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This past weekend was SQL Saturday 192 in Tampa. Being my home user group event always makes this event special, however this was the first time I spoke at my home SQL Saturday and that made it an event that I will always cherish. In addition, this year, I took in a full day pre-con training on Friday with Buck Woody (b | t) and quite frankly it changed my life. How many times can you say that about a SQL training, let alone a $99 training?
I know what you’re thinking, believe me I do. How can a one day training change your life? I have spoken at two SQL Saturdays prior to this event and a couple of times at a couple of user group meetings so to say that I was a speaking novice would be an accurate term in my eyes anyway. In addition, I have had no formal training in public speaking except for the semester speech class that I nervously tried to avoid and almost vomited every time I stood up in front of the class.
This journey began in 2011 as I resolved myself in Andy Warren’s Professional Development Plan session at the Tampa BI SQL Saturday. I wanted to conquer this fear of public speaking and give back to the community. It seemed pretty simple. I had no idea how hard it would be and with my fight or flight instincts many times I wanted to just run away, but I did not want to embarrass myself in this community and that held me accountable.
After taking Buck’s class entitled “Creating Your Best Technical Presentation: A Speaker Workshop,” I now feel that I have the skills necessary to put together a decent presentation and deliver it without embarrassing myself. The presentation this past Saturday went well considering that I did not rewrite it, I also did not want to run or vomit and those are great things in my book. Now I have to go back and rewrite my presentation with the skills that I have learned. If you ever get the opportunity to take this class at a local SQL Saturday near you, do it!
It is an honor and privilege to be selected to present at SQL Saturday Tampa on March 2, 2013. We will be at a new location this year, Hillsborough Community College in beautiful Ybor City, due to our growth over the last couple of years. In addition, we have three pre-cons this year and I will be attending the “Creating Your Best Technical Presentation: A Speaker Workshop” by Buck Woody (b|t). Hopefully, after this session, my presentation skills will continue to improve before my session on that Saturday. If the winter blues got you down then head down to beautiful Tampa for a warm weekend of SQL learning and register for SQL Saturday #192.
This year I will finally get to attend two other SQL Saturdays that are in the relative vicinities. In the past there was always something going on during those two weekends. As it stands, I am planning on submitting my newest session, Backups: Getting the Most Out of Your Storage, to both of those events. Curious as to what they are?
SQL Saturday Jacksonville (#SQLSat215) will be April 27th and SQL Saturday Atlanta is tentatively scheduled for May 18th. Come on out and join me at all three of those events and maybe one of them will have some SQLKaraoke for the after event! Enjoy!
After yesterday’s review of 2012, it is time to set the bar a little higher for 2013. Let’s soar to new heights!
- I will post daily during the work week to this blog in order to give back to the SQL community. Last year I had planned to blog 365 days of the year, but there were many days when the content was subpar because I was on vacation, holiday, or simply having fun with my family. I think this year if I limit it to the days that I am actually working on SQL Server then the content should stay consistent.
- I will spend time daily helping people on twitter, SQL blogs, and various SQL-related websites such as SQL Server Central. This was hard to do last year but it is still a noble goal and thus should be listed.
- I am setting a goal of 600 followers on Twitter which would increase my existing followers 33%.
- I will attend at least ten of the twelve Tampa Bay SQL Server User Group meetings.
- I will attend three to five other User group meetings, such as the Tampa BI group, Orlando’s MagicPASS, or the Tampa VMUG.
- I will attend at least one other event that interfaces with SQL Server such as the Orlando IT Pro Camp.
SQL Conferences & Training Events
- I will attend at least one formal Microsoft SQL training course this year.
- I will attend every SQL Saturday offered in the Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville areas. I would also like to attend some others, if possible, within driving distance.
- I will volunteer to help with at least one SQL Saturday this year.
- I will attend the SQL PASS Summit in Charlotte.
- I will submit to at least two different SQL Saturday events in addition to SQL PASS. Hopefully, I will get the opportunity to present somewhere in 2013.
- I will be in better physical shape in time for Summit 2013.
- I will lose 100 pounds by the end of the year.
Five Year Goals
- I will continue to take at least one to two classes a semester online in order to complete my degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida. All those Engineering and Computer Science classes I took 20 years ago are not relevant today and I would like to possibly return to consulting in five or ten years and that degree would be more beneficial in that long-term goal.
- I would like to become a Microsoft Certified Master within five years.
With today being the first day of 2013, I thought it would be good to review my goals for the year and see where I finished. I will italicize the updates at the end of each of the original items.
- I will post daily to this blog in order to give back to the SQL community that has helped me so much over the years. I published 364 blog posts for the year! It was difficult on holidays and weekends, but I am glad that I persevered through it. It became a habit and I think my writing improved because of the effort.
- I will spend time daily helping people on twitter, SQL blogs, and various SQL-related websites such as SQL Server Central. I have tried to do this regularly, but it is harder than blogging daily. I thought this one would have been easier. I simply did not have enough hours in the day.
