What is your life like outside of VMUG and VMware?
I am married and moved from Italy to Spain just over a year ago. We are enjoying learning how to live in a foreign country, although Spain is not so different with its laid-back lifestyle. I like to travel when possible, and love hiking and relaxing in the mountains – very peaceful. And I have a passion for music, especially British and American indie bands!
Tell us a little about your background with VMware:
I worked for the UN from 2006 to 2012, and started working with VMware on a test project involving virtualization in 2006. The project went well, and was the precursor to the current UN IT infrastructure. VMware became an increasing part of my professional life, and when I left the UN to join the private sector in 2012, my roles included a stint working directly for VMware in Italy. I have now returned to the UN and am responsible for our VMware infrastructure in two locations.
How did you get involved in VMUG?
Easy question: In 2011 I went to Copenhagen for my first VMworld Europe, and a group of Italians were organizing a night out. I went, and it turned out to be the year-old VMUG Italy group. I was immediately fascinated by the VMUG culture, and wanted to attend as many VMUG Italy events as possible. However, I lived in the Southeast of Italy, and most events were in the North, so I took days off and covered my own expenses to attend – I was very motivated. The board noticed my enthusiasm, and during VMworld 2012 they offered me a seat on the board.
VMUG Italy is different in that there is one group for the entire country. Leaders live in different cities, and we have nine leaders total. We use online collaboration tools to work together, and create mini-groups and events in different cities to cover as much geography as possible. We work hard to be influential in the community, and are delighted that one of our leaders, Piergiorgio Spagnolatti, is currently the Vice President of the VMUG board.
Why is VMUG Important to You?
VMUG is important to me because of the interaction with all of the best minds in VMware, and in the virtualization community in general. When I joined all the doors opened for me, and I could interact directly with gurus without issue – the community is very, very welcoming. Members have access to resources, and receive exposure that can also benefit their career; being known in the VMUG community helped me land my role at VMware.
It gives me a real feeling of pride and satisfaction to be involved and volunteer, because we see the interaction and transfer of knowledge – to new members, and from them.
Why did you become a leader?
I wasn’t expecting to become a leader, and when the leadership team offered it was a surprise. I had approached VMUG as a member, and the leadership saw my energy and commitment. Being a leader is a big part of my personal and professional life, and I was honored to be named a vExpert, and invited to last year’s Tech Field Day.
What do you hope to achieve as a VMUG Italy Leader?
I would like to help the community grow, with more people at events, and more participation and interaction in the community. And I would like to help build the next generation of VMUG leaders, which we already see happening with new membership in our groups.
Part of VMUG Italy growth involves planning for our annual user conference each November in Milan. This will be our 5th edition, with an average attendance of 400 members.
Are you a VMUG Advantage Member?
Yes, of course, I think this is something that every VMUG member should do. It’s a package full of benefits, including the licenses for home labs, the training, and the VMware discounts, and is very good for both members and VMUG.
What advice would you give to VMUG members?
Don’t be shy. I think it’s common in many countries, but many times the members think they have nothing to bring or add to the discussions. VMUG is a community of users for users, and we want to hear everyone’s voice. Stand up, come to the events and say something – VMUG is welcoming and open. Don’t fear, join and participate actively!