Tuesday, October 23, 2012

As David Bowe said: Ch-ch-ch-changes

I'm excited to make two big announcements! First, I have swtiched jobs. While I'll still be working with SQL Server, and I'll still be using my DBA skills, I'm making a switch over to the Business Intelligence side of the fence. I've always had a soft spot for really making the data useful to the people (okay, call them users if you like) who need to work with it day in and day out. I realize that Excel has been the go-to for data manipulation for many years now, and it's not going anywhere. What I find exciting is that SQL Server continues to evolve the ETL and reporting tools to make better use of Analysis Services. I'll be working with several amazing people in the Business Intelligence community at BlueGranite, a Michigan based company. Yes, I have ventured back into the realm of consulting. As Aaron Lowe once said, "once you have worked as a consultant, it's hard to go back" (or something very similar anyway).

This new role brings many exciting opportunities ahead to learn so much about Business Intelligence and Analytics. I am really fortunate to be working with people like Rob Kerr (@Robkerrbi) and Josh Fennessy (@JoshuaFennessy) and Garrett Edmondson, to name just a few. While it may be challenging to work out my home office in the chilly basement, it's been easy enough to stay connected with all of the technical options now out there (Lync, Skype, Twitter) so I don't feel isolated really at all.

The other piece of amazing news I have is that I will be joining the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) Board of Directors this coming January! It is a two year term, and while I'm not sure what tasks will be assigned to me, I'm very much looking forward to serving the community and growing PASS. I invite you to leave comments or send me emails with any issues you feel should be addressed by the Board at any time. We need the input from the community at large to know where we need to focus our efforts.

I hope to have an opportunity to meet you at the PASS Annual Summit in Seattle. If you will be there, don't hesitate to stop me and say "Hi" at any time. I will be at all of the meetings on Tuesday(SQLSaturday roundtable, Regional Mentors meeting and Chapters meeting) plus you can find me at the Lightning Talks on Wednesday or the WIT Luncheon on Thursday. While I'm not a current sitting Board member yet, I will be at the Board Q&A on Friday as well in the audience (I haven't missed one yet)....and, if all else fails, I may run into you at #sqlkaraoke on any given evening.

One of my personal goals this year is to make it out to at least one User Group meeting in my region or surrounding cities each quarter. I definitely plan to make it up to Wisconsin and hopefully can also get out to Indianapolis. With the new job, I'm confident that hitting the Western Michigan meeting will also be in the cards, and I would like to make it down to my hometown of St. Louis as well. I'll be contacting the groups to find out if there is some way I can help out when I stop by.

2013 is going to be an amazing year, for sure!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Running for the PASS BOD: doing it for the Bacon

You may have heard I'm running for the Board of Directors for PASS. Why, you ask? I'm in it for the bacon, of course.

Wait, you say, I didn't know Board members got bacon as a perk! Well, they don't, sadly. It sure would be nice, though. Okay, so if there isn't bacon, then what is the motivation? Looking from the outside inwards, you might think people run for the Board because they have masochistic tendencies. Really, how much abuse can one person take? In the past few elections, it seems there has been one thing or another that the BOD has taken a beating over. (Fortunately, as it turns out, there really isn't so much to be concerned about.)

Okay, all kidding aside, for me it's really about giving back to the community. Having spent close to 10 years with PASS, I have seen so much growth - and with it some missteps -  but even more spectacular wins in that time, such as 24 Hours of PASS. Having the opportunity to contribute to the current state and future of the organization is surely a challenge and it is one I am eager to take on. Over the years, I have contributed at many different levels from Chapter Leader (both physical and virtual) to special task committees (Election Review Committee, post 2010 elections) to running SQL Saturday events. These widely varied experiences make me a great candidate for your Board of Directors as I can bring both lessons learned and future vision to the organization.

As my running mate Allen Kinsel has so aptly stated: Campaigning is Hard. You may have not heard as much from me as some of the other candidates. I'm not known to go around shouting my own praises, or asking people for votes, or standing on a soapbox touting an agenda. However, I'm not a quiet person, either. What I am is a person who cares very much about PASS, about the people who are our members, and the future of our organization. I humbly ask you to lend me your vote so I can not only continue to contribute but have the opportunity to do so at the Board level.

But what about the bacon? Oh, yes, if I should be elected to the Board this year, that would be as sweet as having a whole plate of bacon! (and I might even share...)

Even if you don't know me, take a few words from some others who do and were kind enough to endorse me. Fellow Women In Tech superstar and MVP Jen Stirrup had this to say about her choices in the election. You can also find two additional interviews with me from Denny Cherry's People Talking Tech and DBAs At Midnight show with Sean and Jen McCown. Plus, I've had much encouragement and guidance from these three people who support me as a candidate:

Kevin Kline (Past PASS BoD President): "I had the pleasure of meeting Wendy on her first trip out to Seattle to attend a PASS Summit.  Wendy was striking then, and now, for her contagious enthusiasm.  Wendy doesn't settle for idly soaking up the benefits of other people's hard work.  She is one of those rare persons who starts to consider how to give back right away.  Wendy immediately saw the benefit of PASS community and went to work right away to bring that benefit back to the Chicago area.  Wendy isn't afraid of hard work or of planting small seeds today, then painstakingly investing the months and perhaps years needed to bring those seeds to fruition.  This tenacity and attention to the long-term is amply demonstrated in the outstanding SQL Saturdays that Wendy oversees in Chicago.  Every speaker I know wants to be at Wendy's event, not because it is in Chicago, but because it is Wendy's event in Chicago.  I give my full support to Wendy's nomination for the PASS board of directors, convinced in the strength of her character, and confirmed in the value of her talents.  -Kevin Kline, PASS President Emeritus 2005-2008."

