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Meet the MVP Award Team

Alice Piras

Community Program Manager-Germany
Based in Munich, Germany

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Self-Introduction

I was born near Rome and raised in Sardinia, a wonderful island in the Mediterranean Sea. After my studies in Marketing and Digital Communication and before joining Microsoft, I worked for companies like XING and Airbnb, as a community manager. From the very first moment I´ve heard about the MVPs, I was immediately fascinated and wanted to work with such amazing people.

Besides my passion for working with influencers, I love foreign languages, traveling, and meeting people from all the corners of the world. Although I have a strong interest in the latest trends in the web and the online world, I very much enjoy connecting with people offline as well. I am particularly curious about people´s ancestry and background. Beyond that mythology and ancient history are my big passion.

Email Address:

alice.piras@microsoft.com

Betsy Weber

Community Program Manager – Northeast USA
Based in New York, USA

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Self-Introduction

After graduating from Michigan State University, in East Lansing, Michigan with a degree in Marketing and Logistics Management, I hit the road as software trainer. Later, I joined a software company, TechSmith, where I was the Camtasia Product Manager and Chief Technical Evangelist. I am story teller who is passionate about community, technology and social media. I've authored over 800 blog posts, created hundreds of screencast videos and traveled extensively across the globe educating new audiences. I was honored to join Microsoft in June 2016.

Email Address:

Betsy.Weber@microsoft.com

Favorite thing about your role

I am thrilled to be working with MVPs. I am so honored to work with them online and offline. My favorite part is getting out in the Community and meeting with MVPs and Community Leaders face to face. I love listening, learning and collaborating with the MVPs and being their advocate. I am also very excited to be working on Diversity and Inclusion, a personal passion of mine, for the MVP Program.

What community means to you

Community is everything. Webster dictionary defines "Community" as community as “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” My community makes or breaks me. I wouldn’t be anywhere without the MVP community

Fun fact about yourself

I was a part of a Guinness World Record winning team in 2015 that had the most people playing Pong at one time. I have the award framed and hanging on my wall to remind me that anything is possible.

Christian Talavera

Community Program Manager – Western USA
Based in Redmond, Washington

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Self-Introduction

I was born and raised in Mexico, earned a BS in Economics and started my career as a financial analyst most recently with Amazon. In my personal life I love learning about gadgets, food and traveling. My wife and I hope to visit a new country every year, maybe even all the continents. My favorite part of traveling is eating, not a foodie, just like eating good food. I try to offset this by running, cycling, and on the rare occasion doing a triathlon, marathon, or century bike ride. My wife and I recently welcomed our first baby who quickly became the center of our universe, I’ve mastered the dad jokes, hope the rest follows.

Claire Smyth

Community Program Manager – UK
Based in London, UK

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Self-Introduction

I have been at Microsoft for 15 years and in that time, I have worked across the business in roles covering training, certification, audience evangelism and product management. Prior to starting at Microsoft, I was a keen dancer and attended Leeds University studying English and Dance. I love working with technology and I’m always impressed with the way my two daughters adapt to the changing world of devices, apps and developing. It amuses me to know that my daughter’s will never understand that at one time, you took a photograph and then had it developed before you could view it.

Email Address:

csmyth@microsoft.com

Favorite thing about your role

Working with outstanding community leaders and helping them to share their great work with the Community and the Microsoft Business

What community means to you

I feel as if I have the best role in the company. I get to work with Community Leaders who dedicate their time to sharing their knowledge and expertise. And in a small way, I get to be part of that!

Fun fact about yourself

As girl, I love to ballet dance and even now I attend a weekly class! Move over Darcey Bussell!

Cristina Gonzalez Herrero

Community Program Manager – South Western Europe
Based in Madrid, Spain

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Self-Introduction

After studying Economics at the Madrid UAM University, and studying a post-graduate program in international business management across different European countries, I joined Microsoft as an intern in 2002 working in the Small and Medium Business marketing organization in Munich. Amazed from the very beginning by this fast-moving technology environment, the creativity around the product launch campaigns as well as the passion about software adoption and constant "learning-by-doing" - I was offered the opportunity to work with our brilliant community in Spain. The MVP Program has evolved over time to adapt to the latest community trends, embracing a diverse and always growing group of technology leaders passionate about community.

