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Holiday Countdown 2020 - The lost days part 16 - Esther Strom and Mikael Sandberg


Due to the article size limit, older days have to be removed from the main article.

Here are days 21 and 22:




Do you remember last year’s calendar? Lewis Haidt requested an awesome song on day 4 ( Candlelight by the Maccabeats

Here’s the 2020 song by this New Yorker a-capella group:

Song of the day: Candlelight 2020 by the Maccabeats (

A long jump over the ocean and we are back in the US - exactly in Chicago. Esther Strom is waiting there for us - she’s our day 21 this year. Esther was born in Chicago and aside from college she has never lived more than 30 miles from downtown, she told me. 



Hi Esther, welcome to our annual community calendar! Day 21 is yours!

Esther, how and when did you become one of Atlassian's Community Leaders?

I contacted Celina in July because I wanted to get involved. I think I was the last leader she onboarded.

So, you're one of our latest leaders, give Esther a warm welcome, everyone! 


What motivates you being a Community Leader?

The Community has provided so much knowledge and assistance that I wanted to be able to give back and pass on what I've learned. I'm also enjoying getting to know the leaders, even if I haven't been able to meet anyone in person this year.

Well, I’m sure, it will get better next year and we will all meet again at Summit 2022! I’m looking forward to getting to know you in person!

What was the first time you ever used an Atlassian product?

Eight years ago this month! We had a new dev manager who'd used Jira at his previous company. I became a user and our de facto admin at the same time! Talk about a learning curve  :-)

Did you have a New Year's resolution for 2020? Did you achieve it?

Well, my resolution was to travel more, so no - unfortunately I wasn't able to achieve it. Fingers crossed for 2021!

Esther, are there any unique Holiday traditions in your family?

We're Jewish, so the Christmas day tradition is a movie and Chinese food. Although my family is spread out over the country, we'll still be doing a Netflix party this year.

What is your favorite Holiday meal?

Latkes (potato pancakes) and matzo ball soup. Mine are never as good as my mom's were, but I do my best.


Do you know the Latkes Recipe Song by the Maccabeats? It’s awesome, look here:


If you could change something about the way we celebrate the last days of the year, what would it be?

Hanukkah is actually a very minor holiday, but because it falls around Christmas, it's turned into a huge moneymaker. I think both holidays could stand to be less commercial and more about family and friends and appreciating the time you're able to spend together.

At least in Germany I think it will be a bit more quiet and less commercial this year. Hopefully, some of the good things will last. 


Here's your chance to give a special shoutout to someone - who is it and why?

@Mike Rathwell for his Covid-world post ( Not only did it speak to exactly what I'm feeling, but it sparked a further connection into the Leaders community.

Mike’s post is really worth reading - I have overseen this in October and just read it today. Thank you for pointing me to this, Esther. And thank you for taking part in this year’s calendar! We're very happy to have you in our Community!

I wish you a lot of quality time and fun with your friends and family, all the best  and a happy new year 2021 with hopefully some journeys and travels! 




Song of the day: The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole (

We almost reached the end of the calendar, just three days left. Today is day 22, it is Mikael Sandberg’s day. Mikael was born and raised in a small town in the province of Småland, Sweden.


He has lived and worked in different parts of the world before ending up in the US, and for the past seven years he has called Seattle WA his home.


Hi Mikael, nice to meet you! I’m glad to have you in our calendar. Let’s talk a bit about you!  

How and when did you become one of Atlassian's Community Leaders?

It all started back in 2016 when I stumbled across Atlassian Allstars, and got invited to a lunch during the summit that year to discuss the new Atlassian Community. Then at Summit 2017 during a community lunch I asked @Monique vdB how you become a Community Leader and her reply was that they had already discussed making me a leader and added me to the group then and there.

That’s cool. Summit 2017 in San Jose was my first Summit - I will never forget these amazing days in California.


What motivates you being a Community Leader?

Being able to share knowledge and prove to myself that know a bit about something.


Do you remember the first time you ever used an Atlassian product?

My adventure with Atlassian started in early 2009 while I was waiting for my permanent resident status, I had heard about Atlassian from friends and found the Atlassian Dragon Slayer Quest challenge online and took it on.


Oh wow, that’s a long time ago… Who remembers this?


Do you have a favorite Atlassian memory to date?

I actually have two. The first one is when I became a Community Leader, and the second one was when I did a lightening talk during Summit 2016. I am by nature an introvert and hate public speaking, but decided that take the leap and I do not regret that decision.


Mikael, what do you like to do for fun?

Golf, my wife and I picked it up again after years of hiatus. And our two daughters are joining in too, my youngest says she is in it for the accessories :)

IMG_5174.jpg  IMG_5211.jpg 

What is your favorite Christmas meal?

My grandma’s Swedish meatballs, she had a special recipe that she only used for Christmas.

Grandmothers have always the best recipes, always 🙂


Do you have a favorite childhood Christmas memory?

Christmas lunch at my grandma’s house followed by Watching Donald Duck and His Friends Wish You a Merry Christmas at 3 pm.


What is your favorite Christmas movie and why?

Die Hard - and there is a study that shows that it is the most popular Christmas movie in Washington State!


Grinch or Santa?

The grinch, but he would not have a chance against Nisse (the Swedish house elf)


(By Jenny Nyström - National Library of Norway, Public Domain,

Welll, I would say, this is a point for Grinch


We want to see your Christmas tree, Mikael!


Do you decorate your house for the Holidays?

Yes, but just very simple decoration, a Moravian star, icicle lights and a wreath on the door.



What was your best TV show in 2020?

Bosch My wife and I watched all six seasons this summer.


Thank you for that recommendation - I will have a look at this!


Mikael, here's your chance to give a special shoutout to someone - who is it and why?

My shoutout goes to the CommuniTEAM and all the work they put in for the Community!

Thank you Mikael for telling us so many things about you and thank you for your participation in our community! We’re so glad to have you here!

Merry Christmas to you and your family with delicious meatballs and lots of fun. I wish you a happy new year 2021 - stay healthy and see you soon! 

1 comment

Thanks, Esther Strom, Mikael Sandberg & Thomas for sharing this awesome annual calendar article for 2020!

Like Thomas Schlegel likes this


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