Congratulations INETA on 10 years!
I know firsthand that the last 10 years was made possible by the commitment and efforts of a large number of people. Thank you to everybody involved for their time and effort.
I think it was back around 2005 when I personally got involved with INETA. Our local developer user group TRINUG (www.trinug.org) was already an INETA member group and benefitted greatly from the resources they made available. At the start of TechEd in Orlando, INETA hosted a gathering of community leaders. The gathering provided an opportunity to meet other individuals from the user group community. Many of the people were already volunteering, and it became a great opportunity to get involved in the exciting activities.
One of the key things that INETA does both directly and indirectly is helping bring developers together. Over the years this through resources such as the Speaker Bureau, SWAG kits, Birds Of A Feather sessions, and summits have helped bring people together. In the spirit of bringing developers together, there was car pooling. Thanks to the generosity of peers, seeing how many people could fit in that 2-door rental to get a ride back to the hotel.
Fun and games aside, it was a great opportunity to meet people and get involved. I left TechEd signed up to volunteer to help organize and coordinate with Microsoft to hold Visual Studio 2005 Community Launch Events around the world. The effort highlighted how many of the great things we all love to be involved in, take a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes to make happen. I stayed involved with the INETA Community Activities team, eventually joining the INETA Board of Directors as the VP of Community Activities and eventually served as President.
The thing that I found most rewarding in the end about getting involved and volunteering with INETA was the opportunity it gave me to meet and interact with so many amazing people. I developed so many relationships that I greatly value today with people directly involved with INETA, individuals involved in the member groups INETA worked to support, and also with Microsoft and the many other companies that provided support and sponsorship to INETA. While local user groups and developer events help me connect with other developers, INETA has helped connect me with other user group leaders through North America and around the world.
I learned a lot from other group leaders from their successes and failures and was often inspired by them. Like almost everything thing in life, what you get out of something is proportional with what you put in. I’m a big believer in community, and feel that the relationships we build and experiences we gain by interacting with our peers help us all grow both personally and professionally. I’m thankful for all that INETA does to try and help provide support and resources, and for the many individuals that make up our extended user group community and their efforts to help others connect, learn, and grow.
I encourage you to get involved. I’m glad I did.
Former President, INETA NorAm