2019 VMUG Leader Summit (In Review)

Before we move forward, let’s take a few moments to recognize the efforts made by everyone at VMUG. I would kindly ask that you take a moment and thank each staff and board member for their efforts. The time and coordination to put together an event of this size is incredible. On behalf of the VMUG leaders, we can’t thank you enough. You’ve created a once in a lifetime opportunity which includes memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.

Let’s now reflect on a few moments from the Leader Summit (Wednesday thru Friday):

  • The VMUG Welcome Reception on Wednesday night provided the Leaders in attendance a chance to get to know one another. This was a great experience because it allowed me to see familiar faces while also getting to know leaders and VMUG staff  I’ve never met. Finally making the connection between Twitter handle and person was fantastic! I probably speak for many, I find myself remembering a Twitter handle quicker as opposed to knowing their actual name. One great example is the #KazMeister aka tcpninja.
  • To kick things off on Thursday, Brad Tompkins provided the audience with a VMUG update which also included VMUG staff\team updates.
  • Pat Gelsinger’s session discussed the 5 Leadership L’s which includes Listens, Learns, Lifts, Links and Loves. Pat is a firm believer in education and faith as well as giving back to the community. Please consider learning more about Pat including his climb up Mount Kilimanjaro in an effort to raise money to construct schools in Kenya for girls. If you’d like to learn more about the experience directly from Pat please click here. Mr. Gelsinger continues to earn my respect and admiration!
  • Chris McCain and fellow #Sneakerhead like Chestin Hay and I shared his techniques for improved Public Speaking (h\t to Matt Heldstab for the photo). As we’ve come to expect, Chris brought his energy and passion to the audience. If you’ve never had the chance to listen to him speak in person, add it to your bucket list and make it happen asap. You won’t regret it!
  • Congrats to Matt Langguth (@gsxesx) for receiving the US East Regional Champion award for his efforts in the #vCommunity. Congrats also goes to Steve Massman, Steve Baker, Keith Nunnery and Pietro Piutti for winning as well for their respective regions. Get to know Matt, I promise you he’s the definition of team leader.
  • Thank you Mel Zura and Stephen Foskett for donating Tech Field Day stickers that were shared on the Sticker Wall with fellow leaders attending the Leader Summit.
  • Brian Graf kicked off our sessions on Friday with his Accelerate the Journey to the Cloud discussion. As expected and it’s just another reason why Brian is a crowd favorite including mine, he reminded us all family comes first. He shared with the audience his attempts at separating life from work and how effective it’s been for him and his family. Kudos to you my friend and I’m glad we had the chance to chat for a few minutes (h\t to Tony Reeves for the photo). #BurnThemAll (you had to be there to understand this). 🙂

Rarely if ever, do I place a rank of my favorite moments especially when I’m blessed with an opportunity like this but the following has to be at the top of the list with no disrespect to anyone else. Why you ask? It’s because of the power of the human spirit that came through to help a child in need. They didn’t have to but they WANTED to. They didn’t ask for attention, they simply reacted and offered to help without expecting anything in return. Thank you to everyone involved (see below for more info) but I will forever be reminded of how thoughtful and kind VMware and Jeff Goodall are.

Last November, I had the pleasure to meet Jeff Goodall (thanks to Val) while my wife and I were in the San Francisco area. Jeff took the time to meet us and we are forever grateful for the time we spent together.

Upon my return home, I came across the following article and my immediate thoughts were 1) how can I help? 2) who can help me?

As a parent, these stories break your heart by also provide a source of inspiration. Jack wears a permanent torso cast for rare spine disorder and loves turtles, hence #Turtles4Jack. I shared the article with Jeff and we both decided to share turtle related stories with #Turtles4Jack on Twitter in hopes of bringing a smile to Jack’s face. At the time, I never expected this effort to go beyond this but this story only gets better and you can’t help but to smile.

Upon discovering that I would attend the Leader Summit, my immediate thought was “Please allow me to see Jeff while on campus!” and my wish was granted during the VMware Campus tour. Jeff is one of the best human beings I’ve ever met. He’s as down to Earth as possible, has a wonderful personality but most importantly cherishes every moment of this thing we call life. His personality is infectious and is a wonderful story teller. This guy knows everything about VMware, the campus, the turtles and the local community. He loves people and people love him. I’m truly blessed to call you a friend! You rock my man!

With VMware’s assistance, Jeff has coordinated a trip for Jack and his family to visit the VMware campus next month so they can visit the VMware Turtles but I didn’t know about this until Jeff broke the news to my fellow Leaders and I during the VMware campus tour.

I tried my best not to allow the moment to take control of my emotions but I’m a softy on the inside and as I’ve mentioned previously, whenever kids are helped in any way it gets the best of me. As Jeff went on to explain the trip, he referenced my name and credited me with this initiative. This is where the tears came rushing down (right in front of everyone). I was so overcome with emotion I could no longer hide it and tucked my head down and wiped away the tears as quickly as possible.

The purpose of this story to share the power of the community and how we can continue helping one another or someone you’ve never met. We also serve a purpose and that’s to help those in need as best as possible. Give back without expecting anything in return. In life, a small gesture goes a long way. Thank you VMware and Jeff for providing this wonderful experience. Love you brother!


As I close, I will leave you with this. If you’re not already doing so, get involved with the #vCommunity! It does wonders and you won’t regret it. Get in touch with your local MyVMUG community and/or ASAP! Reach out to any or the !

For fate has a way of charting its own course, but before one surrenders to the hands of destiny, one might consider the power of the human spirit and the force that lies in one’s own free will” Lost/The Final Chapter 2010.

Thank you VMware for allowing us to visit your home!

My original post leading into the trip can be found here.


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