Over the past 8 weeks I have been enrolled in Gail Mercer Mackay’s Digital Storytelling for Microsoft Partners sessions, where she took us on a journey of how to masterfully craft the best story. When I first heard that I was going to take part in it, I was pretty giddy. I had been out of grad school since last September and I was starting to miss that classroom atmosphere. Our first week Gail introduced us to the curriculum, which needless to say was packed from start to finish. She was going to teach us the tricks of the trade and really allow us to take digital storytelling into our hands. We were a class of about 10-12 students, remotely connecting through Lync every Friday at lunch. It was a dynamic environment to say the least, as we were connecting from across Canada and even the United States. Gail had us participating in weekly homework activities that ranged from social media engagement, digital marketing tactics, and finally understanding how to master the art of digital storytelling. Each week we as a class grew; we grew to understand why and how digital storytelling had ultimately come to find itself at the top of digital marketing campaigns

We were fortunate that Gail’s 8 week course took place right before award season. During week 4 we were let in on Gail’s secret sauce on hoSecret Saucew to craft the best award submission. What I admire most about Gail is that during this class she willingly told us her best strategies. She no longer was our teacher, she was our mentor. She taught us how to balance the difficult relationship between compassion, technology, and writing. We learned how to write submissions that had a plot, a climax and most importantly characters. We were taught how to tell stories that made our judges feel as though they were a part of our solution, but more importantly make them feel human.

The following week we began our writing for the Metalogix Best of Breed Awards and the Impact awards. Amanda Da Costa and I put our new honed skills to the test by not cramming all the latest buzz words but instead challenging ourselves to write a story that shared the overall purpose of the our solution. We sent countless drafts back and forth with each other and our President, Peter Carson. We finally submitted what we thought and hoped was the best story that we could have told.

Fast forward to Monday May 4th where we got news that Extranet User Manager had been nominated as a finalist for the Best of Breed Awards in the category – Best Implementation of a Governance or Security Solution. The winners were being announced May 5th during Microsoft Ignite at Chicago’s House of Blues. On the morning of May 6th we came into work to find out that Extranet User Manager had won the Best of Breed award! Peter was at Ignite to accept the award and was overall thrilled with our team’s hard work. He thanked our company and congratulated us as a whole on the amazing accomplishment.

I want to take this moment to applaud and thank Gail Mercer-MacKay for pushing us and being truly an inspirational mentor during these past 8 weeks. We could not have won this award without you and we as a class are all so fortunate to have gained immense business value from your digital storytelling course. Thank you for the wonderful experience and I’m excited to see where my storytelling skills will take me in my career.