Finding User Groups, Finding Speakers and Project Aware



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Hey y’all, Mark here again with some info I think our readers will like to get involved with and one that is near and dear to my heart. That is IT User Groups and community as a whole. I know I’m a sap like that. Back before I was a “blue badge” (aka an MS Employee) I used to attend the Chicago Windows Users Group (CWUG) each month. It was great. I really enjoyed it. I’d get to meet fellow people in the community and best of all get some good free info from Microsoft speakers. It could be a PFE, an evangelist or even someone from the product group. There would be demos, I could ask questions and sometimes there would even been some swag. I mean I’ll never wear those t-shirts in public and sometimes my brother takes them or friends of mine ‘borrow’ them never to be returned but that’s not the point. Back before it was called hoarding it was called collecting and I get that. So that was an added bonus. Now I know what you are thinking, “Hey man, I’d join a user group if there were any near me, how can I find these?” Glad you asked but first…


Project Aware

There is a lesser known initiative (hence this blog post) at Microsoft called Project Aware. Its goal is pretty simple, connecting Microsoft speakers with user groups, communities and events. This is great! It allows me to search for user groups and for you to search for Microsoft speakers that are willing to participate. For more info around this and a quick video check our own PFE Eric Harlan’s blog.


Finding a User Group

It’s actually really easy. Go to and register. Eric’s video has the goods on this if you get stuck so I wont repeat it all here. Once in there is a nice big button that says “Communities”. It will show you the communities in your area. If you want to do a bigger search click “Communities Worldwide”. Below I searched for Chicago and it displays all the groups in that area.


(you can see my apartment from here)


Finding a Speaker

Let’s say you got the first part figured out and you want to get someone to speak at your next user group meeting/conference/sweet 16 party. The last one is not recommended. Just simply click the huge button that says “Speakers”. Input your search criteria and see who pops up. Then you are able to reach out. As you can see we have some members  of AskPFEPlat they are willing to be speakers….





You get the point. Search for whatever your group needs or is interested in and reach out to that speaker. If you have some great conference and are looking for your dream speaker you’ll probably find them here. No middle man to go through, no fuss, you can get connected to that speaker right there.



I started this post talking about how much I enjoyed being part of my local tech community. Now that I frequently travel I’m always looking for new groups to join while I’m in town. I’ve personally reached out to several groups that I will be near while traveling to see where I can get involved. If you are a member of the Topeka Kansas PC Users Club, I’ll see you Sept 5th. I know I’m not the only PFE doing this and some of our evangelists like Joey Snow have been doing this for some time. If you are not involved in these things you are truly missing out. Finally don’t forget we here at this blog are also a community, reach out to us through the comments, our twitter account @PFEPlatforms and many of us have individual accounts listed below. Until next time….


Mark Morowczynski – @markmorow – Chicago, IL

Jeff Stokes – @stokesmsft Atlanta, GA

Rick Sheikh @ricksheikh Chicago, IL

Greg Jaworski @gjaworski – Chicago, IL

Tom Moser @Milt0r – Metro Detroit

Keith Brewer – @msft_KBrewer – Washington, DC

Charity Shelbourne – @PlatformsGal – DFW, Texas

Roger Osborne – @RogOsb – Washington, DC

Victor Zapata – @viczaptx – DFW, TX

 Jasmin Hashmani- @jasminATX -DFW, TX


Mark ‘Coming to a city near you’ Morowczynski