VMware User Group (VMUG) leaders are defined by their willingness to put an extra effort into bringing together local communities to learn new things and to discuss technology with good and bad. The local meetings are places of new and open ideas, networking and even socializing. I have been volunteering for enabling these meetings for the past seven years, but until I started to meet leaders from other countries I haven't understood the full potential. First I met fellow leaders at VMworld. But the time allocated at that event was limited. However even a few minutes with someone can prove inspiring. But when the summit was organized and the chance to spend 2 days next to my peers, then a new world opened to my eyes.
I come from an Eastern European country having somewhere deep down the, let's say, small town complex as I've always been looking up to Western Europe/US modern cultures. IT came as an escape for me and I have been working in multi cultural/multi national environments for the past 12 years. I've been in contact with people from Eastern and Western Europe, Middle East, Asia, Australia and even US in both business and social circumstances. However I have never seen all of these cultures coming together in the same time at a single table. Seeing all those people from literally all around the globe talking, debating, having fun in the same place is what never ceases to amaze me and what the summit brings as a huge value.
This was my second summit. Last year I was thinking that I was so lucky to get a glimpse at the organizational culture of another company and to see so many inspirational people coming and talking to us. For this year I had no expectations since I've already seen the best. And it was the opposite. I was again surprised and got more inspired and awed by the people that make up an organization.
As you can easily understand the summit wins on two categories. It brings together people from corners of the world to meet each other face to face and exchange ideas, inspire and trust one another. I believe that no matter how easy is to have virtual meetings, a handshake or a look in the eye can make a difference. The second win from the summit: it brings people closer to values and culture of VMware by giving us, the community of users, direct access to its C-level executives and awesome technical staff. Now that is a hard thing to do and such a cool one, too.
Personally, as a VMUG leader and as a human being, I fell like I've grown a bit since this journey started and so much more in the past 2 years. I leave here a dear photo and challenge you to guess the number of countries and continents represented in the picture: