by Jon Sastre
President and CEO, ConQuest Technology Services
As a longtime Microsoft partner, I’m a Worldwide Partner Conference veteran. I know what it’s like rushing from one session to the next, meeting new people and seeing old friends, and attending the great parties. All of this activity is fun—and it can provide new ideas and connections to grow your business.
Let me offer one other “outside-the-box” suggestion for your WPC experience. Connect with Voices for Innovation (VFI) and the partners involved with the program. VFI is the Microsoft-supported public policy advocacy program for partners. It educates partners about how government policy impacts technology, innovation, and our businesses. And then we get involved in the policy process ourselves, engaging with elected officials, business leaders, and Microsoft.
In the last year, VFI highlights have included:
- Meeting at the White House – About 50 active VFI participants met with senior U.S. government officials to discuss innovation, regulatory issues, and small business challenges. Read the blog post about our visit.
- A trip to China – Several VFI partner leaders participated in a trip to China, where we learned about business opportunities there and the activities of the Chinese government to support technology. In today’s global economy, it’s helpful to understand how government policy in other countries can have an impact on my business. Participating in VFI gives me that perspective.
- Advocating for Digital Privacy – For our customers to want to invest in cloud solutions, they must trust the integrity and safety of their data. To this end, we’ve been advocating for the LEADS Act, proposed US legislation that will help address cloud privacy worldwide.
- Advocating locally – They say all politics is local, so in that spirit I’ve been able to bring back information regarding these important legislative issues to our Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Tech Committee, and help educate and encourage involvement by different constituents in our community.
Just as importantly, I’ve met some great people, other partners who share my interest in big-picture issues like tech education, digital privacy, and immigration policy. Together, through VFI, we’ve been able to learn about and discuss these issues directly with the experts. It’s exciting to get that firsthand knowledge, and I feel it’s really helped me when I’m talking to customers, as they view me as someone who has expertise in areas that my competitors may not. Being part of VFI can help your career and your business, as well as giving you the satisfaction of being involved in public service. I’m in technology because I want to make a living, but I also want to help make the world a better place.
Connect with VFI at WPC 2015
Look for VFI at the People for Innovation event on Monday, July 13, and on the floor of The Commons in the Orange County Convention Center. VFI has a floating booth, and will be at the United States Lounge and at the IAMCP booth. Join our Voices for Innovation group in Connect 2015 for information about VFI activities and read posts by VFI members. I also encourage you to learn about VFI in advance of WPC by attending their preview webcast on Wednesday, June 24, at 1:00PM Eastern Time/10:00AM Pacific Time. Register today.
See you at WPC!