Reflecting on my first 6 months working at Centriq Training

Today I celebrate having been a Microsoft 365 Training Specialist at Centriq Training in Kansas City, Missouri for exactly 6 months. That may not seem like much to some, but it’s euphoric for me.

My previous two positions (and workplaces) before Centriq were not great fits for me and I stayed in each for less than a year. At each, I remember trying to push and mold the role and environment into something that would fit better. This strategy served me well in the past, but these positions and their individual contexts were proving inflexible in the way I needed them to be in order to feel well-utilized and happy.

The search continued.

Interviewing for Centriq

I applied for a role at Centriq last year when I saw it open on LinkedIn. I knew the name Centriq as a local powerhouse of corporate IT training and career skilling programs. I had only led training initiatives and occasional trainings in many of my previous roles but had never seriously considered doing it full time. But I knew I loved developing training content, helping people succeed in utilization of M365 tools, sharing knowledge, and ultimately building community near and far.

Centriq would be taking a gamble if they considered me. This Chamberlain guy just wrote a couple books, had a blog, spoke at some events, but wasn’t a “real trainer.” His history was all systems admin, business analysis, and consultant-ish. They could see I had two positions in the last year. Still, they called to arrange an interview.

My interview experience consisted of a phone screening, two separate one-on-one interviews, an “audition” training in a classroom of my would-be peers, and finally one-on-ones with those would-be peers afterwards. Each and every step of the way didn’t tax me at all – I already felt that I was speaking to “real” people who believed in the work they were doing. They weren’t interested in filling a vacancy – they wanted to build a team.

One of the most memorable things from the interviews is when Emma, now my Director, told me she built her own Power Automate flows and loved doing it.

I’m sure I did a double-take here. Did she say she enjoyed using a Microsoft 365 product and, moreso, chose to use it voluntarily because she realized the value it brought despite the work that went into learning and building in it?

I can’t tell you how often in the past co-workers (both peers and managers) would tell me tales of how and why they despise (or completely reject) the tech they “have to use” or manage. Often, this negativity was directed toward Microsoft 365 – the suite I managed, taught, became certified in, wrote books about, blogged about, and for which I became an MVP. And, in most cases, I’d venture to guess the negativity toward tech was actually more about change than the tech.

But this would be one of the first times in recent history my company wasn’t just using the bare minimum but excelling at using it regularly for real business processes…and enjoying it?

I was also excited to work with Craig, a fellow M365 trainer, who already during the interview was energized talking about engagement tools and classroom strategies.

I got to meet Mickie again, who I’d known outside of Centriq, who is our lead in the M365 space. She and Jessica, our VP of Operations, shared an enthusiasm for our direction as a team and company I found so very refreshing.

These seemingly small early interactions gave me a glimpse into the culture at Centriq and I wanted more. Positivity and joy are contagious.

Every single person, no matter their official role, cared about sharing knowledge, training, working hard, and making the most of Microsoft 365 apps and services. If you’ve gotten to meet any of our team, you’ll know firsthand that the enthusiasm and belief in what we do out in the community is palpable.

I was hired, and I couldn’t wait to dive in.

Centriq’s culture

Now, reflecting at 6 months in, I have the good fortune of working with some of the kindest, most intelligent and creative professionals. Centriq has built a team across Kansas City and St. Louis that is made up of community advocates, innovative techies, amazing mentors, hard-working trainers, and inspiring leaders.

I haven’t felt that old “escape” urge to apply or look elsewhere. I know now from experience how hard it is to find a place and a role that uses your entire skillset regularly. But what really makes Centriq special is the people I work with daily. And, looking back, what I appreciated most about all of my previous roles was also the people with whom I built positive working relationships and friendships.

My first day was during my birthday week and Amy, our HR Manager, greeted me with homemade cookies, iced to perfection (see below). I’d later see that Amy had built her own stunning SharePoint site, Power Automate flows, and taught courses sometimes as well.

Birthday cookies from Amy’s Cookies.

