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Introducing Ami Arwidmark - Microsoft Ignite Community Reporter

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Ami Arwidmark
MVP

Hi I'm Ami Arwidmark, and I'm a Microsoft MVP and a technical evangelist for Adaptiva.

 

AmiCasto-Portrait-1000x1000.jpg

 

I travel the world and talk to IT Pros about Windows 10 and security. My family and I live in a tiny town in Illinois (~1,000 people!) with our three rescue horses and three rescue dogs. I didn't start my career in IT. I was a horse trainer first and IT seemed like the logical next step. If you find me at the conference, I'd love to hear your IT journey and talk to you about Windows 10, horses, and dogs.

 

You can follow me on:

If you could give one piece of advice to someone just starting their career in IT, what would you tell them?

 

Take a deep breath! Do not under any circumstances be afraid to ask for help or feel like you don't belong. We all started off knowing nothing. You'll figure out quickly that there are plenty of IT Pros on your side.

 

How do you stay up to date with changing technologies and updates?

 

I use Twitter, and I have a specific list of accounts that I check for news, posts, etc. Tons of great people from Microsoft are very active on Twitter and they share great info.

 

How has IT changed since you first started your career?

 

While there are super cool innovations, like everything going on with Azure and AI, there is a huge focus on security and accessibility like never before. It's all awesome to see. I always feel like I'm a step behind and I need to stay on my toes, work a little harder and that's a good thing.

 

What advice would you give to a first-time Microsoft Ignite attendee?

 

You'll be drinking from the firehose. I think there is a misconception that Microsoft Ignite might be more of a marketing conference than a technical one, and that just isn't true. There are so many technical sessions, and you won't have time or energy to attend them all. Luckily, you'll be able to watch them online after the conference. Don't forget that Microsoft Ignite will provide you with the absolute BEST networking experience that you will not get anywhere else. Microsoft Ignite is what started me on my path to MVP, and I will never forget how the very first Microsoft Ignite in Chicago changed my life forever. Also, go see the sponsors. Not only will you get some pretty cool swag, you'll also hear real-world applications of technology. You don't *have* to give them your contact info, but you'll likely network with people who you never knew could help you on a technical level, and often without buying their product.

 

Motherly advice: If you're going out after the conference in the evenings, watch your drinks, your backpack, and tell a friend where you'll be. You're here to learn and network, so don't overdo it.

 

What are you packing for Microsoft Ignite?

 

I have a separate "conference backpack". It's really important to pack specifics and to not overpack. You'll get a backpack when you check in at the conference (not at your hotel), so you don't need to bring one. I'm bringing:

 

For me:

  • Comfortable shoes.
  • A light weight packable jacket in case the AC is out of control.

For the hotel room:

  • A power strip to charge all my gadgets at night (stays in the hotel).

Laptop:

  • Surface Pro with pen/keyboard, and funny enough, a USB with Surface recovery media. I've been to a conference where a Surface died, and the speaker needed recovery media ASAP. I happened to have it, and I've been keeping it around and updating it ever since.

In the backpack:

  • Extra cables for phone/surface/watch.
  • Small charger in case the phone needs juice.
  • Selfie kit!
  • Business cards.
  • Reusable water bottle. Sure, you'll get one with your backpack when you check in, but it hasn't been washed.

A small zip pouch with the following personal items:

  • Luden's throat lozenges. You will do SO MUCH talking you'll need something to soothe your throat.
  • I've had so many broken bones over the years, it's basically a requirement to survive :) If you aren't used to walking a ton you'll be happy you brought some too.
  • Burts Bees chapstick.
  • Hand sanitizer and cold medicine (pill form). You'll probably catch a small cold, remember people are coming from all over the world. This is one of the things that might not be needed, but you'll be so glad you brought it in the event you do need it.
  • Gum
  • Hand lotion because the air is dry in the conference center, and you'll wish you had some lotion and chapstick about halfway through the week.
  • Small candy pieces to keep the blood sugar in check. T1D is no joke.

I think it's worth saying what not to pack. Don't bring:

  • Extra junk you have in your backpack and you don't know why. Keep that bag as light as possible, and only packed with things that you absolutely need.
  • Your little notebook of passwords.
  • A computer with passwords stored in anything but a secure password manager.

Why should people follow you for Microsoft Ignite coverage?

 

I specialize in Windows 10, ConfigMgr, Intune, and Enterprise Security. If you're an IT Pro who is on a mission to migrate to Windows 10 and stay secure, I'm your girl.

2 Replies

Looking forward to hearing your reports.