I received an e-mail this week from the Montreal IT Professionals Community (MITPro) inviting me to the 2014 Annual General Meeting.
I remembered a day nine years ago in January, 2005. Later in the day I would be heading to the first meeting of the group who had been brought together to build a user group for Montreal IT Professionals. As I sat in a client’s office applying patches I quickly jotted down a list of topics I felt that we should discuss, which turned into the agenda for that first meeting.
Around the table were Daniel Nerenberg, Maxime Viel, Thomas Kroll, Randy Knobloch, and a couple of other people I am sure I am forgetting.
Two months later we held our first official meeting, attended by some thirty people from all walks of the IT Pro spectrum. It was amazing that we had brought it together… but how long would it last?
The first real test of that was not when I stepped down as president, but when the leadership team clashed with my successor. The heated battle took its toll, some people left, others joined, and in the end the organization continued.
It had been written into the organization’s charter that I would always have a vote as the Founding President, and for the first few years I used it. However as I became more distanced from the organization (both in time and geography, having established myself in Southwest Ontario) I used it less and less, having decided that might no longer always know what is best for the organization that I was once the public face of. In September of 2012 when I joined the DPE team at Microsoft Canada I officially resigned my position with MITPro (along with ITPro Toronto, the group I went on to start and lead after leaving Montreal).
It is funny, looking at the Board of Directors from MITPro as it stands today I know… some of them. None of them were at that first meeting, and only two of them (out of eight) sat on the Board when I led it. Far from complaining, I am thrilled that the group is not only surviving but thriving… Dan and Majida and I are all gone, and yet the group is going strong. That tells me that it is one of the true Canadian IT Pro community success stories… because a few of us raised our hands and wanted to get involved a little under a decade ago.
So my question to you is this… are you a member of your local IT Pro user group? If so, do you participate? Do you attend events? Would you be willing to speak at one? It takes people like you raising your hands and volunteering to make these groups work. If you are not a member, why not? Look up your local group and get involved… attend, learn, and when you feel comfortable enough see what else you can do. Believe me, there are a lot of people out there who will benefit from your participation… starting with you!