- I am setting a goal of 300 followers on Twitter which would double my existing followers for 2011. I am at 465 followers today, thanks everyone!
- I will attend at least ten of the twelve Tampa Bay SQL Server User Group meetings. In the end I only missed one and it was due to illness, goal accomplished!
- I will attend three to five other SQL User group meetings, such as the Tampa BI group or Orlando’s MagicPASS. There is a new Hillsborough SQL Users Group that I have attended every session. However, I did not get the chance to attend MagicPASS or the BI group this year!
- I will attend every Tampa VMWare User Group meetings which occur quarterly. I am 100 percent on this one (mainly because there hasn’t been a meeting since December of 2011! There is hope as I believe there will be a meeting in February.
- I will attend other events that interface with SQL Server or VMWare such as the Orlando IT Pro Camp scheduled for January 21, 2012. I missed the IT Pro Camp.
- I will attend one Microsoft SQL training course this year, but I cannot say at this time what that course will be as that will depend upon my employer . I would like to attend Course 2778a (Writing Queries Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Transact-SQL) and Course 6234 (Implementing and Maintaining Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services. I did even better than that, I attended a SQLskills.com class and I am also attended the PASS Summit in November.
- I will attend every SQL Saturday offered in the Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville areas. I would also like to attend some others, if possible, within driving distance. I am already registered forSQL Saturday #110 in Tampa on March 10, 2012. I missed the Jacksonville SQL Saturday but made up for it with Pensacola. I attended the March one in Tampa, the one in Orlando in September, but missed the BI one in Tampa in November due to the flu.
- I will volunteer to help with at least one SQL Saturday this year. I volunteered in March and spoke in June and September.
- I would like to attend SQL Rally in Dallas this year and I would definitely like to attend the SQL PASS Summit, but with one child in college this year and two more entering over the next two years, I may have to pass on this one for a couple of years until they are situated and my bank account returns to normal. I did not get to go to Rally, but I was able to attend the Summit and I cannot imagine myself ever missing that event in the future no matter what the cost! The friendships made were priceless.
- I will continue to take at least one to two classes a semester online in order to complete my degree in Business Administration. All those Engineering and Computer Science classes I took 20 years ago are not relevant today and I would like to possibly return to consulting in five or ten years and that degree would be more beneficial in that long-term goal. I am still on track here and was accepted to return to the University of Florida for the Summer of 2013.
- I will continue SQLAndy’s recommendation to meet at least three people at every SQL event. This is a great recommendation for networking. It is hard sometimes to break out of our introverted ways. I have been working hard to do this every time and it pays off so much so that when I went to the Summit I had no trouble walking up to strangers and introducing myself.
- I will attain my VMWare Certified Professional 4 certificate this year for VMWare. This did not happen as VMWare came out with a new version before my window closed to take the exam. Now I will have to take a version 5 class in order to take the exam. Personally, I am not that interested in pursuing this certification anymore choosing instead focusing primarily on SQL Server.
- I would like to speak somewhere this year, my local SSUG, VMUG, or even a training session at work. I need to get over my fear of public speaking. 2012 is the year to step it up and take it to another level. I have spoken at my user group and SQL Saturday and it is addictive.
This has been a great year for me, and I hope it has been for you too. Enjoy.
Now that I have been home a day, I thought it would be good to review some of the lessons I learned this week from attending my first SQL PASS Summit.
- This week is a marathon, pace yourself. Enjoy all of the activities but get plenty of rest all week so you will be able to finish the week out.’
- Carrying a laptop and a bunch of crap in your backpack all week was not necessary. Unless you are on call, use an ipad for notes or even your phone. This added weight will wear you down quickly.
- Carrying a power strip was not as necessary as I thought it would be since I didn’t see very many power outlets and since I wasn’t using my laptop. The only thing that needed charging was my phone. The ipad holds a great charge all day long.
- Buy an extended battery case for your cell phone as I saw many people with them, what a great idea.
- Never pass up an opportunity to introduce yourself to someone who you want to meet, I did that a few times this week because they looked busy. I did not get another chance to meet those people again.
- Walk, walk and keep walking. I had no idea the amount of walking involved this week. I usually walk about a mile three times a week, but next year I will need to be in much better shape to handle the rigors of walking everywhere all of the time. I endured it this year but it was not easy.
- Be prepared to stand in hot rooms for long periods of time. Being DBAs, we are usually sitting for most of the day. Many of the activities here at Summit, were standing room only for hours at a time in rooms that apparently had the heat on even though it was only maybe 55 degrees outside making most of these rooms like saunas for me.
- Never pass up an opportunity to hang out and network with someone when it presents itself.
- Buy the session DVDs so that you can watch them after the conference.
- Most importantly, if you want to do #SQLKaraoke, put your song in early! I put my name in every night and did not get called once. What a bummer.
Don’t let this detour you from coming, these are just things I now know and will be better prepared for next year in order to attend the greatest event of the they year, see you then.
All good things must come to an end and the 2012 Summit is now officially over for me while I sit in the Atlanta airport waiting on my flight to Tampa. I just said goodbye to my last two friends who joined me on the flight to Atlanta and a new guy I met sitting next to me from Nashville.
