March 5th was Data Platform WIT Day, a day of sessions by women in the data platform community. If you missed it, you can catch all of the sessions here. I had the honor of being part of the mentoring panel. I really enjoyed being on this panel with these women: Leslie Andrews (t|b), Gilda Alvarez (t), Deepthi Goguri (t|b), and Shabnam Watson (t|b) . All of us came here from different backgrounds and experiences and our careers have been affected in so many different ways from formal and informal mentorships.
There is a phrase that Rie (Irish) Merritt (t) says often: “Lift as you climb”. (It’s in her Keynote from March 5th.) This about finding ways to bring women along as you build your career to help them build theirs. This is something that I believe in but I feel like I constantly fail short in. I want to be someone who doesn’t just “talk the talk” but also “walks the walk.”
I seem to get drawn into the topic of mentorship over the past couple of years so perhaps it’s a sign that this is an area where I can be useful and help other women in our industry. Maybe this is a way I can help “pay it forward”.
I was privileged to be able to attend the Massachusetts Conference for Women on December 10, 2020. I went last year and was inspired from the moment I stepped foot in the convention center. (Here’s my blog post about that event.) I was curious to see what would happen this year when it was moved to a virtual event.
I think I got my answer watching the number of the keynote attendees steadily increase to over 10,000 in 10-15 minutes. Just seeing so many say hello and where they were from was incredible to watch.
I was hoping to catch most of the sessions in the week after the conference was over but I wasn’t able to. But I was able to catch a fair number of sessions as well as the two keynote sessions. I thought I’d share some of the quotes that inspired me and challenged me the most, along with some context when I can. Some of these just stand on their own.
It’s T-SQL Tuesday! The last one of 2020 in fact so I’m glad I’m able to pull things together to contribute.
Lisa Griffin Bohm (t|b) is hosting this month. Her challenge for us is this:
This month, I’d like those of you who have presented, or written a presentation, to share something technical THAT DID NOT RELATE to the topic of the presentation, that you’ve learned in writing or giving the presentation.
This is a great topic, so thanks for hosting this month, Lisa!
Last year at SQL Saturday Boston, I led a WIT panel over lunch titled “Models and Mentors” where we talked about role models and mentoring. There was a good variety of people in the room from those who were just getting started to those who were well established in their careers. One of the questions I had for the room was who had a mentor. Some of those who would be considered more established raised their hands. People who said they mentored others also said that they had mentors themselves. In some ways, I was surprised by this but in other ways, it’s not that surprising at all. Mentors aren’t just for people who are getting started but for those who want someone who can help them as they navigate their career and beyond. I was also surprised to hear of people who had multiple mentors. Again, I probably shouldn’t have been because different people have different strengths and the areas where you need mentoring can be different.
I’ve been thinking lately about all the great opportunities that I’ve had through 2019. I’d have to say that this past year was a pretty good one for me in the SQL Community.
* I’ve spoken at 6 SQL Saturdays and 2 user groups, including my first remote presentation.
* I was on the planning committee for SQL Saturday Boston 2019 and am on the board for the New England SQL User Group (serving the Greater Boston area).
* I was selected as an IDERA ACE Class of 2020.
* Have I mentioned that I competed and won Speaker Idol at PASS Summit yet? (I know – I’m truly taking advantage of those “bragging rights.”)
* In addition to speaking, I’ve also written 14 blog posts, including 3 for T-SQL Tuesday, and had close to 1000 views as recorded by WordPress metrics over the past year. While this may not seem like a huge impact in some ways, I’m still pretty proud that I reached as many of you as I have. Thanks to everyone who has been reading!
I’m already planning all of the SQL Saturdays that I want to attend over the next year, including some that require traveling further than what I may be used to. I have a backlog of blog posts I want to write as well as a couple new presentations to develop. I have at least one User Group presentation on the calendar and will hopefully do some more, including at least one virtual group. Needless to say, I’m hoping 2020 will be an even better year than 2019.
This brings me back to the idea of opportunities.
We are so fortunate to have a community where we can participate in so many different ways – whether it’s just as an in person or virtual participant or as a speaker or an organizer. And even with all of these opportunities, there are people who don’t take advantage of any of these things. By being involved, I have made connections to people who help me be better at my job. While I may not get a chance to work directly with the technology, knowing it exists can make a difference in the decisions made day-to-day. Discovering that I’m part of a supportive network, both professionally and personally, has given me confidence to push myself to learn more, improve my existing skills, and a desire to give back to the community. Most importantly, I love being a part of all of this because it’s really what turns my job into my career.
I encourage all of you to take advantage of all of the opportunities our community has to offer in some new way over the next year – your career is worth it. And I hope to meet more of you over the next year.