Interview with Ben Clayton, VMUG President

By Lori Donaldson posted 02-17-2017 01:16 PM


Tell us a little about your background with VMware.

I started using VMware with vSphere 3, which was about 10 years ago.  I had just started a job at a Manufacturing company.  It was December and it seemed everyone was out using remaining vacation time.   My manager told me to take a look at open projects, pick one and get started. I found this project called “Virtualization” and became intrigued. I took over the project, learned about VMware, and when they got back from break I had set up a proof of concept and virtualized my laptop.  Since then I’ve been a virtualization advocate.

How did you get involved in VMUG?

As I began learning about virtualization I started looking for resources to learn more. I soon discovered a local VMUG group and attended one of the meetings.  Everyone was more than willing to help me get up to speed, many were doing similar things to what I was doing.  Tapping into that community and those resources enabled me to quickly accelerate my success.  I wanted to give back, and continue learning and growing, so I stepped up to be the Kansas VMUG Local Leader and still lead the group today – 10 years later.  I have also served in many roles on the VMUG board.


Why is VMUG Important to You?

Two of my last career opportunities were due to relationships I’ve developed through VMUG.  I believe the community has made me smarter faster and enabled me to accelerate my career growth.  By stepping up to give back to the community, I have become  a stronger public speaker and established valuable relationships.


What do you hope to achieve as VMUG President?

Ever since I first started using VMware, I’ve been a big fan. The technology is incredible.  When I went to my first VMUG, everyone was passionate and engaged, I loved the community aspect of it – I love seeing how it has grown – from 6,000 people to over 100,000, it’s just amazing. 

I want to ensure we are giving back and building a community we can be proud of.  This is historically the best user group I’ve ever been a part of. As VMUG President I look forward to seeing VMUG have success globally, building on the best practices we have built in North America and helping VMware users globally achieve accelerated success.

What advice would you give to VMUG members?

The Tech industry is fast moving, learning never stops. Surround yourself with experts in their field and learn from them, then give back to the same community by helping others.  The community aspect is really important – not only for your own success – but to help other people succeed.  Meeting people with similar experiences and interests is critical to survival and growth in the world of technology. VMUG is a forum that brings everyone together, to provide members with a large base of knowledge to tap into.

Take advantage of all that this community has to offer!  Attend your local group meetings, go to the UserCon events, participate in online communities, provide your expertise by being a speaker or sharing your story in the monthly VMUG Voice eNewsletter or Compass quarterly publication.  Bottom line: Get ACTIVE in the community.  You will be amazed at the knowledge you gain and the friends you make in the process.

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