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Tuesday, March 5, 2019

VMUG Leader Summit 2019

I had the privilege of flying out to Palo Alto to VMware HQ to attend the VMUG Leader Summit last week. I had so much fun connecting with old friends and meeting new ones. Leaders from all around the world were hosted by VMware on campus. We had a great lineup of speakers and activities waiting for us when we arrived. We had the honor of a special talk from VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger.
Here are some of the quick stats they showed in the opening of the meeting:

  • 350 years of experience
  • 30+ countries
  • 116 communities
  • 350+ years of leadership experience
  • 39 new leaders
  • 66% first time attendees

I was excited to be one of those new leaders and a first time summit attendee. It was a bit surreal to be sitting in the Elastic Sky theater listening to a talk by Pat Gelsinger that he had made special for us!

I really enjoyed his talk on the 5 L's of leadership. Here are the talking points on that presentation:

  • Listen
    • God gave you two ears and one mouth, use them in proportion
    • Hippo effect, listen to the highest paid person since you have shown them that they are important
    • Always listen to the noise (good things and bad)
  • Learn
    • Facilitating a learning environment in your workplace
    • We don't want people that thing the same as we do, since we already know what they think.
    • Leader should always be learning
    • Never waste a good crisis
    • Always learn even in the good times
  • Lifts
    • We must be encouraged, so that we can be an encouragement to others
    • Leader should always lift others and help give a positive outlook to others
    • Leading in the tough times is where you get the most gain
  • Links
    • You should always be linking(connecting) people together
    • Leaders should be deeply passionate of their department and company
    • We all spend more time with our work family, than we do with our own personal family. Therefore treat the people we work with like family
    • Leaders should create the environment that people enjoy their job and the coworkers

Another one of the highlights for me were the round table discussions.

We were able to get into smaller groups with leaders from around the world and hear some of their struggles, and were able to exchange ideas back and forth on topics like getting sponsors for meetings, ideas for giveaways and soliciting member feedback. It was time well spent as the discussions were very helpful.

I enjoyed being able to talk with folks in our group that were from Greece, Italy, Canada, South Africa, and many other countries. It really is awesome to get perspective on what other groups struggle with and what they do well. We were all able to gain some insight from this meetings.

Chris McCain gave a fantastic talk on public speaking that had a lot of great tips and information on how to properly prepare for a talk and to get more out of the crowd. It was a really great presentation. He spoke about how public speaking is storytelling and you need to tell a good story, be able to relate it to the audience and keep them engaged. He mentioned to not just blurt out facts. Relax, slow down and speak clearly. Being anxious will cause you to talk faster than the audience wants and faster than your brain wants. Pausing to gather your thoughts isn't a bad thing even if it may feel like it, as it helps the audience to take in what you just said as well. There were many other tips to help us in our public speaking. Another key point was on the fact that the more you do it the more comfortable you will get with it, I am able to echo his thoughts here. It can even become fun once you settle in and know your topic and audience. See the high points below:

  • Public speaking is Storytelling
  • It all starts with the topic
  • Be the story that you tell
  • Know and engage the audience
  • Be prepared, but know how to dance
  • RELAX, chill the effout

During the reception we had a great time meeting with various VMware Product SME's and discussed their product offerings and were able to participate in a contest to help the VMware SME's win a prize. This was based on who got the most votes and visitors to their booth. I am happy to report my buddy Cody De Arkland won, here is a photo of him taking a victory lap with his prize!

I was also glad to finally have the opportunity to meet and chat with Sanjay Poonen, the COO of VMware at the reception. Very nice guy and down to earth!

I was able to meet with Jenni Gonzales who works for the VMware Technical Network and receive the VMTN Community Warrior hat that goes with the award I received a few weeks ago. That was really cool to get that while on campus and it is appreciated!

I can't forget to mention the awesome Jeff Goodall campus tour! This was a lot of fun as he showed us around the grounds and gave us a lot of the history behind the campus, building purposes and layout, and how it has grown over the years. Jeff has an awesome personality and delivers the tour with gusto! If you have the opportunity do not pass up on his tour! We would've loved to see the famous VMware turtles but unfortunately they were in winter hibernation, but we did get to see their pond! Here are a few photos of the tour.

I want to thank both VMware and VMUG for giving me the opportunity to attend and helping equip me to succeed as a leader in this awesome vCommunity! Thanks for reading, cheers!

Excerpts of this post were taken from the excellent notes that Stephen Massman took at the conference. Thank you Stephen for sharing them! They were much more organized than my personal notes!

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