Spousetivities is going to OpenStack Summit in Tokyo!

After fantastic events in San Francisco and Barcelona, Spousetivities is gearing up to head to Tokyo, Japan! That’s right, for the first time ever, Spousetivities will be offering events at OpenStack Summit. If you are attending and bringing a loved one—spouse, fiancé, sibling, partner, or family member—make sure to check out the incredible events that have been planned for those joining the conference attendees. These events have been made possible by VMware NSX.

Here is a peek at what will be offered in Tokyo:

  • Tokyo Tour and Tea Ceremony: This tour includes a visit to the Imperial Palace, lunch in Ginza (which translates to “silver-mint”), and a Japanese tea ceremony. The day also includes a visit to Asakusa Sensoji Buddhist Temple and Nakamise Shopping District. This will be a full day of adventure!
  • Tokyo Tower, Meiji Jingu, and Odaiba: This day will begin with the Meiji Jingu Shrine which rests amongst 175 tranquil acres of evergreens. The tour will also include time at Harajuku, Tokyo Tower—which boasts heights exceeding the Eiffel Tower in Paris—as well as the National Museum and Ueno Park. There will be a great lunch provided and guests will cross the Rainbow Bridge to Odaiba to see Aqua City, the Gial Skywheel, and more!
  • Mt. Fuji and Hakone Tour: Guests on this tour will enjoy a trip from the city to the beautiful Mt. Fuji. Time in the visitor center will give guests some insight to this majestic wonder. Next, we ascend to the 5th Station which boasts breathtaking panoramic views. Once you have enjoyed this beauty, the tour departs for Hakone where you will enjoy a cruise on the lake and a ride on the cable car. Lunch will be served as a part of this incredible day that is sure to please.
  • Nikko Tour: As if the week hasn’t been amazing enough, this tour is heading north to the foot of Mt. Nantai. Nikko has been a center of Shinto and Buddhist mountain worship for many centuries. It is a place with the atmosphere in the Edo period. Guests will also visit the World Heritage site, Toshogu shrine, a 5 story pagoda, three monkeys, and central shrine. Next, guests will visit a Futarasan shrine and Sanbutsudo where you can see 3 large statues of Buddha–an incredible site regardless of religious preferences. Finally, there will be a drive up to Lake Chuzenji along the zig-zag highway (I-Ro-Ha Slop). Guests will enjoy breathtaking views of this area. During this great excursion, guests will enjoy a fabulous lunch.

The first 10 guests will receive a gift bag with a T-shirt, jacket, and other fun items courtesy of VMware NSX and Blue Box. What are you waiting for? Go register now so you don’t miss out on this fantastic week of events.


Community Support Comes in Many Forms

I’ve talked before about how the sponsors help make Spousetivities happen by offsetting some of the expense of the events and keeping costs as low as possible. While I (and the Spousetivities participants) appreciate the Global Gold sponsors, there are a bunch of other sponsors that also make Spousetivities happen.

Being an owner of a small business in Spousetivities, I can appreciate the challenge of supporting the community but doing so in a way that is consistent with the financial health of the business. This is why I feel it’s really important to provide a “shout out” to some of the smaller companies that support Spousetivities. These may not be big names that you see and hear all over the conference, but they support Spousetivities in so many ways.

For many years, The Virtualization Practice (TVP) has supported Spousetivities. This support comes in financial contributions as well as volunteer support. Specifically, Ed Haletky’s wife, Romy, has personally gotten involved and helped in the planning of the events for the last two years. Romy graciously led a couple of the tours at the 2014 activities. Sponsors that add this sort of personal touch are valuable because they help “crank it up a notch.” If you are looking for a company to meet your business needs, TVP is worth a look. Make sure to drop an e-mail or comment thanking them for their support of community activities like Spousetivities.

Next up is another small company that you may not know. Thinware (whose product is vBackup) is another faithful startup supporting Spousetivities for several years. Thinware is another company with a personal involvement in Spousetivities—Thinware’s owner, Jeremy Brown, introduced his wife Natalee to Spousetivities several years ago. She’s been instrumental in keeping the activities running smoothly over the years. Natalee routinely helps research activities, reviews some of the gift bag items, and leads the tours when I am not available. If you have a company on a budget with backup needs, please take the time to check out vBackup by Thinware. Also, I’m sure they’d appreciate it if you could drop them a note thanking them for their faithfulness in supporting Spousetivities over the years and for being a part of the community. Right now, Thinware is also offering a discount on their solution to those who participate in or those who follow Spousetivities. Enter “Coupon Code: Spousetivities-VMworldUS2015” when you purchase any of their solutions and a 25% discount will be applied when you are invoiced. Just another way Thinware is showing its support for Spousetivities and those who support Spousetivities by participating, sponsoring, and even just spreading the word to help it grow and stay visible.

Finally, let me introduce you to a relatively new startup in the community. Ravello Systems is making a name for themselves in the industry with some very interesting technology. At the same time, they are setting the tone for what it looks like to be a part of the community, not just another company in the IT world. For the first year, Ravello has come on as a sponsor of Spousetivities and is looking forward to being welcomed into the community. Please make sure to stop by their booth in the Solutions Exchange for more information on their solutions. Shruti and the rest of the Ravello Systems team will take excellent care of you. While you are there, thank them for their support and welcome them to the community. If you aren’t going to make it to VMworld. Drop them a message or even a tweet and let them know you appreciate their community support.

Support for Spousetivities also comes from Arkin Networks, another relative newcomer to the VMware community. We appreciate their willingness to support the community by offering some cool giveaway items for Spousetivities participants.

If you haven’t had the chance to register yet, please visit the Spousetivities registration page today. Events will sell out, so don’t wait!

On behalf of Spousetivities (and all the participants): thank you to all these companies!


Celebrating Our Global Gold Sponsors

Spousetivities would not be where and what it is today without the generous support of sponsors, including this year’s Global Gold sponsors (in alphabetical order): Brocade, Cisco, VMware NSX, and VMUG. But why does Spousetivities have sponsors? To understand the answer to that question, you need to look at this history of Spousetivities.

Spousetivities originated in 2008, at VMworld in Las Vegas. I decided that I was tired of the typical business trip with my husband, Scott Lowe. He loved having me travel with him, and I loved going. Being there alone, though, was not my favorite thing. Long story short, Spousetivities was born! (The name came from the community and is a shortened version of “spouse activities”.)

As the idea grew, it became apparent that I could no longer keep offering public tours having everyone buy tickets separately. What if someone missed a bus? Or accidentally purchased the wrong tour? There were too many potential issues. Once again, the community supported me and gave me the idea that I find companies (sponsors) willing to not only “talk the talk” but actually “walk the walk” when it comes to creating a family friendly environment and supporting work-life balance.

Because of these incredible companies, Spousetivities has been able to offer activities to the friends, family, and loved ones of those attending VMworld for 8 years. To thank a few of them, this is a spotlight post on our Global Gold sponsors for 2015. Here they are, again in alphabetical order:

  • Please welcome Brocade this year as a fantastic new sponsor of the Spousetivities community. Brocade’s support means that you get to enjoy time out in the wonderful city of San Francisco without breaking the bank.
  • Also welcome Cisco Systems to the family of supporters that faithfully support Spousetivities each year. Cisco’s support has allowed these activities to be offered at reduced cost, while still allowing them to be both exclusive and private (like our wine tour outings this year!).
  • For the second year in a row, VMware NSX is supporting Spousetivities in a big way. As the sponsor of the ever popular “Get to Know You” breakfast, VMware NSX continues to promote a healthy perspective on work/life balance to families.
  • Finally, for the 5th year in a row, the folks at VMUG are continuing their support of Spousetivities. Their support is not only via funding to keep your costs low, but also by providing “behind the scenes” support as well to help enhance the experience of Spousetivities each year. Being community-minded themselves, VMUG understands the need to support the IT community as a whole.

