Monday, November 9, 2009

Networking at PASS Summit 2009

I had the incredible opportunity to meet many influential and fun people at the SQL PASS Summit this year. Along the way I learned a few things about myself as well. As every experience should be an opportunity to learn more about the world around us, other people and more of ourselves, this week’s journey of discovery was fruitful (in abundance!).

In order to simplify this recount of people and how they helped me learn more about these things, I came up with a few categories to plug folks into. I hope no one minds, as these are more for my benefit than anything else.

Board Members
Starting here, it quickly became apparent that I knew a good number of the Board Members already. This being my 6th year attending the Summit, that should be a reasonable expectation. What I didn’t realize was how incredible some of the ‘names’ really are and it was exciting to meet and talk to some people I had not previously had opportunity to interact with.

First up is Andy Warren whom I only began conversing with the week prior to the Summit because of an initiative to bring SQL Saturday to Chicago Spring of 2010. Andy has vision and motivation. While our conversations were brief, I’m looking forward to working with Andy over the next several months.

Wayne Snyder knows my name! There were a number of occassions when I looked around and there was Wayne – a very busy man who always had time for a friendly ‘Hello’. If you have ever heard Wayne speak about the PASS organization, it is impossible to not be moved to become involved. And Wayne, if you’re listening, I will take your comments to heart.

Jeremiah Peschka, man of mystery (and amazing ink!), was a lot taller than I anticipated. Since I’m so short, I notice these things. While we did not get much time to interact one-on-one, he was usually nearby in a group of friends and very busy getting caught up with his newly acquired Board membership. I have no doubt we will get more opportunity to work together in the next year and it was apparent he will be taking his new role to heart.

I met Brian Moran in passing intially and was fortunate to run into him once again later in the week to have a great discussion about ideas for expanding the Women In Tech Virtual Chapter. I am also looking forward to working toward additional goals with you in that endeavor.

Some people I alreay knew from years past and am happy to report that I know them a bit better now:

Rushabh Mehta, our upcoming PASS President may seem quiet, but don’t let that fool you! An extremely motivated and enterprising man, he truly wants to make PASS ‘the’ place to go for the SQL Server community. Thank you, Rushab for taking the time to help make the Women In Technology Luncheon a ‘must see’ for many attendees!

Tom LaRock who excels in ‘keeping it real’. As one of the Board Members who is very closely connected with the average joe, you are our voice. Work always needs to be done, but there’s no reason you can’t have fun doing it. Keep on keeping-on, Tom and thanks for the comic relief when it’s needed!

Kevin Klein (Past PASS President) whom I first met last year at the airport upon arrival at the Summit. Sharing a cab ride with one of the Big Names was at first intimidating, but Kevin’s easy-going nature really put me at ease and we found conversation to proceed easily. This year it was like saying Hi to a long-time friend and I found myself in his company a few times.

Pat Wright really got me interested in Volunteering and being on the Ambassador Team several years back. Every year, I really look forward to wearing my red vest: welcoming people to the Summit and helping people find their way around. While Pat is coming off of the Board this year, we had a nice talk about how once you get involved making the Summit a success, you will always want to be involved!

Joe Webb, while not a Board Member is still an influential force in the PASS organization. I was fortunate to have a humble breakfast with him and a few others which will have an impact on me for the rest of my life. Thanks guys 

And coming last in this list, but always First in my book, is Bill Graziano, my very first Summit ‘hello’ back in Orlando (2004). As outgoing of a person as I am, I still contemplate what my role in the PASS organization would be if I had not met Bill that first day of my first Summit. Bill, you have been more of an influence than you know and through your dedication and inspiration, PASS keeps getting better and better. I’m happy we had some time to reconnect this year!

Please take some time and make opportunities to meet the Board Members. They cannot do their job of making PASS an organization of the people if they don’t know what the people want! I have found each and every one of them to be approachable and interested in listening to the community. Well, they should – we elected them!

Twitter Folks
Next up is a large list of people I had the pleasure of meeting or catching up with. I KNOW I WILL HAVE MISSED SOME IN MY LIST. Some of you helped me with SQL Saturday information, some of you inspired me to do my job better and many of you I am happy to now be able to call ‘friend’. If this isn’t proof of the power of social networking, I don’t know what is.

