A few weeks ago, The MVP Award Blog asked MVPs to share their hit refresh moments - that is, times they’ve enhanced their careers, personal lives and communities to soar to success. Inspired by Bill Gates’ foreword to Satya Nadella’s Hit Refresh, we heard from dozens of MVPs about their defining moments. And we’re pleased to share a few of them today! Check them out below:
I’ve hit the refresh button several times in my career. At 16, I decided that pharmacy would be the most logical career for me and single-mindedly pursued that path. I loved science and math and thought that whatever I did should help people, which meant healthcare to me at the time. I also wanted to pursue a male-dominated field, which pharmacy was until the last couple of decades. It seemed so perfect.
Just months before graduating with my pharmacy degree, I saw BASIC computer code for the first time. It was like a switch in my brain was flipped on, and I became obsessed with computers and programming. But still, I worked in pharmacy for more than a decade - until eventually, I realized I was too unhappy to continue working in that field. I decided to learn programming. I got my first full-time job at a consulting firm just two years after making that decision. Because of passion, hard work, and a couple of mentors who believed in me, I successfully made the change.
I had planned to continue as a developer when I ended up on a six-month project at the headquarters of a large law firm. When a SQL Server DBA job opened, I jumped at the chance because I admired so many things about the firm and the people who worked there. This was a smaller refresh - from developer to DBA - but a refresh nonetheless. I still consider that move to be one of the best I have made, because it helped me focus on SQL Server and the Microsoft Data Platform.
As a high school student, it was important for me to work in a male dominated field. But as co-leader of the PASS Women in Technology Virtual Group, I hope now we can turn the tech field around. Yes, I would say that I have met the goals of my 16-year-old self, just not in the ways that I could have imagined.
Prior to working with Microsoft Dynamics AX, I was the HR Manager for my company. Although I was good at my job, I felt like I was incorrectly matched to it. My true passion has always been learning new systems and processes. As an HR Manager I was always working to make our SharePoint site more intuitive for the end users. I was also always the go-to-person for any kind of systems questions. How many HR people manage a SharePoint site or become the go-to- person for business systems? Not many!
Ultimately, my technological aptitude was noticed. When we started looking at new ERP systems, I was asked if I would be willing to jump in and be the Project Manager for our implementation. This would mean leaving the comforts and familiarity of my old job behind. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity.
We chose Microsoft Dynamics AX as our new ERP system, which was an upgrade from a 30-year-old legacy system. It was a huge change for me too, leaving behind everything I knew to really learn all of my company’s processes and spend time figuring out how to make everything work within the constraints of an ERP system.
In order to learn more about my newly acquired role, I joined the Dynamics AX User Group (AXUG). I began noticing that many people were struggling with some of the same issues that I had.
As I started to gain confidence in my abilities, I started volunteering more by leading a local chapter. After that, I started to host webinars on topics of interest to the community. Shortly thereafter, I began writing a blog - and even gained enough confidence in my knowledge to begin speaking at conferences!
My work didn’t go unnoticed, as I was nominated for a Microsoft MVP award in Business Solutions. This award has really solidified my standing as a leader in my industry, and I have made it my mission to continue helping users to better their business processes.
For me, being able to hit refresh in my career meant stepping outside of my comfort zone and pushing to be the best version of myself. I went from being a good HR Manager, to really doing something that I love. The additional work that I do for the community is just an added bonus, as I truly do love helping other people. Moreover, I find I am learning just as much from them as they are learning from me! When I first started this journey, I often wondered if I was making a mistake. But being in the position I am now, I know that I made the right choice by hitting refresh.
My hit refresh moment came when I left my comfort zone and embarked on a journey into the unexpected.
I had an established and secure job in a medium-sized company with fantastic colleagues and interesting projects to work on. Over the years I managed to build myself a bit of a reputation within the developer community, and I shared my technical knowledge as a regular speaker at regional user group meetings and national conferences. My efforts had been recognized by Microsoft CLIP (Community Leader/Influencer Program) in Germany, and I was nominated as a Microsoft MVP in Visual Studio and Development Technologies.
When my employer offered me a CxO position in their new office in Mauritius, I went all-in. Going to a foreign country, learning to communicate solely in English and French, getting used to local customs and habits, and trying to build a new circle of friends and contacts was a great challenge to conquer.
Now looking back after more than ten years, it was the best decision ever. I got married and had two adorable children. In terms of my career, I've incorporated my own businesses in software development, online content marketing and the beauty industry with clients worldwide. In 2013, I founded the Mauritius Software Craftsmanship Community (MSCC), which is now the largest and most active IT community on the island. We organize weekly breakfast sessions, monthly topic-focused meetings, and the annual Developers Conference. Changing my life in such a drastic way was the experience of a lifetime.
This post is part of the collection of #HitRefresh moments, inspired by Satya Nadella’s Hit Refresh. If you'd like to write your own Hit Refresh moment on social media, Linkedin, or your favorite platform, be sure to tag @satyanadella or @microsoft.