Spring is always a great time for community events and this spring was not been a disappointment. People ask me what it is I enjoy about the community events and my answer is simple. The people. Sure, we all share a passion for technology and have an appetite to learn or a willingness to share (and in my case, both), but it's the people I get excited about surrounding myself with. This spring I visited Mexico City where I attended GetCSLatam and I wanted to share my experience.
GetCSLatam is an in-person, mid-size free Microsoft Community Days event with both English and Spanish Speakers, hosted in Mexico City. Over two days, attendees heard from local and international speakers about Microsoft Teams and related technologies. Organized by MVP Rodolfo Castro, GetCSLatam has a mix of user-focused and deep technical sessions with an emphasis on Teams calling and devices. In addition to the three session tracks, there were opportunities for workshops led by Microsoft Partners like Poly, Neat, and Audiocodes. This event is best for Spanish speaking attendees, however, I would urge English speaking experts to look at presenting as well since most attendees also speak English and session subtitles can be used in PPT.
While at GetCSLatam, I spent much of my time with local University Student, Fernanda De La Cruz Castro. Fernanda was introduced to me by MVP, Laura Sanchez who one of Fernanda's mentors and professors. While Fernanda was a tremendous help with translating and navigating the area, she opened my eyes to many of the challenges we see with young women looking at careers in technology. I'll share more about Fernanda and our time together in another blog, soon. If I had one take-away for you, I'd ask each of you to bring someone along with you who is early in their career or simply looking at the possibility of a career in technology. I promise you'll go into it thinking you're doing them a favor and come out of it learning more from them they you could imagine.
A few of us led a Women in Teams panel where we shared our experience with careers in technology. The room was standing room only. It was so nice hearing different perspectives from partners, MVPs, and Microsoft employees who are all working with Microsoft Teams in some way, but took very different paths to get there. Some of the men who attended had great questions and experiences to share as well; I feel good about the future of Women in Technology but it's going to take time and all of our help to continue helping that curve trend upwards.
The event offered lots of time to check out vendors in the Expo; I enjoyed catching up with Matt Landis of Landis Technologies LLC (If you haven't seen their Attendant Console for Teams, you should) and had fun with the neat folks while I dreamed about some new devices. If you're an IT Pro or someone deploying Teams for your organization, community events are a wonderful way to see a lot of vendors in a single place where you can talk with experts but also see products in person and watch demos, get your questions answered, and try before you buy. The Expo schedule and session schedule was all easy to find using the Just Attend app.
It was fun sharing about the MVP Program and answering questions solving the mystery behind the Program. Spoiler alert - there really isn't any and you can learn more here. https://mvp.microsoft.com.
I think I had the best conference food I have ever had at this event. Several speakers enjoyed an excellent dinner together prior to the event with the Landis Technologies team to kick things off. Thank you to my fellow speakers who helped me order. Lunch each day was a buffet of fresh fish, tacos, spicy sauces, meat fresh off the grill, and a crepe dessert station. I am pretty sure I have more pictures of food at this conference than I've ever taken before. After a quick tour of the city, we had a very fun social where I brought my smokey bugs to share - bought straight from a vendor off the street. It was a fun gathering and great seeing the vibrant community in Latin America in person.
Beyond the great content, the expertise, the food and fun, the community in this region is exceptionally strong. It is a great community to learn from others, share experiences, and ask for help. Everyone was so welcoming and excited about what they are working on. Definitely one of the community events to watch!
@Rodolfo, thank you for taking time out of your busy life to organize such a professional, fun, learning experience for this community. I'm looking forward to hearing dates for next year. Follow @GetCSLatam on Twitter and stay tuned for future events.