What is a Microsoft Regional Director?

Disclaimer: I don't work on the team that runs the Regional Director program but I do have a fundamental understanding of the progrma and I frequently work with the Regional Directors in my district.When in doubt, refer to the official Regional Director website.

From the official Regional Director website, “Microsoft Regional Directors are a select group of independent developers, architects, trainers, and other .NET profesionals who act as unpaid evangelists to the developer community for the .NET Framework and other Microsoft technologies.”

The page then goes on to read “Microsoft Regional Directors are independent developers and architects, volunteers chosen for their leadership in their local technology circles, whose primary purpose is to share information about Microsoft technologies with their developer communities and to provide feedback from developers to Microsoft. Regional Directors are not Microsoft employees, but instead are industry experts who choose Microsoft technology in order to help their customers reach business goals and objectives.”

I think those are two pretty good descriptions of what a Regional Director is and why they are chosen. I would like to highlight a few differences between the MVP and Regional Director program (none of these generalizations fit every MVP or RD so don't flame me in my attempt to explain the two programs):

*The MVP program is broader in scope than the .NET Framework and development/server products. Regional Directors tend to be experts in development related topics as they pertain to Microsoft.

*Generally speaking, MVPs are more focused on peer-to-peer online communities. Regional Directors are more focused on evangelizing the business and technical value of .NET in their local geography.

*There are far fewer Regional Directors than there are MVPs. There are thousands of MVPs and less than 150 Regional Directors.

Some of the similarities include:

*Neither MVPs or RDs are employees of Microsoft.

*Both MVPs and RDs are great evangelists of Microsoft products and they do an amazing job of increasing customer satisfaction.

*We love both groups equally and we owe them all a great deal for their expertise and passion for helping others in the community.

You can read more about the Regional Director program at the official website.

Comments (5)
  1. Malek says:

    It is strange that you are getting so much feedback on MSFT Evangelists and on MVPs, but none on RDs…

  2. Alex Lowe says:

    Well, there are so few RDs that I think the program maintains a very low profile in the community at large.

    The evangelist title is only has so many comments because of the troll. There are only a couple legitimate posts. =)

    The MVP program is getting a lot of comments because you have a lot of people in the blogoshpere who are a) MVPs and/or b) want to be MVPs (or used to anyway). So, there is no shortage of opinions on the program.

  3. Remember there’s only ~120 RDs, and only ~50? in the US. RDs are typically CTOs, Chief Architects, Principal Consultants or Primaries in a business or ISV. They are typically pretty busy folks with names you recognize as great speakers (Billy Hollis, Paul Sherriff, Malek Kemmou, Andrew Brust, Stephen Forte, Chris Kinsman, Tim Huckaby, etc) and are often on the road. With the current conference season on, I’ve got 3 talks a month until Summer. I can only post this cuz it’s 1am! 🙂 With MVPs outnumbering RDs by 50 to 1, and MVPs typically having different kinds of jobs than RDs (more business-y, more evangelical, more public), it makes sense that we’d see less traffic in this comments thread.

  4. Eileen Crain says:

    Well you know the RD Program is very much an exclusive set of individuals and it is indeed my privilege & honor to work with these incredibly passionate & brilliant individuals. Microsoft has kept this gem of a program quiet for almost a dozen years. In Microsoft time – that’s a LONG time for a program to successfully exist. (And I can only get credit for the last 2 years – not the 10 before as many have made their mark on the program mgmt along the way.) This program is about providing information (from Microsoft) to an incredible group of people who are out there working with our technology and reaching a community of devs to educate them. My job as program manager is to facilitate that flow of information, to be the ombudsman for the RDs internally @Microsoft & to be their "PR reps" outside Microsoft. I ensure these experts get the info they need, access to the people they need to know & then get them positioned to use that info in front of the community of devs locally & WW! Nothing I can do compares to the efforts they already put forth long before Microsoft "identified" them. RDs have a following in their community — the respect of their superiors & awe of their peers — because of who they are and nothing Microsoft could do would touch that! Questions on the RDs? Contact me at callmerd@microsoft.com!

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