Guest post by Microsoft MVP Lead Heather Kostes
We just got back from four action-packed days at Microsoft Tech-Ed North America 2011, where we had the pleasure to catch-up with MVPs from as far away as Macedonia and China. Of the more than 10,000 attendees to this year’s event, at least 200 were MVPs. Of those, more than 30% directly participated as speakers or by lending their expertise at hands-on labs and booths. Although the community has come to expect nothing less, the level of leadership MVPs bring to events such as Tech-Ed never fails to impress.
To support their commitment to sharing their knowledge of Microsoft technology, MVPs were invited to six private side sessions at Tech-Ed. Here, Microsoft executives and members of product groups sat down with MVPs in small groups to discuss everything from SEO best practices to the future direction of some Microsoft products.
Corporate vice president, Jason Zander, who also served as a Tech-Ed keynote speaker, led one of the most popular sessions. MVPs raved:
“Excellent presentation. Really helps me understand the bigger picture presently + roadmap.”
“Great content! Thanks for the honest conversation.”
“Good session. Please do every year.”
In addition to the private side sessions, throughout the day MVPs gathered with each other and members of the broader community in the MVP Award lounge. It was great to see so much networking and camaraderie in our little corner of the Tech-Ed Connect Zone, which attracted a whole host of techies, including some recently awarded MVPS, a few MVPs who had missed the MVP Global Summit, members of Microsoft product teams and Microsoft evangelists.
We also were visited by folks seeking more information on the program and were able to gather information about a number of good candidates!
The conversation continued beyond the lounge. Take a look at Twitter @mvpaward and this great short video chat.
Windows Expert-IT Pro MVP Ed Horley summed up the experience: “Microsoft Tech-Ed 2011 in Atlanta was exciting for several reasons. I got to see several fellow MVPs present at TechEd whom I respect deeply and it was some of the best person to person networking I have had a chance to do. With the addition of MVP side sessions, getting to hang out with MVP Leads, seeing all the Microsoft community folks and taking in product announcements on top of all the parties and dinners the whole week was packed. It was completely worth the investment of attending. I look forward to continued relationships with all those I got to know at TechEd this year and hope others get the chance to have as dynamic an experience at future Tech-Eds as I did.”