SharePoint Joel: New Chapter – Focus on the Family

Three years ago this month, I announced my resignation from Microsoft and my intention to carry on my evangelist and community activities in the field.  Today I turn that page, and announce the next chapter in my career.

I’ve had a great time with Quest Software.  It started with a conversation where I explained what I wanted to do with travel, events, blogging and community, and Quest saying… "That’s what we want too!"

I was looking for flexibility and created a vision for what I wanted to do based on gathering the best of what I heard in speaker lounges at TechEd’s around the world.  Ultimately I got some amazing flexibility to support my efforts of blogging, speaking, and community engagement with a global customer base.

My Quest travel stats included 300 days of travel the last two years with 450,000 miles logged across 77 separate trips.  That’s over 550,000 miles since I left Microsoft.

While my kids have been able to benefit from the travel part including joining me on a few of my trips, I realized they were also getting the short side of the stick.  Not being home for band concerts, soccer games, birthdays, and such I have really been feeling it.  My wife and kids haven’t been able to rely on me for much.  I’m definitely ready to change that.

I’ve been blessed with a good job… and the support I get from the community has been incredible as I’ve been able to travel around the world literally reaching out to people and places that I could only dreamed of.  Memorable trips include the trip to Peru, visiting a community I had little to no contact with.  Jordan, Israel, Dubai, and Palestine where I’d find a whole world of people with passions and complexity worthy of all the time I could give them and more. India, Malaysia, China, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and Singapore another region busting with potential and fascinating cultures.  My trips to Africa have all been met with passionate SharePoint people and adventures galore.  From Brazil, Mexico, Portugal, Norway, Amsterdam, and more… Haven’t been let down by the community.  In fact I’m fitting in a family trip to Egypt prior to the move date, so my family can experience what I did. Looks like the SharePoint User group x2 will be April 9th in Cairo. Details to come.

I wasn’t really counting how many places I had been until I met Michael Noel.  Sure I had the "where I’ve been" map on facebook, but it was when Michael discovered the Travelers Century Club that the two of us decided that we would set a goal to visit 100 countries.  (Yep, he beat me to 100, he passed it on this last trip and I’m sitting at the last mile at around 96 with the last few on the calendar.) My aspirations for visiting new communities, new cultures, and breaking down the barriers of language, distance and isolation became real goals.  Our recent Sharing the Point tour in Asia really represented that desire to reach to emerging markets that otherwise get neglected.  It’s allowed us to focus.

What’s Next

It started with a job interview a couple of years ago.  I met this great team of SharePoint folks who had a vision for what they wanted to build and they thought I’d be someone who could build the team.  At the time I wasn’t ready to give up the flexibility, and was worried about the move and what we’d do with the house.

Since that time I’ve had a lot of time to think about working for a nonprofit and what it would mean to me and my family to go to the more of a 9-5 job and see me for breakfast and dinner everyday.  As well, looking at my career aspirations I decided I wanted to be a CIO when I grew up.  Looking at what I need to do next I realized business, and deeper management experience.  This nonprofit has 50,000 employees and already has 2TB+ of SharePoint content, and a SharePoint 2010 portal and plans to take advantage of Fast.

The role I’ll be taking on is a solutions management role who own the vision for how SharePoint and other collaboration solutions will be used across the company.  Having had a recent restructuring the IT department itself has been redesigned with empowerment in mind.  These solution focused roles really fit well with what SharePoint has been lacking in many corporations.  The vision, mission, and the ability to look at addressing problems rather than a focus on the technology.

For me what this means is less travel, a family focus, a focus back on the fundamentals of management, business, and problem solving at the business level.  I’ll be a manager, managing people, but also helping understand the various business units needs and addressing these with the technology roadmap.

Why am I doing this?

  1. More quality time with Virginia, Dean, Scott, and Jared (The Family: A Proclamation to the World)
  2. Next step in my career, focusing on developing my management and business skills
  3. Finding Purpose and giving back. I’m very excited to seeing and influencing how SharePoint and collaboration technology will be used to solve real problems including things like assisting in improving people’s life’s, human welfare and disaster situations.

Find me on my blog

On the social media and marketing side, this means I will be returning to a normal life of working at a customer.  My speaking will be limited to once a quarter events supported by the non profit by allowing time off to speak.  So I definitely will be cutting down the travel, but I will continue blogging on SharePointJoel.com and to simplify my life… I will no longer be running the channel on NothingButSharePoint.com.  The best place to find me will continue to be here and at few select events around the globe.

When

My start date is April 25.  Between now and then I hope to see you at SharePoint Best Practices Conference if you’re in Europe, and at TEC SharePoint Conference if you’re in the U.S!

More on the new job coming soon…

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