Category Archives: SQLPASS

Stepping Down As PASS Local Group Leader

Some of you may have already heard, but I have decided to step down from being the PASS local group leader for the chapter in Greensboro, NC.  I’ve been the local group leader for almost five years and prior to being the leader I was the speaker wrangler for a few years.  I’ve been involved with this group for almost ten years, so it was not a decision that I made lightly, but as with everything in life, all things must come to an end.

Being the local group leader has given me more opportunities than I could possibly have imagined.  Meeting speakers from all over the world, networking with all the members of the group, providing career guidance to new members of the data community, and so many more.  But the most important thing, and a very personal thing, is it gave me the opportunity to overcome my fear of public speaking.   I guess it’s a “double edged sword” as my grandfather use to say.  It has given me so many opportunities that I now have very little time to devote to being a local group leader, but I never would have been given those opportunities if it weren’t for being a local group leader.

The new group leader will take over officially after the holidays on January 6, 2020.  His name is George Maxson (Twitter | Linked In), and most members know him already.  He has been coming to the meetings almost as long as I have.  I’ve watched George grow more comfortable over the years with the group and know that I leave it in good hands.

I will still be around and attending the meetings when my schedule permits.  Who knows, I may even speak!

It’s been a great ride.  Thank you.

Speaking at SQL Saturday Chicago

I am so excited and honored to announce that I have been selected to speak at SQL Saturday Chicago on Saturday, March 23, 2019.  I will be presenting my Profiling Your Data session.

It’s been a few years since I’ve been to Chicago.  Last time I was there was when I was working onsite for a client in Michigan in 2001.  My sister and her son came to visit me over a long weekend and we decided to road trip it to Chicago.  Neither of them had ever been before, so I gave them the grand tour, we road the subway, took in the Navy Pier and even got to see a White Sox game.  To this day, my sister still laughs nervously about her first subway ride.

If you’re in the area stop by and say, “hello”.  I’d love to see you and chat a bit.

Speaking at SQL Saturday Victoria

I am so excited to announce that I have been selected to speak at SQL Saturday Victoria on Saturday, March 16, 2019. I will be presenting my What is Power BI session.

This is another kind of homecoming for me.  When I was a kid, my sister & I lived with my grandparents for a while down in the Willamette Valley and we used to go to Victoria every summer.  I have very fond memories of Butchart Gardens and walking around The Land of the Little People.  I was super bummed when I found out that the latter no longer existed.  But if you have time, I would highly recommend Butchart Gardens and yes, they are open in Winter.

If you’re in the area, stop by and say, “hello”.  I’d love to see you and chat a while.

Speaking At SalemSQL, A Kind Of Homecoming

I am so excited to announce that I will be giving my Data Types Do Matter session for the SalemSQL user group in Salem, OR on Thursday, November 1, 2018.

After being selected to speak in Seattle at the PASS Summit, I decided to reach out to the newly formed SalemSQL group to see if I could speak for them while I was in the neighborhood. They normally meet on Wednesdays, so I am very grateful that they were willing to shift their meeting day around to accommodate my travel schedule allowing me to present.

One of the reasons this is so exciting for me is that I spent a lot of my formative years in the Willamette Valley, just outside of Salem. My family moved around a lot when I was younger, but this is where I learned to drive, graduated from High School and got my very first job (no, it was not IT related). I have so many fond memories of the area and still have loads of friends and family there. I used to make the trip to visit at least once, and sometimes twice a year when I was lucky. My trips have dwindled off as the youngest members of our family have graduated, gotten married, had children and moved away, but I still welcome any chance I get to visit. Mostly for family and friends, but it’s also the only time I get to eat fresh Marionberry pie for breakfast. And who doesn’t love to eat pie for breakfast?!

If you are in the Salem, OR area on November 1, 2018 and have no plans for lunch, please stop by and say, “Hi”. I’d love to see you.

Getting Called Up

When baseball players are called up to the Major League from the Minor League it’s referred to as getting “Called Up”.  Today I am proud (and very humbled) to announce that I have been Called Up to PASS Summit 2018.  I will be presenting my Data Types Do Matter session.

I started speaking on a regular basis only last year which I guess makes me a Rookie*.  I never thought I would grow to love speaking as much as I have in the last fourteen months.  I used to have a major phobia of public speaking (you can read about it here).  But, with any fear if you confront it head on, in most cases, that fear becomes more manageable or even vanishes completely.  A few years ago I decided that I would confront my fear head on (you can read about that here) and look where I am today.  It’s not completely gone, but I have learned to manage it in a way I never thought I would.

I have presented 23 times on four different topics and reached 502 people in two countries.  If someone had told me two years ago that I would have these kinds of stats I would have thought they had taken a Bad Hop* to the head.

This is only my second time submitting a session to PASS Summit, so I feel very honored to have been selected.  I know others have submitted for years and still not been selected.  Maybe wiping my submission with Pine Tar* actually helped this time.

Here’s hoping I don’t Whiff* and get Sent Down*.

*Baseball References Explained Here

SQL Saturday Charlotte (#683)

I am so excited to be helping out with SQL Saturday Charlotte again this year.  This is the 6th year that Charlotte BI Group (CBIG) has put this event on and the 3rd year that I’ve been asked to be part of the organizing team. 

We have a great lineup of speakers and sessions, including two great pre-cons from Leila Etaati and our very own Melissa Coates.

We have worked really hard to put together this event together and hope that you will take the time to come out and get your SQL learnin’ on!

I hope to see you Saturday, October 14, 2017.

