Making Magic Happen – A Beautiful Day of Remembrance – San Diego Office 365 Saturday

Sometimes your heart is heavy, and sometimes you miss a friend, but life moves on and so must we, even when doing that is hard. 

Last weekend, our West Coast Office 365/SharePoint Community got together again to learn about technology, share ideas, and break bread together, as many of us do on a Saturday. I stood at the podium after friend and organizer David Leveille kicked off the day, running through the agenda, thanking our sponsors, speakers and attendees, and honoring our dear friend Tom Castiglia who left us a year ago last week.  

I was honored to keynote last weekend’s event. The last time I was in that San Diego Microsoft office was a few years ago - at that podium in my Star Wars dress – for my first SharePoint San Diego User Group. I was with the terrific Sal Coldrock Rosales and Chris Givens, and then I met this wonderful, bouncy, smiling man. Yes, that was Tom. His absence this weekend was palpable to all of us. All through my talk I found myself searching the back of the room, expecting to see Tom giving me the two thumbs up with his big grin. Of course we talked about him throughout the day, sharing stories and raising glasses in remembrance. Thank you, Martha (Tom’s wife) for your support of the event and for being such a shining light in our community.

Beautiful tribute to Tom and his wife Martha who sponsored the SharePint.

These SharePoint Saturday events are for, about, and created by our community. Who else would get up on a Saturday to talk tech besides all of us who love and work with these products every day. We all know the strength of our community and that when we win and when we lose, we always have each other’s backs. This is one of the many things I love being a part of. 

Speakers came from around the world to deliver terrific sessions. There was much excitement about Microsoft Teams and new features in SharePoint, as well as Project Cortex, a new technology announced during Microsoft Ignite. 

Project Cortex uses AI to reason over content across teams and systems, recognizing content types, extracting important information, and automatically organizing content into shared topics like projects, products, processes, and customers. Cortex then creates a knowledge network based on relationships among topics, content, and people. Learn more about Project Cortex.

I had a great time giving our keynote, Building Healthy Corporate Culture, with Office 365. I focused on Microsoft Teams and Yammer and shared four key points:

  • Building Diversity & Inclusion into an Everyday Practice
  • Conquering Unconscious Bias
  • Promoting Digital Literacy
  • Creating Intentional Spaces for Conversations

Thank you to the organizers of Office 365 SharePoint Saturday San Diego for giving me the opportunity to speak on these important topics in our industry. 

Watch the live stream of the keynote.

Magic Managed

David and Nichole Leveille got involved with the Nazareth Orphanage after Tom Castiglia’s passing because it was near and dear to Tom’s heart. They have given their time and helped transport the computers the community donated several times since February. 

<p">When David kicked off the event, the team announced the vision of raising $1,000 for the orphanage, and asked the community to get involved. They put out a donation box for cash and took electronic donations, and by the end of day, the cash box had about $400, which added to the other donations exceeded the goal of $1,000! The team was thrilled to announce that we had met and exceeded the goal, and could have left for the SharePint happy…but during the raffle, <p">Something magical happened. 

As we were doing the raffle, people winning prizes decided to donate them to the orphanage. This then turned into auctioning off those same prizes for cash to donate to the orphanage! Just how much did we bring in? 

David added everything up – remaining funds from the event, generous donations made by everyone, funds raised by the SoCalO365 user group during our 2019 meetings – which all-in came to $2,500, more than twice the original goal! 

As promised, Crush Networks matched this amount, bringing the total raised to over $5,000!

Amazing! Thank you to all the sponsors and volunteers as well.

When we come together, we can do amazing things. 

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