Everything's bigger in Texas! 2023 HUG National Conference Summary

Agents mingle at the welcome reception of the 2023 HUG National Conference


The 2023 HUG National Conference held by the HawkSoft User Group (HUG) in Austin TX this April was an incredible event! In true Texas fashion it was our biggest national conference yet, with 450 agents attending and over 600 total attendees including exhibitors and HawkSoft staff. 

Attendees graphic

Conference stats graphic


According to HUG’s survey after the event, the welcome reception, general sessions, HUG Lab, and exhibit hall were some of the highest rated events of the conference. Attendees loved the conference so much that 100% of respondents said they would recommend a colleague attend a future HUG National Conference, and 90% said they might plan or are already planning to attend next year’s conference!

We'd like to share an overview of what happened at this year’s conference, along with some photos and quotes from attendees.


2023 HUG National Conference Summary



Keynote session by Eric Termuende (day 1)

The opening general session on day 1 was the keynote address given by Eric Termuende, a global speaker, author, and co-founder of NoW of Work. Eric is a former World Economic Forum Global Shaper who has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Emerging Innovators under 35 by American Express.

In Eric’s presentation, titled “One-Degree Shifts: Managing Change and Building Tomorrow’s Greatest Places to Work,” he shared three things businesses can do to grow an incredible team.

  1. Build a deep sense of trust within your team
    Eric suggested that teams can build trust by sharing things like the “4H” drill, which includes sharing your heroes, heartbreaks, hopes, and history. Establishing a foundation of trust will create a safe space for conflict, commitment, accountability, and ultimately results.

  1. Experiment to remove areas of friction
    This includes looking at your team’s processes to identify areas for improvement and then making small one-degree shifts that can have a large final impact. It’s important to continually monitor, reflect on, and revise these shifts to ensure they’re bringing your team a little closer to your goal each time.

  1. Plant your flag
    Every business or brand should understand and promote what they stand for. This will help you not only attract the right people, but also detract people who will be the wrong fit for your business. Eric refers to this as finding your “cilantro component,” which is a factor that clearly divides people into supporters and detractors. These are good areas for your business to invest resources in and intentionally build company culture around.

Keynote - closeup croppedKeynote speaker Eric Termuende addresses attendees


Eric’s presentation was full of anecdotes and insights from some of the most successful one-degree shifts made by teams and brands around the world, from Shreddies cereal to Olympic teams, illustrating how teams of varying size and resources can adapt and thrive in their environments by using small, consistent, incremental changes.


“I'm a first-time attendee of the National HUG Conference and highly recommend agents and CSR's to participate. Motivating and informative speakers throughout the entire conference. See you at Regionals!”

Michelle Kimmel, Kimmel Insurance Agency



HawkSoft general session (day 1): HawkSoft 6

The first general session presented by HawkSoft focused on HawkSoft 6, HawkSoft’s new cloud platform that’s rolling out this year. HawkSoft Co-founder and CEO Paul Hawkins started off the session by welcoming agencies, and then turned the time over to his son Sean Hawkins (Co-founder and Chief Product Officer), who presented on HawkSoft 6.

Because over half of the attendees were first-time attendees at a HUG National Conference, Sean spent some time explaining the HawkSoft 6 platform, how it’s different from the current local and online installations of HawkSoft, and all the exciting benefits it provides to agencies. He went over the release timeline and product roadmap for HawkSoft 6, and shared some information about what the migration process will be like for existing customers.


General Session 1 - SeanSean Hawkins speaks about HawkSoft 6 during a general session


Next, Sean presented the first-ever live demo of the HawkSoft 6 platform to agencies outside the HUG board, showing attendees what the new platform looks like and demonstrating some of the features that have been enhanced or reimagined in HawkSoft 6. See our Feature Differences page for a summary of which features have different and improved functionality in HawkSoft 6.

As a special benefit of the conference, attendees had the opportunity to download and run a demo copy of HawkSoft 6 while at the conference. They also had the chance to try out the browser-accessible features via a website portal.


