving student success and retention through data and analytics

    The Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) wanted to use data and analytics to increase enrollment, improve student retention, and drive student success while reducing dependency on inefficient manual reporting processes. Through an eight-week pilot process, CCP was able to create a data lake and enable dynamic reporting for faculty and staff. In this session, learn how CCP used data to develop an analytics strategy, gain a comprehensive view of student behavior, and improve course selection while offering proactive advising services.


    Vijay Sonty, Associate Vice President of IT, Community College of Philadelphia

    Laura Temple, Associate Director, Business Intelligence, Community College of Philadelphia

    Craig Jordan, Solutions Architect, Amazon Web Services

    Discover what the future holds for education

    Reflecting on the changes to the education industry in response to COVID-19 allows us to understand what we’ve learned and how we move forward. In collaboration with Hanover Research, the educational technology company Instructure surveyed parents as well as educators from higher education and K12 on the role of education technology, factors that influenced student engagement, and metrics for student success. In this session, you will dive into the research’s revelations and see what’s in store for education.


    Trenton Goble, VP of Product Strategy, Instructure

    Snehal Bhakta, CTE Administrator, Clark County School District

    Travis Thurston, Director of Teaching Excellence, Utah State University

  • 2:30 PM – 3:15 PM Breakouts

    How NYU leveraged data to guide its hybrid cloud migration journey

    As the biggest private institution in the US with 18 schools and colleges, New York University (NYU) used data to consolidate and simplify their infrastructure and reduce their data center footprint by over 50 percent. Join this session to hear how NYU overhauled their approach to understanding and using data, extracted value from the data to achieve significant cost savings, and drove better operational alignment.


    Angela Chen, Senior Associate Vice President, NYU

    Ken Yelton, Senior Director of Administrative Technology Service, NYU

    Tiz Kaster, Manager of Strategic Partners for Education and State and Local Government, Amazon Web Services

    How EdTechs enabled student success in uncertain times

    Education technology (EdTech) took center stage during the COVID-19 pandemic by enabling learning to continue. In this session, hear from EdTech leaders on how they are transforming the way students of all ages study and share remotely. Discover how a learner-first perspective informs their technology and hear about their perspective on enhancing the student experience in the future.


    Michael Chasen, CEO, Class Technologies

    Charles Linsmeier, Executive Vice President, General Manager, Macmillan Learning

    Annie Chechitelli, Growth Strategies Advisor, Amazon Web Services (Moderator)

  • 3:15 PM - 3:30 PM Refreshment break

    Take a quick break before the last session of the day kicks off.

  • 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM Fireside chat

    Empowering the next generation of innovation through technology

    Technology continues to enable innovation in education. In this closing session, students from AWS Cloud Innovation Centers and AWS education programs at Arizona State University, California Polytechnic State University, George Mason University, and Bowie State University discuss their transformative experiences leveraging technology to make a difference in their communities. From the importance of learning by doing to ways cross-collaboration drives impact, discover how students are developing solutions for the challenges of today and tomorrow.


    Soham Sahare, Computer Science Graduate Student, Arizona State University

    Kendall Warther, 2021 Graduate, Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo

    Maya Chatterjee, Information Technology Graduate Student, George Mason University

    Michael B. Hofherr, Director of Higher Education Strategy and Business Development
    Amazon Web Services, Worldwide Public Sector (Moderator)

  • 4:30 PM Networking reception

    Close the day out with a reception. Beer, wine, and hors d'oevres will be served.


Agenda is subject to change.

Seating is limited since we want to allow for quality conversations and networking. Be sure to register to save your spot!

Why attend?

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is excited to welcome education leaders and executives across higher education, K12, and EdTech who are interested in learning more about how technology can transform the learner, educator, and administrator experience.

Keynote speakers will inspire you to to push boundaries with the cloud.
Hear inspiring stories
Learn how institutions like yours are harnessing the cloud to push boundaries in education.
Find like-minded education leaders at the AWS IMAGINE: Education conference.
Network with peers
Engage with like-minded education leaders who are engaging innovation to tackle challenges.
Meet with AWS education competency partners at the IMAGINE: Education conference.
Meet with AWS partners
Discover AWS Education Competency Partners who are delivering robust solutions and services for the education community.

Content Themes

Modernize and secure the academy
Modernize and secure the academy
Turn data into wisdom
Turn data into wisdom
Transform the student experience
Transform the student experience
Workforce development
Workforce development

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)


AWS Education Competency Partners

Meet with members from our AWS Education Competency Partners and discover unique solutions and services to help your institution facilitate teaching, learning, and modernizing IT operations. Learn more and view full list of AWS Education Competency Partners here.

IMAGINE: Education conference

Catch up on the keynote and general session from the 2021 IMAGINE: Education conference. 

IMAGINE: The New World of Education

Can't attend in person? Check out IMAGINE: The New World of Education, a webinar series that explores the challenges and opportunities facing education institutions around the world.

All attendees are required to comply with health measures in accordance with the AWS Code of Conduct. The health and safety of our customers, partners, and employees remains our top priority. All attendees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and present a record of vaccination at onsite check-in to attend the IMAGINE: Education conference this year. Masks are required for everyone. The IMAGINE: Education conference is following the same health measures as AWS Summit Washington, DC.

Learn more about our health measures »