As I adjusted to my new role, I expressed interest in pursuing my Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) credential. My leadership team not only said “Absolutely” but “Absolutely, and we’d also like to support you in getting your CompTIA Certified Technical Trainer (CTT+) cert while you’re at it.”

When I needed a classroom of students to participate in my CTT+ cert’s recorded practical component, my co-workers (some of whom I had only just met that day) volunteered their entire day to help me and another trainer be successful in meeting our certification requirements.

When the annual MVP Summit came up this year, I was given time during the workday to attend as professional development.

During a few back-to-back weeks of strenuous training deliveries, Lea, one of our Directors, was checking on me regularly not just from the “how can I help” perspective, but as a human being just checking on the wellbeing of another.

Our marketing team arranges and executes amazing, free webinars for the public on M365 (and other) topics. This is just one of the myriad things they’re working on during any given day. I’m grateful to be asked to present several of these. I’ve always cared deeply about creating accessible learning opportunities and knowing we regularly provide free training opportunities to a global community warms my heart. We couldn’t be the voice and influence in the community we’ve come to be without our amazing Marketing team (looking at you, Alison, Hannah, Elizabeth, and Ted). Thanks to their efforts, you’ll find us on LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

And there are a total of four of us on the M365 trainer team: Mickie, Craig, Julie, and myself. Mickie and I handle a lot of custom training requests, and get to work together on new content outlines and deliveries. Craig and I create videos for our Centriq eTraining portal so we get many chances to co-create amazing, polished content for our customers. Julie is always willing to sit on a professional development webinar with me to learn or, when I’m presenting, moderate chat. I’m proud to get to co-author with, co-teach with, or moderate occasionally for each of these fantastic trainers, learning from them their unique experiences along the way. We learn, grow, and create successes together, and that’s all I ever wanted in a team.

I am supported every day.

Overall, when I have ideas, they’re heard. When I have questions, they’re answered. When I have problems, my peers help me through them. When I have frustrations, we find solutions. When I need a friend, I have one. When I need a mentor, they’re everywhere. When I’m feeling imposter syndrome or stressed, my colleagues make me feel like a million bucks and that weight falls away.

These qualities in my co-workers are not mandated by job descriptions, taught in orientation, part of a checklist, etc. These people just ARE the amazing way they are – you can’t teach or buy that.

I haven’t felt alone since starting, even though 99% of my time is spent away from my co-workers interacting primarily remotely. We work together well and I am only successful because we build every success together as a team.

While a lot of this is specific to my experience, I also get to see these amazing colleagues support each other in the same ways. Centriq has fostered this culture of positivity, transparency, empathy, supporting one another, being inclusive and open-minded, celebrating every win, working hard, continually improving (individually and as a company), and so much more I’m still picking up on.

If you had told me a year ago that this sort of place existed, I would have asked you which fantasy novel you were reading.

Wrapping up

I can easily get emotional when I reflect on where I’m at today. I was not in a good place emotionally or mentally in 2020 (and I know I’m certainly not alone there). I allowed my former co-workers and social media (and my self-talk eventually) to tell me a tale of the world that convinced me I didn’t belong and would never be safe or happy again. I was a cog in an outdated machine. I started to believe that I deserved to be unhappy, that I’d hit a wall in my career, that karma was collecting extortionist rent, and that this world ultimately wasn’t for me despite my efforts to belong.

I was wrong.

I’m glad I didn’t give up. I’m glad I believed, despite the mountain of depression and anxiety resting on me more heavily each day, that things would get better. I believed hard work, perseverance, and bravery would all amount to something. I worked on my self-talk and reminded myself that not all roads are straight. Not all successful journeys are without pain, loss, or risk.

Today I don’t have to pretend to be someone else, or minimize my personality to make my co-workers more comfortable. I don’t have to bottle up my thoughts, ideas, or feelings because I know they’ll be respected, even if we were to disagree on something. I can be enthusiastic and nerdy about what I’m passionate about, and be accepted (if not encouraged to be even nerdier).

I can’t understate how amazing it is to feel seen and supported every single day. I went without that for so long, and some days the old me whispers that I’m unworthy of this joy and peace or that it won’t last. But, like former positions, I’m letting go of those thoughts and memories that are no longer serving me. I know I’m exactly where I’m meant to be, doing what makes me happy, alongside the best people around.