Allen White: "I've known Wendy for three or four years now, having worked together on the Election Review Committee and were partners on the PASS Quiz Bowl a few years ago.  I was impressed by her contributions to the conversations we had on the ERC in putting together the rules for the PASS Board elections process, as the issues were critical to the public perception of the integrity of the elections process.  We had discussions that could have easily become ugly, and she always helped keep them objective and positive.  This skill is critical to serving on a board with such a (necessarily) diverse makeup.  I also was a speaker at the Chicago SQL Saturday #67 in March, 2011, where Wendy led the team putting together a great event that had something like 400 attendees.  An event of this size needs a solid leader to keep everything running smoothly, and Wendy managed it with a smile on her face the whole time.  Personally, Wendy and I have become good friends, and she allowed me to leave my car at her home when in 2010 I took the train from Chicago to Seattle for the PASS Summit, and when my return train was delayed by 5 hours, she drove into downtown Chicago to pick me up at the station, almost an hour drive each way.  Her PASSion award indicates the level of support and commitment to PASS she always exhibits, and the fact that she's been nominated for MVP indicates the support she has from the community.  I truly believe she'd be a great board member based on her past accomplishes and her ability to get people with disparate views to find common ground and work out a solution that benefits the entire community."

Kevin P. Davis: "I have worked with Wendy for the past year, and I have been immensely impressed with her and her work.  She has led multiple cross-team small projects in her role as Database Administrator, and I have worked with her closely on these.  Wendy is capable of organizing large efforts even with shifting priorities and timelines.  She is easy to work with, gregarious and contagiously enthusiastic.
That enthusiasm bleeds over into a rich life outside of work, but still in the development community.  She demonstrates commitment to both her own growth and the growth of others through frequent conference appearances, not just as a speaker but an organizer.  Such enthusiasm and commitment is rare and refreshing to see.  The PASS Board of Directors would benefit from Wendy’s energy, and I wholeheartedly endorse her for the position."

Friday, March 2, 2012

SQL Saturday Roadmap!

My Spring/Summer is just bursting with SQL Saturday events! It's amazing how many there are to choose from, but alas, that comes with some tough decision making at times.

As I type, I'm headed off to SQL Saturday #109 in Mountain View, CA. I'll be representing both Women In Technology and Idera ACE groups this weekend. I'm really looking forward to working with fellow PASSWIT members Denise McInerney (twitter), Meredith Ryan-Smith (twitter) and Jen Stirrup  (twitter) on the Luncheon panel. We will be discussing: Why Do Women Matter in the Tech Community. I'm also looking forward to making a new friend in the 4th member of the group, Nikila Srinivasan (twitter)!
Later in the afternoon, I get the chance to talk about one of my favorite features in SQL Server, Transactional Replication (I know, I'm such a geek....)

The best part of any SQL Saturday is the networking - so if you're around, please say "Hi", I love to meet fellow SQL people!

In April, I'll be heading to Houston for their SQL Saturday. They haven't released their schedule yet, but I'm sure it will be an amazing lineup.
Alas, I won't be able to make the Madison, WI event since I'll be in Houston already. Bummer.

Then, come May 19th, we're back for our 3rd Annual SQL Saturday in Chicago!

Also on the horizon is Indianapolis at the end of July. I'll be helping out with the Women In Technology panel there, too.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hope for the Future

In the locker room at the gym the other day (yeah, again, another gym story!) I witnessed a conversation amongst three high school aged girls. It went something like this: Sue: You're taking Algebra, right? Amy: Oh, of course! I'm having a hard time with squares though. Rachel: Squares? Oh, those are so easy! Sue: But cubes are more fun, I mean, squares are easier, but I like cubes. Rachel: I don't know, squares and cubes aren't too bad - it's the radicals that give me trouble. Amy: I don't get radicals at all. Sue: I just love solving problems with cubes! Rachel: As long I don't have to deal with radicals, I'm fine. Rachel: Does my hair look stupid? If I could have hugged them for having such a frank conversation about an Algebra class, I would have! Best not to be labelled the 'creepy old lady' though... I was so happy to hear very typical girl teenagers talking about math, and worrying about their hairstyle, I could have just popped. The future of WIT is alive, I say! All names are made up...in case you were wondering.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

After a lunchtime workout, I looked in the mirror to notice one of my earrings was missing.
There was a frantic search which included my gym bag, the floor all around where I was changing, and a conversation with the other person in the locker room. She also joined in the search, but to no avail. The earring could not be located.
My search expanded to the area around the treadmill I had used, which now had another patron. She was also very kind in helping me search the area thoroughly. Alas, still no earring.
My only choice remaining was to retrace my steps and hope against the odds it has dropped somewhere near my car, or on the walk to/from the car and buildings. Sadly, none of these places revealed the location of my missing earring. Now, we all lose things from time to time, and often we have to resign ourselves to the fact that we may never get it back. This particular set of earrings was made especially for me for my wedding day. The emotional value far outweighed the actual value of the item, so I was eager to keep hope alive.
For all I knew, it could have fallen off any time from the time I put it in that morning until I had happened to see it missing. That was a span of many hours, and it could be almost anywhere.
I continued to retrace my steps back to the office building and decided that it was at least worth asking at the front desk if anyone might have chanced to find it.
As I approached the desk, I took off the remaining earring and showed it to the attendant, knowing it was a long shot. To my utter surprise, his face lit up, and he turned around and pulled my missing earring out of the inbox! To say the least, I was amazed - and very happy.
I have no idea who the person is who returned it, or even where they found it. All I can say is a very heartfelt THANK YOU to you for doing so. It was a small thing to you, but a very important thing to me. How many times have we seen something we *could* have done something about, but felt that someone else would do it, so why bother?
Please remember that in your daily routine even something small and insignificant to you could mean very much to someone else. Thank You!