Email Address:

crisgonz@microsoft.com

Favorite thing about your role

MVPs and community leaders are exceptional people in many ways, they have visionary minds that inspire people around them. I feel privileged to be able to interact with them in a regular basis.

What community means to you

Community is the soul of the company and community leaders are the true motor of innovation enabling others to learn, grow and go beyond their creativity limits.

Fun fact about yourself

People get impress by how fast I can type on my pc, my secret: I took a machine typing course years ago, when I could not event imagine myself ever working on a computer...

Deepak Rajendran

Community Program Manager – India
Based in Bangalore, India

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Self-Introduction

The Community Program Manager (CPM) role is my second stint at Microsoft, after spending a few years at IBM (running the IBM Champion program and community/social media strategy for DB2-LUW) and Akamai. Most recently, I ran a startup which built plug-and-play data visualization web-parts for Microsoft SharePoint. During my previous time at Microsoft, I was managing community audience marketing campaigns as well as the RD program, besides working on events like TechEd. I was also one of the first Enthusiast Evangelists – a set of roles chartered to appeal to the ‘hobbyist’ in developers. An engineer and a proud Bangalorean at heart, I have spent all my living years in the garden city, where I continue to live with my software-architect wife and 8-year old son.

Email Address:

deraje@microsoft.com

Favorite thing about your role

MVPs are amazing individuals who display a deep, passionate desire to take their community peers along as they race to be on the bleeding edge of technology. So, my favorite thing about my role is the sheer pleasure of enabling and empowering them in this noble endeavor.

What community means to you

Community is the epitome of passion! It takes tremendous levels of passion to get out of home on a weekend or a late night for a community initiative, when one would rather relax or spend time on oneself. Yet, every community member still does it every single time! Now if that isn’t amazing, what is??

Fun fact about yourself

I am a bibliophile, storyteller and biker, in that order. Someday, I hope to go on a long bike tour covering lesser-known monuments, which I would like to make into a coffee-table book as well as a movie! What better way to bring all my passions together :)

Di Christina Liang

Community Program Manager – China
Based in Beijing, China

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Self-Introduction

I returned to my hometown in 2008 to put a pause on my overseas life due of family. For the past 8 years (when I started working as a marketing professional) I studied a BBA and MBA degree at the Helsinki School of Economics in Finland. There I worked in M&C, PMM and in a COO role for 3 different multinational companies. Getting settled in Beijing and re-learning the working culture locally is not an easy thing. With all of the great people’s help, I did make every single success in my career. I love to work in the IT industry as a woman. I lived in Toronto, Canada for 8 years where I experienced cultural diversity. It seems I choose to always lives in cold places. I am happy to face all different challenges; and I love to succeed. In my life, travel is very important to me and I am always excited to explore new places, meet new people and see a new culture. Walking around all over the world would be my dream come true.

Email Address:

diliang@microsoft.com

Favorite thing about your role

I love to build relationships with more people, the community spirit that evolves from sharing the same interests, and meeting new people who are dedicated to what they love. People are my favorite part of this role! The global team I am a part of is another favorite part of this role, as we learn each other’s culture and how to work together in harmony.

What community means to you

Share, love, help, support, platform, spirit and passion.

Fun fact about yourself

Before I believe God, believe myself first, then serve God.

Fernanda Saraiva

Business Group Lead
Based in Redmond, USA

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Self-Introduction

I was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil and decided at an early age that technology would be part of my life. I earned my degree in Computer Science and have always had a special affection for collaborative solutions and management methodologies, and that is where Microsoft started to change my career. Back in 2010, I had the honor of being nominated as a SharePoint Server MVP and with that came the opportunity to know most of my friends. Along with other MVPs, we created the famous MS Tech Day across 15 cities and gathered over 4,000+ attendees, among leaders and students with one single objective: the passion for community!

