FEBRUARY 2009 [Volume 1, Issue 2]

Form and List

  • Toastmasters Update

    In the January newsletter an offering from Toastmasters was described. It should have been pointed out that items 1) and 2) are free services but items 3) and 4) do incur some cost.

    3) They can help members of your user group join a local Toastmasters club. (There is a fee associated with joining a Toastmasters club)

    4) They can set up a Toastmasters club as part of your user group, specifically for your user group. (This Toastmasters club would have a fee to join.)

    You should contact Toastmasters (1-949-858-8255 x273 or CorporateRelations@Toastmasters.org) for the details.

  • UGSS (User Group Support Services)

    In conjunction with Culminis, INETA and PASS Microsoft has been developing UGSS for some time. Microsoft and Culminis are very pleased to announce that the UGSS site has now officially gone live at 9AM PST on Monday, February 16th. This will mark the end of the Codezone branding and launches the UGSS mission.

    User Group Support Services exists for one reason and one reason alone – YOU! The UGSS mission is to support Developer and IT Professional User Groups worldwide in their success!


    • Get Extra $ for Your Events – UGSS Offers event funding of up to $1000 per year, per user group
    • Get People at Your Events – UGSS offers a robust events calendar to better help user groups publicize their events. This calendar is synchronized with other community calendars (like Community Megaphone and will soon expose events listed on additional community calendars such as Culminis, INETA, PASS and perhaps even yours!) to provide the best value to our user group leaders!
    • Get Great Stuff to Show! – UGSS offers a selection of content built specifically for user group events for UG Leaders to use
    • And much more!

  • TechEd North America 2009 – Los Angeles, May 11 – 15

    Attending TechEd North America in May? If so, consider moderating a Birds-of-a-Feather (BOF) session. BOF sessions are open discussion topics of mutual interest to TechEd attendees. They give IT professionals the opportunity to meet with people who have similar interests and challenges in an open-forum environment that promotes discussion and interaction. The BOF submission site is open now and entries must be received by March 9, 2009.

    By voting for the submitted BOF topics you most want to see as sessions at TechEd North America 2009, you are more likely to have scheduled discussions with your peers on what interests you most. Visit the BOF voting site> often, as new sessions are posted.

    Still debating if you will attend TechEd in Los Angeles? The product session content is now available on the TechEd Web site The Session Catalog tool on the site allows you to search and sort through the Breakout Sessions, Pre-conference Seminars, and Interactive Theater discussions.

  • 2009 NPA Awards for Professionalism

    The Network Professional Association® (NPA), in conjunction with Interop, Culminis , and Cisco Press is proud to announce the eighth annual Awards for Professionalism program, which honors individuals for their outstanding achievements as professionals within the network computing industry. The Awards for Professionalism winners will be announced at Interop Las Vegas May 2009. The winners’ professional profiles and achievements are to be displayed as leading examples of professionalism.

    Awards for Professionalism winners demonstrate the best balance of professional responsibilities including technical competency, ethics and a proper professional, education and industry credentials, community and industry contributions, leadership, professional affiliation. Each award winner receives a specially designed personalized trophy and gifts. Previous winners may be viewed at

    The NPA is now accepting submissions in the following categories:

    • Best Networking Professional – Career Achievement Award
    • Professional Excellence and Innovation Award
      Entries are accepted within the following subcategories:
      • Corporate Fortune X
      • Corporate Small Business
      • Education
      • Government
      • Independent Network Contractor
    • Best Mentor Award
    • Top of the Mark - Volunteer Award

  • Message from Dave O’leary (Chair National Council of IT Deans)

    On behalf of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges and the National Council of IT Deans, thanks for your incredible support of our recent summit in Toronto, Canada.

    Your Culminis Community efforts resulted in the resounding success of our summit. We were able to clearly see the specific and measurable value of community, associations; and Microsoft support centered on community. This resulted in direct improvements to our curriculum in programs across Canada and the world as many of our Colleges and Institutes deliver ICT programming worldwide.

    I spoke directly to the Deans during the summit and there was excitement, energy, and passion coming from community programs. As I noted to your Culminis Chairman, Stephen Ibaraki, who keynoted our conference, with a 100% positive rating based on our evaluation survey, and then advised us for the remainder, “I am sure no ICT focused conference anywhere in the world had the quality of keynote speaker we had in you”

    We were “blown away” that the Microsoft-sponsored Culminis community would dedicate so much time, energy, and elite one-of-a-kind expertise in support of our academic ecosystem in creating opportunities to grow our programs and address the critical decline in ICT program enrolment. We could see the hundreds of hours of community-driven research provided to us and translated into a context we could use.

