When I started this blog back in 2016, I wanted to make sure I wrote a blog post every March in honor of Women’s Month. I missed it last year but I want to get back in the routine. I figure as long as it was about by the end of the month, I’m good, right?
This particular post took me a long time to put together. I actually started putting it together well over a year ago. I’m not sure why it’s taken so long to hit “Post”. Perhaps because I don’t like what it says but I feel it needs to be done anyway.
I see a lot of conversations on social media related to diversity at events. It bubbles up every couple of months or so. Some organizers are great about making sure they have a diverse pool of speakers but aren’t always able to get there. Other times, the conversation is criticizing organizers who are falling short of the goal. But there seems to be a general sense that we aren’t as diverse or representative as we want to be. So I wanted to take a look to see if this is an accurate assessment.
I stared this post on my way home from Pass Data Community Summit 2022 and finishing it on Thanksgiving here in the US. There’s something that feels appropriate about this fact. Maybe because it was being inspired after attending PASS Summit 2016 and thinking about what I’m grateful for are intertwined in this one topic.
New Stars of Data is the brainchild of Ben Weissman (t) and William Durkin (t) as a platform for new speakers to get a start in the community. They paired the speaker with a mentor to help them prepare. I was lucky enough to be picked as a mentor and then moderator for this. It’s been amazing to see so many of these speakers become stars in the community so quickly. As a continuation, they have asked other speakers to contribute by writing a blog post about their experience getting started as speakers. (They also have a library of resources for speakers as well so definitely check out the New Stars website!)
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!
It’s official – the PASS Summit 2020 Call for Speakers is open from now (March 26th) until April 23rd. You can find the official announcement here or go straight to the submission page.
This time last year, I saw a lot of people on Twitter stressing about pulling together their abstracts and making sure they submitted on time. As I watched them go through this process, I thought about whether I wanted to submit. I wasn’t sure I was ready to do it yet. Was I a good enough speaker? Did I have a strong enough abstract? As the deadline hit, I decided not submit. There was still a small part of me that wishes I had but again I wasn’t sure I was ready for it. That’s why I made a deal with myself that if Speaker Idol was held again, then I would throw my name in the ring. We all know how that turned out….
Now the question for me is what to submit. I still feel like there’s extra pressure to have an amazing, high quality session because it’s PASS Summit. I definitely have a session or two that I already have ready that I think are good enough to submit and I have a new idea for one forming in the back of my mind. So, my challenge is to pull the new abstract together and clean up the existing ones so I can submit them in time.
The only thing I think I won’t get to experience this year is the stress of wondering whether I’ll get picked or not. Although submitting multiple sessions means I still get to stress about which one gets picked. But for now, I will just enjoy the fact that we knew I was speaking at Summit before we knew Bob Ward was speaking. Pretty sure he’ll still have more people attend his session than mine – which I’m perfectly OK with. I’ll take my little victories where I can find them. But I’m looking forward to seeing who else will be speaking with me this year.
If you are where I was last year – a new-ish speaker who hadn’t spoken at Summit before, I say: Submit. What’s the worst that can happen… you get picked?
I know there’s a lot of craziness in the world right now and who knows what’s going to happen or change on us. But in the meantime, I remain optimistic and am looking forward to planning for the future. See y’all in Houston!
This should be my final post about Speaker Idol 2019. I’ve said Thank You’s, I’ve told you how I put the presentation together, and now it’s time to give back. Here’s my advice for anyone who wants to do this in the future. Some of these apply regardless of whether you’re competing so I’m breaking these out in general.
I thought I’d share some more about my Speaker Idol experience. This post feels a little weird for me because I am writing about pulling together my presentation. I say this is weird because I’m not used to talking about myself like this. But my real goal in sharing this is every speaker has a different way they pull presentations together and as this was a very different presentation, I thought I’d share my process. That or I feel the need to milk the Speaker Idol win a little more. Or maybe it’s a bit of both.
I’m really looking forward to PASS Summit this year, for a number of reasons.
The first is that I feel like it’s the summer camp experience that I never had growing up – I get to go hang out with all my #sqlfamily friends across the country and world and geek out over SQL Server, learning from some of the best in the community. I’ve also signed up to be a First Timer Buddy again this year so I’m looking forward to meeting them and showing them around.
The second is that I always come back so energized about what I do. I want to implement and get hands-on experience with all the things and share that with my co-workers who can’t make it.
The third reason is the most exciting one – I will be competing in Speaker Idol this year! When the deadline for submitting sessions for PASS Summit came up in the spring, I wasn’t sure I was ready to have a full session or even knew what I would want to submit. But I decided that if Speaker Idol was coming back, I would throw my name in and see what happens.
It started out pretty casually. In the speaker room, someone asked if anyone had an adapter because they heard the room they were in didn’t have an HDMI connector but VGA. I said I think I had an adapter so I pulled out my bag and suddenly heard the sounds of impressed speakers. (It may have been laughter but I’m going to go with “impressed speakers”) Which led me to this tweet: