This is my first time to participate in Japanese vExpert Advent Calendar blog post, so I'd like to write this in English as a memorial. Topic ? Of course, about VMUG !
MUST READ ! vExperts Advent Calendar 2020 (Great contents are coming up !)
When I look back 2020, Japan VMUG had a great start with Lindy Collier(@indylindy22), founder of vLadies. Japan VMUG leaders are always discussing future events together using SNS, sometimes in person, and "gender equality" was one of our big concern at that time. So we planned a VMUG event only female could be session speakers.
Then It all came up with our casual conversation on twitter like this.
We actually were really lucky, since we had good sponsors that covered travel expenses for Lindy, but first and foremost, VMUG gave us a chance to make her acquaintance. Speaking of acquaintance, VMUG constantly gives us chances to connect peers. Kohei Kurokawa(@AwsskillC), YouTuber, is also one of them and he kindly published Lindy's interview on his YouTube channel.
MUST WATCH ! www.youtube.com
Our vLadies event was a great success. Subsequently at the Leader Summit held in February, I was able to deepen friendships with many global VMUG leaders, and I couldn't help expecting that 2020 would be the best year. However, as all you know, Covid-19 has changed the whole world. As a result, we were forced to postpone Japan UserCon 2020 scheduled for March.
It was VMUG HQ who saved us from such a situation, by generously providing Zoom Pro license for us ! We leveraged this tool and opportunity. We could reach members who live far away (some are from overseas !) and members who are too busy to participate normally. I'm sure virtual events are convenient and inexpensive, but I desperately miss in-person events. So, I will write about my experience at Indy VMUG UserCon 2019, one of the most memorable VMUG Events.
As a leader of Japan VMUG, I had many discussions with Brad Tompkins(@BradTompkins_), VMUG Executive Director, about what Japan VMUG should be. Unlike many other chapters, Japan VMUG was founded under the initiative of Japan VMware in 2012. When I recall the activities at that time, they were more like wining and dining (very Japanese traditional way, maybe), and I had no doubts about it until I met other chapters' leaders at VMworld. VMUG active leaders around the world are so passionate, vibrant and thoughtful. Every single conversation inspired me, of course it still does! I heard about "REAL" UserCons a lot, keynote and breakout sessions, hundreds of members participate, full day event, supported by many sponsors, etc. It's almost the same as vFORUM in Japan.
Since then visiting UserCon in US was top of my wish list, and unexpectedly I happened to have a chance to visit Indy VMUG UserCon, the biggest one in US, in 2019 . Where there is a will, there is a way. Furthermore, the community session I attended as a speaker was with the one and only famous Ariel Sanchez Mora(@arielsanchezmor) ! Nothing more honorable for VMUG session speakers than this.
One thing I should not forget to write. The day before Indy UserCon, I had a super tour guide Richard Kenyan(@RichardKenyan), Buffalo VMUG leader, who took me around Indianapolis. I felt so grateful for all he did for me, you know, even Indianapolis is not his hometown and I'm a non-native English speaker, it must have been so hard for him to hang out all day with a stranger like me. I believe we still have close relationship which we could never have had without VMUG.
Ok. Let me talk back to Indy UserCon. Bankers Life Fieldhouse(venue) was enormous and beautiful, smart registration with PCs, badge printers and digital signage (those which Japan VMUG don't have) .
Grabbing coffee, exchanging greetings with friends, I headed to the arena where the Indy VMUG leaders were welcoming at the stage.
After having enjoyed the keynote of Kyle Ruddy(@kmruddy) and some breakout sessions including Craig Herring(Indy VMUG Leader, @sirgeekness)'s one , I finally met Ariel at vLadies panel session, then as invited by Ariel, I joined a VCDX workshop. I'm not sure if I have confident to challenge VCDX someday, but it was a quite valuable experience that I could never have in Japan.
Sponsors booths were busy during the time between the sessions.
Approaching the end of the UserCon, our community session started with Ariel's very encouraging presentation about vCommunity's benefits. He has been giving full of great advices to everyone how to get involved with vCommunity, and as a matter of fact, I'm the one who was led on by him. Then the baton was passed on later half of session, and I did try my best to convey how I have grown with Japan VMUG members, especially after having met global VMUG leaders, and how important and valuable our vCommunity is. In the middle of the Hoosier State, different culture and customs we have, my poor English...all of those tensed me up. Even though, I myself enjoyed my session honestly. If I had to score it myself, it was under 50%, but I was really amazing that some members came up to me with kind words ! Rob Nelson (@rnelson0) , vExpert, was live tweeting my session before I knew it ! It was the moment when I remembered my friends said "You only get better by doing."
I felt much better and comfortable after completing my presentation and switched to party-mode at VMUG beer, met new friends and spent happy hours having nice chats ... And the last place we arrived at was Brad's favorite bar.
While Having taken a shot, sang old rock'n roll songs together, suddenly the tears overflowed down to my face. I still cannot explain what made me so emotional, but the more I saw the smiling faces of my good VMUG friends, the more tears fell down and couldn't stop it. My mother was very strict in raising me, by telling me that man must not cry even his parents die. Sorry Mom, VMUG made me break your rule.
Should I have written this right after the event ? It may sound strange but I was too impressed to tell this story. It took me more than a year to digest what I had experienced through those VMUG activities.
It may be an ordinary life, but everything happens in it. If you live your life respectfully, you may find something special in your casual events, just like I did with VMUG. I can never thank all the vCommunity members enough, and I'm super proud of being a member of VMUG which makes me who I am today.
Cheers & Merry Christmas.