    The academic community is global and intimately connected. Success is based on relationships, relationships are built on trust and shared value and communities are collections of the relationships resulting from this. Culminis clearly understands and lives this as does Microsoft through their significant support for communities. This trust based shared value activity is a clear differentiator and a business necessity in these challenging economic times.

    Keep up this excellent work! It’s real, it has immediate impact; and most importantly, it builds trust.

  • MVP Blog (Independent Experts, Real World Answers)

    The Microsoft MVP Program has recently launched The Microsoft MVP Award Program Blog,showcasing some of the amazing and inspiring contributions of Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professionals!

    With a fresh new post each day, learn how MVPs are helping technical community watchers like you to find information and share knowledge with a global audience. Take a look at the blog, be inspired and tap into the rich knowledge and connections of our awesome community! The blog is currently in English but we do feature non-English content.

    Want to get involved?

    Support them by linking back to their blog from your own site! If you enjoyed the blog, you might also want to take a look at our Twitter site and Official Facebook Fan Page

    The MVP’s hope you enjoy reading the blog and find it a valuable and enriching experience. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact the blog moderator.

  • Stephen Ibaraki Interviews

    Some of you may know that Stephen Ibaraki is the Chair of the Culminis Global Board but very likely don’t know what he does with some of the rest of his time. Stephen is a prolific interviewer of highly notable and influential people in the ICT industry, some of whom are literally industry icons. The fact that he is able to carry out these interviews indicates his standing in the industry and the very high regard in which he is held. We are very privileged indeed to have him as the current Chair of Culminis. Starting this month we will feature one of his interviews each month. We urge you to read what these important industry influencers have to say. We will start with a fairly recent interview with Professor Dame Wendy Hall from the UK. If you can’t wait to see more and wish to peruse Stephen’s already large, and still growing, list please use the Interviews link on the Culminis website home page.

  • Microsoft User Group Satisfaction Survey

    Microsoft would like to extend their sincere thanks to those who completed the recent User Group satisfaction survey. At some point we hope to be able to provide some feedback on the very useful data it provided. There is still an opportunity to complete the survey and/or get your members to complete it. More data can only help to validate the initial tentative results. Although this is a Microsoft survey your feedback is VERY important to the future of Culminis. So on behalf of Culminis we urge you to assist. Although English only at this point can be a serious limitation, Microsoft would like to see input from as wide a geographic spread as possible. So far the responses have a NORAM weighting and a better balance would provide greater confidence in the data. You can use the following link to access the survey:


  • Exciting New Culminis Benefits

    Last month we mentioned some great new benefits that are in the pipeline and we are now in a position to give you an update.

    • Free one-year TechNet Direct Plus subscription good for 2009 for each User Group. Application details and all conditions of use will be sent very soon via separate communication.
    • Culminis has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Operitel (a Canadian company) to provide Microsoft eLearning courses at 50% off the regular Microsoft price. Further, from time to time Operitel will offer specific “specials” with 60% off. Culminis members will be able to sign up for these courses via a custom portal which is currently being designed and constructed. Completion is expected within the next 6 – 8 weeks and you will be given further details when it is available. Most of the Microsoft courses are in English but the portal interface will be in several languages. As and when Microsoft add courses in languages other than English Operitel will endeavour to offer them.
    • Microsoft Press discount offer for Culminis. Please use the following URL’s to gain access to this offer. There are no prizes for spotting the spelling mistake which hopefully will be corrected. If the links no longer work then you know that it has!

  • Existing Culminis Benefits

    Occasionally it is brought to our attention that Culminis members are not making full use of existing benefits. So as a quick reminder of what some of these benefits are, we have chosen 3 of the most popular and most useful to focus on here:

    • Free hosted SharePoint site for your user group
    • Free Live Meeting account (one per user group)
    • Event support funding (up to $1000 per year, per User Group)– this is now administered via Microsoft but you can still apply via the Culminis leaders portal rather than UGSS if you wish.

    If you need assistance with any Culminis benefits please contact your Microsoft Regional Lead (RL) and/or your Culminis Regional Chair (RC).