Speaking at Scottish Summit 2021

Intro slide for speaking at Scottish Summit 2021

Wow! I actually did it ...

On Saturday 27th February 2021 I did something A-M-A-Z-I-N-G … speaking at the Scottish Summit 2021!

I’m not usually one to blow my own trumpet, but on this occasion, I’m going to take a deep breath and make a huge exception.  Incredibly, I leapt wildly out of my comfort zone and presented a session at what’s probably the largest Dynamics and Power Platform Community event of the year … the Scottish Summit.  To give this some context, there were almost 400 speakers at the event.  This included all of the most influential and renowned experts in the Microsoft Business Applications space.  The event Keynote was given by none other than James Phillips – the President of Microsoft’s Digital Transformation Platform Group.  And there I was, right in the middle of it all.

Lucys challenge to speak at Scottish Summit 2021

It started with Lucy ...

“Sheryl …. why would you do that?!” I hear you cry.  Well, I’m going to take you back to the previous years Scottish Summit, where I attened a very inspirational session  presented by Lucy Bourne.  Lucy spoke to those of us lucky enough to attend her session about being comfortable enough in your ‘onlyness’ to play as full a part as you’d like in the Community.  At one point during her session, Lucy turned to the audience and issued a challenge to us all.  Lucy suggested that any one of us could get up and speak, and at that point turned towards me saying … “Sheryl for example … ” 

Advice from Dona Sarkar on speaking at Scottish Summit 2021

Scottish Summit 2021 New Speakers Track

Hmmm …. not one to resist a challenge, as soon as the ‘Call for Speakers’ came out the following year, I registered.  My session, which I had for some months been idly daydreaming of, would be about signposting to Community resources.  This is something I am regularly asked about and I thought an in depth look at what resources are available would provide value to attendees.

Let’s be clear … while I had this grand and very high level concept in mind, I had no idea at all about what I was actually going to say.  Speaking at Scottish Summit 2021 was definitely more of a pipe dream at this stage!

But luckily for me, Mark and Iain, the organisers of the Scottish Summit had something quite wonderful up their sleeves … the New Speakers Track.  This would provide support and mentoring for those people new to speaking in the D365 and Power Platform Community.  As part of a series of coaching sessions, experienced speakers such as Dona Sarkar would be sharing hints and tips such as the ones shown above.  Each new speaker would also be assigned a mentor to monitor and guide their progress over the course of several months.  Once ready, the sessions would be showcased across several platforms as well as being streamed on the day of the Summit.

Julie Yack my mentor for speaking at Scottish Summit 2021

Meet Julie

I really was on a roll … when the mentors were announced I found out that mine was none other than Julie Yack.  Julie is an author, speaker, MVP and all round tech industry superstar.  Best of all, Julie is a totally lovely person and an experienced mentor.  As such she immediately knew exactly how to make me feel a lot less nervous about the whole experience, which meant I could enjoy it a whole bunch more.

As this years event was virtual, and there were so many speakers, we had been asked to record our sessions in advance.  This proved challenging to me on a number of fronts as it was way outside of my area of expertise.  Having Julie’s expert advice and guidance to hand during this process was invaluable.  It definitely made a huge difference to the quality of my session.

The theme for speaking at Scottish Summit 2021

A Voyage of Discovery

I had 3 aims for my session and I think with Julie’s help I was able to achieve them all. 

The first was to make the session interesting and informative and to keep my audience entertained.

The second was to help those who had recently come to Dynamics and the Power Platform navigate their way through everything the Community has to offer.  Having switched career just a few years ago, I still remember how long it took me to decide which direction to take.  I wanted others to benefit from my learning, and appreciate just how many ways the Community can help map out the steps.

The third and probably most important for me, was to start paying it forward.  I am super keen to help anyone who is starting out on a new path and may be looking for  growth and learning opportunities.  I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for the Dynamics and Power Platform Community.  Pretty much everything I know has been learned from those who have selflessly given up their time and their knowledge to help others.  I am intending for this session to be the catalyst that kick-starts my own knowledge sharing activities.

Scottish Summit 2022 website image

See You at Scottish Summit 2022!

I really enjoyed being available on the day of the Summit to chat to attendees and answer questions.  I also had some great interaction from the people who attended my session.  Speaking at Scottish Summit 2021 really was an incredible experience.

Virtual events make information and participation so much more accessible to those who are not able to travel.  It was wonderful to see people from all over the world participating in this years Scottish Summit, and to have the chance to interact with them.  That being said, I really do miss the Community getting together and can’t wait for Scottish Summit 2022 next year when we can hopefullly all meet up in person.

I hope to see you there!