Are you searching for your next role?

If you find yourself looking for a role that’s better, just know that it’s out there. Know that it can take time, and may involve some frustrating detours on the route. Detours are just learning experiences in the journey. And time is an excellent space in which to keep applying, developing skills, practicing talents, and improving your self-talk.

Also, stick to your values and protect your individuality. Don’t sacrifice your happiness, potential, or personality to run someone else’s machine that doesn’t serve you. You’ll find the job (or it’ll find you). It’s out there.

And if you ever feel like talking about your journey, whether you’re overjoyed or dealing with a detour, you’ve got an ally (me) you can chat with anytime on LinkedIn or Twitter.

MS-500 Microsoft 365 Security Administration Exam Study Guide

This summer, Microsoft announced changes to the MS-500 exam objectives. Below you’ll find the updated listing for June 2020 and beyond with links to relevant documentation. The best way to use this study guide is to find the topics you’re least familiar with and focus on those. In any remaining time, you can always review those you’re familiar with to make sure nothing has changed significantly.

As stated on the MS-500 exam page, potential candidates for the MS-500 exam implement, manage and monitor security and compliance solutions for Microsoft 365 and hybrid environments. Professionals familiar with the content of the exam are well-positioned to secure their Microsoft 365 environments by responding to threats, performing investigations, enforcing data governance, and collaborating with other enterprise professionals on security and compliance topics.

Register for the MS-500 exam

Skills measured

  • Implement and manage identity and access (30-35%)
  • Implement and manage threat protection (20-25%)
  • Implement and manage information protection (15-20%)
  • Manage governance and compliance features in Microsoft 365 (20-25%)

MS-500 Study Guides

Objectives with online documentation for study

Implement and manage identity and access (30-35%)

Secure Microsoft 365 hybrid environments

Secure Identities

Implement authentication methods

Implement conditional access

Implement role-based access control (RBAC)

Implement Azure AD Privileged Identity Management (PIM)

Implement Azure AD Identity Protection

Implement and manage threat protection (20-25%)

Implement an enterprise hybrid threat protection solution

Implement device threat protection

Implement and manage device and application protection

Implement and manage Office 365 ATP

Implement Azure Sentinel for Microsoft 365

Implement and manage information protection (15-20%)

Secure data access within Office 365

Manage Azure information Protection (AIP)

Manage Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

Implement and manage Microsoft Cloud App Security

Manage governance and compliance features in Microsoft 365 (25-30%)

Configure and analyze security reporting

Center

Center

Manage and analyze audit logs and reports

Manage data governance and retention

Manage search and investigation

Manage data privacy regulation compliance

My imperfect Humans of IT (HoIT) blog post

I’m thrilled and humbled to have had the opportunity to be a guest blogger over on Microsoft’s Humans of IT (HoIT) blog. My post is about balancing all our obligations, embracing imperfection, and leaving room for joy in our endeavors.

You can read the post here.

Shoutout to Shona, Ally, Oniel, and William for the opportunity and helping to make the post the best it can be.

If you’d like to apply to be the next HoIT guest blogger, you can do so at aka.ms/guestbloggers.

Nate’s 2019 in Review

Reflection, to me, is an important part of my growth. It can be difficult to move forward without acknowledging and appreciating how far we’ve come. In this post, I’ll share a bit of what 2019 brought to my career journey, preparing me for 2020.

