Microsoft IT Pro Evangelists are ready to help. With the many staffing changes over the last 8 months or so Microsoft has increased the number of "Community Leaders" in the IT Pro Space. As little as a year ago there was only one person for the entire east coast of the United States. Now there are four people filling this very vital role. This post will serve as an introduction to the DPE East Team.
Each and every one of these people want to help the community in any and every way possible. Each is supporting thousands (or maybe even hundreds of thousands?) of IT Professionals so they cannot possibly be a personal help desk rep or anything like that. However if you live in one of these territories and you need help putting on a community event it would likely be beneficial for you to reach out to them. They are mostly working with community leaders (user group leaders, MVP's and other community influencer). If you are one of these people and you do not know the lead in your area or you do not have a strong relationship with them, please visit their blog and send them an email. There is an email link to each in the upper corner of their blog. Make sure they know about your community activity and get you plugged into the many programs Microsoft and others are offering community leaders. They can let you know about the many training opportunities that are available. Additionally, if you are in the process of rolling out or evaluating a new Microsoft technology you can often get them to point you in the right direction to solve any stubling blocks you may be having. Even if you are not stumbling, you might want to let them know what you are doing. Perhaps you can pass on some lessons learned to help others that are doing similar deployments, or perhaps they can shortcut your potential problems by letting you know of other things they have noted from the field.
If you do not know your rep... Take a minute now to send them an intro email and let them know about community and deployment/pilot projects you may be working on. Establish a relationship and see where it takes you. It might not be a bad idea to go ahead and subscribe to their blog as well.
You can read more about each of these leaders by visiting the Team Biograpy Page. In the event you want to know who the Community Leader is outside the East Coast, take a look at the blogs of the other US Community Leaders and Technet Presenters. With the many, many launch events that will be scheduled throughout the next year, the perceived need by many to "polish their technical skills" during these tough economic times, there has never been a better time to be plugged into these leaders. They are out there helping the community and putting together technical content in the form of live presentations, online webcasts and online blog posts. Don't miss out on the great opportunities these professionals are giving you. Oh, did I mention the price? All of their services are offered to you at no cost. They only ask that you keep them posted on successes and failures so they can get that valuable feedback to the product teams in order to improve Microsoft products. Take advantage of it while you can. Have questions or comments, please feel free to post them to my blog. http://blogs.technet.com/DanStolts
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Community-centric - that is the way to allow the user community to embrace tech and change and anything else, for that matter.