Some of you are Summit veterans and several came for the first time, but it felt like family and it was fun to visit ‘home’. I’m sure I’ll embarrass myself by forgetting someone, but I’ll give it a shot anyway :)

Andy Leonard (@AndyLeonard)– almost right out of the gate and into the hotel – there you were!
Buck Woody (@buckwoody) – Thanks for the great DBA cheatsheet
Brent Ozar (@BrentO) - I'm glad we live in the same city, I only saw you twice and briefly at that!
Tim Mitchell (@Tim_Mitchell), Jack Corbett (@unclebiguns) and Damon Clark (@DamonRipper) my Airport buddies.
The SQL Ladies: Pam Shaw (@pamshaw), Michelle Ufford (@SQLFool), Lori Edwards (@loriedwards), Lee Anne Pedersen (@leeannepedersen), Arlene Gray (@WhimSQL)

People I communicate with so often I alreay felt like we were friends even before meeting them in person: Colin Stasiuk (@BenchmarkIT), Jason Strate (StrateSQL), Steve Jones (wayoutwest), Patrick Leblanc (patrickdba), Denny Cherry (MrDenny) + Chris (nodns), Adam Mechanic, Stuart (Stuarta), Kendal VanDyke (SQLDBA), Bill Fellows (@billinkc)

More cool people I know personally now:
Aaron Nelson (SQLVariant)
Mike Walsh (Mike_Walsh)
Mike (SarasotaSQL) – so many Mike’s I’m starting to get mixed up (PICS PLEASE!)
Todd McDermid (Todd_McDermid)
Erik Humphrey (lotsahelp)
Donabel (SQLBelle)
Jen & Sean McCown (MidnightDBA)
Mike Wells (@helpfulDBA) – See, yet another Mike…
Bugboi – still smiling at “My Way” performance
Rob Boek (Robboek)

New Twits I’m happy to have met: Scott Gleason (@SQLScottGleason), Josh Cros, Nancy Hidy Wilson (@NancyHidyWilson)

And the Classic Crew – guys you make PASS for me on an ongoing basis!
Richard Baumet (@SQLDBA_Dude)
Todd Robinson (@DevSQL)
Allen Kinsel (@Sqlinsaneo)
Tim Ford (@sqlagentman)
Grant Fritchey (@Gfritchey)
Melissa Demsak (@SQLDiva)
Louis Davidson (@drsql)
TJay Belt (@tjaybelt)

Some peple I’m still missing, and here’s to hoping there are opportunities to meet face-to-face in the near future!

WIT Volunteers and Luncheon participants

Wow. Just – Wow. From our Panel members to our volunteers and other people who came out to support Women In Technology: THANK YOU!

Kathi Kellenberger (@auntkathi), Jessica Moss (@jessicammoss), Lynn Langit (@llangit) and Cathi Rodgeveller of IGNITE who not only served to inspire others to come to the luncheon, but were inspired themselves to now be part of the Women In Technology Virtual Chapter!
Meredith Ryan Smith – were we twins separated at birth?
Michelle Ufford (yes, you made my Twitter list, but I’m so excited to have you on the WIT team now!)
And to Sheila Ackerman (@sjacker), Barb Rokke, Cindy Gross (@CindyGross) and Mai Low: I wish we had more time to connect this year. The small bits of time we did get to say ‘hi’ were nice, and I look forward to working with you more in the upcoming year. Thank you again for your contributions (especially at the Luncheon) and helping spread the enthusiasm for Women In Technology!
Denise McInerney (@denisemc06), to borrow a phrase from Stripes, “our Big Toe”. Okay, I’ll admit, not very glamorous and definitely out of context, but without Denise, WIT would not be where it is today. She is a highly motivated and incredibly organized individual who is not afraid to stand up for what she thinks is worthwhile and just plain “right”. She never would shy away from an opportuity to make things better and has no problem speaking up to defend and promote her ideals. You are a great role model, Denise, and I’m happy to be on your team!

To Sum Up
Okay, too late for that! In the incredibly unlikely event you are still reading – the Summit was THE place to network this year especially. Look for at least two more posts on 2009 later this week!