Update: Goals from 2018

In last year’s reflection post, I made the following goals:

10/19/2019SharePoint Saturday Kansas City“You’re the one, OneNote! How to be more productive with OneNote”
9/21/2019SharePoint Saturday Pittsburgh“Rise of the Advocates: Building and leading governance and champions groups”
9/21/2019SharePoint Saturday Pittsburgh“OneDrive 101: Welcome to OneDrive for Business”
8/23/2019SharePoint Fest Seattle“You’re the one, OneNote!”
8/22/2019SharePoint Fest Seattle“SharePoint Wizardry for Content Management, Archiving, & Retention”
8/21/2019SharePoint Fest Seattle“Building the Intranet of the Future: Using SharePoint to Empower Collaboration”
8/3/2019SharePoint Saturday Omaha“SharePoint Wizardry for Content Management, Archiving, & Retention”
8/3/2019SharePoint Saturday OmahaKeynote: “Rise of the Advocates: Building and leading governance and champions groups”
4/18/2019Baltimore SharePoint User Group“SharePoint Wizardry for Content Management, Archiving, & Retention”
3/17/2019MVP Global SummitAttendee
3/14/2019North American Collaboration Summit“SharePoint Wizardry for Content Management, Archiving, & Retention”
2/11/2019Kansas City Office 365 User Group“You’re the one, OneNote! How to be more productive with OneNote”
1/19/2019SharePoint Saturday, St. Louis“Building the Intranet of the Future: Using SharePoint to Empower Collaboration”
1/14/2019Kansas City Office 365 User Group“The ABCs of SharePoint: 26 ways SharePoint can enhance your digital workplace”

I met my goals, but the best part of all of it was meeting so many of you in the community. I’m motivated by everyone’s energy and curiosity and can’t wait to see what we collectively achieve in 2020.

Reflections on 2019

  • I now have three books, two published in 2019
  • I still lead LSPUG, and am grateful Greg Swart accepted my invitation to join me as co-Director
  • After speaking with MVP community leaders, transformation to the nomination and award process re-interested me in the program, and I was awarded MVP for Office Apps and Services in February
  • I passed four exams and earned two new certifications
    1. Passed MS-300 + MS-301 = M365 Teamwork Admin Associate
    2. That certification, plus MS-100 + MS-101 = M365 Enterprise Admin Expert
  • Spoke at:
    • TWO national conferences (North American Collaboration Summit and SharePoint Fest Seattle)
    • FOUR SharePoint Saturdays (St. Louis, Omaha, Pittsburgh, and Kansas City)
    • TWO user groups other than my own
  • Gave my first keynote for any event, at SPS Omaha
  • Attended my first MVP Summit
  • Appeared on two podcasts
  • Left LMH Health, and the healthcare industry, to take on new challenges in the corporate realm at DH Pace

Goals for 2020

Honestly, I don’t know what’s next and I don’t have a clear vision of where I want to be. But here are a few things I am interested in pursuing along the way to wherever I’m headed:

  • Gaining another certification
  • Learning more SQL, Azure, and AI
  • More blogging and speaking on the Power Platform
  • Writing fiction (what??)

Thank you

I am grateful to University of Kansas Libraries and LMH Health for helping me gain valuable experience and knowledge over the last several years. Within your walls I made amazing connections and friends who inspire me regularly. And without your support, I wouldn’t have achieved much of what’s shared in this post.

Thank you to my colleagues at DH Pace for making me feel welcome and valued as a new member of the team. I’m excited to see what we achieve this year.

Thank you to all of the SharePoint Saturday, national conference, and user group organizing committees who welcomed me to their respective stages this year. Meeting your enthusiastic attendees is always a highlight of my year.

Thank you to Tara Saylor, Suzanne Hunt, Nikkia Carter, Jonathan Weaver, April Dunnam, Stacy Deere-Strole, Sharon Weaver, Matthew J. Bailey, Melissa Hubbard, Shadeed Eleazer, Akdas Asif, and Mohamed Ubaid for sharing your time and expertise with the Lawrence SharePoint User Group.

Thank you to my Twitter and LinkedIn connections. I enjoy learning from you and getting to know you.

And, as always, thank you to the attendees, the readers, and listeners – you’re a continuous source of inspiration and joy. I wish each of you growth, happiness, and love this year and I hope you’ll say hello if our paths cross in 2020.

Failing forward: Analyzing the aftermath

When you fail at something, you have a few choices and it’s perfectly natural to want to spend time doing a bit of each.

  • Dwell and be miserable; where’s the ice cream?
  • Move on; pretend it never happened
  • Move on, but harvest any useful bits of knowledge from the experience

The fact of the matter is that when we fail, we still gain something no matter how painful the failure was. Failure provides an opportunity to grow, and awakens a mental “trigger” that helps us avoid failing in the same way twice.

