First week as a Microsoft Regional Director – what did I learn?

It’s been my first week as a Regional Director and I thought it would be useful to report back on what I’ve learned so far.

Firstly, many existing RDs and Microsoft team members have been in touch to welcome me and it’s been such a nice experience. They are all incredibly nice. I feel I’m joining a warm group of people. There has been no shred of animosity and I have not heard anyone say a bad thing about anyone else. That’s very important to me. They are exemplary models of being the ‘bigger’ person. I will learn to be more sharing and perhaps even more trusting as part of this group, and, on an individual level, some healing as well. I’m joining a group of people who will be good for me. Sometimes it’s hard to work out who is good for you and who isn’t, and I am inspired by them to work even harder at being someone who is good for others.

Secondly, I learned that some of my friends are joining the Program too – Stacia Varga and Reza Rad. I’m thrilled to be joining with them and very excited about the opportunity to work with them.

Strangely, I learned that a lot of people don’t know what an RD is. Some Microsoft team members didn’t know, either, but I was buoyed by their happiness that they thought I was joining them! So I’ve had to explain that it is a community role. Hopefully I can help to explain as I figure things out, too.

Any questions, please leave a comment.

 

Microsoft Regional Director and setting an example with diversity and inclusion

I am now a Microsoft Regional Director! I have a lot of people to thank and I’m still overwhelmed and digesting the news. I want to do a really good job of this role and it’s a real gift. I understand it’s a mark of people’s faith in me and I don’t want to let people down. As always, this is a personal opinion and I don’t represent anyone else.

Microsoft, particularly recently, have become champions of diversity and inclusion. I was always happy to see diverse group members taking centre spotlight on the stage at events, for example, and women like Lara Rubbelke, Rimma Nehme and Julie Lerman were women I admired very much as leaders in their own right, who happened to be female as well. In my field of data, there are a ton of very talented women that inspire me: Jen Underwood, Claudia Imhoff, Stacia Varga, to name a few.

I want to thank Microsoft for continuing their journey as leaders in Diversity and Inclusion. In doing so, Microsoft are really doing more than ‘democratizing data and AI to the masses’. They are redefining the future by striving to becoming impact champions for diversity and equality in the workplace globally, and they are setting an example. It’s part of their DNA; embedded and unfolding.  Women are a minority in IT, that’s for sure. But our clout is growing and it gives me hope for the future, and it’s companies like Microsoft who are leading the way.

cups

I’m not sure why I was awarded the Microsoft Regional Director Award. I’m hugely grateful. I’ll probably never find out. But I like to think that Microsoft are on a mission to ensure that diverse voices are given leadership roles and a place at the table. I don’t think I got it because I’m female; people forget I’ve done postgraduate work in Artificial Intelligence at a university in Paris. I’ve run my own business for 8 years, and my current customer list in my current projects have combined turnovers of nearly £25 billion. In terms of other collateral, I also have a customer who reports right into Whitehall. My customers don’t pick me because I’m female; they pick me because I can help them and I’m prepared to cut myself on bleeding edge projects. Not bad for a single mother from a deprived part of Scotland. I’ve had to work ten times as hard for everything I have, and it’s been hard work plus love and support of great people that has fuelled me to get me this far.

What is a Microsoft Regional Director?

I got a whole slew of messages on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to congratulate me, and I was overwhelmed. I did also get the question ‘what is an RD?’ so hence I’m writing this blog. What is an RD?

Taken from the official blog: The Regional Director Program provides Microsoft leaders with the customer insights and real-world voices it needs to continue empowering developers and IT professionals with the world’s most innovative and impactful tools, services, and solutions.

Established in 1993, the program consists of 150 of the world’s top technology visionaries chosen specifically for their proven cross-platform expertise, community leadership, and commitment to business results. You will typically find Regional Directors keynoting at top industry events, leading community groups and local initiatives, running technology-focused companies, or consulting on and implementing the latest breakthrough within a multinational corporation.

Regional Directors and MVPs are not Microsoft employees

I have had a lot of ‘Congratulations for joining Microsoft!’ messages – some of them from Microsoft team members – so I thought it was a good opportunity to clear up that RDs, like MVPs, are not paid. It’s an honour and a responsibility and there is no pecuniary advantage.

So what’s next?

I am not sure. But watch this space. I have ideas and things are bubbling. I look forward to your comments and thoughts; please leave a note below, if you like!

 

pumpkins