Microsoft MVP Program Community Manager, Lana Montgomery, talks with Sonia Cuff, Office365 MVP and Co-Founder of virtual CIO consulting company, The Missing Chair, about her experience of the MVP Program and the best things about being part of the tech community.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself: how long have you been working in technology and which company do you work for?
I’ve been working in IT for nearly 21 years and it scares me every time I say that. Right now, I’m consulting as a virtual CIO to SMBs under my own brand, The Missing Chair. I have an Enterprise background in systems administration & systems architecture for banking, government and Police/Defence and even spent some time as a Lotus PCLP. The past 12 years have been firmly in the Australian SMB space, which has its own challenges and advantages.
2. Which MVP award category are you awarded in? How long have you been an MVP for?
This is my first year as an Office Servers and Services MVP and I was recently also awarded as a Windows Insider MVP.
3. What’s the best thing about being involved in tech communities? Any advice for those who might not know where to start when it comes to contributing to the tech community?
It’s amazing when you find your tribe – that like-minded group of people that you can bounce things off and share experiences and laughs with. It can be easy to think that everyone knows more than you and you have nothing to add, but nobody else has had your unique experiences. Even if you haven’t been in tech for very long, you might be playing with newer Cloud technologies that the ‘old timers’ haven’t had a chance to look at yet. Don’t underestimate the value of sharing your stories, whether it’s via your own blog, social media, or posting in the Microsoft Tech Community.
4. What’s the coolest conference you’ve ever spoken at?
Without a doubt – Interop ITX in Las Vegas. My first speaking gig outside of ANZ, at a conference I’d never been to before, with an incredible audience of people interested in all different technology stacks and concepts. I now have the honour of serving on their Review Board.
5. Any brushes with tech industry fame?
Troy Hunt, Developer Security Expert, MVP and Microsoft Regional Director, called me his friend in a blog post once! But through conferences I get to hang out with amazing people like Seth Juarez, Rick Claus & Dona Sarker from Microsoft.
6. What’s the most interesting Twitter account that you follow?
That’s such a hard question! I follow so many interesting people, so I’m going to give it to @TitanicRealTime It posts quotes in real time each year about the sinking of the Titanic.
7. If you could have a coffee with anyone in the tech industry (past or present) who would it be and why?
It’s going to sound corny but I’m going to say Satya Nadella. I’d love to hear more about his experiences of turning Microsoft around to be the Cloud & AI focused machine it is today and how he overcame the challenges to achieve this.
8. Any advice for Partner Community members looking to get involved in the MVP Program?
If you think you are too busy, you’re probably an MVP. I put off applying because I didn’t think I had the time to give my application the attention it deserved. Then I realised, I was busy with exactly the kinds of activities that make me an MVP.
The Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award is awarded on an annual basis in recognition of technical expertise and outstanding online and/ or offline contributions to the community. More information on the award program, links to nomination forms and a directory of worldwide MVPs can be found at: mvp.microsoft.com
For more information, please contact Lana Montgomery