Some personal updates

I’m sharing some personal updates since my last blog post. Despite coronavirus (COVID-19), 2020 has been very good to me.

The New Year started with the Ignite Tour in Toronto. I attended as many Power Platform, SharePoint and Teams sessions as I could and came away from the event excited to do more with Power Automate and SharePoint. The time between events proved to be just as valuable as the technical sessions. I used that time to hang out at the Hub and connect with others in the tech community.

Nice to see Brock represented on the way to the Convention Center.

A post Ignite Tour workshop was held at the Microsoft office in Toronto for the Ontario Universities. Again, it was great connecting with like-minded people who are always willing to help each other out. For my part I showcased our Power BI solutions at Brock.

Soon after the Ignite Tour, I received an email from Mark Smith (nz365guy) telling me I was accepted into his 90 Day Mentoring Challenge. Rewind back to fall 2019, I came across a Twitter posting criticizing Mark and his How to Become a Microsoft MVP video series. This led me to look at more of Mark’s content and I saw his 90 Day Mentoring Challenge (90DayMC). Everything about the 90DayMC ticked the boxes for me and I put in an application.

90 Day Mentoring Challenge

In the acceptance video, I was told to make an introductory video and post it to the group by days end. It sounds easy enough until you do it and then realize how self-aware you can be when making a recording. I’ve been on numerous video calls and never give it a second thought but doing something with more permanence is a different story. Many takes later, I said “stuff” it and posted what I was capable of. It was simple yet so rewarding to just do it and know that good today beats perfect tomorrow.

Intro video’s… harder than than they look.

The rest of the Challenge included things like:

  • Reading “Talk Like TED” and joining Toastmasters
  • Read “Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?” and take courses on Design Thinking (Design Thinking: Understanding the Process, Design Thinking: Implementing the Process)
  • Self-assess and determine what will be your primary and secondary technology focus areas will be (SharePoint and Power Automate for this guy)
  • Learn about the different user communities and plan where and how to get involved
  • Create / improve your personal brand through things like your home site, LinkedIn, Twitter etc.
  • Self-assess and plan career paths and how we are going to add value and “pay it forward” for the rest of year

At every step of the journey, you are expected to share what you have learned and plan how you will implement what you’ve learned. A simple formula to success when you think about it.

Mark is an interesting fellow, with amazing energy and I feel indebted to him for allowing me into the 90DayMC. As good as Mark is, the other members of the challenge also made it so rewarding. Their support, feedback and at times commiseration, made the hard work worthwhile.

On February 1st, I received one of the best emails I have ever read. “Congratulations 2020-2021 Microsoft MVP!”. I’m totally blown away and am still shaking my head in disbelief. It’s such an honor to be in this group of awesome individuals. It’s cool seeing the many of the names of people that I follow on Twitter during MVP calls. I have a serious case of impostor syndrome and in no way think that I am in the same league as them. If you know me, you know that I can barely operate a push / pull door.

Best email ever!
So nice to share the MVP un-boxing with my two kiddos

Soon after getting the MVP award, I was told to get registered for the MVP Summit in March. Luckily my awesome wife and understanding boss, said go it and flights were booked. It’s cool to get the award and award gift box but to be told you are spending the better part of week at Microsoft for sneak peaks and deep dives into the latest tech is beyond cool. But the traditional in-person MVP Summit was not to be because of the COVID-19 pandemic. To Microsoft’s credit they were able to pull off a virtual summit with all the same amazing content. It was great meeting people virtually, comparing notes on tech, community and where we are in the world.

After SPS Toronto in 2019, I offered to help organize the 2020 event. We re-branded the event to O365 Toronto and where all set for May 9th and then coronavirus forced us to reschedule until the fall. It’s a shame but at least I have more time to work on my session.

O365 Toronto logo

Another coronavirus victim is the SharePoint Conference 2020 in Las Vegas. I have a big sad with this one because my better half was coming with me. See you in 2021 SP Conf.

I’m happy to say that I have joined AvePoint’s Community Champions program. It’s an interesting program that is supported by AvePoint but doesn’t really have anything to do with their software. Simply stated, AvePoint is facilitating and promoting give back to the technical community that we are all a part of.

AvePoint’s Community Champions mission statement
Did they save the best for last? Not likely…

I’m not dwelling on COVID-19. It’s surreal and it has having an impact on life, my family and work but everyone is happy and healthy. I’ve done the work from home thing before and I’m good with it. Work from home with kids will be a different story but so far they have been great.

It’s been a great year despite coronavirus and as we all settle into this new normal, I hope to keep the momentum up by getting more engaged with the tech community, do more blogging and help were I can!

Be safe, be healthy and thanks for reading.


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