In my book Rise of the Advocates, I detail a story from my first job working at Dairy Queen. I was making my first banana split for a customer and it was beautiful. I was so proud of it, and honored that my supervisor let me even attempt such an intricate treat.

When I handed the masterpiece to the customer waiting in his car, he immediately held it up to the car’s dome light and asked, “Where’s the banana?” I had forgotten the banana – in the banana split.

It’s a mistake I didn’t make twice, and a failure that taught me to review instructions before starting, double-check my work, and even to ask for help when attempting something new. And while this is a low-risk, nearly harmless failure, the process of response and growth is the same as high-risk failures.

It can be difficult to immediately look upon any failure with even a remote sense of gratitude. In these times it’s helpful to remember you’re not at the end, but just somewhere along the way. A colleague of mine whom I respect, Ava, has a helpful quote tacked to her bulletin board that reads, “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.”

So when you’re ready, analyze your failure in search of those valuable moments along the road that will ultimately help get you to that beautiful destination.

Here are some things to consider after failing:

  • Who helped you along the way? Say thanks for that reference or advice. They didn’t support you because you asked, but because you deserved it and they believed in you.
  • If someone asked for your assistance in achieving the same goal at which you just failed, what advice would you now give them? What surprised you about the process, or reactions (or lack thereof) from others?
  • Don’t worry about how the failure reflects on you. To me, and many others, failure looks like you tried to do something great and you will undoubtedly accomplish great things soon.
  • It may be easy to give up. But giving up doesn’t pay as well as trying again.
  • Sometimes trying again means trying something new or different than you first attempted. Failure is an opportunity to pivot.
  • Don’t do anything in response to failure that could hurt your chances at a similar opportunity in the future. Build bridges, don’t burn them. When someone has to close a door, thank them for the experience and before you know it that same someone might be opening that same door and will remember your grace and kindness from before.
  • You have a finite amount of energy each day. Decide now how much you’ll reserve for mourning and how much you’ll direct toward actively pursuing your next target.
  • You don’t have to live up to others’ expectations. Your competitive drive should be only you against yourself. Be greater today than you were yesterday. Let others have their expectations – it’s their energy to do with as they please.
  • Self-care is important. Be careful with your thoughts, as they become actions. If you believe you’re great, you’ll try again. If you believe you’re worthless, you won’t. This can be difficult, but know that you’re not alone and many people who make it look easy were there once too.
  • Your network should empower you, and inspire you. If it’s discouraging you or bringing you down, it’s time to start unfollowing and disconnecting from your energy vampires. Stay connected to people who will push you farther than you ever imagined.
  • Some people want you to fail (or are indifferent). It could be insecurity, jealousy, laziness (not doing their part) or any number of issues but the issues are with them not you. While unfortunate that people in power can use it to hold you down or sabotage your chances, it’s important that you’re aware of these bad apples and can attempt to circumvent them when at all possible. If you must interact with them, interact with them publicly or in group settings so others can witness any unfair or dismissive behaviors. Or if you’re in a position to replace a bad performer, make the leap and replace them.
  • Even when you fail, there’s a lesson to be learned. Are there skills you can develop? Connections you can make? A degree or certification you could pursue? What action would make you more competitive or likely to succeed next time?
  • What actions did you take that didn’t work out so well? What would you do differently? But also what really worked? What triggered a great response and can be replicated next time around?
  • What is at the core of your goal? Is it truly getting that specific position or creating a thriving user group? Or maybe it’s getting a foot in the door at a specific company, or building a strong community? Try to identify what you’re truly after and check in with yourself from time to time to make sure the actions you’re taking are getting you closer to that core.

