This article is written by Humans of IT Community Ambassador and Business Applications MVP, Foyin Olajide-Bello, who shares her passion for enabling and empowering others through Power Platform. She also leads an active Power Platform user group in Nigeria. She recently founded "Tech Stylers" - a community of inspiring ladies in Power Platform. Follow them on Twitter: @tech_stylers.
I have been in the collaboration space for a while now. Twelve years of supporting employees, customers and organizations to do more with less. Helping them figure out how collaborate effectively and automate manual processes using Microsoft SharePoint which was then called MOSS. Finding fulfillment with supporting knowledge workers, solving their daily headaches around document management, search and retrieval, automation and collaboration, I happily jumped on Office 365 when it was released to the market.
Loving automation with InfoPath, SharePoint designer, I continued on this path until mid 2019 when a friend introduced me to Microsoft Power Apps. He showed me the basics about it and I asked, "How do I get licensed for this?”. To my surprise, he said, “You are already licensed for this. Once you are licensed for Office 365, you automatically get Power Apps and Power Automate license." I was amazed, and decided I was going to build my next application with Power Apps and that’s how I started my journey into Power Platform.
With very few people in my professional network having the knowledge of Power Apps, I found my own learning journey a bit isolating and lonely. I struggled to learn the technology alone, and did multiple searches on the Internet to try and find answers to my questions.
“What I can do about this?” I asked myself. I had no idea - I felt lost and frustrated.
However, a few weeks into this, I was then invited to a Power Apps 101 session organized by Microsoft and I was so delighted to see other professionals with some knowledge of Power Apps. Here's a photo of me at the Microsoft office in Nigeria:
I was also surprised that these professionals had a similar experience to mine. That’s when the idea of community popped in my mind. I realized that I could start a local community here and we could all come together to support each other as we learn the Power Platform tools. I created a WhatsApp group, which started with just 2 people, and has since grown to 1,200 people total!
The exponential growth of the community is largely anchored on the passion of the members of the community. Once they learn, they get so inspired that they often start up user groups in their local communities and schools. The leadership team is also an amazing one as we have all decided to put in our best and this has really helped the community grow and thrive.
First Meetup November 2019
Power Platform Nigeria Leaders
Global Power Platform Bootcamp (February 2020)
After leading the community for a couple of months, I discovered that our female representation at these user groups was very low. Our ladies were often not very involved in the community, and hardly ever respond to Call for Content (CfCs) / Call for Speakers. This need to get more women actively involved in Power Platform and other technical communities inspired me to create Tech Stylers (Twitter:@Tech_Stylers). Our vision is to empower all women who desire to have a career in technology, help get more women into technology and support them through mentoring and knowledge sharing which will position them for bigger opportunities.
Trust me - as a wife and mother of 3 young children under the age of 10 who also runs a busy day job in tech, I have more than enough to keep me on my toes every day. However, I have a greater and deeper desire to help and support others which is why the community has become an integral part of my life. I encourage everyone to go beyond up-skilling yourself alone, to up-skilling someone else instead. Be a part of someone’s success story. To me, that's the key to leading a fulfilling life in tech.
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