Favorite thing about your role

Interacting with communities and amazing leaders on a daily basis is a remarkable experience. Seeing the passion and willingness reflected in their activities, just inspires us to do more.

What community means to you

It’s all about passion and dedication!

Fun fact about yourself

I'm passionate about Philosophy, Mythology, foreign movies and puzzles!

Glauter Jannuzzi

Community Program Manager – Brazil
Based in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

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Self-Introduction

I’m passionate about IT since I was 9 and started programming on Apple II computers. Since this time, I had no doubt that I´d develop my career working in Technology. After working at several startups, I went on to Xerox (2y), Unisys (6y) and Microsoft (10y) in different roles like: developer, consultant, project manager, TAM and Cloud Infra SSP. In 2016, after a very good personal experience at Silicon Valley I came back to Brazil and posted the Vale Digital Manifesto with the goal to develop a community where we connected the Public Sector, Private Enterprises, Academic Institutions and the Society to transform our reality by doing and not waiting. for. After that moment on, my beliefs were stronger than ever that ONE can impact and influence MANY! With this startup spirit (idea-MVP-replicate-scale) I´m very excited and to join the team to make history with MVP´s and other communities in Brazil and WW to make Microsoft more and more relevant for everyone!

Email Address:

glauterj@microsoft.com

Kerry Herger

MVP Award Global Program Manager
Based in Redmond, USA

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Self-Introduction

I was born in San Francisco, CA – but grew up for most of my life in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where I call Seattle, WA home. I graduated from the University of Washington and began my career with Microsoft a few years following working across the business in several roles including OEM Technical Account Manager prior to joining the MVP team. The technical influencer community is truly incredible which inspires my every single day, and I am always excited to meet the members of the MVP community from around the world! Outside of work, I enjoy hiking, swimming, skiing and spending time with friends and family.

Email Address:

kerryh@microsoft.com

Lana Montgomery

Community Program Manager – Australia and New Zealand
Based in Sydney, Australia

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Self-Introduction

Originally a proud Canberran (Australian) - I currently live in the beautiful harbour city of Sydney, Australia. When I first joined Microsoft, I also decided to return to University and begin a Master of Marketing Degree at the University of Sydney. The best thing about studying Marketing again - 11 years since my initial Bachelor’s degree is the amount of innovation and change that has occurred – primarily due to technology and the insights and data that are now available to the industry. Prior to Microsoft and being part of the incredible Community Program Manager (CPM) team I worked with the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) Community out of their HQ in Canada. Here I spent my work days on marketing initiatives to help grow PASS membership globally, planning events around the world for the data professional community, and my weekends sailing, snowboarding and exploring the mountains on foot, by bike and snowshoe.

Email Address:

lamontgo@microsoft.com

Favorite thing about your role

Being surrounded by Australia and New Zealand’s top technical minds and helping these amazing people do even more with their knowledge, by linking them to new and exciting opportunities for their professional and personal growth!

What community means to you

What happens when a group of like-minded people become part of something not because they have to, but because they want to share their common interests with others that are passionate about the same things they are, and because they believe in it!

Fun fact about yourself

In 2011, I moved to Vancouver, Canada for a 6 month travel adventure and ended up living and working there for almost 5 years – it’s the most amazing city and will always be my second home!

Martine Thiphaine

Community Program Manager – France
Based in Paris, France

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Self-Introduction

After studying electronics and computers science at the Orsay University in the 80’s, I spent 12 years working in development, first in low layers (BIOS/OS) in different languages such as Assembler and C, then in the applicative layer, focusing on C++ and Visual Basic. After these experiences; I entered Microsoft France in 1997 as a Premier Support Engineer, supporting Development tools, with a specialty in Data Access areas. (At that time, I was a newsgroups contributor!). After 7 years, I decided to stop the technical stuff to move my career to a more relational path: And so, I became Community Program Manager (named MVP Lead at that time).