The greatest thing I took away from the Summit experience really is the friendships that simply cannot be described here on this blog or at least not and do it justice. Until you’ve experienced the family reunion type atmosphere, you cannot truly understand what makes it so special. If I have any control over it, I do not plan to ever miss another Summit. This is a bold statement, but it is one goal I would like to truly strive for, it is that important to me and my career.
Honestly, I met at least a hundred people personally this week, many of which I knew on twitter beforehand. However, others were people sitting at my table or passing by and who joined in. We are all now connected and I have a great network of SQL Friends now that is strongly built by the bonds of this week and all that we did together. I am already looking for a hotel for next year. See you all in Charlotte!
Today is the final day of the PASS Summit 2012. There are still a few great sessions that I want to see today, but I am sad that the conference is coming to an end. However, yesterday I began looking for a hotel room for next year’s conference in Charlotte so that I can see all of my new friends again.
Last night was the Customer Appreciation Party at the EMP museum which was a fabulous venue for the rockaraoke event. I also spent some time a group of SQL peeps from South Africa, Holland, Germany, and a Scottish-Australian. We all had one thing in common: a love of SQL. This conference is simply amazing, come join in me in Charlotte next year. Enjoy!
Today I was honored to attend and blog live from the tenth annual Women In Technology Luncheon at the SQL PASS Summit 2012. This is my first Women in Technology luncheon at any level. I have attended several SQL Saturdays but there has not been a WIT event at any of those events.
There was a phenomenal turnout and many people, men and women alike, are sporting the #SQLKilts in honor of the event. Wendy Pastrick hosted the event and the panel included Kevin Kline, Denise McInerney, Kendra Little, Stefanie Higgins, and Jen Stirrup, the PASSion Award winner for 2012. Wendy noted that the room was setup for 720 people and from my perspective it appears that the room is close to full, I found out afterwards that their were 695 attendees from the count.
Stefanie Higgins, founder of the original WIT luncheon, began by discussing the lack of women in her college computer science program which continued later into a certification course that she attended where she was the only woman in the class. The instructor ignored her throughout the week and later admitted after she passed the course that he ignored her and was intimidated by her presence in the class. Stefanie stated that “I think we’ve come a long way, we have more to go though.”
Denise McInerney then discussed that back at her first Summit in 2002 there were only 1 or 2 women in each session and how WIT has women’s participation in the organization as well as SQL Saturday. She stated that in 2011, the first year that the statistics were collected by PASS, the organization consisted of 15% women among attendees and speakers for SQL Saturdays. She also stated that women leave technology careers twice as much as their counterparts.
Kevin Kline then discussed the SQL community and how the board grew the Summit into a friendly conference as opposed to bigger conferences like those sponsored by IBM and Oracle. He also discussed his perspective in raising six daughters and their struggles with technology coming primarily from their friends and not as much from patriarchal structure of society, which has gotten better but still exists.
Jen Stirrup then spoke about the declining percentages of women in technology across Europe. She also discussed their efforts to grow the WIT organization across Europe. Although they have had low numbers of women attending the SQL Saturday WIT events, they are seeing many men attending and discussing the issues surrounding WIT and it is encouraging for the future.
Kendra Little, MCM and MVP, starting speaking at SQL Saturday events and she discussed how that changed her outlook as an “employee” and then she started connecting with people in her sessions and that led her realizing that she could be a mentor and a teacher. She started to feel like she could be a consultant and own her own business whereas when she was an employee previously it had never occurred to her. Now she encourages other women to start speaking and sharing.
It was at this point that the luncheon was turned over to the floor for questions and comments. There were many insightful observations and questions from several audience members. Many people wanted to find resources for their local area so that they could become affiliated with the WIT organization. They were referred to wit.sqlpass.org, which has resources available for everyone if they are interested in starting their own WIT chapter or looking for more information in order to make their local groups more successful. The firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail address is also available.
Personally I would like to see more being done in my area with my user group as well as my local SQL Saturdays throughout the State of Florida. Maybe the discussion will begin with this blog or sometime during the planning of our next SQL Saturday scheduled for March. Enjoy!
The third 24 hours in Seattle were even better than the first two, if that is possible. I attended Grant Fritchey’s pre-con on Query Performance Tuning yesterday and was blown away with knowledge. I cannot wait to watch that on DVD to recap my learning. I then attended the First Timer’s events followed by the Welcome Reception. These were both great events with an excellent dinner and networking opportunities and I enjoyed them thoroughly. In the evening I checked out the Tap House and realized that Seattle does not understand the concept of increased air conditioning when you have increasing amounts of people in a building.
Today began the real sessions kicked off by amazing keynote presentations. I attended a few great sessions and spent a considerable amount of time speaking with vendors about my upcoming project to compare SQL tools. This was a great chance to talk with the vendors and explain to them what I was looking for and how their tools could help me. The networking opportunities today were immense and amazing. Tonight is #SQLKaraoke, stay tuned tomorrow for the updates!