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Zoe 365 Reflections on 2022

2022 saw big career changes

The start of the new year is a good time to reflect and look back on 2022, including all the wonderful moments, the highs, the lows and everything in between. It feels like sharing my reflections on Zoe 365 is a good place to start the new calendar year. 2022 was a strange year for me, as it saw me change roles for the first time in 5 years – which wasn’t on my radar at the start of the year.

I spent 5 years working for Agilisys, and during my time there I worked in multiple roles, with a huge group of absolutely fantastic people. I learnt so much during my time there and feel I really blossomed as a professional. They supported me through my MVP journey and I was given a huge amount of autonomy during my time there, which allowed me to really make an impact – internally, with clients and within the tech community. Saying goodbye to friends I’d worked with so long was difficult, but at the midway point of the year, I started my new challenge.

At the start of July, I started in a new role at Avanade – where I’m also surrounded by an awesome bunch of people. Avanade is a Microsoft-focused tech firm full of passionate and innovative technologists – it’s a much bigger organisation than my last one, operating on a global scale. This means that I’m surrounded by lots of people who are smarter, more knowledgeable and more experienced than I am, which is really fantastic – it allows me to grow and stretch as a professional, and I’ve already learnt so much in the six months that I’ve been here.

In my new role, I’m the Europe Workplace Value Realisation Offering Lead, and my focus is helping drive value out of investments in workplace technology. This role is great for me, as it allows me to focus on things like employee experience and the future of work, which are topics I’m passionate about (and speak about at community events). However, it has also given me the opportunity to learn more about topics like collab apps / collab controls, frontline worker enablement and the connected workplace. The Microsoft technology space is incredibly exciting at the moment, and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve in 2023.

Awarded MVP for the 2nd year running

Iwas awarded MVP for the first time in August 2021 – and to be honest, felt like a bit of an imposter for most of the following year! Although my roles tend to focus on the art of the possible for technology, I’ve been in leadership positions for the last 6-7 years which means I’m not delivering hands-on technical solutions. I do however tinker and test a lot of the new stuff that Microsoft release, as I think it’s super important that I actually understand how it all works!

In July 2022, I was delighted to be awarded MVP for the second year running – this went some way to convincing me that the first year wasn’t a complete fluke! πŸ˜‚

In the last 12 months, I’ve nominated three community members for the MVP award and am actively supporting others who have either been nominated already, or who I feel are on the right trajectory for MVP. I’m always happy to talk to people who are active in the community and want to know more about what it means to be an MVP – if this is you, please feel free to contact me.

My second MVP award, being inspected by one of my cats, Mishka

The Viva Explorers

In 2022, a group of MVPs formed the Viva Explorers, which is a community of like-minded Viva evangelists who aim to share knowledge, present and product content together, and generally drive education of what Microsoft Viva is. I’ve already written about the Viva Explorers, so you can find more information on this page.

Community Rocks!

2022 was the year where we really saw more in-person events taking place, and it was just SO fantastic to connect with so many of my community friends in real life.

In the UK, two key highlights were the Scottish Summit in Glasgow, which took place in June, and the South Coast Summit in Southampton, held in October. I was part of the organising team for Scottish Summit, which was a great experience – I’ll write more about this experience in a separate article in coming weeks, as there are some fantastic lessons to share from being part of the team.

I was also a track lead and volunteer at South Coast Summit for the second year running, and again this was another great event. Microsoft Ignite clashed with this event, so we started proceedings early with an Ignite watch day on the Thursday, followed by pre-conference workshops on the Friday. Myself, Chirag Patel and Kevin McDonnell delivered our Viva and Syntex workshop again, which was a lot of fun. The social activity at South Coast was great, with an Oktoberfest event on the Friday, and the charity pub quiz on the Saturday.

Talking of the pub quiz, my team won both the Scottish Summit and the South Coast Summit pub quiz events, which is definitely up there as a highlight of 2022! In 2023, we’ll be aiming to retain our crown for sure. πŸ‘‘

Another massive highlight for me was getting to speak in-person at the European SharePoint Conference for the first time. It was also my first time to Copenhagen, which is a beautiful city.

In 2020, I was selected to speak at ESPC which was meant to be held in Amsterdam – however, the pandemic forced this event to go virtual, so 2022 was my first time attending the event in-person. It was an amazing experience, I loved everything about it. And it felt like a great way to finish the years events.

The image below shows most of the speakers at the event – there were some great Microsoft presenters, as well as some of my community heroes who I’ve looked up to for years.

ESPC was great for me on many levels. We delivered a workshop on Viva and Syntex to a much bigger audience which was a lot of fun, and the Viva Explorers delivered a panel session as well. I got to network and interact with some incredible people from Microsoft and the global tech community. I learnt a huge amount, and was able to have a lot of fun during the week in Copenhagen.

I’m hoping I will be lucky enough to be selected again for this coming years event!

Looking Ahead to 2023

I don’t generally make New Years Resolutions, as I find it sets me up for failure.

Instead, as I look ahead to 2023, I’ve set goals for the year ahead.

  • Focus on being healthy – this looks like eating better, drinking less and exercising more.
  • Be more consistent about creating online content – hence, starting this blog, Zoe 365! I will aim to post something at least weekly throughout the year.
  • Be happy!
  • Make an impact in my new role in 2023.
  • Actively mentor / sponsor new female talent into public speaking and community activities.