What I Learned at Microsoft Inspire 2019


This summer, I traveled to Las Vegas to attend my first Microsoft Inspire conference. It was a great opportunity for me to introduce partners to VFI, as well as to strengthen my ties with our partner leaders. I also got a chance to connect with many Microsoft executives and managers who help make the partner program a great success.

Highlights of VFI Activities at Inspire

VFI kept me busy around the clock during Inspire. We manned a booth in the Community Zone, visited with partners in the U.S. Lounge and throughout the Hub, and attended lots of great sessions and panels.  Highlights of our activities included:

  • Microsoft President Brad Smith with IAMCP leaders
    Microsoft President Brad Smith (blue shirt) with IAMCP leaders (l to r) Jeff Goldstein, Deb Pfundstein, and Titu Sarder

    Sponsoring and participating in IAMCP‘s Executive Roundtable program. This program brought partners together with Microsoft executives such as Gretchen O’Hara, Gavriella Schuster, Brad Smith, and David Willis.

  • Introducing several hundred Microsoft partners and employees to VFI.
  • Educating partners about the power of advocacy and enlisting partners to support improving federal broadband mapping. (We expect upcoming opportunities to highlight the importance of broadband to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the coming months!)
  • Hosting an “Advocacy Meetup” at our booth, led by VFI leader and LawToolBox.com VP of Marketing Carol Lynn Grow.

We’re also grateful for the support we received on social media, including…

Tweet from Microsoft President Brad Smith

IAMCP Thank You Tweet

Listening to Partners

I recognize that not every Microsoft partner will be interested in what VFI does, but I was heartened to hear from many partners who were excited to learn about VFI and eager to get involved.

VFI is a unique partner program in the technology sector that helps tech professionals support not just our industry, but also their communities and our nation as a whole. Given the fact that technology touches virtually all aspects of our lives and has an outsized impact on our economy, many Microsoft partners want to bring their expertise to policy discussions and play a role in shaping positive tech policies. This is great news—and I look forward to helping partners on their advocacy journey.


David Pryor is the director of Voices for Innovation. He has been a member of Microsoft’s U.S. Government Affairs team for more than a decade.