My first MVP summit, done and it was frickin’ awesome!

Back in June 2020, I had a wonderful surprise in my email, that I had been awarded MVP! For me, this was both exciting and strange, as COVID had hit the world sadly and understandably the MVP Summit went virtual, like so many other events.

Typically, as one of the major advantages of being an MVP is the Summit, an opportunity for all MVPs to meet with Microsoft and each other - which 2023 represents the first time we have all been able to meet IN-PERSON.


I travelled with a friend and fellow MVP, Pete Gallagher, who is also an Avanade colleague. We hired an AirBnB with other MVPs, I would recommend it to anyone, as it was a great way to meet new people and make new friends and we had a blast!

Meetings even at the airport, what a great start…

Bumping into MVPs travelling to MVP Summit from Heathrow, Lesley Crook, Mike Hartley, Pete Gallagher and Paul Bullock

Bumping into MVPs travelling to MVP Summit from Heathrow, Lesley Crook, Mike Hartley, Pete Gallagher and Paul Bullock

I’m totally coming off a huge high whilst writing this travelling back from Seattle; I absolutely loved the event, with BEST PART being the opportunity to meet people, make new friends and build those relationships with Microsoft, other MVPs and to finally meet those within Avanade; with that shared passion to make the community rock!

Special thank you

Among the many friends, I have in community, there are a few folks that stood out for me during the summit:

  • Joel Rodrigues, he is the reason for me being an MVP and the person that nominated me back in 2020, which changed the trajectory of my career and enabled me to visit this amazing event!
  • My AirBnB housemates, Pete Gallagher (especially; a flipping awesome work and travel buddy), Cliff Agius, Sander van de Velde, Jose Simones and Ehsan Eskandari; they were quite hilarious our humor gelled well, and they were so welcoming, kind, funny, despite being the “M365” one (Not Biz Apps, Pete) lol

Finally, to the ALL the MVPs, Microsoft and the organisers, I had the privilege of sharing a hug, a handshake, a ton of laughs; for pulling together a very fulfilling event in very challenging times.

Event highlights (besides the awesome people)

There were many moments, these are my favourite ones, you might spot a theme here:

Sunday - Space Needle and Pike Market

I don’t like heights 🤣 Despite this, thought it would be really cool to visit the Space Needle in Seattle, along with my housemates to see the views of Seattle, it was a bit wet but didn’t stop us.

Image of space needle standing on glass floor

Image of space needle standing on glass floor

After this, the weather really changed quickly, was sunny and we looked around the famous Pike Market which had alot of fish for sale, view of the bay and there was a famous gum wall but we never got round to that…

Image of fish from Pikes Market

Image of fish from Pikes Market

Monday/Wednesday - Evening with Palermo and Encodian Events

A number of third parties companies had organised meet up events at Tavern Hall in Seattle, there were great with food and beer, to learn about the companies and meet other MVPs in a social setting, met loads new folks that way.

Thank you for the invites!

Wednesday - M365 PG Event

We met as a category with other MVPs and speakers, really cool it included the Microsoft staff, including Jeff Teper, Mark Kashman and all the product group super stars which was really cool. It was another cool opportunity to

Trading stories, selfies, over beer and food.

Thursday - Avanade meetup

There were nearly 30 of us that attended the conference from Avanade, and Stephanie Donahue kindly organised a meet up at the local office for Pizza and Beer.

It was awesome to speak to my colleagues from around the world, as there are 81 of us that are MVPs in Avanade; whilst we may know each other from the community, but not necessarily personally, so was fantastic to meet, get to know each other, and trade cool stories.

Visiting the Avanade Office and standing in front of the company logo

Visiting the Avanade Office and standing in front of the company logo

So what about the sessions?

Why haven’t we said anything about upcoming plans, sadly we are all under NDA (Non-disclosure agreement) for EVERYTHING we learned, it’s a condition of being an MVP, and one that Microsoft take very seriously.

Sessions were definitely interesting, and I am looking forward to seeing what comes out of them, and I am sure you will too!

Attending sessions with these cool folks! and even a giraffe

Attending sessions with these cool folks! and even a giraffe

We found the social wall - ooooo how tempting lol

Image of the social media wall

Image of the social media wall

Event lowlights

The trip had some lowlights, not every trip can be rosey

Bus Travel Beware

We were on a bus and a local that suddenly started shouting abuse and hate speech at everyone, quite a disturbing experience, but we moved on to enjoy the rest of the day. I had opted for Lyft rides thereafter. Apparently, after speaking to drivers and other people from the area, this unfortunately can happen.

Missed opportunities

If I were to attend again, there were a few missed opportunities, I would address, such as:

  • Getting a picture selfie with the famous Microsoft sign
  • Get more selfies and chat to more folks, whilst I did as much as possible, few times, imposter syndrome set in.
  • Booking tours for areas of the campus, wow, availability went fast! Next time for sure.
  • See the visitor centre and store, whilst tempting to buy something, I had maxed out space from all the swag
  • Seeing more of Seattle, there are lots of beautiful areas to visit recommended by other attendees, museums, and tourist spots.

Time was short, never enough time to do everything.

All Crashed out now and on way home

After a great event, I look forward to being home again with the family, recharging and back to work, I have gained lots of great memories and really looking forward to all the really cool stuff coming out over the year and beyond!

Goodbye, and see you next year!