What Avanade’s FUEL Conference has given me

  • Posted on August 17, 2022
  • Estimated reading time 2 minutes

This year’s FUEL Conference was a special one for me in so many ways. This is the third time I have taken part in FUEL, after first attending as a STEM Scholar representing Cal Poly Pomona, and then attending as an intern and STEM Scholar. This time, I was participating as a full-time Avanade employee, which was extra special to enable me to give back to FUEL, as it has given so much to me.

Each year, FUEL gets better and better! I loved participating in the Junior/Early Career Panel, sharing my thoughts together with other panelists from different walks of life. The neat part was joining Alt Space with STEM Scholars, interns, and high school students. In this unique metaverse, I got to talk with people from different parts of the world in North America, Brazil, and Europe.

My favorite sessions were all of them! No, really! Hearing our CEO Pam Maynard’s keynote speech in which she shared that she never imagined being CEO and being shy and finding her power, was MAGIC and inspiring! We heard from so many great panel discussions like Gary Cunningham, CEO of Prosperity Now, telling our attendees to believe in themselves and how we are the hero of our own story! We heard Akhtar Badshah talk about his book, “Purpose Mindset: How Microsoft inspires employees and alumni to change the world.” His workshop tasked us to find and create our purpose statement!


As we geared up for the Hackathons, I was a mentor for two “AI for Good” teams and one for “Displaced People.” As a mentor to these future leaders, it was important to not only rely on my own knowledge but also from other impactful leaders in the industry. Avanade’s Offering Leadership, Data, and AI Europe lead, Annika Grosse spoke about not solving the world in one go, but to start from the problem and work on looking at the end-to-end goal. I also enjoyed the panel discussion with Zachary Katz, Fernando Mier, Diana Wolf, and so many other amazing people about the metaverse and security and trust, which was something I wanted to use when working with my teams.


This year’s Hackathon presentations were simply amazing! These students came up with real world solutions and proof of concepts in just two days!

The teams I mentored:

  • PawFit, who had the goal of using AI to keep owners informed on their beloved pets’ health.
  • TherapAI, who wanted to use AI for good to solve mental health issues and well-being.
  • To the Displaced Team, who wanted to work with major refugee organizations to provide technology and access to refugees in a way that is much needed.


There were also several groups from the West region who I work with on a weekly basis, who made amazing impressions with their solutions. I could not be prouder of these fantastic interns. These young leaders are going to take the world by storm!


The FUEL Conference was innovative and energetic, and thank you to the amazing team who made FUEL a wonderful experience, connecting us with 16 countries, 198 universities and institutions, over 400 STEM students and academy participants, and the hundreds of Avanade and industry employees who took time to talk, mentor, and provide guidance to all the FUEL participants. I'm already looking forward to FUEL 2023!

Ceyhun Gocenoglu

Thank you for the great summary, I felt as if I attended the conference 

August 24, 2022

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