Voices of Azure- Glenn Colpaert, Belgium.

A warm welcome to Glenn Colpaert, Azure MVP and crew member of the Belgian AZUG as he joins us for ‘Voices of the Azure Community’.

We hope you enjoy this insight into the work Glenn carries out to support the Azure Community

Please tell us about your own role with Zure Ltd.

Zure was founded in 2011 in Finland and has been focussing on Microsoft Azure since then. Myself, I joined Zure at the end of 2019 and co-founded Zure Belgium, to create an instance of Zure locally here in Belgium.As a co-founder of Zure Belgium, the role I have is very diverse. Next to the day to day operations of running a company, I also help our customers to build high demanding solutions on Microsoft Azure with the newest technologies.

You are one of the crew members of the Belgian Azure User Group (AZUG), would you tell us how you became involved?

Before joining the AZUG crew, I was one of the board members of the Belgian BizTalk User Group focussing on delivering content regarding the integration technologies of the Microsoft platform. Since the integration space moved more and more away from a classic on-premises story and focussed heavily on delivering on-par capabilities in Microsoft Azure, we noticed a severe drop in interest in these pure integrations focussed events. We decided to stop organizing events, a couple of weeks later I joined the AZUG crew, to continue my dedication to supporting the local community by bringing them Azure related content.

Could you outline what this work entails and how you have seen the Belgian Azure community grow over the years?

First of all, I have to mention that the AZUG crew currently consists of 8 members, each with their responsibilities and tasks. While Krist van der Mast and Maarten Balliauw are the driving force behind the user group, focussing on operations and partner relations, the other members, including Kris and Maarten are focussing on organizing the events and making sure we deliver quality content to our community members.

We’ve noticed the growth of the Azure community over the last years by welcoming more and more attendees to our user group events. At our last Cloudbrew event we had the honor of welcoming over 400 Microsoft Azure enthusiasts.

You are a frequent speaker at national and international events. What advice would you offer to those who wish to gain Speaking experience?

Start small and think big! My suggestion to people taking their first steps into sharing their knowledge is to start at local events and user groups. Once you get the taste of it and build that experience start submitting those papers to bigger events. An important remark here, don’t let declines of your paper influence your passion or your drive. Keep on answering those RFP’s!

With such a varied workload could you describe what your working week entails?

A classic working week is jumping between the different projects I’m involved in and my role as entrepreneur, trying to build a healthy foundation for the future of Zure Belgium. Mix the above with the ongoing community activities like speaking engagement and blogging and you end up with busy, but variating weeks.

Would you outline what you find to be the most challenging and the most rewarding aspects of your role?

As mentioned in the earlier questions, having different roles and responsibilities comes with the challenge of setting the correct priorities. It’s not always easy to find a correct balance between the things, but the most important thing is that you keep on doing what you love doing. If you do what you love, you will feel rewarded by doing so.

To date what has been your proudest accomplishment?

There have been a couple of professional accomplishments that I’m proud of. If I have to pick one, then I would say receiving my first MVP Award back in 2014 might be the accomplishment I’m proudest of to date.

In your opinion what is the most exciting thing about working with Azure?

The most exciting thing about working with Azure is also the most challenging thing. As the platform is evolving at such a rapid pace, following the latest trends, it is a challenge to keep up with these ever-evolving technologies, and that’s where community events and conferences come in to play. Joining these events allows you to learn about these new technologies and services from experts or people that have been involved in the early phases of it.

What is your favorite Azure Product and why?

Wow, difficult question! If I must pick one, it’s IoT Hub! Probably related due to the fact that the last couple of years I was involved in many IoT projects and I’ve seen the product grow and mature over this time.

What in your opinion has been the biggest advance in Azure in the past 18 months?

In the fast-moving world of cloud computing, comparing a platform now and 18 months ago is extremely difficult. The biggest change, in my opinion, is the fact that Azure is trying to create more synergy between the different services, a great example there is Log Analytics, and more and more services adopting Azure Event Grid.

Have you had or do you have a mentor?

I don’t have a particular person as a mentor, but there are a lot of people, both in the local and international Azure community, that are inspiring.

How did you become an Azure MVP? Do you have suggestions for other community members who hope to become MVP’s?

As the selection process of Azure and Microsoft MVP’s in general, is not being disclosed by Microsoft it’s difficult to exactly pinpoint how I became an MVP or what were the criteria that rewarded me as an MVP.

During the years before receiving the award, I did a lot of blogging and did some community talks at local user groups, I joined the Belgian BizTalk user group as a board member, which allowed me to organize community events. To my opinion, the combination of the above allowed me to be rewarded as Microsoft MVP.

The biggest suggestion to aspiring MVP’s is to do what you love and simply do it because you love the technology and love sharing your knowledge with other people if you do that with passion you’ll come a long way. Don’t just do it for the award only!

Could you describe what the unique spirit of the Microsoft Community means to you?

The spirit of the Microsoft/Azure community is something unique, having friends and getting to know new people across the world and hanging out with them at the different conferences, or simply visiting them at their place is amazing. Knowing that some of them are just a phone call away, ready for you to listen in case of any problems, that’s amazing. You can call it some sort of camaraderie, that’s what is all about, interconnecting people that share the same passion for technologies, but also going beyond the technology boundaries and connecting on a personal level and even develop friendships. That’s the true and unique spirit of the Microsoft/Azure community!

With that said, thank you for this interview and big thanks to everyone at European Cloud Conference for also driving this community spirit!

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