Building Connections at the M365 Community Conference
Published May 15 2024 11:50 AM 899 Views

The Microsoft 365 Community Conference is an annual event that brings together thousands of forward-thinking professionals looking to build their skills in the era of AI. The conference offers unmatched learning, professional development, and networking opportunities, with over 150 sessions covering the latest breakthroughs in Microsoft 365, Copilot, Viva, Teams, and more.

This article will explore the transformative experiences and key takeaways from the conference that could inspire other MVPs, how volunteering at the conference enhanced attendees' understanding of the latest Microsoft 365 innovations, the ways in which the conference fostered community building and networking among MVPs, and the most impactful sessions and workshops for attendees. In particular, we are highlighting three United States M365 MVPs, Heather Severino, Joy Apple, and Susan Hanley, who played key roles at the conference.

The Microsoft 365 Community Conference not only disseminated knowledge through its diverse sessions but also cemented the essence of community through in-person exchanges, exemplified by Heather well-attended workshops with over 500 attendees and the attendance and participation of Roberto Bojorquez, Microsoft Product Manager for Tasks and ToDo. These interactions underscored the unique value of face-to-face meetings in fostering deeper connections and facilitating real-time collaboration among the Microsoft 365 community.


MVP Heather Severino at the Microsoft 365 Conference


This conference not only highlighted the irreplaceable benefits of direct human interaction, as seen in Heather‘s sessions, but also put a spotlight on the transformative potential of M365 tools like Copilot and Viva, which are designed to enrich the employee experience and address real-world business needs in a holistic and people-focused manner.

For instance, Joy spoke about the importance of governance in preparing for Copilot, a sentiment echoed by the attending MVPs who agreed that governance is now a priority for CIOs, CEOs, and CTOs. With sixteen sessions addressing governance from the perspective of Copilot readiness and adoption, attendees learned the importance of having a strong governance framework in place to ensure the effective use of the technology.

The emphasis on governance at the conference not only highlighted the necessity of a robust framework for Copilot's success but also underscored the Microsoft 365 Community Conference's role in revitalizing a sense of unity and purpose among its participants. This synergy between governance and community engagement, as articulated by Joy and experienced by the attendees, reflects a comprehensive approach to technology adoption where learning and collaboration are as crucial as the technical aspects of implementation. As Joy stated, “the Microsoft 365 Community Conference, is a vibrant blend of education and inspiration, experienced a resurgence of its communal spark this year, reigniting connections that had waned during the pandemic.” Attendees found value in the engaging interactions and the sense of community and belonging that these events provided.

Meanwhile, MVPs played key roles, from managing information desks to leading discussions on Microsoft technologies, which were fulfilling and beneficial for personal growth and community development. Heather states “volunteering in these capacities was rewarding, offering personal interactions and aiding in career and technology advancement for many.”  These contributions were pivotal in nurturing the community and sparking ideas for future events and collaborations. They not only contribute to the growth of the community but also offer learning opportunities from peers and Microsoft teams and inspire ideas for future local and conference events. This involvement is instrumental in shaping future collaborations and community initiatives.


MVP Joy Apple at the Microsoft 365 Conference


Susan also played a pivotal role at the conference, leading community tracks and adapting to Viva Topics' deprecation. Her volunteer work led to a fortuitous connection with an education expert, resulting in mutual benefits and a new friendship. Concurrently, Heather, while volunteering as community staffer, interacted with the Microsoft Copilot team, gaining insights into the product's features and witnessing a demonstration of a new feature for summarizing Word documents online.

Bridging the gap between individual contributions and collective enlightenment, the conference not only highlighted the personal journeys of Susan and Heather but also echoed the broader narrative of empowerment through 'power skills', where technology serves as a catalyst for ethical advancement and human-centric growth. Microsoft 365 Copilot sessions provided insights on governance, security, and adoption, emphasizing responsible usage and training. The workshops, particularly on communication and adoption, were impactful, drawing significant attendance and engagement over technical sessions. Joy spoke specifically about Microsoft's commitment to these power skills, particularly through sessions on mentoring and allyship, underscores the importance of the human aspect in technology.


MVP Volunteers at the Microsoft 365 Conference


In conclusion, the Microsoft 365 Community Conference was a resounding success, bringing together professionals from all over the world to learn about the latest innovations in Microsoft 365, including Copilot and Viva. The conference offered attendees the opportunity to attend sessions on a wide range of topics, including governance, employee experience, and community building. Attendees shared transformative experiences, exchanged valuable advice, and built new connections, highlighting the value of in-person events. The conference showcased the power of Microsoft 365 to drive innovation and solve real business challenges, and left attendees inspired and ready to implement what they had learned. For an event recap, feel free to check out this article.



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