July 19th was a banner day for me. For the first time—at a meeting of the New York City Chapter of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP)—I put on my new Voices for Innovation (VFI) hat. The fit felt just about right!
Let me rewind for just a moment: I’ve been working on public policy issues and external affairs for Microsoft for the last two and half years. Unlike most of my government affairs colleagues, I’m based in New York City, working out of the company’s Times Square office.
New York has a vibrant, innovative tech sector, but it is very different from Washington, DC, Silicon Valley or Redmond, Washington. Earlier this year, Jonathan Friebert, the director of VFI, asked if I wanted to get involved with the VFI program. Jonathan is based in Redmond, which poses a challenge for him to meet regularly, face-to-face with Microsoft partners in New York, New Jersey and throughout the Northeast, and that is where I come in…
From afar, I knew about the great work VFI was doing—educating Microsoft partners, tech professionals, and the broader public about technology policy issues, and encouraging them to share their views and expertise with policymakers. I was happy to join this effort.
I’ve spent the last few months learning about VFI, what the organization does, and where it wants to go. One of our goals is to spread the word about what we’re doing, share how policy decisions in DC and globally impact our partners, and encourage participation. I’ll be helping VFI meet this goal in part by presenting at events, such as the IAMCP NYC Chapter meeting, and this was my so-called debut.
Titu Sarder Leads the Way
IAMCP NYC Chapter President and VFI leader Titu Sarder made my job very easy. In introducing me to the group, he talked about how tech policy decisions impact the businesses of everyone at the meeting, and Titu urged everyone to make their voices heard by participating in VFI.
And with that, I was on. My presentation provided an overview of VFI and discussed some of the organization’s highlights over the last few years—VFI members met with Administration officials at the White House, testified on Capitol Hill, and urged Congress to take action on key technology policy issues. We talked about how New York area tech companies are threatened by growing workforce shortages, and the importance of addressing this challenge for the long-term. We need improved computer science education, starting with our K-12 schools. The group also addressed Microsoft’s recent legal win in a case that opens the doors for strengthening privacy and trust in the cloud.
The presentation was a success. In addition to being interested in the policy issues facing our industry, IAMCP NYC members and guests seemed keen to be part of a larger Microsoft community that was responding and leading the way.
Would your local IAMCP chapter or tech organization like to hear more about VFI and how small tech companies can play a critical role in advancing public policies that drive innovation and business growth?
Let us know if you’re interested by emailing VFI at firstname.lastname@example.org.