I am very happy and honored to have been selected into the exclusive Regional Director Program by Microsoft!

Your nomination by either a Microsoft employee or an existing Regional Director is a testament to your ongoing impact to both Microsoft and the community.

What is the Microsoft Regional Director Program about?
Regional Directors act in a non-paid advisory capacity with Microsoft. On an ongoing basis, RDs are asked to participate in scheduled strategic feedback sessions with Microsoft senior leadership teams. Because of their community leadership positions, passion, commitment to technology and business excellence, RDs have a regular outlet where they can express real-time customer and community feedback directly with Microsoft engineers and the senior leadership team (source: rd.microsoft.com).

Regional Directors are hand-picked by Microsoft based on a rigorous set of evaluations designed to help us select the best representatives of developer, IT Pro, and strategic technology needs of the world’s most impactful businesses.

While Microsoft is always looking for exceptional leaders you cannot nominate yourself for the RD program. Nominations are made by Microsoft or existing RDs. As stated on the RD page, out of hundreds of candidates, only a few people get actually elected.

I am truly grateful for that kind of appreciation as a result of what I have been doing with great enthusiasm for years. I enjoy sharing my knowledge with others and moreover offering ambitious people a platform in the tech community through the existing network. The Regional Director Program also recognizes my career transition from consultant to Division Manager.

What is the difference between the Regional Director and Most Valuable Professional program?
The Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award is given in conjunction with a technical discipline, i.e. in a specific area of expertise that you have a proven track record of implementing in a community-based manner. In my case, I have been recognized in the Office Apps and Services category for the past seven years for writing a significant number of solution-oriented articles about SharePoint and Microsoft 365, as well as running a number of community formats. However, the Regional Director program is more strategic in nature, focusing more on a broader view of the industry and less on a technical stack. RDs have demonstrated business and thought leadership experience through strategic customer engagements and often hold CxO, senior, and/or board positions with technology-focused companies.

Many of our RDs also carry the MVP award title, although many are finding it harder to maintain both credentials as each has different demands on the member’s time which makes it difficult to qualify and maintain both. However, the key differences really come down to the business consultative nature, customer experience, and cross-platform architect skills possessed by RDs versus the deep technical focus on Microsoft technologies which qualifies an MVP.

Moreover, the other big difference is in the mechanics and numbers within these programs: The MVPs get awarded annually, while the RD program lasts two years. There are about 4000 MVPs but only about 160 RDs worldwide.

Hence I will be in Microsoft’s Regional Director Program until the end of June 2022 and hopefully in July for another year as an MVP. Neither am I paid by Microsoft nor am I their employee. I really appreciate the opportunity that is given to me as part of those programs and I look forward to working closely with the tech community in the years to come.