vNext, the Journey


When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. ~~ Lao Tzu

This post has been a while in the making.  Its been on my roadmap for a year (ish) and like software, has taken on a few different forms.

This is the time of year where two major events take place for active Microsoft MVP award recipients: MVP Global Summit and MVP award renewal. MVP Global Summit is an opportunity to meet with Microsoft staff to learn about what’s coming, discuss challenges, provide feedback and network with peers. MVP award renewal means that we must get all of our community contributions submitted if we want to be considered for next year’s MVP award since it is an annual award.

2019 marks a decade of Microsoft MVP service for me. Its been about 10 years since my initial award which means that I’ve been giving back to the Dynamics 365 (CRM) community for more than 11 years. I have appreciated the opportunity to help others be more successful in their career, more effectively use the application, grow our community and celebrated a huge number of wins.

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a growing desire to explore new opportunities and other ways to engage with and give back to the community. I find myself at a juncture in life where there are more years behind me than ahead. I realize that if I’m to experience the opportunity of making a difference in areas of life that interest me and stretch beyond my existing career path then I have to make some room in my life now. As a result, I’ve decided this year will be my last for being considered for the MVP award. Given that, I’ve decided not to submit my community contributions for renewal consideration this year. Letting go of the MVP annual award is one of the ways that I plan to free up some time for other interests.

You’ve been an amazing community to learn and grow with. I’ve developed some lasting friendships, had the opportunity to mentor some incredible individuals, met and touched the lives of many, and have been affected in positive ways through those connections. I have a multitude of happy and humorous memories that I will carry with me as I journey on. I would love to call out all of the incredible people I’ve had the opportunity to meet and interact with but the list is so long that I doubt there is enough time and space to list all, so, for now, I’ll just say that you know who you are 🙂

Having said that, I do want to mention the one individual who was key to this past decade of service and that is Jim Glass. If you’ve been in the community for a while, you might have heard of him. For those who have not, Jim was the “CRM” Program Lead for several years and he originally nominated me for the award back in 2009. I extend a special, Thank You, to Jim for opening the door to all the great people, experiences and opportunities that followed. Jim, I always wish you and yours the very best that life has to offer.

As I bring this post to a close, I would like to acknowledge my mother, Alice Ayers, for this decade of giving back. It was my mother, who with nothing more than a desire to meet the most basic needs of her community and with no selfish ambition or plans for recognition, left her mark on the world.

For those of you who have not heard the story of my Mother, The Foodbank of North Central Arkansas was borne through her efforts and the volunteers who helped her. You can read about their humble beginnings on their website. As the site states, there was a devastating flood in the small town where my mother had recently relocated with her husband. While many homes were destroyed and families displaced, my mother was safe because her humble home was located on a very high cliff overlooking the White river. When she saw the need around her, she decided that she could feed the people so she turned her small home into a soup kitchen and cooked for the displaced and the volunteers helping them. Little did she know what was to come of that one simple act of thoughtful kindness.

Opportunity was born from that act of helping those in need.  Her vision at the time was simple; feed the hungry, clothe those in need, alleviate suffering, give a hand up. Today, the organization that grew from that action serves up clothes, household essentials, and over 2.4 million pounds of food annually, to those in need, and has been for the past for several decades.

Amazing things are often borne from small acts of mindful kindness. Never hesitate to to take action when you sense the need and see the opportunity.

In closing, may peace be with each of you and those you hold dear. Know that life is not just those moments of glory, pride and happiness that we sift out to share with others but instead it is full of contrasts; joy and sorrow; struggle and triumph; love and dislike; loss and gain; exhilaration and suffering… A movie I recently watched, “The Hundred-Foot Journey” reminded me of that.  Opportunity presents itself in many ways, but more often than not, when our life moments result in lasting value, they are driven by the efforts of those who came before us, their love and care, combined with our passion, dreams and desire. 

I hope that you experience and grab hold of those times and moments in life that move you toward amazing. May you be so lucky to discover and surround yourself with authentic people on your journey through life. They are not always the ones that others hold up as exemplary or leaders but in looking beyond appearances, you will be able to identify them based on their character, integrity and empathy.

I dedicate this past decade of giving, in addition to where my vNext journey takes me, to my mother, Alice Ayers, as I lift the torch that she lit and to those in my family who have been and continue with me through all the highs and lows of life’s journey.


12 comments

  1. Good luck, Donna. It was the pleasure to share the same group with you! Thanks for everything you did for the community!

    1. Thanks Andrii, really great to share good times and work with you. I wish you and those you hold dear much success, health and prosperity. I’m sure I’ll see you around the community!

  2. Donna, thanks so much for contributing to the community. You donated so much to the community via all the different communications channels, I often wondered if you had a day job. 🙂 You were one of the people I looked up to that next year when I became an MVP. I always appreciated your mentoring, advice and guidance. Best to you.

    1. Thanks much Jerry, that means a lot! I knew I could always get an honest opinion and response from you and I valued and continue to value that. I always appreciated your integrity. Congrats on your extra award this year and I always wish you and yours the very best.

  3. Thank you Donna for all your contribution to the community and the Dynamics Ecosystem. You were an inspiration for me since 2009 and your posts will always be etched in my favorites. Your student from Dubai. All the best for the life ahead!

    1. Hi Farhan, Its really good to hear that you benefited from the information I provided. It means a lot to me. One of the great things that I’ve really enjoyed about the MVP program is the ability to reach across borders and connect with individuals from across the globe. I value that connection and I wish you and yours the very best that life has to offer.

  4. Good luck to you Donna! I always appreciated the encouragement you provided to me as I started my MVP quest all those many moons ago. I am glad that we got to work together and become friends. I’ll be looking forward to your new adventures!

    1. Thanks Shawn, I recall how happy I was to see you join the ranks and it was great watching your growth over the years. I’m sure you’ll continue to do good things and have a little fun along the way. Best Always!

  5. Donna – I remember we had dinner after CRMUG Summit in Orlando. 2010 I believe. You impressed me with how much you enjoyed, and even felt an obligation, helping people. You’ll be missed, but your addition to vNext will be a blessing for them.

    1. Wow, you’re memory is significantly better than mine. What I do and will always remember is your tenacity, ethics and welcoming demeanor. Thanks for being who you are and let’s not lose touch. Best Always to your and yours Larry!

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