People of the Year 2021: Sonia Dara and Mike Morton

Wow, time flies so fast! It feels like yesterday I just announced the People of the Year 2020, and now we’re here in the end of 2021, and today I’m ready to announce this year’s People of the Year! (And to be honest, this is the first time I write an article for Person of the Year topics like this 🙃)

Well, why I use “People” instead of “Person”? I’ll give you a clue: it’s two, not just one (and I ever told you in my previous article!) Honestly, I’m just feeling so confused to only choose one of them, so I choose both! They really influential to me this year, and it’s a pity if one of them not being chosen — and after some back-and-forth of deciding, finally I decided to choose both of them for the People of the Year.

Well, this year, I feel like it’s “the year of Microsoft”, because I just tried to find out more about Microsoft (oh gosh, I wanna work there!) and there’s a lot of inspiring wisdom I’ve got. And yeah, that’s why those People of the Year are come from Microsoft too ☺

And those people are... Sonia Dara and Mike Morton!

Let’s explain about who they are and why I choose them as the People of the Year 2021.

A photo of Sonia when travelling to Budapest. Source: Sonia Dara on Instagram

First, I’ll explain about Sonia. She’s the Chief of Staff of Microsoft Surface Marketing (hmm… alright, I see and know a Surface representation here!) She also hosted some series like Microsoft Unboxed and Beneath the Surface. And for your information, Microsoft Unboxed is where I knew her name for the first time — and how I realized her position in Microsoft Surface is when I saw a video on Surface’s Instagram account, when she told us about the newly released Surface products in the Microsoft Event in 2018.

I kinda describe Sonia as a person who is “very good at being awkward” (but in a good way 🙃). I can’t stop laughing when I see some bloopers of Microsoft Unboxed and Beneath the Surface. One of the bloopers I most remembered is when she wanted to says “Welcome to Microsoft Unboxed” and then her words were cut off on the word “Microsoft” as she’s coughing .

Okay, forget the coughing part 😂 Well, about her personality, I think Sonia is cheerful, passionate, full of joy, having good sense of humor, and quite insightful. She’s very communicative at describing anything professionally, so I can feel comfortable when seeing her explanation. I love how she explains Surface products like the one in Microsoft’s event in 2018 (that I mentioned before), including how she said that the Surface Laptop 2 is her personal favorite — or when she’s unboxing the Surface Duo.

And I feel that, as she is a woman representation of Microsoft, she’s really encourages me (and also another woman) to keep moving forward, especially in learning about science and technology.

I really want to have a job like hers at Microsoft ☺

Mike presenting his keynote at Directions EMEA 2021. Source: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central on Twitter

The second is Mike. He is currently the General Manager of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. However, that’s not where I first knew him. It all started when I just found out about the Fluid Framework, and he is the one who introduced it first in Microsoft Build 2019 — yeah, there’s where and when I knew him for the first time. I feel interested about him after watching the demo in Build, then I decided to find out more about him and I just feel surprised when I find out that he’s in the Dynamics 365 family now.

That time, I just thought Sonia is the only person comes from Microsoft that gives a huge influence to me. At the same time, I felt afraid of exploring more about Dynamics 365, as I afraid I would be lost and I also didn’t know where to start. And Microsoft, seems like knowing my anxiety of exploring Dynamics, doesn’t stay still , and then introduced Mike to me — it feels like Microsoft said to me:

I understand how anxious you are of learning more about Dynamics 365 — so let me introduce Mike Morton to you — and let him show the way you should start your exploration of Dynamics 365!

And what about now? Because of him, I am now feeling interested in Dynamics 365 Business Central — including joining the Business Central Launch Event! 😄 It’s really a pleasure to see him there! 😉

But for me, talking about Mike is more than just telling about his activity as the most influential person in Business Central. He’s also a research material for my story project that I am working now. I even ever told that he is the real-life incarnation of the fictional character in the story.

How do I think about his personality? I think Mike is calm, charismatic, and also very insightful, full of wisdom. If someone asking him about Business Central, for example, he will tell that in a very exciting stories. In a podcast named A Shot of Business Central and A Beer, when he came as a special guest there, the hosts there even admit that “he’s got all the answers to every question”. How amazing he is, I must confess!

Mike in the Fluid Framework demo at Microsoft Build 2019 (left), and Sonia when getting her hands on the Surface Duo (right).

And now… why Sonia and Mike?

The answer is: they have a lot things in common.

One of these things that makes me so impressed is how their aura are completing each other. Sonia, with her charming and (sometimes) awkward personality, and Mike, with his charismatic and tranquil vibes (and sometimes may witty), is somewhat a very nice match. With that, they put everything in balance.

Also, it’s about what they’re doing in general. Sonia makes Surface more engaged to all people in a communicative, fascinating way. And Mike, with Business Central he directs and leads, helps more the small and medium-sized businesses. What a noble purpose they’re doing!

It reminds me with a “menfess”, short for “mention confess”, that I made months ago, and then being read by my seniors. It actually written in Indonesian, so I’ll write it here in English:

“For Sonia Dara and Mike Morton, you’re amazing, and I know the noble purpose of what you’re doing.
You’re all my role models, and I believe one day I will be in your position.” 🙂

Yeah, at least they’ll know they have a big fan. Hahaha.

One another reason is, they really guides me in the sense of learning about all things Microsoft. Like the one I told you when I described Mike above — about Dynamics 365, and Sonia — about Surface. Ahhh, they really help me a lot! I wanna say thanks very, very much to them for all the influences they gave to me.

And before I’ll wrap it up, I wanna say to Sonia that it’s okay to being awkward (like I said before, she ever said that she is very good at being awkward) as long as it doesn’t bother her so much in many ways. And for Mike, I wanna say that he has to remember that smiling can make everyone’s day better. I really love his smile as it always makes me feel so happy — and I know he will be feeling the same thing too!

And for both of them, I want to say that I sorely wanted to meet them physically ☺

If you feel interested to know more about them, you can follow Sonia at Twitter @sonia_dara and Instagram @soniadara, and also follow Mike on Twitter @mikmort and Instagram @mikmort1974! Also you can watch Beneath the Surface series that has a new episode once a month — you can find Sonia there — and also read Mike’s blogs on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Blog!

Well, that’s it! Once again, here’s our People of the Year 2021: Sonia Dara and Mike Morton! I wish you all the goodness of the world, Sonia and Mike!

#PeopleOfTheYear2021 #SoniaAndMike

A photo series of Sonia and Mike, with their name written in my handlettering :)

(Note: I’ll add that Sonia also performed in a demo of Azure Speech Service in Microsoft Build 2019 —yeah, in fact, Sonia and Mike both performed in the same keynote at that time, even in different demos! And two of these photo series above just shows those moments.)



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