Cooking School with WW SPI Leads

So we just concluded a two day offsite in Munich with the WW Security and Privacy Leads with a couple Chief Security Advisors thrown into the mix.  We had representatives from Central Eastern Europe, Russia, UK, Canada, Latin America, Germany and Norway.  It was a great mix of folks with a wealth of knowledge.  We discussed our challenges and break through ideas to truly help our customers and partners protect their data, infrastructure and information for their companies with our security and privacy features, advocacy and solutions.  Can you believe we sit on a council with all our security competitors sharing information to ensure we help customers from any vunerabilities.  We also had the opportunity to do a little team building and did an Italian cooking school- who would have ever known we had so many great chefs.  It was a great little place next to the English Theater.  It was super cute, very cool renovation from garage to cooking school.  I now know how to make my favorite dessert: Tiramisu.  Here are some pictures of our cooking adventure:

Romania Influencers

I love Romania.  THe people are probably one of the most friendly in all of CEE.  So I took a trip to Romania with my husband to see the sites for a weekend, which turned out to be work.  What originally planned to be a weekend of sightseeing in Bucharest and then a sub visit on Monday turned out to be the Romania technical expert summit in a little village outside of Bucharest.  (A small town outside of Brasov called Sacele).  My husband was a good sport to land and ride 3.5 hours with one of my Romanian colleagues.  He arrived late at night at the little German like hotel and amused himself while I did session, we did head out for a short hike in the woods and saw many of the villagers hiking up to get fresh water from the mountain stream for the day.  While he was traveling to join me, I was scaling up a mountain side not dressed properly and having to borrow a sweatshirt and hiking boots from Loredana.  It was very beautiful.  I then had a presentation with the technical experts and some fruitful discussions on what Microsoft can do better to support technical communities.  We then got to partake in a Romanian festival and tried rotisserie Pig, Hungarian-Romanian Goulash, and the only vegetables Romanians eat is pickled- cucumbers, tomatoes, and cabbage.  We tried some Romanian partially fermented grape juice and regular wine.  Good times.   Afterwards we headed to Brasov, then to Dracula’s castle and then the long trip back to Bucharest (it should have taken 3 hours instead it took 6).  The next day, Greg and I joined Loredana for her 30 birthday celebration at a Mexican Restaurant.  It was very nice of Loredana’s husband to then drive us all over Burcharest after the dinner to ensure we saw all the sites! Greg then headed home and I went back to work at the Romanian subsidiary as we went through Q1 and Q2 plans and execution.  Some pictures below of the few days in Romania. 

A few fact about Romania for you.  Bucharest is hometo over 2.6M residents. Romanian legend has it that the city of Bucharest was founded on the banks of the Dambovita River by a shepherd named Bucur, whose name literarily means "joy." His flute playing reportedly dazzled the people and his hearty wine from nearby vineyards endeared him to the local traders, who gave his name to the place.  Bucharest is laden with historical charm – from the streets of the Old City Centre, which are slowly being restored, to the grand architecture of the Royal Palace and the lush green of Cismigiu Park. The city also claims a large number of museums, art galleries, exquisite Orthodox churches and unique architectural sites.  Nicolae Ceausescu’s legacy, including the Parliament Palace (formerly called the People’s Palace), which at 3.76 million square feet stands as the world’s second largest building after the U.S. Pentagon, provides an interesting introduction to the dictator’s megalomaniac vision.   I saw this and it has got to be larger than the Pentagon it goes 11 floors under ground and 11 floors up- it is amazing.  Very sad that people were starving and he had to create this palance for his ego than the betterment of the people of Bucharest.  Bucharest’s buzzing cultural scene – 37 museums, 22 theatres, concert halls, opera house, 18 art galleries, jazz clubs and hip nightclubs – will certainly keep you busy.  You must go visit- I highly recommend.  A few pictures of our trip:

TechEd Berlin- 20 year celebration

So last week I had the amazing opportunity to attend the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down.  The weekend started with an offsite with our Microsoft Business Group Leads and IT Pro Audience Marketers.  We spent the weekend discussing our H1 plans and execution and what we can do better in the Central Eastern Europe Region.  We have amazing stories and amazing outreach to help IT Pros across the region reach their full potential and help them be the top technical experts in their field.  After our offsite we got to participate in Monday’s historical event.

Too bad it was pouring rain but I was able to see and be next to the falling dominos representing the location of the previous wall.  There was approximately 1000 dominions made by students that stretch almost 1 mile.  I was able to walk by the Lincoln town cars (well actually Mercedes) of Gordon Brown and Hilary Clinton as we were walking towards the Brandenburg Gate.  There were people I was standing next to who were East Germans at the time celebrating on the wall.  I have to admit I was surprised to have Jon Bon Jovi as the band that kicked off the song before the Dominos fell and theme music to who wants to be a millionaire.  For great stories and videos of the Berlin Wall, please go to MSNBC- I particularly found the tunnel to freedom to be one of the best. 

After the fall of the wall the rest of the week was dedicated to Microsoft TechEd Berlin, our largest IT Pro and Developer conference in Europe.  On Tuesday night we launched our first Women in Technology Session for IT Pros and developer women in Europe.  After 20 years of the falling of the wall how have barriers for women been removed in the technology industry was the discussion we had.  Throughout the week we had many security sessions, virtualization sessions, development sessions, SQL sessions and it is always good to catch up with my fellow product team members from Redmond.  On Wednesday night we had a party for our amazing technical experts that have supported us with Windows 7 through the Springboard series. 

At the end of the week, my husband joined me and we joined the Romanian team for some site seeing through Berlin.  I think we are now adopted Romanians after several dinners, lunches and many kilometers of walking.  The sites we saw were the following: Brandenburg Gate, the Berliner Dom at Reichstag, East Side Gallery, Alexanderplatz, KaDeWe (the big department store East Germans thought all west Germans could afford to shop-like Macy’s in New York), Tiergarten, Pergamon museum (I have no idea how the Germans are able to keep all those relics from Greece).

Below are a few pictures from the adventures: