Ready for Microsoft Ignite? Event Maven Tips to Rock It!

#MSIgnite 2018 will be the third Microsoft Ignite I’ve attended (my first TechEds were Barcelona and Dallas, TX in 2003). Microsoft Ignite is Microsoft’s largest ITPro/Dev event of the year featuring hundreds of technical sessions and hands-on workshops, a massive expo floor, tons of parties and, something I am very proud to be a part of, a whole track devoted to learning about and fostering Diversity and Inclusion. 

As an Event Maven who used to produce these events for Microsoft, I know a few ins and outs to get the most knowledge, networking, and fun out of it. 

Here are some tips & tricks to help you create a productive and memorable Microsoft Ignite experience, some that I’ve already shared on Twitter #MSIgnite: 

Event Maven Tip 1  

Last year’s #MSIgnite Community Reporters (@WonderLaura@AlistairPugin@buckleyplanet@meetdux@tomarbuthnot) had some great tips on getting ready for the event.

Be sure to follow the 2018 crew too:  

Event Maven Tip 2 

Need some cash on-site? ATMs and money change machines are located in each lobby of the North, South and West concourses of the OCCC and the Hyatt. 

DnZggN2UYAEmpsU.jpg

Event Maven Tip 3 

Did you know there is a 24-hour diner in the Hyatt Regency Hotel just off from the OCCC? It’s called B-Line Diner, for all of your late night or early morning #nomnom needs.  


DnZ00rUVYAAlor0.jpg

Event Maven Tip 3  

Fun Fact - OCCC West Building in total is 4 million sq. Ft. Exhibit space in OCCC West: 1,103,538 sq. Ft. Get your FitBit charged and ready to count. And do bring sneakers, I have glittery ones, but that's just me. 

Event Maven Tip 4 

Fun Fact - OCCC is the 2nd largest convention facility in the US. Yearly they host 230 events to the Central Florida area. ~1.4 million attendees contribute ~$2.4 billion to the area's economy yearly.  

Event Maven Tip 5 

The Orange County Convention Center is ~ 12 miles from the Orlando International Airport, as are most conference hotels. Uber and Lyft both are available and taxis. 

Event Maven Tip 6 

Pedicabs are common in the Convention Center District. Typically, they can be found outside the OCCC. Pedicab rides are usually complimentary; tipping is customarily based upon service provided. 

Event Maven Tip 7

Battery chargers, multiples of them. You will want to have your phones at the ready for all the goodness and social media that you could ever want to post.

Event Maven Tip 8

Shoes, multiples of them. This event is business casual and a tech event. Do change them out, wear socks and backpacks, they are the best for carrying around your stuff. And you can keep a change of shoes in there from AM to PM. Just watch that you don’t take someone out with too quick of a turn. Layers, you will go from air conditioning to the Florida heat. Sunglasses, because, well, it is bright in Florida. 😊

Event Maven Tip 9 

Get on Twitter connect with people and say hello. MVPs and Microsoft folks are super active there, especially the Office 365 and SharePoint communities. Email is not the way to get with someone on-site though we are all very connected. Wifi can be a bit unreliable so you will rely more on your phone than your computers this week.

Event Maven Tip 10

Bring a water bottle, sit down whenever possible, hit the bathroom whenever you see one, charge your stuff whenever you see a plug open. Seems like more of an episode of The Amazing Race, but this week is both glorious and brutal. Be kind to your body, hydrate, eat, and sleep (a little). And most of all enjoy and have a blast.

Bonus Event Maven Tip

There are hundreds of people who put on or “produce” these kinds of events. If you see someone with a headset on or wearing ‘all black’ or with a crew badge, along with all the local folks that will take care of us all week, those are the “backstage” people that make this event sing. Positivity and gratitude are just plain good for your soul and to remember that “the producers” have been working on this show since the moment Microsoft Ignite ended last year. We all receive the beautiful fruits of so much labor, planning, time, and energy that goes into putting on something of this size. Make someone's day by sharing a little grace and a thank you with them. Same with the sponsors, be sure to thank them as well. Sponsor partnerships with Microsoft are so important, and they are a big part of the magnitude that is created for this one terrific week out of the year. 

A little piece I wrote about being an event producer: 

Cue the Music, Cue the Lights, It’s Magic Time #MSIgnite

Where can you find me at Microsoft Ignite? 

Debuting #TheCurlerReport with Dux Raymond Sy!

Honored to be speaking, hosting a meet-up and podcasting as part of the Diversity and Tech @ Microsoft Ignite programming.  To follow along with what I am doing during the week you can view #TheCurlerReport on the Creative Maven Instagram Story and my personal Twitter and Instagram at @heddanewman. 

MAVENS DO IT BETTER - MOMENTS WITH EXPERTS PODCAST - FOCUS ON DIVERSITY IN TECH 

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2018 | 3:15PM - 4:00PM | IMMERSION ZONE: PODCAST 2 

Join the Mavens Do It Better: Moments with Experts podcast focused on diversity in tech to hear from Microsoft, Microsoft MVPs, and Microsoft Partners on how they are leading the charge building programs for diversity in tech in our industry. Topics to include: empowerment, mentoring, parenting, networking, women in tech, and accessibility. I’ll be speaking with panelists: Shona Chee, Product Marketing Manager and Diversity in Tech Lead for Microsoft Ignite, Microsoft 365 Team, Michelle Devereaux, Senior Partner Channel Marketing Manager, Microsoft and Heather Severino, Microsoft MVP, MCT and Owner of TeachUTech.

DIVERSITY AND WOMEN IN TECH MEET-UP - EMPOWERING EVERYONE 

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2018 | 4:00PM - 5:15PM | ORANGE COUNTY CONVENTION CENTER, WEST 222 

This meetup is a gathering for those interested in diversity in tech, women in tech and their allies across all Microsoft technologies. All are welcome to join in the meetup to talk about empowerment, mentoring, networking, and building allies. Come hear from and network with the leaders of diversity groups within our technical community and learn how they built and led their programs to empower everyone. 

 Heather Newman | Liz Sundet | Cristal Kawula 

HOW TO KICK FEAR AND TOXICITY OUT OF THE WORKPLACE, A PRACTICAL GUIDE 

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2018 | 9:35AM - 9:55AM | ORANGE COUNTY CONVENTION CENTER, EXPO THEATER #6 

Fear and toxicity are words that have no place in meetings, the workplace, or in our lives. These two words are bad for the world, and we all want to be appreciated and respected for the contributions we make to our jobs, careers, and organizations. Join Heather Newman, Office Servers and Services Microsoft MVP, CMO of Content Panda and CEO of Creative Maven, as she talks through the whys of bad workplace behavior and how to kick it out of your world with practical examples and guidance. We talk about tossing people under the bus, the acronym C.Y.A., the lizard brain, the imposter theory, and the art of reframing with actionable tips and tricks to take back to your organization. 


See you in Orlando, and please say hi on social media and look for me at the Diversity and Tech Lounge and at the Microsoft Teams Booth.