Online IT Pro Conference MVPDays provides a platform for knowledge-sharing and community connection
Published Oct 29 2019 03:41 PM 1,731 Views
Steel Contributor

Around this time last year, we found out about MVPDays, an IT Pro conference run by MVP husband and wife team Dave and Cristal Kawula, who are based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Founded in 2014 as an in-person event series, MVPDays morphed into an online version after sponsorship for physical events dried up.

 

Since launching online, MVPDays has been hugely successful as not only an opportunity for presenters to share their knowledge with the community, but also for them to develop as speakers and interact with their audiences through live Q&A during the talks. 

 

Having to go from hosting in-person events to an online format was clearly a blessing in disguise for MVPDays. The online events now have worldwide reach, and MVPDays is even being treated as an online community

 

In its first year as an online event series, MVPDays had over 6,000 people register for their events and a total of over 125 sessions delivered by existing and future MVPs. A year on, we caught up with Dave to see how MVPDays has grown over the last 12 months.

 

It’s certainly been a year packed full of informative and interesting events. 2019’s top sessions included: S2D Simulations Using WSLab, delivered by Jaromir Kaspar, with over 18,000 YouTube views, S2D Networking Best Practices, given by Dan Cuomo, and a deep dive into Azure Network Watcher, presented by Peter De Tender. 

 

“The MVPDays YouTube channel is growing month on month,” said Dave. “Over the last 28 days, over 23,000 minutes have been watched, and the number of subscribers is growing by about 20% each month. Some of the interactive chats even last all day. Attendees find it very valuable, and we actually get way more views after the actual live event.”

 

And it’s not just viewers that are benefitting from the sessions. “One of the coolest things to happen over the past year was the transformation we saw in long-time MVPDays viewer, Kristopher Turner. Kristopher was very keen to get involved, but felt scared to present his own event,” explained Dave. “A year ago I talked him into doing his first presentation, which led to him speaking at user groups and conferences. Earlier this year he became a Microsoft MVP, and a few days ago, he actually accepted a position at Microsoft.”

 

This just goes to show not only the impact that MVPDays has on its attendees, but also the opportunity it offers for presenters to learn and grow. 

 

None of this would be possible without the vital contributions of the volunteer presenters. Dave would like to give a special shoutout to John O’Neill Sr., who is currently a Reconnect member working to regain his MVP Award. “John has been instrumental in helping me produce content and work behind the scenes during the show. Cristal and I can’t do this all by ourselves, so we’d like to say a special thanks to John,” Dave added.

 

“I’d also like to give a shout out to our behind the scenes team, who have worked tirelessly to make MVPDays what it is today. To Cristal Kawula, Emile Cabot, and Cary Sun: Without any of your support, none of this would be possible,” added Dave. “They never ask for any credit for any of  this work, and just do it for the love of the community. That, to me, is the definition of an MVP.

 

In terms of the future for MVPDays, it’s never been brighter. “We continue to offer a diverse lineup of both MVP and non-MVP speakers. Over the next 12 months, we are thinking about bringing back some in-person events across North America,” said Dave. “We have found having a mix of both in-person and online events is key in connecting with the IT community. The format for these shows is still TBD, but know we are working on something cool.”

 

MVPDays is a prime example of the value of the (current and aspiring) MVP community and the kinds of opportunities it offers for its members to learn, share, and grow. Led by Dave and Cristal and with the vital contributions of its volunteers, there’s no doubt that MVPDays will continue to help and connect the IT community for years to come.

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