Send the Elevator Back Down

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.


About Susan

I am a nerd girl. While some of the postings here look like work stuff, the opinions and intellect and intellectual property are mine and mine alone. I am a unique individual and my employer in no way defines me.
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9 Responses to Send the Elevator Back Down

  1. I asked advice from both you and Gabriella Davies, which was very helpful! I enjoyed doing a presentation at Connect so much! Indeed I started doing presentations at smaller events such as UKLUG and Social Connections, and doing my share in usergroups. Already I have a co-presentation in mind with a client who would love to present at Connect next year. We’ll start small, hopefully at the next UKLUG.
    Thanks again for being a great track-manager and enthusiast. Also big thanks to Gabriella Davies for sharing her wisdom around abstracts!

  2. @Sasja – you rocked. You should consider running a “Birds-of-a-Feather” on the practical implementation of Gamification. That would be an awesome session!

    @Susan – you _always_ rock, also in this post. I think it’s a really great idea, to use the existing talent to help introduce new talent to the big stage.

  3. Lars Olufsen says:

    Sorry ’bout the disagreement with gravatar above. Not sure what happened!!

  4. As a long-time Lotus developer who’s only recently started plugging into the community more actively, I have already seen that many of the speakers are already doing so. In the past year alone, I’ve been encouraged or assisted by at least 8 of this year’s Connect speakers, who have all shown genuine interest in building the community of contributors, rather than a competitive desire to keep it a closed group.

  5. Lynne Helms says:

    I enjoyed this info. Keep me in the  loop. Lynne


  6. Thomas Duff says:

    From personal experience, I can tell you that “sending the elevator back down” is one of the most fulfilling things you can personally experience. It’s hard to explain the feeling when you help someone speak on stage for the first time, and they follow that up by becoming one of the rock-star names on the speaker circuit. To know that you had a small part in changing a person’s life is an incredible high…

  7. David Leedy says:

    “Sending the elevator back down” is one of the reasons I started NotesIn9 in 2009. I was getting help and I wanted to give back. Wish I would have coined that term back then. haha.

    I encourage everyone who has not already done so, to “Join the Conversation”. People are becoming speakers at these different events. People are getting help from “the community”. People are learning new things with the help from others. So why not participate in it? Why miss out on a great resource?

    If you want to improve yourself, embrace all these opportunities around you. The more you share the more you gain. Start a blog. Post on a forum. Get on a Podcast or ScreenCast. Help out with OpenNTF or at the forums. Comment on other peoples posts. Ask questions. Throw out an idea and see what happens.

    Before you know it you might have made new friends, spoken in front of a live audience and learned a whole lot of things you didn’t know before!

    If anyone needs any help with this from me, just ask and I’ll do anything I can.

  8. edbrill says:

    The nice thing is that good people are always obvious as good people. It was a no-brainer to start including you in events like Lotusphere. And now you are a critical part of that team. And of the community. I love watching that evolution, and am glad that the cycle continues with yet new people today.

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