Here's what attendees said they're most excited for in HawkSoft 6:


“The accounting. It’s going to be amazing, I can't wait. Log notes are highlighted so you don't have to read through to find something.”

Lori Wood, First Associated Insurance Agencies Inc


“I'm excited to see the new layouts and see how note taking and tags are simplified. We do have some complicated accounts where they may be purchasing a new property and adding a vehicle and quoting a driver and getting an umbrella all at the same time, so having those tags is going to benefit us.”

Joel Dunham, Ovation Insurance


“Speed! The speed of the overall system, the speed when you're making changes, when you're attaching items, when you're running reports, is going to be a big deal.”

Sig Schatz, Schatz Insurance


“Automatic downloads. The ability to access the data from anywhere that I have an internet connection. The ability to have all the integrations all in one place functioning automatically is going to be the key to helping us because it will be a big timesaver.”

George Edwin Park Jr, Park Family Insurance


“The replacement of suspenses with tasks is going to be huge. The fact that you can suspend or task multiple things to multiple people, so everybody has their hands in the jar to figure it all out. I think everybody's going to be more integrated and able to work closer with every task that they have.”

Sam Keegan, Cedar Risk Management



HawkSoft general session (day 2): HawkSoft into the future

The HawkSoft general session on day 2 was an interactive session with a panel of HawkSoft leaders, including Paul Hawkins (co-founder and CEO), Sean Hawkins (co-founder and Chief Product Officer), Rushang Shah (Chief Marketing Officer), and Matt Aman (Sr. Cloud Architect), moderated by HUG president Kelly Endicott. The panel used a live polling system to ask attendees questions about where they would like to see HawkSoft focus more resources in the future, and listened to feedback or answered questions from audience members.

This open, honest, no-holds-barred discussion with customers exemplified HawkSoft’s core values of continuous innovation and building a sense of community. As a company that is proud to be privately owned, HawkSoft can keep its primary focus on the needs of its customers, and we value having the opportunity to speak with customers at these events and better understand their needs and pain points or course correct if needed. We truly value feedback from our customers, and had a feedback form available during the conference to allow customers to submit feature suggestions or feedback on both HawkSoft 6 and the current version of HawkSoft.


General Session 2 - panelFrom left, Sean Hawkins, Paul Hawkins, Rushang Shah, Matt Aman, and Kelly Endicott lead an open discussion with audiences about what they'd like to see from HawkSoft in the future


“I love feeling part of a family! The HUG family is special and I have never experienced anything like it. Being able to speak to executives in Hawksoft and feeling that my opinions are heard and valued is beyond customer service. They love their product as much as we do!”

Kylie Bartlett, The Brady Agency



Breakout sessions

One of the biggest highlights of every HUG National Conference is the array of breakout sessions presented by agents and HawkSoft employees. There were over 30 different breakout sessions held at this year’s event! Ten different sessions were offered on specific features of HawkSoft 6, marking the first such sessions presented to agents on HawkSoft 6. Attendees were able to follow along on their own computers if desired, using the demo copy of HawkSoft 6 available at the conference. The sessions on accounting, tasks, reporting, and downloads were some of the most-mentioned favorites in HUG's post-event survey. 

The remaining breakout sessions focused on the current HawkSoft system (including everything from HawkSoft basics to trust accounting, reporting, API integrations, HawkLink, data cleanup, workflows, proposals, and more) and other industry topics like virtual assistants, client communications, Acord forms, owner and CSR sessions, and more.


Breakout Session - KelliHawkSoft employee Kelli Smith and Jordan McKay of Paradiso Insurance teach a breakout session on reporting


“I want to thank you for organizing what turned out to be one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended! The entire HawkSoft team was fantastic. Being on HawkSoft only 8 months and it being our first HUG National Conference, I can honestly say it was well organized! We believe we made a wise decision partnering with the HawkSoft family and look forward to the coming exciting years ahead!”

