What a year it’s been. I’m on month 10 of staying at home, working from home, and seeing the world (and friends and family) through a video screen. I’ve lost family to COVID, but am grateful for all those that have recovered and are still with us. And because gratitude carries us farther than sorrow, I’m focusing this “year in review” post on the things I’m most grateful for in 2020.
Companies like Microsoft have gifted us with the ability to stay connected digitally when we can’t be together physically. Seeing friends’ smiling faces on Teams meetings and over FaceTime is priceless. And Microsoft 365 has enabled me to work from home while keeping my family safe. I’ve seen firsthand the sacrifices Microsoft employees have made to increase bandwidth, roll out new features, and support the growth in our community this year. A huge THANK YOU for all you’ve done – you are my heroes!
Microsoft 365 Community
The Microsoft 365 community rocks – especially during a global pandemic. Friends and colleagues around the globe seamlessly transitioned from organizing in-person events to virtual events this year. This is a huge accomplishment, particularly for groups like Microsoft 365 Saturday Saskatchewan whose very first event was held virtually this year. Kudos to Joanne Klein, David Drever, Daniel Glenn, Antonio Maio, Mike Maadarani, Haniel Croitoru, Habib Mankal, Michelle Gilbert, Ryan Schouten, Joel Oleson, Ajay Iyer, and many others that gave of their time and talent to bring us all together. #communityrocks
I attended 20 events in 2020 (1 in-person & 19 virtually). I also had the opportunity to deliver 12 sessions at various conferences and user groups. The push to virtual enabled me to meet so many more people from across the globe at these events…and I was able to do it all in my fuzzy slippers!
What a gift it’s been living in Minnesota these last 10 months. We had a beautiful Spring, Summer, and Fall, and I had the gift of time to hike, sit by the fire, watch the leaves turn, and enjoy the outdoors. Lesson re-learned in 2020: time spent outside makes me happy.
Family (those we’re born with and those we choose)
Relationships are everything, and I feel blessed to have amazing friends and family. I missed seeing many of you in-person this year, but am looking forward to a time when we can travel again. Until then, take care and know you’re missed!
The Microsoft 365 Voice Podcast
Right after our COVID lockdown started, Mike Maadarani and Antonio Maio invited me to join their M365 Voice podcast. In each episode, we pick a listener question at random and spend 20-30 minutes answering it. I love coming up with quick, off-the-cuff answers to Microsoft 365 questions. We’ve also had a variety of special guests on the podcast, including Mark Kashman, DC Padur, Laurie Pottmeyer, Heather Newman, and Bill Baer. Since I joined the show in March, we’ve recorded and released 31 episodes on topics across the M365 ecosystem (Microsoft Information Protection, Project Cortex & SharePoint Syntex, Microsoft Teams, Yammer, Stream, Microsoft Search, SharePoint home sites & hubs, mobility, user adoption, security & compliance, etc.). Check out our full list of episodes and submit your questions for future episodes!
Guest blogging for Humans of IT
In December, I was asked to write a guest blog post for Microsoft’s Humans of IT community. Microsoft asked me to share a growth story on the “people side” of IT. As a librarian that grew into a technology leader, I’m passionate about learning from and supporting others. I’m an advocate and an ally, and I believe diverse ideas and perspectives bring out the best in all of us. In my Humans of IT blog post – Becoming a Strong Female Technology Leader, I shared my experiences moving from the business to IT and how I struggled to build confidence as a new technology leader. The post also includes practical ideas on how to manage personal brand, build strong relationships, and evaluate good (and poor) feedback.
REgarding 365 is a community of bloggers, authors, community members, and speakers from the Microsoft 365 space. We share content in a variety of formats – blog posts, videos, podcasts, interviews, etc. I love the opportunity to connect with our RE365 contributors and core team members throughout the year, and to record special events like our Microsoft Ignite analysis on employee engagement, Microsoft Ignite analysis on Knowledge Management, and our COVID work-from-home virtual hackathon. This year we even held a Microsoft Ignite virtual watch party – loved it!
I’ve published 43 blog posts in 2020 – a nice increase over 2019. I love sharing new ideas with all of you – please keep reading!
Top blog posts of 2020 (based on user views):
- Tips for getting started with SharePoint hubs
- Integrating Yammer communities in Microsoft Teams
- Are metadata, content types, and taxonomy still relevant in SharePoint Online?
- Diving into Project Cortex and SharePoint Syntex
- Is Microsoft 365 adoption a project or a service?
- Microsoft Lists round-robin with Mark Kashman
- Where do I share my files (OneDrive, SharePoint, or Microsoft Teams)?
My favorite posts of 2020:
- SharePoint hub site branding is “sticky”
- Meeting regret: Overcoming the fear of saying the wrong thing
- The top 5 Microsoft Teams features every business user should know
- Getting started with SharePoint home sites
- The sobering reality of ‘white glove service’
- How do you know how many labels to use when implementing Microsoft Information Protection (MIP)?
I hope we’ll all be able to see each other again in person in 2021. Until then, I wish you all a safe and healthy holiday season.