Favorite thing about your role

I love to spend time and to collaborate with passionate people, whatever their passion is. With this role, I have a lot of opportunities to do that! I also really appreciate belonging to an international worldwide team, which is extremely interesting from a language and cultural point of view.

What community means to you

For me, community means sharing spirit, respect, and willingness to make others grow. And of course, passion is part of it too.

Fun fact about yourself

A fun fact is that I am not fun at all!

Rie Moriguchi

Community Program Manager – Japan
Based in Tokyo, Japan

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Self-Introduction

Born and raised in Japan. Before joining Microsoft, I worked as a software test engineer for 4 years and made efforts to improve the quality of the car audio system for popular luxury cars of the United States and Germany. I have really enjoyed my role as a Japan-based Community Coordinator since I started my career in Microsoft in 2013, and had a great time with our awesome MVPs, Regional Directors (RDs), and community members so far. In my private life, I love watching baseball game at the ballpark with having a beer. I am the big fan of Yokohama DeNA Baystars!

Favorite thing about your role

I feel I am the community owner of the “MVP community” which is consist of MVPs and RDs. Every member has different background, opinion, technical knowledge, and age/sex…. but we all have passion and share the fun time together. To strengthen our relationship more than ever, I’m willing to help MVP and RD whatever I can do:)

What community means to you

Community connects person to technology with enthusiasm. And, community connects person to person with love. How wonderful community is!

Fun fact about yourself

I have qualifications as a Real Estate Notary and a level-two Certified Skilled Worker of Financial Planning in Japan.

Soyoung Lee

Community Program Manager – Korea and Southeast Asia
Based in Seoul, South Korea

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Self-Introduction

Before becoming a community manager at Microsoft, I worked as a Product Marketing Manager for various online products at the company. Previously, prior to joining Microsoft, I worked at internet companies as a strategy and business planning manager. During that time, I also started my own venture start-up company, specializing in online content and community building for targeted audiences like university students, businessmen, and women, etc. To date, I have also worked in Shanghai and Tokyo looking for business partners and opportunities while working for the Korean Internet and game company, NeoWiz.

Email Address:

sylee@microsoft.com

Favorite thing about your role

Before I began working with MVPs, my work mostly focused on numbers and revenue. Today, I love my work with MVPs and community leaders, who greatly help others to grow and improve. I always learn from MVPs and community leaders as a result of their growth mindset and their passion for technology innovation.

What community means to you

Community is great people. Individuals who can help each other based upon their own interests, and eventually catalyzing growth beyond the scope of their own limits.

Fun fact about yourself

My name is ‘So Young’. Everywhere in the world, people can easily remember my name! My name also provides a huge opportunity to start conversation easily and become a very good friend to those I work and connect with.

Tina Stenderup Larsen

Community Program Manager – North Western Europe
Based in Copenhagen, Denmark

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Self-Introduction

My professional involvement in marketing began while I was studying Business English and Italian at the Copenhagen Business School, working as a Sales Secretary. I was later hired at Microsoft, where I spent my first 5 years working in communications and marketing, targeting small and medium business partners in education. Since that time, I have also held a role in our OEM organization, working with Nordic and Western European partners. My most recent role transformed from another focus in Audience Marketing, where I spent 3.5 years working in Denmark before joining the global team of community program managers!

Email Address:

tinas@microsoft.com

Favorite thing about your role

The beauty of community is the passion! In this role, I get high on the passions of those around me. I love meeting with amazing community influencers and I’m excited every time I help someone to leverage their own passions and share it with even others.

What community means to you

Again, to me the essence of community is in the passion! Sharing, learning and respecting - these words combined creates the foundation for the amazing things that I see communities continue to do.

Fun fact about yourself

My first job was in sales and marketing working for a company that produced foundry equipment. The company focused on developing a sand molding machine, used to create mechanical castings. (still in use worldwide today). To this day, I have a soft spot for castings such as; break discs and manifolds.