In short, Spousetivities can only do what it does (offer fantastic activities at reasonable prices) thanks to the support of some great sponsors. If you’re traveling to VMworld this year, either as a spouse or as a conference attendee who is bringing your spouse, please take the time to thank Spousetivities sponsors for their commitment and dedication to community, family, and a healthy work-life balance.

Finally, don’t forget to register for Spousetivities before the events sell out!


More About Spousetivities

Since Spousetivities started—unofficially in 2008, then more officially in 2009—there has been a lot of speculation about what the program is and what the participants do. I’m writing this post to give a little insight to those that may not know much about Spousetivities and the purpose it serves in the larger IT community.

First, I think it’s important to talk about what Spousetivities isn’t. Spousetivities is not a bunch of women getting together to gossip and go shopping while our husbands/boyfriends/significant others go to technical conferences.

First and foremost, Spousetivities is a community-focused and community-driven program designed to help to promote healthy work-life balance. Spousetivities allows couples (and families) to travel together for business while ensuring that accompanying partners and family members not attending the conference have fun, safe activities to do. This ensures the conference attendee doesn’t have to worry about those traveling with him or her, allowing him or her to fully take advantage of the all the conference has to offer.

Second, Spousetivities is an opportunity for networking and friendship. Many of the participants over the years have remained friends long after the events. Personally, I’ve made a number of good friends through the activities, and I know others have too. Similarly, in some cases, we have been able to support small businesses that are run by participants as we share our companies and ideas with each other. This is a productive and supportive environment that participants have come to love and appreciate over the years.

Third, Spousetivities is a great way to experience the conference’s host city. In an effort to make these activities unique and successful, I update the activities and plans every year. Starting out on tours in individual rental cars in 2008, Spousetivities enjoyed group rates on public tours over the next couple years, and now participants enjoy private tour buses and sometimes even limousines for transportation!

Fourth, Spousetivities is a unique way for IT companies to show they support the community and work-life balance. Spousetivities allows companies to sponsor the activities and show that they believe that the support of one’s spouse/partner and family is important. This year at VMworld 2014 in San Francisco, Spousetivities is thankful for the support of our sponsors: VMware NSX, The Virtualization Practice, VMUG, Xangati, HyTrust, vBackup, Origami Owl, and Wine Shop at Home. The support of our sponsors helps keep costs down and allows Spousetivities to offer private transportation and exclusive tours.

So how did it all begin? After traveling with my husband, Scott Lowe, for several years to conferences, I finally said “No more!” I was tired of his crazy schedules while I sat in hotel rooms or ventured out only to get lost or be bored going places alone. (For those that know me, I am quite the social person so being alone in a big city was not my thing.) Furthermore, finding my way around was challenging, and I once got lost in LA. Believe me, that wasn’t pleasant! I finally agreed to attend VMworld 2008, if Scott would ask if any other spouses were coming and if they’d like to meet for lunch. A flood of responses poured in and the “lunch” quickly became a trip to the Hoover Dam, a Grand Canyon excursion, tours of “the Strip” in Las Vegas, and much more. At the conclusion of the week, everyone asked me to please do it again for 2009. It was very clear there was a need in the community for such activities.

None of this would be possible without the support of the community and the sponsors. The community launched Spousetivities, including the very name. In a conversation during the 2008 activities with John Troyer, the name was born. From there, another friend (Joep Piscaer) secured the URL to launch the website. Before I knew it, Spousetivities was born. Further support came from the community podcast, vBrownBag, numerous people on Twitter and Facebook, and of course the many sponsors over the years. Clearly, the community has built the Spousetivities brand.

There you have it: a clear explanation of who and what Spousetivities is all about. I’ve listened as people make fun of “Spousetivities” and what they perceive the program is. Hopefully, this makes clear what it is, why it exists, and the importance of keeping the program alive and moving forward.


Spousetivities, Unitrends, Prizes

Everyone knows the Spousetivities breakfast is a great place to try and win cool prizes. Now, Spousetivities and Unitrends offers you another chance to win. What do you need to do to win? Here’s the contest info:


Unitrends ❤’s Spousetivities Drawing! Enter to win!

