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Senior Member

With 57 speakers, 57 non-stop hours of content, and $15,000 in charitable donations, it’s safe to say the first-ever virtual edition of the Excel Global Summit was a resounding success. 

 

Australian MVPs for Office Apps and Services Tim Heng and Liam Bastick brought the fifth instalment to life in unprecedented circumstances by using the event as a vehicle for good. All ticket sales to the summit not only went to fight the international battle against COVID-19 but also toward cancer research following the recent death of a popular figure in the Microsoft community.

 

“When Liam suggested that we put on a 48+ hour, round the clock, global event, my initial reaction was one of disbelief,” says Tim. “It turns out that if you’re dedicating an event towards raising charity money towards a global problem, you get a global community coming together to make it happen – and who would miss a chance to talk more about Excel?!”

 

The multi-language event boasted presentations from Excel, Data Platform and PowerPoint MVPs together with other regarded experts from Microsoft to demonstrate the future of Excel.

 

Co-organizer Liam says it was an exciting, yet challenging, idea to make a reality. The team needed to quickly get up to speed with Microsoft Teams and manage global timezones while trying to keep costs as low as possible.

 

Tickets to the summit ranged from $8 to $33 (AUD) with all proceeds intended for international COVID-19 research charity Doctors Without Borders. However, the co-organizers decided that part of the fundraiser should also go toward cancer research after Microsoft staff member Chris “Smitty” Smith lost his life to the disease. In total, the summit raised about $15,000 (AUD) with all funds donated to the dual causes.

 

Summit speaker and MVP award holder (2009 – 2017) Purna Chandra Rao – who is known as “Chandoo” – says he was inspired to take part in the event and present in his native tongue of Telugu. Aside from English, presentations were also available in Mandarin, Portuguese, and Spanish. “The highlights were collaborating with organizers on topic and schedules, creating top-notch content in my native language, and promoting the event through social media,” Chandoo says.

 

“It was like a station that was broadcasting new and exciting topics all day long,” reveals summit speaker and MVP for Office Apps and Services Leila Gharani. Viewers certainly had plenty of “stations” to choose from, with presentations ranging from dynamic arrays and financial modelling to forecasting, maps, and Microsoft 365. “Exploring new topics, learning new skills, and having fun at the same time from the comfort of your own home was an unforgettable experience,” Leila says.

 

The Excel MVP community is full of passionate and giving people, says MVP for Office Apps and Services Bill Jelen. Bill notes that the Excel Virtually Global Summit was hosted soon after another Excel charity event in May, Excel Tips by the Experts, created by Paula Guilfoyle. This inaugural event featured 26 instructors offering 15-minute lessons with all money raised toward the GOAL organization's COVID-19 response team. In all, 650 student attendees raised $8300 for the cause.

 

“With many people stuck at home during the quarantine, there are few live in-person training events. Both of these events offered Excellers the opportunity to learn Excel tips from a variety of instructors,” Bill says.

 

MVP for Data Platform Michael Olafusi concurs, saying he enjoyed “tapping into the wealth of knowledge” from Excel experts around the globe as the software continues to evolve and expand in features.

 

For more on the summit, check out #ExcelVirtuallyGlobal on Twitter.