Remember that we often climb the ladder to our destination more quickly with assistance from those with whom we surround ourselves. Are people in your immediate circle holding you down or pushing you upward? Have you made contact with professionals in a position of power or influence that might be able to recommend or endorse you? Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Try to follow people who are doing something similar to what you want to be doing. Learn from them and their own mistakes. Get to know their secret to success, and what support systems they have built. If nobody is doing what you’re doing, consider yourself a pioneer. Expect an adventure ahead, and be sure to always seek the growth opportunities from failures along the way to make your destination that much more sweet. Someday, and possibly already today, people will consider you a mentor and hope to learn from your successes (and failures).

If you failed, that means you tried. Keep trying, fail when necessary, and ultimately you’ll succeed. The path to your destination won’t always be a straight road and I’ll be here cheering you on around the corners, knowing you’ll make it to your destination soon.

I am an MVP (and so can you!)

A little context

Once upon a time (2 months ago) I had decided to stop pursuing the MVP award. There were a few issues in the process and related communication that were bugging me and made the experience more of a chore than a valued credential. So I withdrew my nomination.

After posting that I received a lot of feedback through public and private channels. Many had a similar experience, some were supportive regardless of my choice, and others disconnected/disappeared or outright let me know I was making a mistake and had brought shame upon their ancestors. Here are GIFs illustrating the general feedback (because GIFs are more fun than the reality):

Some were supportive

From Frozen

Others, less so

So to those of you who had my back, thank you. And to those who didn’t, thanks for the true colors demo.

What’s a credential, anyway?

The thing about any credential is you don’t stop being yourself once you obtain it. When you get a promotion, you shouldn’t shun the people “left behind” or change your personality. But some do anyway. To them, it’s all about their journey and checking off boxes. To others, it’s about achieving something challenging and using that experience and newfound platform to help others up the slope.

When you rise in an organization or obtain a new credential it is, rather, a responsibility of yours to help elevate and develop others. This is what separates great leaders from the rest. Your actions, when credentialed, are also more heavily scrutinized. Do you use your credential selfishly (to promote yourself) or to influence change and build the community?

To poor leaders, growth is all about THEIR journey on their way to better things. To effective leaders, growth is about achieving something challenging and then using that experience and newfound platform to help others up the slope. Click To Tweet

So what’s your legacy? Were you a community builder who made the organization better? Or did you just make sure it didn’t collapse and kept it as it was?

Community Builder

Actively works within and outside the community to make it better by pushing for positive change and helping to introduce new members to the community. Possesses a growth mindset.

Community Supporter

Actively works within the community to maintain success by featuring its own members and initiatives and focusing on the member experience. Possesses a maintenance mindset.

Yes, yes, but what can I actually do?

If the MVP award sits on your desk, let it be a daily reminder that there are hundreds who are seeking that same recognition you received. What are you doing to provide opportunities for those others to shine in your arenas?

  • Run a user group? Reach out to a non-MVP and ask if they’d like to speak.
  • Organizing a conference? Include non-MVPs
  • Have a podcast? Interview a non-MVP
  • Are you a speaker? Share your talents with non-MVP organized events and groups
  • Celebrate the contributions of and interact with non-MVPs on social media

Your promotional materials that say “90% of our speakers are MVPs!” certainly demonstrate how much talent you’re featuring at the event. But those 10% that aren’t MVPs don’t feel included in your marketing plan and, by extension, feel they may have just been filler material.

You can always list “MVP” after the speakers’ names in your listings and let potential registrants do the math themselves. I’d be more inclined to attend a conference where I knew I’d be engaging with speakers who:

  • Started their own company
  • Wrote a book
  • Participates in diversity initiatives
  • Run a podcast I listen to (or might start)
  • Own the blogs or YouTube channels I frequent

Consider celebrating the accomplishments of your entire speaker group, MVPs and non-MVPs alike. If they’re good enough to have at your event then they’re good enough to recognize equally.

“Our speaker lineup includes 10 published authors, 5 CEOs, and 14 active bloggers!” These quantifiable numbers tell a more specific story that others can relate to. Maybe a potential registrant is starting their own blog and would see this as a good opportunity to speak to someone who could help. And the speakers would probably appreciate the additional, specific exposure to their individual accomplishments and contributions.

What I’m saying (as I’m sure you’ve guessed) is that you can be President but that doesn’t necessarily make you a good one.

