Why Judy Faulkner has dressed up as a hippie, the Scarecrow at Epic meetings

Epic has themes — such as "Star Wars" or "Indiana Jones" — at its annual User Group Meetings to liven up what could otherwise be a tedious topic.

"UGM themes are helpful because they are entertaining. Several hours of discussing software could be boring if not for a fun theme," Epic founder and CEO Judy Faulkner wrote in a Jan. 8 blog post.

Over time, the themes have gotten more elaborate and required a good deal of planning, from designing brochures to decorating. For example, a physician might be on stage treating a "hobbit with a big hairy foot problem," Ms. Faulkner wrote.

"I've been a rock and roller, a camper, a wizard, a farmer, an Avatar-like creature, a hippie, and more," she wrote. "One of my rules now is: no big ears and no tails. My favorite costume was the Scarecrow from Oz because the Scarecrow didn't have a brain, so I could mess up my talk and still be in character."

The themed annual meetings fit quite well at the EHR vendor's Wisconsin headquarters, which itself has themes at its campuses, from "Alice in Wonderland" to "Harry Potter."

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