SharePoint Community Guyana Launch #STPSA

SharePoint Guyana

Sharing The Point Guyana – The SharePoint User Group in Guyana

L-R Shiv Dindyal, Dave Kashrinandan, Michael Noel, Timmy Outstanding Velloza, Joel Oleson, Marlon Velloza, Kevon Gittens

If you would have asked me is there a SharePoint in Guyana.  I would have done a search on my friends list in Facebook and Linked in and say I’m not really sure.  When Michael Noel suggested we add Guyana to our list of stops, I was really cautious that we position Guyana as a small stop and not sure if anyone would show up.  I was actually quite sceptical despite my belief that we should visit every country in the world and help build and promote community.  Our mission has been to go to the places that are under served and ignored.  We would be surprised once again about the power of community and friendship.

When we start planning a Sharing The Point event we often start with no contacts.  That was the case with most of our events in Northern South America.  For Venezuela we did know Elias who was very positive about the community in Venezuela and Colombia.  Andres in Colombia was an awesome connection and he helped us connect with the community there in a big way.  They have a great user group and we knew with the support of a couple of MVPs we potentially bring on Microsoft, which we did.  In Guyana Microsoft had no real presence.  Any accounts in Guyana are covered through Trinidad. 

It was looking bleak after I was doing a search on Facebook of “friends of friends who live in Guyana and like SharePoint” and I was coming up with nothing.  We had a Bob Smith sign up for 3 slots, but we weren’t sure if that was someone just messing around.  I sent a few messages to folks who had SharePoint in their profiles on Linked in, but was getting no response from the 17 or so that had SharePoint listed in their profiles. 

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The Birth of The SharePoint Community in Guyana – This is what Friendships look like being formed

Jim Bob Howard is amazing at finding people.  He’s got magic when it comes to finding people who are interested in connecting with us.  We’ve aligned with Jim Bob as an official Sharing The Point Community Builder and Connector. When he helped us connect with Marlon we struck gold.  Marlon was a real find, he’s got incredible passion and extremely friendly and sincere.  Marlon was friends with Kevon and his cousin Timmy was still in school and was very interested in learning about SharePoint and getting career advice.  Before long we had 10 people registered and real seeds to the start of a community in Guyana.  With this lunch meeting we met some amazing people and we had an amazing exchange of ideas and information on SharePoint, careers, jobs, travel and more.  What happened was powerful.  It was the start of the community in Guyana.  Afterwards, Marlon and Kevin went with us to see different parts of the city including where the president worked and you could see their pride in the city.  They really wanted to help improve Guyana.  It was exciting to see their passion.  I’ll share my travel stories in my travel blog at http://travelingepic.com

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Hanging out at Kevon’s house with Marlon and me.  No greater honor than being invited to someone’s castle.  Huge respect.  Great meal of sweet curry casava and a bag of “bomb” an amazing shake made of out natural ingredients.

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Above: Elvis an Amerindian from the Arawak tribe. We visited his village right after we met him at his fresh coconut stand.

Some people think there’s little value in the community building trips we do to Timbuktu, but I can tell you right now, that traveling and connecting with people who feel disconnected, lost, or that they don’t matter… it changes lives.  People that don’t understand the value in seeing community building only need to talk to any one of these folks to see what it means to them to have representatives from the SharePoint community visit them… in their town.

I tell them the satisfaction is mine, but I know we’ve planted seeds of hope and have made connections that last a lifetime.

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