VMworld 2020

Professional Development Track. Everyone belongs!

Featured blogger: Amanda Blevins, VMware Chief Technologist, Office of the CTO


VMware has announced the Call for Proposals for all VMworld US submissions. This is a very exciting time as folks organize their thoughts to create proposals about technology they’ve been working with over the past few months as well as what they’ll be working on this year. As technologists, we all want to share our knowledge with others and do our best to enable others. And this is what VMworld is about – a week of sharing and learning!


It was only 2018 when I submitted my talk, Achieving Happiness: Building Your Brand and Your Career, in the VMworld Call for Proposals process. I didn’t know where this type of talk would land, if at all, since VMworld never had sessions (to my knowledge) on personal and professional growth. I selected the Leadership track for my submission. This track was created for technology leaders and executives. Most of the content was for CIOs, CTOs, and VPs around business processes and organizational change. However, my talk was accepted and well-received at both VMworlds in 2018. In 2019 we had a Professional Development session type in the CFP portal due to the very positive response we saw in our VMworld surveys in 2018. In VMworld US 2019, we had 9 Professional Development sessions and in VMworld Europe 2019, we had 6 Professional Development sessions that are available in the on-demand catalog today on vmworld.com.





I am honored to announce that I am the track lead for Professional Development at VMworld 2020 US and Europe. We are creating more session slots than ever before specific to professional development. The talks might be technology related, and they might not be! That is the beauty of professional development. It isn’t just about professional life. It is about being a good human being. Human development is professional development.


This is my first time being a track lead at VMworld. I don’t know what to expect, but I do know the following:

·      This appointment is an honor, and I take it very seriously.

·      I will give no less than 110% to ensure the Professional Development track is the best it can be.

·      I want this track to be the shining star for what diversity looks like at a conference.


After accepting the track lead role a few weeks ago, I immediately began thinking about how to get the word out for this new track and inspiring the best possible speakers on the subject of being a good human being and professional development to submit a proposal for VMworld. I don’t have all the answers, but I know as a community, we can figure it out together. I need your help in encouraging and supporting yourself, your friends, your colleagues, and people you don’t know to submit their ideas during the CFP process. I’d like to see people of every under-represented group that exists and more as speakers in this track. We all know how vital it is to have diversity of thought and opinion for any subject, and I can’t think of a subject that needs full representation of all people more than human and professional development.


I was thrilled when I saw an internal email from our VP of D&I, Shanis Windland, this week to everyone involved in VMworld planning and execution. She gave me permission to include this quote on my blog:


 “All of you have the opportunity to showcase VMware’s commitment to Diversity and Inclusion. VMware is a diverse, multinational, multigenerational and multicultural company. As you prepare potential submissions, we encourage you to consider speakers that truly highlight the diversity of our employee population and the customers, partners and communities they represent.”  


At VMware we have employee led Power of Difference Communities, or PODs, to represent everyone. We have demographic PODs such as Black@VMware, PRIDE@VMware, Asian@VMware, Disability@VMware, Latinos@VMware, Veterans@VMware, and Women@VMware. We also have PODs based on Geographic Regions. You can learn more about these pods on our VMinclusion page here.


I will be enlisting the PODs help in encouraging people to submit proposals to the Professional Development track. And I’m asking all of you in our community to also go above and beyond to inspire the best speakers you know to submit. If you have an idea, ask someone that doesn’t look like you to co-submit and co-present so we can hear their thoughts and experience on the subject as well. Absolutely everyone is different, and my approach when learning is to listen to all perspectives and employ the saying “Take what you like and leave the rest.”. This doesn’t mean I only retain what is easy or already fits my mindset. It means I integrate what information and actions work for me as an individual with a unique personality to my being.


I hope to meet many people and learn new things throughout this process. Please submit your VMworld US proposals here! VMworld Europe CFP opens in a couple of months. And when that happens, I will re-surface this blog, possibly with edits based on what I’ve learned since it was originally posted, and have the same call-to-action for all of our European-based friends, colleagues, and community members.


Original post here.


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