Tag Archives: MVP

MVP Community Connection in Dallas

One of the coolest things about being a Microsoft MVP is the invitations to attend exclusive events. For me, that was recently spending some time in Dallas for the MVP Community Connection. Attendees from all over the state of Texas as well as Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and many more were there to represent the Central Region. I can summarize my time there with 4 themes: connect, learn, engage and fun!


At the event, we had a variety of speakers from Microsoft and MVPs in attendance. A nice surprise was to meet a few students in technology.

I had the valuable opportunity to meet my official MVP Central Region representative and learned about some updates and developments within the MVP program. They announced only 4,000 MVPs currently in the world and I’m grateful to be part of this elite group for the 5th year in a row.


Topics discussed included Leadership, Technical Presentations, Community User Groups, and Special Focus Breakout Sessions. What added a lot of depth to the topics was the ability to hear about others’ experiences and share my own. For example, I was honored to share my experience as an educator working with Davenport University and the challenges the students and teachers face when talking about technology.


By far my favorite presentation was on Imposter Syndrome by Mindy Curnutt, MVP. This was a new concept to me and wildly fascinating.

In short, a person with Imposter Syndrome is someone who is highly qualified – think doctor, lawyer, or MVP – but he doesn’t believe in his own qualifications.

He might talk himself out of making contributions because deep down there is a fear that it’s not “good enough.” For instance, he might feel he’s not “good enough to present at this conference” or to “share his experience” with a team.

Surprisingly, Imposter Syndrome strikes those you would least expect; multi-award winning actors, expert bloggers with millions of readers, and best-selling authors. Individuals with Imposter Syndrome often show up early, stay late, and do way more than anyone else would expect them to do.

The opposite of this is Dunning-Kreuger Effect. Individuals in this category don’t know how incompetent they are, but think they are superior to others and brag about their success. Dunning-Kreuger is the yin to Imposter Syndrome’s yang.

For our audience, we all fell in the Imposter category. We shared some ideas to help ourselves which included, keeping a “compliments” file and asking a friend to dispute your “I’m a fraud” thought process. It was tough to hear all the things people in the room turned down or walked away from just because they didn’t think they were good enough to be selected.


Don’t worry, it wasn’t all classrooms and serious learning! One way we were able to utilize our creative side was our play dough activity. It was a great way to loosen up and laugh together.

We also got together for a social on Friday evening. Getting to know my fellow tech professionals better is one of the highlights of all of my travel.

Overall, I was super energized from this event and made some great connections from the attendees. Looking forward to my next event as a MVP!

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MVP Summit

Once a year all of the awarded Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) are invited to Redmond, Washington for a free event in November (excluding air travel) to connect with other MVPs and Microsoft. This event is unique because you get to connect with other MVPs around the world. During the business day you connect with individuals in your specialty. During breakfast, evening, and other social events, you can talk to anyone. If you opt-in for a hotel roommate, your room is 100% paid, otherwise you pay 50%. This event means a lot to me because you truly feel honored for all that you do throughout the year and you feel that you belong to a family that cares about its software users and evangelists.

MVP Summit welcome sign
MVP Summit Welcome Sign
Rainbow on Arriving Day
Rainbow on Arriving Day
Picture of Cindy in MS Project shirt
Cindy in a Microsoft Project Shirt Ready for Day 1

Just in case you didn’t know, Microsoft is headquartered in Redmond, Washington and the meetings during the business day are held on campus. To get from your hotel to your meeting room is quite an adventure as you bus from your hotel to a central bus terminal and then change buses again to get to where you are going. When people say Microsoft campus is HUGE, they really mean it. One of the most popular stops for the buses is the company store. You can buy trinkets, swag and other items made available to MVPs each year. This store is so popular that they frequently run out of things. I think I got one of the last of these geek stylus/pens this year.

Geek Stylus
Geek Stylus and Pen Sold at Microsoft Store
Xbox Game Heros
Xbox Game Heros Next to Microsoft Store

People always ask me two questions about MVP Summit –

  1. What do you guys talk about in those business meetings? – Well, I am sorry to say that everything they tell us or we discuss in covered under our non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and I really can’t disclose any specifics. However, you will be happy to know that collectively MVPs and Microsoft use this time to share what we have all learned over the year. And yes, customers will be interested to know that we talk about them and their problems when we think it will benefit the group. By the time the week is out, we have exchanged ideas, taken an action list, and look forward to what is coming next.
  2. How do I become an MVP? – Another good question – there isn’t really one magic formula but there is a process. The first step in the process is to be nominated – usually by another MVP or by someone at Microsoft. The second step in the process involves something that occurs behind closed doors, but you are notified that you have been nominated and are asked to submit documentation that would support being given this award. As an example, when I provided documentation it was about 20 pages long and covered over 10 years of my efforts in the community. The third step is everything is evaluated and if you are lucky, you receive the MVP award. The final step is the fun part – receive your award package, sign your NDA and begin using all of your benefits.
    1. You might get nominated numerous times and never make the initial cut.
    2. This is an award that must be “earned” each year and no one is guaranteed a renewal.
    3. You are always compared with other MVPs in your specialty. This keeps the bar set high for accomplishments.
    4. A majority of the things I do that contribute to my MVP renewal are unpaid things (e.g., working on professional association boards, giving free demos, working booths, and sharing knowledge).
    5. There is always room for an MVP to be creative and come up with something new that benefits the community. Shout out to Prasanna Adavi for creating the first ever Project Virtual Conference.

If you are interested in learning about some of the things I do as an MVP, check out my profile at: http://tinyurl.com/mdnsp8j.  Note: Confidential entries are only available to Microsoft.

US MVPs in Photo at an Evening Event
US MVPs in Photo at an Evening Event

Personally I feel extremely honored to have been given this award 4 years in a row. I continue to value the knowledge and networking with other MVPs and Microsoft.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

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