Last Saturday I had the chance to attend the first ever SAP Inside Track in Riga. I really would like to say “Thank you” to Marina (@MarinaPontjakova) and her team for organizing this great first event. It was more than successful! I hope you and your local community keep on going. You definitely rock!
Before the event started on Saturday, I had the chance to see a little bit of the city on Friday. Usually, I am not sharing or writing about my sightseeing experiences, but this one is worth sharing it. I walked around the Old City of Riga and when I came around the corner to the “Rīgas Sv. Pētera baznīca” (Petrikirche) I saw a statue and thought ‘I know this one’ and when I came closer, I realized that it is a statue of the “Bremer Stadtmusikanten” (Brēmenes muzikanti). As I was born in Bremerhaven, which is close to Bremen, this statue and story is very familiar to me from my childhood. I couldn’t believe to see this in the middle of Riga’s Old City and a sign showed that it was a gift from Bremen. Funny coincidence.
Coming to the event, let me tell you that I was ‘kind of involved’ in the planning quite early because @MarinaPontjakova got in contact with me to get some advice for getting started. She contacted me as part of my role in the SAP Community team and being a member of the sitCOUNCIL. And she told me that she also took the advantage to speak with some other sitCOUNCIL members, too, to make her #sitRIGA successful. She also invited me to come along to speak about the SAP Community driven events as she assumed many attendees would be at an SAP Inside Track the first time. And she asked me to also present my session “Reactivation of body & mind” which I felt very honored about.
The location where #sitRIGA has been held was brilliant: In the 14th floor with a pretty view to RIGA and the surroundings which turn out to be very flat. Luckily, we had a sunny day so most of us took gorgeous pictures from the incredible view.
Already from my first impression I could see that the event was really well organized: signs outside and inside the building which showed easily the way to the place and many people around helping distributing badges, showing the way to food and coffee and the meeting rooms. The event location was split into two areas: Left half was a bar with a cozy seating area and right half were the meeting rooms. Both were combined with a lobby for networking and enjoying the incredible view. Very nice!
Marina kicked off the event with a warm welcome together with Mara Zukure, who talked about the background and history of the building. The ladies were awesome! My talk about the community driven events followed as it was part of the welcome track. Actually, it confirmed that there were approx.. 60 % new SAP Inside Track attendees so this topic fit perfectly into the agenda. But we had also experienced SAP Inside Track attendees from all over the world: Denmark, Germany, Netherlands and Turkey for example. Amazing.
Right after the welcome, Craig Cmehil talked about his earliest experience with presenting at an SAP Event and it turned out to be a really fun story. But besides that, he also gave a pretty good advice what he learnt from that experience: no one of the audience knows what you want to present. So, you can present anything. Even the things which you did not plan. I found this very helpful and everyone should keep this in mind. And SAP Inside Tracks are the best way to develop or even start your presentation skills. The atmosphere is casual and there are people like you and me. You don’t have to fear about anything. Just jump into it and learn. You even do not have to use slides (like Craig, he did a talk with no slides ?). Besides that, most of the attendees and speakers are not native speakers so no language struggles or language excuses at all. Everyone is human and makes mistakes. No worries. Just share your experience, what you learnt from your work or project or what you are currently working on. People are so thankful. And by joining a SIT you also get a glimpse of the spirit which drives the community to travel to these events all around the world. And it’s not all about SAP or Technology. You can add other topics of interest like soft skills, mindfulness, yoga, … . Take my session. As mentioned earlier it’s called “Reactivation of body and mind” – has this something to do with SAP? No. But I experienced that colleagues, who travel a lot, are strained and stressed while they are often more than 10 hours on work focus. They often have problems to calm down or to relax in the evening. That’s why I decided to offer them a bunch of small and simple exercises and methods which they can easily do during their sessions or in the evening in the hotel room. And guess what: I had 12 attendees out of 50 attendees in total and there was a “competitive” session about SAP Cloud Platform at the same time. ?
After reading this you might think why is she only hitting the content but not giving an inside about all sessions that day? Well, I have also joined some other sessions but as I do not have technical background and minor knowledge about the technology, I prefer to focus on the presentation skills of the presenters because this is where I can learn from. That’s what’s important for me personally. With posting this blog post I want to emphasize that everyone can join an SAP Inside Track, can step into the role of a presenter and speak about their favorite topic, get the advantage of knowing other SAP experts from all around the world and to extend their network. In addition to that, you get the opportunity to know nice places and can sometimes combine your business travel with sightseeing activities. So, if you are now curious to get more information, take a look to the SAP Community Event page, follow the hashtag #SAPInsideTrack on twitter or directly one of the event twitter hashtags like #sitRIGA, and read all the positive stuff about these events.