At around 6:30am PST on 3/19/2013, I hung up the phone from my last INETA North America Board meeting in which I was the President. I actually did not hit me until Nancy said, “Hey Joe, this is your last call as President” towards the end of the call. I was both relieved and saddened at the same time. I was relieved primarily because not everything was my ultimate responsibility anymore. I was saddened because I believe I had just started to gain momentum in making INETA more relevant again.
FYI, I did not lose an election or get fired or choose not run; the INETA Bylaws state that no officer (President, Vice President, Treasurer, or Secretary) can hold the position for two consecutive terms. I will stay on the INETA North America Board as Vice President underneath a good friend of mine, Julie Yack, the next President of INETA North America.
Let’s go back in time to the Microsoft 2011 Global MVP Summit (February 2011), at which point I knew I won the election for President but the announcement was not public yet. I started out my pre-term talking to a lot of MVPs, speakers, former INETA Speaker Bureau speakers and former Board members asking them what they honestly thought about INETA, its benefits and programs. There were two common responses “INETA still exists” or “INETA is no longer relevant.” After thinking about this for a bit, I remember a lengthy conversation I had with a friend of mine, Todd Anglin, in which Todd told me what INETA has done poorly in the past and what had worked. I remember telling Todd that I would be known as the President that “put the final nail in the coffin” and shut down INETA, or I would be known as the President that turned INETA around and made it relevant to user groups and the community again. I believe I have accomplished the latter.
After the Microsoft Global Summit, we, as a board, met over the phone and in person to come up with a strategy to “make INETA relevant again.” We began to really promote our Community Speaker Program as well as our Component Code Challenge heavily. The Community Speaker Program continues to grow as we add more speakers and more events every month. INETA also started to participate more actively in conferences, like Microsoft TechEd North America, DevConnections and DevIntersections, by having booths and side events like the INETA Community Leadership Summits.
In 2012, INETA turned the big One Oh (10) and we had a nice birthday celebration, we posted a blog a day (almost) where we asked the community to submit posts about INETA and how it has affected them. My favorite post was the kick off one. I wonder why :). During that month, we also kicked off the INETA User Group Kits, which I thought were awesome.
After our birthday celebration month, we continued to heavily work on increasing our speakers and community events throughout the year and worked on improving the website. We also made a huge effort to change the way we handled and requested sponsorship. We decided to stop asking sponsors for money every time something came up and decided it was best to break up what we do into components and offer the typical and potential sponsors of INETA North America the ability to sponsor parts of INETA that make sense for them. For more on that, feel free to check out the sponsorship page.
Unfortunately, there is much more to do. We want to refresh the INETA website, improve the process flow for the Community Speakers program, and if possible, add some mobile clients to the mix.
So if INETA has touched you in some way or helped you, let me know (leave a comment here) and let other present or past Board members know. If you are willing to help in some way to make “INETA relevant again,” shoot me an email at joseph.guadagno (at) ineta.org.
And a HUGE thanks goes to the great team of individuals that serve on the Board of Directors for INETA. It would not be a success without your hard work and dedication.