From Miranda

My next objective

All of this to say, I welcome a new challenge and opportunity into my life today:

I was fortunate to have Jon Levesque, Betsy Weber, and Christian Talavera who each acknowledged my post and took time out of their busy agendas to reach out and talk with me. I consider each of them to be exceptional leaders that not only listen to concerns, but really hear them. I felt that they really wanted to make positive change and improve the program.

Other leaders could have shrugged off my comments and left me to my own devices. But that’s what made these three community builders instead of just community supporters. After talking with them, I learned that some positive change has occurred since I withdrew my nomination and shared my post.

  • The application has some new questions that make it more personal and goal-oriented as much as accomplishment focused
  • Timelines have shifted so that there’s more accountability to those responsible for voting and firmer deadlines to make sure a backlog doesn’t happen
  • Notifications and follow-up will be more standardized with applicants, making sure those anxiously awaiting any news are aware of their current status and know who to contact with questions

My objective is to practice what I’ve preached here. I intend to:

  • Use the credential as a reminder to lift up others so that they too may experience the joy of recognition for their efforts
  • Do what I can to make the program better and improve the nominee experience
  • Continue blogging and speaking to share freely what I’ve learned along the way
  • Continue organizing LSPUG and SPL Scholarships
  • Continue co-organizing SPSKC with Sharon and Jonathan Weaver
  • Continue popping up at events and user groups to share the SP word

With a little help from my friends

Finally, I want to take a moment to thank a few people who kept me motivated and inspired throughout this three year journey. My heartfelt thanks to:

  • Greg Swart who first showed Mike and I the wonders of SharePoint in practice.
  • Dave Peterson and the organizing committee of SPS Omaha for taking a chance on me a few years ago and giving me my first SPS speaking gig.
  • Mike Broadwell and Mary Roach, my bosses while at KU Libraries, who approved my funding request to speak at some non-library conference in Omaha and then continually supported me as I learned and grew in SharePoint and O365.
  • Sharon and Jonathan Weaver who welcomed me to the organizing committee of SPS KC and who have been great partners and friends in our LSPUG and Kansas City O365 UG adventures.
  • Starla Jones and Michael Williams, my bosses at LMH Health, who support me today by entertaining my wild ideas about modern collaboration and organizational communication and who encourage me to keep learning.
  • Tim Canaday, my systems counterpart of LMH Health, whose seemingly infinite wisdom of all things server and structure (and patience when my ideas come faster than my rationality) inspires me to learn things I hadn’t dreamt of learning before and achieve things together I certainly couldn’t do alone.
  • Mark Rackley and the organizing committee of the North American Collaboration Summit for inviting me to speak at my first national, non-SPS conference. Thanks for believing in my value before I had an MVP credential.
  • All of the SPS organizing committees, professors, and user group owners who have welcomed me to speak at their events and classes. I’ve enjoyed Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Omaha, St. Louis, Kansas City (of course), and Denver and am looking forward to upcoming events wherever they may lead me.
  • All of the many speakers who have volunteered their time to share with LSPUG, a small but might user group in the heart of the country.
  • Jag Kakarlapudi for inviting me to speak on the podcast at Modern Work.
  • My sister and parents who are the best cheerleaders and life coaches I could ask for when I’m down or struggling with anything.
  • My husband, William Ottens, and our exchange student Lucas for putting up with the heightened level of nerd I can sometimes bring into the car or house.
My new profile on the MVP Website

Career change from SharePoint Business Analyst in education to SharePoint Systems Engineer in healthcare

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Watson Library | Image credit: Joel Cooper, KU Libraries

I’ve been fortunate these past 2.5 years to work with some incredible colleagues at University of Kansas Libraries. I worked as SharePoint Business Analyst for the libraries (150 staff in 7 branches including an Annex), working to identify solutions using Office 365 to improve communication, collaboration and business processes. I worked to drive adoption and awareness of Office 365 apps and loved everything I was fortunate to be able to do in my time there.

Continue reading “Career change from SharePoint Business Analyst in education to SharePoint Systems Engineer in healthcare”