Elio Struyf has led a remarkable career as an award-winning Engineering Lead, a trusted information technology thought-leader, and an energizing public speaker with over a decade of experience facilitating events and conferences across Europe. Defined by his tenacity, expertise, and inspiring personal journey, Elio is driven to form authentic connections, share his specialist insights, and motivate professionals within the technology arena.
Based in Antwerp, the economic and technological heart of Belgium, Elio excelled at the University of Antwerp, where he graduated with a Master of Science in Electronics-ICT in 2008. His rigorous studies and eternal hunger for knowledge primed him to enter into an illustrious career in local and global technology companies with a focus on solution/application development in Visual Studio Code, Microsoft 365, and Azure.
Elio’s perspective is that a successful professional career is purpose-driven. He believes that, with only one life to live, it is up to us to maximize it by chasing our dreams in the relentless pursuit of personal and professional fulfillment. These intrinsic values, combined with his formidable intellect, drove him to enter the information technology industry as a consultant. Here, his singular focus and boundless passion flourished, and he quickly rose through the ranks to Solutions Architect, Systems Engineer, and Engineering Lead.
Early in his career, while working as a Senior SharePoint Consultant, Elio faced a seemingly insurmountable information technology challenge. Realizing that there were limited options for information-sharing and collaboration in the fledgling industry, he single-handedly devised a solution over long days and sleepless nights. The experience instilled in him a desire to share this knowledge with a global audience. So, in 2010 he launched a blog that would provide insight into topics such as Create an Authentication Provider for Visual Studio Code, Demystify Microsoft Viva Connections, its extensibility model, and Adding or Selecting GitHub Project Labels on Issues.
He envisioned his blog as a solutions-driven resource for technology-industry professionals and developers, but it quickly evolved into a close-knit online community centered around sharing groundbreaking ideas on Microsoft 365, GitHub, and SharePoint. As his blog grew rapidly over the next two years, Elio began considering how he could make an even greater impact and connect with a wider audience. Inspired to pursue these goals, he set his sights on a new challenge: public speaking.
In 2012, Elio was invited to speak at a local BIWUG (Belgian Information Worker User Group) community event. The fear of public speaking he once had, blossomed into a new means to build meaningful connections, share cutting-edge ideas, and motivate professionals in the technology industry to pursue their ambitions and innovate without bounds.
Along with facilitating his newfound love for public speaking, BIWUG, an organization that promotes thought-leading events centered around Microsoft 365, invited Elio to become the company’s Vice President.
Over the years that followed, Elio has been recognized as a renowned public speaker. He has been invited to numerous European cities, including Barcelona, Milan, London, Cambridge, Paris, Stockholm, Oslo, Zagreb, Warsaw, Helsinki, and Munich, where he has spoken on a variety of thought-provoking development-related topics on Microsoft 365, SharePoint, and Azure DevOps, including Improving the Performance of your SharePoint Framework Solutions, Tips on building products for Microsoft 365 and How Pro Developers and Citizen Developers Can Team up.
Over his notable career, Elio’s extensive knowledge of Azure, Microsoft 365 development, and Visual Studio Code extensions development has recognized him as a Microsoft MVP nine times, twice as a GitHub Star, a Google Developer Experts member, and a SharePoint/Microsoft 365 Top 25 Influencer four times.
In mid-2021, Elio, a passionate cyclist, was involved in a serious cycling accident. In line with his inherently resilient nature, he attempted to cycle home after the accident but instead, he had to be taken to the hospital by ambulance. Doctors informed him that he had a broken vertebra, provided him with a lumbar corset, and put him on bed rest for the next six weeks. Over this time, he drew on his global community for support and documented the experience on his blog.
Unable to sit upright for more than twenty minutes at a time, Elio could not work full-time but was, nonetheless, driven to keep his mind engaged and stimulated. While recovering at home, he returned to a personal project he had conceived years earlier when he moved from WordPress to Hugo. At the time, he wanted to build a solution that would maintain his markdown article’s front matter, where the idea for Front Matter was inspired.
Driven to build on his enduring vision, he immersed himself in the project with an innovative idea to create a comprehensive content management system from his Front Matter extension for Visual Studio Code. Today, Front Matter has been adopted and celebrated by numerous authors who have used the solution for their blogs and websites.
Over the coming weeks of his recovery, Elio would continue to share his journey of physiotherapy and at-home training online. Still, he was yearning to connect with real-life audiences again through public speaking. In November 2021, just as he could sit and stand for prolonged periods, he was invited to speak at the European Collaboration Summit before kicking off 2022 with his talk, Tips on Building Products for Microsoft 365 at CollabDays Bletchley Park in London.
Today, along with acting as VP of BIWUG, Elio works as an independent contractor for his own consulting company, Struyf Consulting.
Elio remains a sought-after speaker at various Microsoft-related community events and conferences, where he inspires, educates, and creates authentic connections with technology professionals and developers across Europe.
When he isn’t challenging himself to continuously expand his sphere of knowledge in the technology industry and connect with fellow developers, Elio is happy to be back on his beloved bicycle after this accident. In his spare time, he can be found coding, playing Final Fantasy, binge-watching anime, and engineering LEGO structures while dreaming up his next great innovation.