Sue Moschini, Fitts Insurance Agency, Inc




HUG Lab and HawkSoft 6 education opportunities

Another staple of HUG National Conference is the HUG Lab, which is open during most of the conference. Attendees can come to ask questions about HawkSoft to employees and get hands-on training or demos on how to use features or configure workflows in HawkSoft. This year, the conference also featured a number of HawkSoft 6 demo stations, where attendees could ask questions about HawkSoft 6 and see live demos of features and workflows.


HUG Lab - Ken RyanHawkSoft employees work one-on-one with agents at the HUG Lab

“I would recommend attending the annual conference. The breakout sessions are invaluable. Having the ability to go to the lab with your laptop and go over problems, questions, and concerns within our system was fantastic. I loved having one-on-one help with support. Also, being able to network with fellow agents and users of Hawksoft was very beneficial. The thing that impressed me the most was the feeling of family and all the support HawkSoft gave both in the sessions and throughout the conference.”

Lori Wood, First Associated Insurance Agencies Inc


HS6 Demo Station - Ryan - crop-1

HawkSoft employee Ryan shows HawkSoft 6 to attendees at one of several demo stations

Additionally, on both days of the conference there was an “open forum” hour where attendees could come to ask anything to HawkSoft leadership. Many attendees enjoyed the opportunity to speak with HawkSoft leaders in a smaller, more personal setting. 


HS6 Open ForumFrom left, Matt Aman, Paul Hawkins, and Sean Hawkins answer questions during an open forum hour


"I loved the open forum discussion with Matt, Paul, and Sean.  It's great to see how much Hawksoft cares about their customers."

Conference attendee



Solution circles

At the end of day 1 of the conference, time was dedicated for solution circles, where agents met in groups to discuss different topics. It was a great opportunity for attendees to meet other agencies, network, and get ideas from their peers. HawkSoft employees joined to listen in and get feedback from agencies on their pain points and ideas. This year’s solution circles were held on the following topics:

  • Perpetuation planning
  • Renewals/rewrites
  • Finding and hiring talent
  • Personal lines
  • Commercial lines
  • Agency culture
  • Tech tools
  • Accounting


Solution circlesAttendees participate in solution circles at the exhibit hall


“I have been to 5 HUG Conferences and would highly recommend anyone using HawkSoft in their agency to attend them! You will get a lot of great ideas of how to manage your agency using Hawksoft, meet great people, and have a great time while you are doing both! Thank you to Paul, Sean, and team for providing the tools we need with a user-friendly management system. Best of all, you listen to agents!”

Paulette Arnsparger





The conference featured an exhibit hall where agencies could speak with an impressive 140 reps from 55 different companies. Agents enjoyed the opportunity to talk to existing and potential partners about solutions for their business and learn about the latest innovations in technology. HawkSoft and HUG are extremely grateful to all the wonderful partners who attended and contributed to the amazing atmosphere of the conference.

Exhibit Hall - Client CircleAttendees learn about new business software solutions from exhibitors


Many partners organized dinners and other activities with agencies at the resort, and The Insurance Guys even recorded a podcast live during the event!

We’d like to extend a special thanks to HUG’s platinum and premier sponsors, who had a chance to speak to attendees at the beginning of the HawkSoft general session on day 2 and present a dedicated breakout session later in the conference.


Platinum sponsors:

Premier sponsors

“I’m a new agent and agency owner and meeting literally everyone has been helpful to my staff and I. Other agents, the HawkSoft staff, and the various vendors have all been very friendly and helpful – but most importantly – encouraging.”

Curtis Rock, Ohana Insurance Group




Networking, community involvement, & other activities

Those who attend HUG National Conference know it’s not just about education – there are also plenty of chances to meet other agents, network, and have fun! Attendees enjoyed a welcome reception on Wednesday night at the Kalahari’s country barn. First-time attendees were welcomed early to meet and hear from HawkSoft leadership, and the main event featured a live country band, line dancing, food, and more—all in Texas style, of course! 