One grand prize winner will receive a 32GB iPad

Five additional winners will receive a Unitrends Swag Bags (worth over $100!)

How to enter:

Show some twitter love and tweet about sponsors or Spousetivities happenings using #UnitrendsVMworld and #Spousetivities to receive an entry into a random drawing.

Receive 5 bonus entries by attaching a Unitrends-related pic (Unitrends logo, wearing a Unitrends or Spousetivities t-shirt… heck grab a crayon and hold up a sign showing us your love)!

This is a great way to thank one of our sponsors and get a chance at some cool prizes, too! Contest starts Monday, August 26 and concludes on Wednesday, August 28 at midnight. Happy Tweeting!


Another Look at Why It’s a Great Idea to Sponsor Spousetivities

As I am approaching 5 years of offering Spousetivities at IT events, the questions about what I do and why are swirling in my head. Many people ask why companies sponsor Spousetivities. Below is part of a post from last year detailing why it is so important that the community continue to sponsor these events.

Naturally, I’m a bit biased, but I think that sponsoring Spousetivities is a great way for companies to say “Thank You” and give something back to their employees and customers. When a company hosts a conference, they ultimately expect attendees to give up as much as a week of their time to come hear about their products and how these products or services can benefit them and their employers. Instead of asking attendees to come to a week-long conference and leave their families behind, a Spousetivities sponsor is telling attendees it’s OK to bring the family. While the attendee is learning about that sponsor’s products and innovations, the attendee’s family will be enjoying some great activities. And when the day is done, the attendee and his or her family can be together instead of spending that time apart. Most companies boast a family friendly attitude, and sponsoring Spousetivities is a way to show that attitude in action.

This is true not only for the sponsor companies–those companies that organized the conference–but for all companies. And the size of the company doesn’t matter; I’ve had companies both small and large decide to help sponsor Spousetivities.

In addition to supporting families, sponsoring Spousetivities offers companies a unique way to advertise. Given that their logo is put on T-shirts, menus, blogs, and other items, they have plenty of visibility in the community. Companies benefit not only from their pro-family support, but from the attention drawn to their company through these events. It’s a “win-win” situation for companies.

So, if you’re a company that wants to join in this exciting opportunity to support your employees and customers, and advertise in a unique way at the same time, simply contact me. Upcoming events include EMC World in Las Vegas, Dell Storage Forum in Boston, VMworld US, and VMworld EMEA. I’m still seeking additional sponsors for all of these events. I can also plan activities for other conferences, VMUG’s, or company-hosted events. For more information, please contact me for arrangements.


Why Sponsor Spousetivities?

With spouse activities for EMC World 2011 behind me and VMworld US 2011 right around the corner, I’m actively seeking additional sponsors for Spousetivities. So the question naturally arises: why should I sponsor Spousetivities?

Naturally, I’m a bit biased, but I think that sponsoring Spousetivities is a great way for companies to say “Thank You” and give something back to their employees and customers. When a company hosts a conference, they ultimately expect attendees to give up as much as a week of their time to come hear about their products and how these products or services can benefit them and their employers. Instead of asking attendees to come to a week-long conference and leave their families behind, a Spousetivities sponsor is telling attendees it’s OK to bring the family. While the attendee is learning about that sponsor’s products and innovations, the attendee’s family will be enjoying some great activities. And when the day is done, the attendee and his or her family can be together instead of spending that time apart. Most companies boast a family friendly attitude, and sponsoring Spousetivities is a way to show that attitude in action.

This is true not only for the sponsor companies–those companies that organized the conference–but for all companies. And the size of the company doesn’t matter; I’ve had companies both small and large decide to help sponsor Spousetivities.

In addition to supporting families, sponsoring Spousetivities offers companies a unique way to advertise. Given that their logo is put on T-shirts, menus, blogs, and other items, they have plenty of visibility in the community. Companies benefit not only from their pro-family support, but from the attention drawn to their company through these events. It’s a “win-win” situation for companies.

