A warm welcome to Estelle Auberix, Microsoft Regional Director, MVP, and co-founder of CLOUDHERSITY, as she joins us for ‘Voices of Azure’.
We hope you enjoy this insight into the work Estelle carries out to support the Azure Community.
Please tell us about your own role with IOKELA.
I founded IOKELA in order to help companies by designing affordable people-inspired innovations to energize their production, business or product/service. Our working methods are based on Design Thinking, our IT Knowledges and Life observation. We include the end user throughout the process to make sure the solution is right for them.
You are the founder of a new non-profit community called CLOUDHERSITY. Would you tell us about that? What the aims are and what drives your involvement?
CLOUDHERSITY is a new community of mutual support and learning around professional careers in the Cloud and AI.
We want to help disadvantaged young people, people with minor disabilities (Dyslexia, Asperger etc) or from underprivileged backgrounds. We will propose a professional mentoring and coaching to obtain professional certifications recognized by the most important companies.
For several years, I have been involved in the cause of women in IT and the most important similarity is that many women lack self-confidence, especially when they are self-made women in IT like me.
Chatting with friends, I realized that passing certifications proves your skill and helps to avoid impostor syndrome. That is why we decided to try to help people get their certification to gain self-confidence or even find a job.
We are 4 co-founders: 2 women and 2 men in order to respect a parity. We all have different and atypical profiles compared to those who have had classical studies.
You are a frequent speaker at national and international events. What advice would you offer to those who wish to gain Speaking experience?
Last January, we organize a French Edition of the Global Diversity CFP Day. My advice was and still is:
- Do not be shy if you want to share your knowledge,
- Begin with small events,
- Choose a subject that you love in order to be able to transmit your passion and
- Feel free to ask another more experienced speaker to help you and/or give a presentation with you on your first larger stage.
With such a varied workload could you describe what your working week entails?
I am a ‘short sleeper’ so I generally begin my day between 4 and 6:00 am depending of my sleep (I never use an alarm clock in order to respect my natural bio-rhythm). When I am in Nice and if the weather permits, I do stand-up paddle boarding because I am living 200m from the beach.
I monitor business and technological developments during my breakfast then I follow online trainings to improve my knowledge or to acquire new ones.
Except for a very few cases, I keep my work life (aka. for my company) to regular work hours so my collaborators’ work-life balance can be preserved.
At the end of the day and during the evening, I take care of my community activities and my preparation for conferences. If I still have time, I also work on my innovation projects with my robots.
Sometimes, I continue to play on my personal projects during the weekend but I am trying to keep at least one technical day off. I often go to the cinema every Saturday and/or Sunday morning.
Would you outline what you find to be the most challenging and the most rewarding aspects of your work?
I have the chance to do what I love. Working is not a constraint for me. There are always new things and innovations in IT so you have to constantly learn which keeps me from boredom. Moreover, my community activities allow me to meet and exchange with many other enthusiasts which is very motivating.
Have you had or do you have a mentor?
Of course, I had and still have!
A long time ago I was looking to solve a technical problem on a forum and an amazing and very talented Microsoft evangelist answered me. Over our technical discussions, we became friends and he put me in touch with other specialists when he couldn not answer my questions. It was the end of my lonely journey in IT and the beginning of my collaborations with Microsoft because I was mainly working with Open Source Technologies.
I currently have mentors for my startup project.
To date what has been your proudest accomplishment?
I feel privileged because I have managed to organize my life so that I can do what I love. Freedom is most important to me.
In your opinion what is the most exciting thing about working with Azure?
Working in Azure means having the flexibility to do almost anything you want regardless of your skills.
- If you are an Infrastructure specialist, you can choose between IaaS, CaaS and/or FaaS. You can mix everything even with your on-premise installation.
- If you are a developer, you can choose your language. Even if you don’t know how to develop, you can use low code to make your idea true.
- If you have a project, you can choose or mix the Microsoft technologies with Open Source project. You can easily begin in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning with the Cognitive Services and Azure Machine Learning.
What is your favorite Azure Product and why?
It is cruel to make me choose one Azure Product but… if I can only name one, it would be: API Management because it is a secure ‘gate’ to everything in Azure and outside.
What in your opinion has been the biggest advance in Azure in the past 18 months?
Azure is constantly evolving but I think Security tools/services are a huge breakthrough because they interface more and more easily with all other services, whether in the cloud or on-premise.
I am also very interested in Microsoft’s work in Quantum Computing (now available with Azure Quantum) because their technical approach is very different from others.
You are both a Microsoft Regional Director and an MVP. May we ask about the path to receiving both of those Awards? Do you have suggestions for other community members who hope to become MVP’s?
Do not do what you do only in order to become MVP or RP but if you love it, do not hesitate:
- To meet the Microsoft community,
- To talk with RD/MVP’s and tell them what you would like.
Be very active in the Community either by:
- Giving some presentation,
- Publishing in blog/press,
- Helping people in Microsoft Forums,
- Contributing to Microsoft Open Source projects,
- Debugging Microsoft solutions…
The RD’s program is different from the MVP’s one because the objectives are not the same. To be simple, an RD is a Microsoft leader with the customer insights and real-world voices.
You need to be at a Community leader or to have strong business interactions.
You also need to prove a cross-platform technical expertise (Microsoft and non-Microsoft).
Could you describe what the unique spirit of the Microsoft community means to you?
For Microsoft, the Communities are very important and they often help our Communities’ actions. It is very motivating when we are organizing an event and are able to have a guest ‘star’ such as local Microsoftees or VP’s from Microsoft Corp. We can ask for sponsoring, goodies or a place in local offices/Startup Reactor. There is even a program for non-profit organizations.
The Microsoft Communities are very special because we use to communicate with Microsoft, small and big companies, users and other communities whether they are Microsoft’s ones or not.
Being part of a Microsoft community means being able to share your passion, technical visions and discuss with others.