So Long, Farewell, I Hate to Say Goodbye

The Sound of Music is one of my all time favorite movies.  It reminds me of some great times with family during the holidays when I was a kid.  The adults would all be in the living room talking about “boring adult stuff” and all us kids would be piled in the family room on the floor with the fire place roaring and singing along at the top of our lungs to every single song. 

Those are some great memories and those memories are what make us “us” and that is why this post if very hard for me to write.  My mother has been officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and it has been devastating for my family.  

Most of you know I do lots of volunteer work for PASS.  It’s one of my PASSions, I love working with folks in our #SQLFamily and the folks at PASS HQ.  However, with my mother’s diagnosis, something has to give and unfortunately my volunteer work with PASS is one of the things that will be affected.  I will be scaling back my volunteer efforts with PASS. 

Currently I serve on the Program Committee as a Program Manager and am a PASS chapter leader, among other various volunteer things throughout the year.  I have been on the Program Committee for the last seven years, spending the last two as a Program Manager.  We have come a long way from where we were when I started seven years ago, but there’s always room for improvement.  I really wish I could be part of the team that keeps making it better, but my family needs my attention now, so I will be stepping down from the Program Committee.  I’ve made some good friends along the way and am thankful for the opportunity I have had to give back to the community by being part of this great team.  I will continue to serve as the Chapter Leader in Greensboro and various other opportunities when they come up, however those opportunities will be in a limited capacity now.

I have some great memories of my PASS family which is why I really hate to say goodbye, so I’m going to think about raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens..then maybe I won’t feel so bad.

SQL Saturday Charlotte is Coming!

That’s right, SQL Saturday Charlotte is coming September 17, 2016.  Next to the annual PASS Summit, this is my favorite SQL Event!  This is the fifth year that the Charlotte BI Group (CBIG) has put on this great event.  They’ve expanded the event this year to include two Pre-Cons on Friday, September 16, 2016, one from BI and data analytics queen Jen Underwood and the other from performance guru Adam Machanic.  While the Pre-Cons aren’t free like the event on Saturday, they certainly are a bargain for an entire day of training with well known experts in their respective fields.

If you haven’t already registered, I’d suggest you do it now before they go to a wait list.  This event is always jam packed full of great sessions from great speakers, both local and national.

Oh yeah, I will be there.  I’m helping out again this year with registration, so be sure to say hello if you see me.  I am always happy to see my #SQLFamily.

Struggling With Due Diligence

It’s been a while since my last post, there are various reasons for my absence:  work, illness, having our house rewired, etc., but one of the biggest reasons is my struggle with how a few folks in the SQL community treat the PASS organization and those that volunteer their time to PASS.

As many of you know, I do a lot of volunteer work for PASS.  I do this because it’s an organization that I truly believe in.  It was created by the community for the community.  It’s a place where data professionals can exchange knowledge freely, no strings attached.  To my knowledge there is no other community in the IT world quite like it, we even have our own hashtag on twitter, #sqlfamily.  But lately I’ve been struggling with how a few community members have reacted to policies/procedures/contracts.  Essentially starting a fire, pouring gas on it and walking away.

I’ve been involved with the Program Committee (they are the folks that select the content for the annual Summit) since 2010.  I took over my local PASS chapter when the existing chapter leader stepped down.  I help out with local/regional SQL Saturdays when my schedule allows.  I moderate 24 Hours of PASS when my schedule allows.  I volunteer while on site during the Summit as an Ambassador.  I’ve served on the NomCom (2012).  You get the idea, I am a true believer and not just in lip service, so when someone “attacks” an organization that I truly believe in, I get more than a little irritated.

One thing I have learned throughout the years of being a DBA is that you need to be able to prove a problem is NOT yours by exploring all the other possible areas that could possibly be causing the problem.  You have to look at it from all angles, not just the DBA angle.

We’ve all been there.  Customer calls to say application is slow and a trouble ticket is automatically created and assigned to the DBA team because the application uses a database.  This is somewhat akin to saying the issue with a car’s performance is the gas – all cars use gas so it must be the gas.  It’s tiresome and frustrating, but we go through motions to prove the issue is not ours.  In the financial world, it’s called due diligence.

This kind of due diligence has proven to be useful in other areas of my life, both personal and professional.  I would ask that those in the community please do their own due diligence BEFORE posting a blog, sending a tweet or starting the good old fashioned room mill.  Lately several community members seem to have forgotten the kind of influence they carry with the rest of the community and not done their due diligence before posting a blog, sending a tweet or starting the rumor mill.

You will notice that I did not name any names.  That would really defeat the purpose of this post.  I don’t want to start a fire with this post then allow gasoline to be poured on it with all the comments (not that there would be tons, because I don’t carry a lot of influence in our community – not a slight, just stating a fact) and then walk away.

I want you ALL to think about what you post, tweet or say BEFORE you do it.

Did you know?

Did you know that the call for speakers for PASS Summit 2016 opened on February 3, 2016?

Did you know that the call for speakers for PASS Summit 2016 ends on March 2, 2016?

Did you know that there’s a Speaker Resource Page?

Did you know that you can have your abstract reviewed confidentially BEFORE you submit it for the Summit?

Did you know that your abstract is being reviewed by members of the SQL community?

Did you know that this is the second year the Program team has offered this service?

Did you know that only 32 people took advantage of this service last year?

Did you know that even experienced speakers use this service?

Did you know that you only have until February 26, 2016, to submit an abstract for confidential coaching?

Did you know that you have nothing to lose?

So what are you waiting for?  You’ve been thinking about submitting for a while now but were unsure if your abstract was good enough.  Well, now you have no excuse, use the confidential coaching service and find out.