Welcome Reception - hats outside

Agents wear their HawkSoft cowboy hats at the Western-themed wecome reception at the country barn 


Welcome Reception - band

Attendees dance and enjoy live music from country band Small Town Habit


Welcome Reception - inside barn

HawkSoft employees spend time with attendees at the barn



“This was my second HUG conference and I enjoyed every minute of it, once again! You walk away with tons of information on the system, but it’s more than that. I was able to reconnect with colleagues/friends that I met last year and meet new ones. The networking HUG provides is AWESOME! I have referred clients that move out of state to individuals I met through this conference and have received referrals the same way. HUG is something I look forward to every year.”

Brooke Meyer, LeLand Smith Insurance Services



Welcome Reception - Paul

Paul Hawkins speaks with agents during the welcome reception


Welcome Reception - cardboard Kenny

HawkSoft's Kenny Hendricks, who has been a central figure at every HUG National Conference, was unable to attend this year, but everyone made sure his cardboard proxy had a great time at the conference!


A cocktail reception was also held on the second night of the conference at the Amatuli outdoor market and theater, where attendees enjoyed mingling, sharing drinks and snacks, and watching a live African drum performance. Throughout the conference, attendees also had the chance to enjoy the many amenities of the resort, including the waterpark, swim-up bar, arcade, spa, restaurants and bars, shopping, and activities like escape rooms and bowling!


Cocktail Hour - OskouianAttendees enjoy drinks at the cocktail hour on day 2 of the conference


Cocktail Hour - drumming

Agent Leo Daprile enjoys the African drumming performance during the cocktail hour

This year, attendees also had the opportunity to donate to a local charity program chosen by HUG: the Mobile Loaves & Fishes food truck volunteer program in the Austin area. Mobile Loaves & Fishes is the largest prepared feeding program to the homeless and working poor in Austin, Texas and has served over 5.5 million meals as part of its service to provide food, clothing, hygiene products, and other life-sustaining items to those in need, 365 days a year. We know how important it is to independent agencies to support their local communities, and we’d like to thank all those who donated toward the total contribution of $1,600 that was raised for the program during the event.


Loaves and Fishes - cropA food truck for the Mobile Loaves & Fishes program (image from Mobile Loaves & Fishes)



Join us at future HUG events!

HawkSoft is honored to contribute to and participate in HUG events like this year’s national conference. We want to extend a special thank you to HUG Executive Director Amelia Jach and Project Manager Jennifer Thompson, and HUG Board Chairman Kelly Endicott, as well as the 2023 HUG National Planning Committee, the HUG Board, and all the HUG members and HawkSoft employees that helped make this year’s conference special.


2023 HUG National Planning CommitteeThe 2023 HUG National Planning Committee


The 2024 HUG National Conference will be in Carlsbad, CA!

Loved this year’s HUG National Conference? Bummed you didn’t get to go? Don’t worry, registration is already open for the 2024 HUG National Conference, which will be held at the Omni La Costa resort in Carlsbad, California, on April 3-5! Register now to save your spot and get discounted early bird pricing on your ticket and hotel room.


Carlsbad graphic

Watch our promo video for HUG 2024


Loved this year’s HUG National Conference? Bummed you didn’t get to go? Don’t worry, registration is already open for the 2024 HUG National Conference, which will be held at the Omni La Costa resort in Carlsbad, California, on April 3-5! Register now to save your spot and get discounted early bird pricing on your ticket and hotel room.


“Great job - looking forward to how Carlsbad 2024 turns out, and transitioning to HawkSoft 6!”

Conference attendee

If you haven’t attended a HUG event yet, please join us! Membership in the HawkSoft User Group is free (register here), and you’ll get access to tons of great resources like a template library and monthly webinars about HawkSoft. Plus, keep an eye on HUG’s event page for information about the upcoming regional meetings this fall. HUG is a great way to learn from and interact with other agents who use HawkSoft!





Register for HawkSoft User Group 

Registration is free, and gives you access to helpful resources from HawkSoft users like the HawkSoft template library and monthly webinars about HawkSoft features. 

   Register now  





HawkSoft Marketing Editorial Team

Author: HawkSoft Marketing Editorial Team

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