Ryan O’Connell Making a Difference in Inclusive Skilling

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Ryan O’Connell is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) in Microsoft Azure, a cloud architect, a trainer, and a community leader. He has over 20 years of experience in the IT industry, working with various technologies and platforms. He is passionate about sharing his knowledge and skills with others, especially those who face challenges and barriers in accessing quality education and career opportunities.

An instructor of several free Udemy courses on Azure and AI, Ryan is also the co-organizer of Women for IT, a live hands-on training program that aims to empower women in technology.


Microsoft Azure MVP, Ryan O'ConnellMicrosoft Azure MVP, Ryan O'Connell
Skilling for all

It is a strong belief of Ryan’s that everyone deserves a chance to learn and grow in the IT industry, regardless of their background, education, or financial situation. Ryan is aware of the struggles that many people face in finding good training, gaining real-world experience, and landing their first job. That’s why he dedicates his time and energy to creating and delivering free courses that cover in-demand and relevant topics in the cloud, data, and AI. Ryan also provides mentoring and guidance to his students, helping them to overcome challenges, build confidence, and achieve their career goals.

“I see the struggles many face in the IT industry, and I also see the lack of real-world-hands-on experience. Many cannot afford to pay for good training due to various circumstances around their daily lives and cost of living, hence my Udemy and Women for IT live hands-on courses are all free,” explain Ryan.

MVP Ryan O'Connell leading the 10kWomen trainingMVP Ryan O'Connell leading the 10kWomen training

Supporting #10kWomen

Ryan is passionate about empowering women and increasing diversity in the IT industry. One of the initiatives that Ryan is involved in is #10kWomen, a Microsoft program that aims to enable 10,000 women in New Zealand with new skills that help them secure digital roles.

Choosing to be part of the #10kWomen initiative was an easy choice for Ryan, because he recognizes the value and potential of women in IT. Ryan says, "I see the struggles many women face in the IT industry and women bring so much value to the industry. In addition to boosting revenue, women improve other aspects of the IT industry. Bringing more women into the workforce leads to greater innovation within tech organizations. However, we also need to address the issue beyond the current job market. Only 20% of computer science professionals are women. Increasing the inclusion of women is a sound business strategy. A study by Deloitte found that women's choices account for up to 85% of buying decisions nationwide, and that diversity drives innovation."

Ryan praises the #10kWomen initiative as a special program that showcases Microsoft's commitment to supporting and empowering women in the IT sector. He says, "The #10kWomen initiative is so special as it highlights Microsoft’s commitment to upskilling women and future IT gurus, techs and leaders and Microsoft’s support to the industry as a whole."

Chief Partner Officer ANZ and Managing Director Microsoft New Zealand, Vanessa Sorenson, praised Ryan’s commitment to women in IT in a recent LinkedIn post, “Today I want to say a massive thank you to Ryan O'Connell, he is working so hard to bring more diverse skills into the tech industry, connected into our Microsoft 10K Woman program. This picture, taken of him leading Tech training warms my heart. He has personally trained 1000's of people and is such an amazing ally to all”.

Advocating for inclusivity

Ryan demonstrates his commitment to creating an inclusive and respectful work environment, where everyone feels valued and supported. Ryan shares how he benefits from the diversity of perspectives and experiences, which enriches his own professional development and enhances his team's performance.

"I am brave enough to show up at the workplace. When working with my teams, I am professionally authentic, and remember that whatever I put out there will be reflected back. I treat everyone with respect no matter our differences. I am mindful of the words that I use. If words are not used correctly, they can be misinterpreted. I am patient, always listen and allow others to speak and express themselves. I respect the time of the person I am addressing, give them my full attention by being sensitive and not interrupting and over-talking, " explains Ryan.

Learn Microsoft Azure with Ryan O’Connell


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