Microsoft Senior Sales Excellence Manager - Eric Ligman

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Parting is such sweet sorrow…

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Parting is such sweet sorrow…

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Some of you who have been around the Microsoft Small Business Community for awhile may recall the short post by David Hibbeln back on March 10, 2004 that first brought the Microsoft Midwest Small Business Community into the spotlight.  It was a simple reference to the just launched version #1 of the Microsoft Midwest Area Small Business Community Site utilizing Windows SharePoint Services.  Shortly after that came inquires as to what the Microsoft Small Business Community was and who was behind “the alias.”    Then, on March 23, 2004, came the first post in which my name was associated with the Community.

After that came the fun part…  The questions of, “So who the #*$^# are you anyway?” and “Why should we care about anything you say or listen to you?”  In fact, some of you may recall the candid message swaps between Karen Christian and me in trying to answer some of these questions. 
J  Throughout the entire process, I had the great pleasure to “meet” so many of you in the various SBS groups and learn about you and your businesses here in the Midwest, the Central Region, the US, and around the world.

Then came Susan Bradley’s “post heard around the world,” announcing the launch of the brand new, Microsoft Small Business Channel Community one night before it officially launched.  By the next day, it was headline news including articles in: CRN, eChannel Line, and many more  Also, the recently formed (at that time) Central Region Small Business Team was in full swing behind the scenes of the Community. 

I know that many of you have had the pleasure to work with, speak with, or in some way interact with one or many of the fantastic members that make up the Central Region Small Business Team, such as:

- Brad Billison, Central Region Small Business Technology Specialist.  Many of you have probably attended one of his Live Meeting sessions he has given or participated on the Microsoft Across America truck he drove across most of the region.  Maybe you even had the chance to meet him at one of your local SBS User Group meetings such as the November Michigan one.
 

- Dan Kocon – Central Region Small Business Development Manger in our North Central Area (ND, SD, MN, IA, NE, KS, MO, TN).  Many of you may have met Dan at the Minnesota Small Business Expo & Conference, or possibly the IAMCP Polar Chapter Meetings, or worked with him to start a new Small Business User Group in MN, KS, or MO.

 

- Brad Walton - Central Region Small Business Development Manger in our South Central Area (OK, AR, TX, LA).  Those of you in the Dallas-Ft. Worth SBS User Group, you’ve probably met Brad at one of your meetings or possibly at one of the local Small Business Expos he participated in.

 

- Derrick Bufford - Central Region Small Business Development Manger in our Great Lakes Area (MI, OH, KY).  Those of you in the Michigan SBS User Group, you’ve probably met Derrick at one of your meetings or possibly at one of the Detroit Chapter of the ICCA events he participated in.

 

- Jennifer Bogdalek – Central Region Small Business General Manager.  Those of you in the Duluth, MN area may know Jennifer through her work with the City of Duluth in their partnership with Microsoft.  Or maybe you read about her in Susan Bradley’s Blog regarding the launch of the new Microsoft Small Business Channel Community.

 

- Manon Pernot-Upshaw – Many of you may not have had the opportunity to work with Manon, or may not have known you did since she often works in the background, behind the scenes.  If you have ever received a prize from our team for one of our Pop Quizzes or a contest, most likely, Manon is the one who sent it.  If you have attended one of our Live Meetings, there is a good chance that Manon set up the registration or details to make that happen.  Most likely, many of you have worked with Manon and were just not aware of it.

I have had the pleasure to work with each and every one of these individuals on a day by day basis for the past year as part of the Microsoft Central Region Small Business Team.  Prior to that, I worked with many of them when I was on the Microsoft Midwest Small Business Team and they were on their respective teams.  Either way, for any of you who have the opportunity to meet and interact with any of these individuals in the future, please take the opportunity to do so and you too will see why I say they are the best of the best, both personally and professionally.  Working with great people truly makes doing your job much more enjoyable. 
J

Ok, so what is the point of this post?  And why the subject I chose?  Because this Thursday, April 14, 2005 will be my last day as a member of the Microsoft Central Region Small Business Team.  It has been a wonderful experience being on this team and many of you may recall that last year when I was on the Midwest Area Team, I openly stated that one of the goals was to build it up to a Regional Team in our FY05 year (July 2004 – June 2005), which we did.  Also, it has been quite an exciting year in the Microsoft Small Business Channel Community!  (Thanks in large part to all of you, the current members of the Microsoft Small Business Channel Community).  Have no fear though, the Central Region Small Business Team will still be here and flourishing as always, so to all of you Partners in the U.S. Central Region, you will still have the same great experience working with the same person you did before, whether that was Dan, Derrick, or Brad.

As for the speculation on where I’ll be, let’s get a few rumors out of the way:

1) Despite the tempting warmer climate bribe attempts by Terry Constable to lure me to South Carolina, I am not taking him up on his offer.


2) No, Terry did not take the rejection poorly and follow through on his plans to kidnap me.

In fact, the answer to the question reaffirms one of the things I have been communicating in the Small Biz Community ever since the beginning…  Yes, Microsoft does want to hear what you have to say, yes we do listen, and YES we are committed to helping our Small Business Partners be as successful as possible!  Remember the threads asking for my counterpart in the South, or other areas of the country outside of the Central Region?  Also, just like last year when I mentioned that one of the goals was to build it up to a Regional Team in our FY05 year (July 2004 – June 2005), in the beginning of this year, I mentioned that one of the goals was to build up to a National Team in our FY06 year (July 2005 – June 2006).  Well, that’s where I’m off to. 
J

As of April 15, 2005, I will be heading out to Harry B territory in Washington and will be on the U.S. Small Business Team for our FY06!  (So the commute over to SMB Nation will be very short for me this year, Harry)  This is a very exciting change and will be a great addition to the many other exciting things coming up in Small Business in the near future.  With the new product releases, new National Small Business Team, and other exciting changes (stay tuned as these roll out throughout the year), now is definitely the time to be a Microsoft Small Business Partner!  So tell your peers and anyone else you know who offers Microsoft solutions to the Small Business segment to get onboard.

1) Become a Microsoft Registered Partner: http://www.microsoft.com/partners
2) Join the Microsoft Small Business Channel Community: http://www.mssmallbiz.com
3) Join the Small Business Partner Engagement Program: https://partners.microsoft.com/pep/SmallBusiness

And get ready for a great year together in Small Business with Microsoft!  Stay tuned for more exciting announcements throughout the year! 
J

Thank you, have a wonderful day, and here’s to our joint success together in serving the needs of Small Businesses now and into the future!

Eric Ligman
Senior Manager – U.S. Small Business Group
Community Engagement

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