HR/Payroll Workshop in Sonoma

I love travelling to Sonoma!  Of course, you say, who doesn’t… it’s a picturesque drive among grapevine-covered rolling hills, amazing food, a wine connoisseur’s  paradise! You almost guessed it. My favorite reason is the people who work there, and the culture and community they’ve built at the Sonoma County Office of Education. 


Last week, I walked into a large conference room (conference rooms A, B and C combined) at the COE for an HR/Payroll Workshop. Immediately, I recognized many familiar faces. I’ve been attending User Group meetings at Sonoma COE for the past 10 years, so I recognized most of them from these meetings or from our User Conferences. It took me another few seconds to notice familiar faces from Mendocino COE! That’s different! That’s new! That’s great!

The speaker, Allison Britton, a very knowledgeable STRS Retirement Analyst is reviewing STRS creditable compensation rules. Everyone in the room is smiling and nodding heads.  Creditable compensation is the most boring topic in the world, but Allison is great. She is smart, and keeps the room engaged using humor, pausing to stress the importance of reporting compensation correctly.  She is calm, everything in her demeanor tells her audience – I’m an expert. I’ve got you. You can trust me. Allison is not an outlier at the COE, Allison is the norm. Every person I’ve interacted with at the COE is very much like Allison - smart, friendly, supportive, an expert. 

The speakers take turns providing important information related to retirement systems, new regulations, payroll reporting, and preparation for year end. Each speaker is better than the last and the content they share is everything their users need to be prepared for fiscal year end. They cover new features introduced in Escape Online 5, so the districts can start taking advantage of features such as Mass Changes of Benefit Provider. I see excitement in their eyes, I hear a user whispering “Yes!” and pumping her fist as one of the speakers is going over the Leave Cap functionality. What an amazing workshop!

Sonoma COE’s commitment to success of their users is exemplary – we couldn’t have asked for a better customer or a better support team to work with.  Kimberly Lingle, Marie White, Tracy Lehmann - you are all rock stars!