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The Microsoft Dynamics Community is one of mutual respect, but it’s also highly competitive. Some would describe this group as “cutthroat” when it comes to stealing top talent from each other. It is like when two opponents compete in the Olympics, the best of the best respecting each other’s skill, intelligence and work ethic, but each committed to being the one who comes out victorious.
Nowhere in the world is competition for Microsoft Dynamics talent more fierce than in Ukraine. The more than 700 professionals who call the Ukraine home are critical to the growth and refinement of the Microsoft Dynamics community, contributing immense value. Everyone who has crossed paths with these professionals has been positively impacted by their talents, perseverance, dedication and kindness.
On February 24, 2022 Russia invaded Ukraine. And the Microsoft Dynamics community changed. Unity replaced rivalry and an alliance of professionals protecting and supporting our teams in need emerged.
Today, Ukraine is experiencing atrocities that most of us cannot imagine. The Microsoft Dynamics community is ready to respond and help these talented Ukrainians who are beloved colleagues and most importantly: family.
“In my corporate career, I've never seen competitors come together with this much transparency and alignment for a cause. To have the kind of cooperation that I'm seeing around how we're going to engage with one another during this crisis - it's remarkable.” – Lori Fraiser, Enavate’s Chief People Officer
The morning after the first bombs exploded in Ukraine, Enavate’s CEO Thomas Ajspur called his assistant at her home in Kyiv. Her typical calmness was absent from her voice and replaced with fear as sounds of shelling echoed in the background. In that moment, Thomas knew he needed to step up quickly to help his team of more than 150 in that region reach safety.
Following this conversation, Thomas emailed the CEO’s of Enavate’s six largest competitors and asked: “Does it make sense for us to get together and help each other out and forget about competition right now?”
The reply from every single CEO contacted: “Absolutely, let's do something.”
The next day, leaders across the Microsoft Dynamics community were on the phone together talking about their teams in Ukraine, status updates and sharing stories of what their colleagues are experiencing. They began brainstorming how to come together and pool their resources, connections and knowledge to help their teams and friends who were in harm’s way.
Together, these leaders have put competition aside and unified to prioritize the community that links them together. In this effort, they quickly created and launched DynamicsUkraine.org.
The Microsoft partners who are leading the effort of DynamicsUkraine.org
Just as there wasn’t a textbook to reference on how to lead a company during a pandemic, there also isn’t a textbook about how to lead a global team during a war. There is no checklist, no list of options and no data supporting what will be the most impactful. So Enavate, along with this collective of partners, are focusing their efforts on their number one priority: to keep people safe.
Since Day 1, Enavate leaders have had a daily check-in meeting with their Ukraine team to ask what they need. They provide reassurance that they still have employment, a paycheck and support.
Relocation packages are a major effort as a top priority is to keep all members of the community safe. Each partner in this collective took the lead in a neighboring country so that Dynamics professionals could relocate safely there or to other parts of Ukraine that were not under attack. They agreed that no matter who is crossing the border, there will be help there for them. Competitors are helping competitors not because they get personal gain or a bump to their bottom line, but because it is the right thing to do.
“Enavate has 150 Ukrainian team members. That equates to 150 individual stories of how they are affected and what they need to literally survive. Relocation means that we need to be very sensitive to unique differentiators among team members. For example, those who can’t relocate because they are the primary caregiver to their elderly parents. We are trying to be as supportive as possible on an individual basis, as much as we can, and be very flexible with how we are defining family and what constitutes family.” – Lori Fraiser
For instance, if someone from Global Mediator relocates to be with family in Romania, which is the country in which Enavate is leading efforts, all they have to do is contact their own HR department and access an internal telegram app to notify people that they are in route. From there, contacts meet team members at the border and help them navigate this new country, get them to a train that will take them where they need to go and put them up in hotels for a night without charge. All of this is possible because of how the community unified.
Full Company Meetings at Enavate showing outward support of Ukraine with the Ukrainian flag as their background.
Everyone in the Microsoft community is affected by this crisis. People in the states are watching helplessly as their colleagues’ lives and country are crumbling around them. The death toll of civilian casualties continues to climb and we are watching once vibrant playgrounds, schools and gathering places become grey fields of dust and rubble.
There is no going back. There is no quick fix. And there is no pretending that this devastation isn’t happening. But as we secure the physical safety of our teams and their families, we must also look at the mental health of Microsoft professionals – because everyone is affected. This kind of specialized care goes beyond our standard Employee Assistance Program (EAP), although we are reminding people in the states that they can utilize this resource. We are giving people everywhere actionable ways to help and support their counterparts in Ukraine.
Caring for mental health during and after a war is untested ground. Conversations are centered around how to make mental health care more accessible to our team who have lost their way of life as they knew it and those they loved through these horrible and senseless acts of violence. We are committed to caring for our colleagues as whole people, to keep them looking forward and taking the future one day at a time.
This alliance of Dynamics partners is focused on relocating their professionals to safety with the intention to someday relocate them back home – back to Ukraine. Back to the central hub of talent in the Microsoft Dynamics community. Our teams in Ukraine need to know that we are invested in not only their professions, but their homes and their lives that make them who they are.
“This is about rebuilding the country.” – Thomas Ajspur
We want our community to look forward to when there can be a new normal for them. When their schools and playgrounds are rebuilt and their safety is no longer questioned. The goal of DynamicsUkraine.org is to raise $1M to be put towards the future of Ukraine. To rebuild communities, offices and homes for our teams to return to.
“The entire Microsoft Dynamics world is going to struggle - our colleagues are going to struggle - if we don't find a way to save the jobs. The worst thing that can happen is for people to hire Ukrainian professionals and take them outside Ukraine. That is going to ruin Ukraine for years, because when you take the top talent out, you are leaving a gap that's hard to close. Let's make sure Ukrainians can come back home and rebuild their country.” – Thomas Ajspur
With no one knowing how this war will end, it’s impossible to say when this rebuild will be. But the Microsoft Dynamics community will be there. We will not waiver in our commitment.
As awareness increases of this effort to support the Dynamics Community, so do the funds raised for our efforts in Ukraine. We have heard from partners who are asking if they can donate a percentage of their sales to the efforts, and other partners are reaching out and making donations and showing an incredible outpouring of love and support.
As a global community, we have a long way to go to get to the end of the war, to assess damages within the cities, and to assess the damage within our hearts. Some of this cannot be fixed. But this alliance of Dynamics partners is committed to helping fix what they can.
Be a part of rebuilding the beautiful and talented country of Ukraine: https://lnkd.in/epePsxGM
“This effort is about getting this community coming together instead of taking from each other. This has gotten the community closer. Now we, as a community, get to know each other, and then we can help build an even bigger community, a healthier community. I just think it's beautiful how we came together.” - Thomas Ajspur
Kevin Armstrong brings more than 20 years of experience as an executive within multiple technology companies, with a primary focus on building go to market strategies and building performing sales teams. In his most recent role, Kevin was the Chief Revenue Officer at a SaaS software provider that built a solution that automates compliance processes for manufacturers and distributors. Prior to that, Kevin led sales for the Americas Microsoft Dynamics team for DXC Technology (NYSE: DXC). In his many years within the Microsoft ecosystem, Kevin has led five organizations into Microsoft's prestigious Inner Circle with his focus on culture, growth and sales excellence. One of those organizations includes Tribridge, which at the time of its acquisition by DXC Technology in 2017, was the largest Microsoft Dynamics partner in the United States. Kevin is a passionate sports fan and spends his free time coaching young athletes or on a golf course. He lives just outside of Atlanta, GA with his wife and three children. Kevin is a proud graduate of Villanova University.