Reflections on TLC Europe

Blog Post created by lblakemore on May 24, 2019

As my first blog as your Chief Client Officer, I thought I would take a moment and introduce myself.


I am originally from St.Louis, Missouri but for the past 18 years I have lived in South Bend, Indiana with my wife Corinne and our 2 now teenage daughters (insert appropriate level of anxiety here). 


I have been at Blackboard for 4 years and have held a few different roles.  When I first joined, I was responsible for the K12 business in North America.  That was my first experience in EdTech and I really enjoyed the K12 clients and team.  In the fall of 2016, I took on the role of President of Blackboard International, taking responsibility for the Blackboard business outside of North America.  This was my first introduction to Higher Ed and was a fantastic learning experience.  My family and I moved to London, and from there I visited clients and partners in over 20 countries, forming some fantastic relationships.  This led me to my third and current role at Blackboard as the President, Global Client Operations and Success – a role I have held since January 2018.  The scope of this role includes Client Support, Global Consulting, SaaS Migration, managing our Data Centers as well as our SaaS platform at AWS.  Assuming the additional role of Chief Client Officer is a natural fit as a large part of my scope affects the experience our clients and partners have with our solutions.


Prior to Blackboard, I spent about 25 years in enterprise technology with large companies including IBM and some smaller, lesser known firms.   


I am really looking forward to this expanded role and continuing the dialogue on how Blackboard can be the best possible partner for our clients.


Reflections on TLC Europe


Wearing my new CCO hat, last week I had the opportunity to travel to Newcastle, England for Blackboard’s tenth TLC Europe conference. Not only did I have a great time catching up with many of you at Northumbria University’s beautiful campus, I left feeling energized and excited by what’s ahead in education.


One of the things I love the most about attending a TLC conference – and I’ve attended at least 6 that I can think of in various countries – is the sense of community that those gatherings foster.  Because of our deep and long-term relationships with our clients across every region of the globe, we’re able to leverage these conferences to share best practices and facilitate conversations. In short, they provide a wonderful opportunity to learn from one another. I was excited to see that as a result of that conference, we have a number of new members to our Community Site.  Welcome! Our next community gathering is at BbWorld July 23-25 in Austin, Texas. We hope you’ll join us!


For Blackboard, these conferences also provide an invaluable opportunity for us to hear from you.  For instance, we’ve been bringing the new Hackboard:Data event on a world tour to let developers get behind-the-scenes with the way we are thinking about data management, organization, orchestration, and privacy. We’ve had great results from these events including the one at TLC Europe last week. We’ve seen our developer community really dive in to the dataset and come up with some cool opportunities to explore.  We plan to continue that conversation coming up at BbWorld and we’ll bring Hackboard:Data to our TLC ANZ Conference in August.


The community has also provided us with invaluable input in shaping our conferences. For instance, the program for TLC Europe this year was co-developed with 12 clients who served as part of our program committee. Our TLC ANZ conference last year pioneered this approach. In both cases, the result was our best program ever.


 In short, these gatherings and also our Community Site provide an excellent forum for us to engage with one another. I encourage you to stay active. In my newly expanded role, I’m eager to hear what’s on your mind. And I intend to regularly share my thoughts and reflections here.


I hope to catch up with you at BbWorld!