So, if you’re a company that wants to join in this exciting opportunity to support your employees and customers, and advertise in a unique way at the same time, simply contact me. Upcoming events include VMworld US 2011 and VMworld EMEA 2011, and I’m still seeking additional sponsors for either or both of those events. I can also plan activities for other conferences, VMUG’s, or company-hosted events. For more information, please contact me for arrangements.


2011 Activites

Hello again! It has been a while since I have posted any new content. With a new set of conferences for 2011 getting closer, new posts will be coming more rapidly, so stay tuned! For those of you new to Spousetivities, please see my about page for a little background. For those of you who have had the pleasure of participating, this year will not let you down.

First, I’d like to provide a quick update on the conferences I’ll be covering. This year I am actively planning activities for EMC World, VMworld US, and VMworld EMEA. Both EMC World and VMworld US will be held in Las Vegas, NV; VMworld EMEA will be back in Copenhagen.

For these conferences, I’m currently looking into a wide range of activities. Included in these are some traditional events as well as some that I think are over the top! I am also trying to organize very family friendly activities so that those of you attending either of the US conferences and interested in bringing your children will have options outside of the main Las Vegas area. I am hoping to get some feedback from everyone on activities and events you’d like to see this year and in years to come. I’ve been asked about having informational sessions, cooking classes, spa days, horseback riding, and of course, shopping! I am even trying to get together a “Men’s Day” at Lake Mead for the VMworld US event. After all, it’s not just ladies that are spouses and significant others. More and more women are becoming leaders in the IT industry and I want to make sure they feel like they can bring their spouses and partners to join in the fun.

I would like to thank EMC for already agreeing to sponsor activities once again. EMC is a sponsor of EMC World, VMworld US, and VMworld EMEA. I’d like to thank EMC for helping make these events possible. I am looking forward to adding more names to our list of sponsors soon. If you are a company that would like to be a part of this, please contact me right away. Last year’s sponsors got some great attention through Spousetivites!

As I continue to obtain sponsors and organize activities, I will post updates and information here. In the meantime, please post any ideas, suggestions, or feedback on activities you’d like to see at this year’s conferences in the comments.


VMworld 2010 Spousetivities Wrap-Up

Thanks to our fantastic sponsors–EMC, Train Signal, and HyTrust–Spousetivities 2010 at VMworld US was an amazing success! I gave away every business card I had and people just started writing down the website. So many people asked about the vWife t-shirts and even offered to buy them from me. I told them to bring their spouse to the next event and they were sure to get one. It was wonderful to meet so many great people, both attendees of the conference and Spousetivities attendees. Thank you to everyone for the support. The next event is VMworld EMEA in Copenhagen, Denmark.

In case you are just now hearing about these fantastic events, let me provide a summary of our activities this past week in San Francisco. There were organized tours to Napa, Sausalito, and Golden Gate Park. We had exclusive lunches with amazing views at Horizons Restaurant in Sausalito. We enjoyed an exquisite lunch in the gardens at V. Sattui Winery in Napa. There were also organized photographic tours of San Francisco. We enjoyed breath taking views from Twin Peaks, went down to the water at the Golden Gate Bridge, and saw sites like Lombard Street, the Painted Ladies, and Treasure Island. There were also groups that got together and did walking tours through China Town, Ghirardelli Square, Pier 39, and of course, Alcatraz!

Next year, VMworld will be held in Las Vegas. While some love the lights and action, others dread the thought of going there. Rest assured, there will be something for everyone! We will do tours of the city, visit chocolate factories, spend time at Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, and even Lake Mead. Preparations are already underway! I am excited about some new ideas I have for next year, too.

For some of us, it will be four years of enjoying Spousetivities, for others, it will be your first time joining in the fun. Either way, you are sure to meet some great people and have a wonderful time. Stay tuned for Spousetivities information for VMworld 2011 as well as other upcoming conferences.


Making it Happen!

Now is a great time to recognize some very important people. Who are these very important people? Why, they are the sponsors for Spousetivities 2010!

Thanks to our wonderful sponsors, the activities this year will be outstanding! So who are the companies that are reaching out beyond just the attendees but also to their families? So far I have three fabulous companies that have jumped on board to support Spousetivities.

Continue reading