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Category: Community and Events

Community! Events! These are two of my favorite things 🤩 I love my #SQLFamily as much as I love teaching and sharing knowledge. And what better way to combine the two than staying involved in the community while participating in as many events as I can?

In this category, I write about upcoming events I’m SUPER EXCITED about and announce where I will be speaking next. I also link to resources like slide decks and videos from sessions I have presented, write recaps and post pictures from events I have attended, and share tips and advice for others who want to get involved by volunteering or speaking.

I'm a Microsoft SQL Server MVP

Portrait of Cathrine Wilhelmsen with the Microsoft SQL Server MVP logo above her head.

I spent most of July 1st relaxing in the sun, reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and enjoying my vacation. I spent the rest of July 1st reading, re-reading and re-re-reading the e-mail I received from Microsoft congratulating me with my first MVP Award.

On July 1st 2015, I became a Microsoft SQL Server MVP (Most Valuable Professional) in Norway.

Unfortunately my copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy did not have Don’t Panic written in large, friendly letters on the cover. So I panicked a little. I think I may have panicked more than just a little. Actually, I’m pretty sure I panicked a lot.

You see, I had mixed feelings about becoming an MVP. I am truly honored and thankful, but it is also very intimidating to be part of a group with so many talented people that I admire. I don’t have decades of experience, I’m not a SQL Server expert, I haven’t published any books and I haven’t created any scripts that are used all over the world. Why should I deserve to become an MVP? I panicked a little (or a lot) because I compared myself to those who are years ahead of me down the road, and because it felt like I cut in line in front of amazing people who deserves the award more than me.

So I took a step back and thought about what the MVP Award means to me. To quote Microsoft: MVPs are community leaders who’ve demonstrated an exemplary commitment to helping others get the most out of their experience with Microsoft technologies. They share their exceptional passion, real-world knowledge, and technical expertise with the community and with Microsoft."

To me, it’s all about community. I may not be the most experienced SQL Server expert, but I helped restart SQL Server User Group Norway. I was the main organizer of the first SQLSaturday in Oslo and currently organizing the second one. I’ve volunteered and presented sessions online, in Europe and in the US. I blog, I tweet and I do my best to help others.

And I love it. Being recognized by Microsoft and getting a thank you for what I have done this past year means so much to me. Thank you to everyone who has been there for me and believed in me, it means more to me than I can say. Receiving the MVP Award inspires me even more to give back and pay it forward, to keep learning and sharing my knowledge, to help grow the Norwegian SQL Server community.

I’m just getting started 😊

Presenting a webinar for the first time

Cathrine Wilhelmsen presenting a webinar for the first time.

Presenting online is a completely different experience than presenting in-person. When you present online you lose the interaction with the audience, you are unable to read body language or facial expressions to see if they are interested or bored out of their minds, and you get absolutely no feedback on whether or not they understand what you are trying to explain. You have to trust yourself, talk to a screen for an hour, and hope that the technology does not suddenly decide to throw a tantrum and stop working for no reason.

I recently presented a webinar for the first time. It went quite well, but there are many things I want to do better next time. Writing down what I learned will help me improve my own presentation skills and slide decks, but I also hope it can help other new speakers prepare for their first webinar.

Volunteering and Speaking at SQLBits XIV

SQLBits XIV Superhero Edition Logo.

SQLBits XIV Superhero Edition was my first SQLBits experience, and it was a truly amazing week! I want to start with a massive thank you to the organizers: Darren Green, Simon Sabin, James Rowland-Jones, Chris Testa-O’Neill, Allan Mitchell, Jonathan Allen and Annette Allen. You did one heck of a job to make this the best conference in the universe! 👏🏻 I also want to say thank you to all the sponsors, volunteers and speakers who made this a great event. And to all the attendees, I hope you had a blast and that I’ll see you again next year!

SQLKonferenz 2015

Cathrine Wilhelmsen’s name badge from SQLKonferenz 2015.

I spent the past couple of days in Darmstadt, Germany for SQLKonferenz 2015 (Deutsche SQL Server Konferenz 2015). This was the first time I spoke at a conference (not a SQLSaturday), and it was an absolutely amazing experience. I want to thank PASS Deutschland for doing a fantastic job to make this a great event!

The one thing I would like to have changed is that I should have learned German before going to Darmstadt 😅 The quality of speakers, sessions and topics covered was very impressive, and there were many sessions in German that I wanted to see. But I can’t complain at all, I got to see some great sessions and have learned new things that I look forward to trying.