Drew Poggemann is a relatively new User Group leader, having started about ten months ago. As someone active in forums, he knew the power of helping others firsthand and realized that an even better way to connect with and help others was in a User Group. “They sounded like a great way to network with others, share information I have learned, and gain knowledge from others,” says Drew. “I really enjoy continual learning and didn’t see a User Group in Wisconsin at the time.”
By regularly engaging in the Dataverse forum, Drew connected with some great contributors who helped him make the move to a User Group leader, learning a lot on his own while researching answers to questions he found on the forum. This connection with others even helped him on his journey to becoming a Microsoft MVP.
Drew encourages all leaders to make a connection with other User Groups close by—and around the world. “Attend their events and get some ideas on how it’s done,” he says. “This will make you more comfortable to start holding meetings and gain some insights from their past learnings.” While he emphasizes the importance of creating an engaging experience, he also stresses, “Have fun with it!”
He has found that being part of his User Group has helped me stay on top of what is new and next in the Power Apps/Power Platform technologies. It contributed to opportunities to grow both personally and professionally as well. “Communication is key,” Drew says. “Getting in front of your User Group on upcoming meetings and communicating through multiple channels is important to drive attendance.” Giving people a reason to be there is important because “people are busy—it’s an art.”
With 30 years of experience architecting custom applications and leading IT organizations, Drew’s experience has given him decades of influence in the Midwest, but he says that starting the NEW Power Apps User Group has been a highlight. “Being a leader gives great networking opportunities with others in your discipline, exploring new topics, areas, and ideas, while also developing your planning and organizational skills,” says Drew. “Best of all, you get to meet some great individuals!”
Graciela Martinez was inspired to start a User Group because of the lack of groups focused on Power Platform in El Salvador and the rest of Latin America. “There is a lot of talent and tech experts here,” she says, “but there are very few groups and events for us in Spanish-speaking countries.” Seeing how even big companies were missing out on an opportunity, she started her group in January 2022.
“I wanted to start creating content in Spanish that could be useful for anyone in Latin America trying to build solutions with Power Platform.” Graciela was also motivated by the number of people who still hadn’t heard of Power Platform. “I wanted to get the word out there so many more people would start using it and find the value of the technology.”
She believes that community is all about connecting with others. “Doing what you love, finding people from different backgrounds who share the same love as you” is a big part of it. “I never thought I would get to talk with people from Microsoft or connect with other experts from Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, the United States, or even a local MVP I got to meet!” she says. The connections extend from the personal to the professional, where she was able to connect with a company and assist them in automating an internal process. “It was great!”
To anyone considering leading a User Group, she says, “If you feel the call to do it, just go with it!” It doesn’t matter if you don’t have enough experience, connections, or contacts. What matters is being willing to get started, because once you do, you’ll find a lot of people who are willing to jump in and be part of what you’re doing. “If your efforts result in even one person learning something new, then it’s totally worth it!” She adds, “Even that one person is you.”
Graciela believes that joining a User Group is beneficial, no matter your level of expertise or experience. While getting started with new technologies can be overwhelming, a User Group can help you navigate everything you may find on the internet. Regardless of background or experience, everyone has a place to share and grow and learn. “By being part of a user group, you can reach out very easily and get answers to your questions.”
As the leader of the Power Platform El Salvador User Group, Graciela inspires others and helps the group discover the potential of Power Platform—and their own. “You get to share, but you also never stop learning.”