In 2004, Ed Brill took a chance on me. He approved my friend Kathleen McGivney and me to speak at Lotusphere 2005, doing a Domino Administration Jumpstart. Kathleen and I both did presentations as part of our Field Support Engineer jobs and we’d spoken at smaller conferences, but let’s face it, Lotusphere is the big stage for the community we’re in. Kathleen and I work great as a team and we did so well on that session that we not only presented it that year, but at least twice more, and once did a DDM lab, spoke on AdminP on the ‘big stage’ and we did a few others. So many that I’ve forgotten. I’ve presented at every Lotusphere since that first one.
Since then, I’ve teamed up with other external speakers including Jess Stratton and Francie Tanner as well as other IBMers. Every year, there are posts after and before the show about how to get selected as a speaker, and they all say pretty much the same things. I won’t repeat those posts, but…..
I will challenge myself and others to do what OGS speaker Kevin Spacey told us a couple of years ago. If you spoke at IBM Connect this year, send the elevator back down. You’ve made it to the big stage, now help other speakers who want to make it also.
At GURUPalooza this year, someone asked for the first time speakers to stand up. There were (I think) 10 or so on stage and there were 12 new speakers total out of ± 40 speakers in the BP track. Included in the rookies were Russ Maher who is by anybody’s definition a professional teacher and presenter, but never at Lotusphere. I even had one speaker, Sasja Beerendonk who was a first time attendee AND a first time Lotusphere/Connect presenter whom I met at UKLUG last year.
So before it all goes hazy in your minds and you forget about IBM Connect until next September, do what Ed did for me. Start planning to send the elevator down to someone who is wanting to make the leap onto the big stage. Help with the User groups. Speak with a newbie at a user group. Offer a seat beside you on stage at Connect 2014. Mentor others. Help write abstracts. Give back. Step off the elevator and press the elevator for the ground floor and see who pops up on the floor when it comes back.