PASS Summit 2017 is coming up next week! Are you getting excited? I know I am!
Every PASS Summit is a new experience for me. I have gone from being a shy first-timer in 2013, a volunteer in 2014, a crazy costume lady in 2015, and a triple speaker in 2016. This year I’ll be working for PASS HQ, hosting meeting, helping out with the First-Timers program and Birds of a Feather luncheons, and doing a bit of speaking. And a few other things :)
Things to look forward to at PASS Summit 2017
There are SO. MANY. THINGS. to do during PASS Summit! I’m still waiting for someone to figure out how to a) clone a person, b) teleport people, and c) merge human clones. It’s going to make my life so much easier. But! Before then, we just have to try to make the most of things. Here are some of the things I’m looking forward to this year.
It’s November, and that means I’m now officially a PASS employee! Yep, that’s right, I will be taking over as the PASS Community Evangelist after the wonderful Karla Landrum (@KarlaKay22). And to tell you the truth, it’s both extremely terrifying and super exciting at the same time :)
Many of you heard the news at PASS Summit 2016 after we announced it during the SQLSaturday organizers meeting, and I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who congratulated me afterwards. You are the community, and it truly means a lot to me to hear that you think I’m the right person for this role.
Why did you accept the job as a Community Evangelist?
My family and best friends in the community weren’t surprised when I told them :) The PASS and SQL Server community has been such an important part of my life for the past three years. Getting involved has literally changed my life. At my first PASS Summit in 2013 I was a shy, socially awkward person who was terrified of talking to people. At PASS Summit 2016 I was a speaker presenting two regular sessions and a lightning talk, and my favorite part of it all was getting to know lots of amazing new people. Volunteering in this community has given me so much, and this is my chance to give something back.
Does that mean you won’t be working in tech anymore?
Well, yes. I won’t work as a consultant or architect or developer and I won’t get hands-on experience with projects and clients. This is a full-time community job. I’m sure I will miss working in tech, but I will try to keep up with everything that’s going on in the Microsoft Data Platform world at events and on weekends. (Because, you know, once a geek, always a geek!)
What will you do as a Community Evangelist?
Support regional mentors, chapter leaders and SQLSaturday organizers, and look for opportunities to establish new chapters and SQLSaturdays. I will also be administering the SQLSaturdays and help events go live, blog, monitor social media, and work with the PASS Board of Directors and PASS Headquarters to support global growth.
Will you continue speaking and blogging?
Part of my job as a Community Evangelist is to share everything that PASS has to offer and opportunities for volunteering, especially at events where people are new to the PASS community. That means I will still be speaking, but I will be speaking as a PASS representative, for example doing lunch sessions at SQLSaturdays. However, I will no longer be submitting to speak at PASS events like I used to. I will definitely still be blogging, and I hope that I actually may get back to blogging more regularly – especially when my fingers start itching to get some hands-on experience with Biml and SQL Server again :)
WHAT WILL WE DO WITHOUT KARLA!?
PANIC! No, hopefully not :) Karla has been a fantastic Community Evangelist and I know people all around the world will miss her terribly! We have started the onboarding and handover process, and we will be working together for a couple of weeks so I can learn as much as possible about the job from her. While I know I won’t be able to fill Karla’s shoes, I promise I will do my absolute best for this community!
This is all you, #SQLFamily. You’re the heart and soul of PASS, just continue doing amazing things for your local communities and I will do what I can in this new role to support you. This is already the best community in the world, let’s make it even better in the next couple of years! :)
The first time I submitted to PASS Summit was in 2015. My Lightning Talk was accepted, and I was so excited about getting the opportunity to speak at the largest SQL Server conference in the world! I had a fantastic time, so I decided to try again and submit for PASS Summit 2016 as well.
While on vacation in Spain with my family, I woke up to an e-mail from PASS HQ. The Call for Speakers Results! I was reading the e-mail on my phone, so it felt like I was scrolling and reading and scrolling and reading and scrolling and reading until I finally got to the actual results.
I didn’t just get one of my sessions accepted. I got 2 general sessions and 1 lightning talk accepted. I nearly fainted! I had to read it several times before it sunk in. I’m going to speak at PASS Summit 2016. Not once. Not twice. But three times in one week.
I have mixed feelings. I’m super excited, super happy, and extremely honored to be selected! But I also know several amazing speakers who definitely should speak at the PASS Summit who weren’t selected this year. In one way it feels like I stole a session from someone who deserves it more than me. At the same time, I literally jumped around of joy when I read my e-mail. It’s difficult. I’m happy that I was selected, I’m happy for the other speakers who were selected, I’m especially happy for my friends who are speaking at the PASS Summit for the first time, but I’m also sad to hear about all my friends who weren’t selected. But next year! I’ll cross my fingers that it’s their turn next year :)
My sessions at PASS Summit 2016
I will present three sessions at PASS Summit 2016:
The Biml for Beginners session is one of my favorites, and I’m so happy I get to present it at PASS Summit! :D I’m happy I have 15 minutes extra compared to the usual 60-minute sessions at SQLSaturdays. It allows me to go a little more into detail on some of my demos, or spend more time on audience questions. This is going to be fun!
I’m also really excited about presenting a Professional Development session and a Lightning Talk version of it. Volunteering has truly changed my life. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for getting involved in the PASS and SQL Server community. I hope that I can pay it forward and inspire someone else to get involved – maybe an upcoming SQLSaturday organizer or speaker? :)
Every PASS Summit I’ve been to has been a new and unique experience. I can’t wait to see what PASS Summit 2016 is going to be like! I’m sure I will be freaking out about my sessions :D But I also know I will have lots of fun, and I can’t wait to see lots of friends from all over the world again. YAY!
Several speakers have shared their abstract feedback after the results were made public. Brent Ozar has added a list of these speakers to his own feedback post. I appreciate the transparency, I learn a lot from reading other people’s feedback, and I hope that it will help the community as a whole and improve the selection process next year – so I’m jumping on the bandwagon :)
There are only a few weeks left until PASS Summit 2015! Are you as excited as I am!? :D
Tips for PASS Summit First-Timers
First of all: Hi to you! :) PASS Summit is a fun, crazy and amazing event and I hope you get as much out of the week as you possibly can. It can all seem very overwhelming at first, especially if you’re new to the SQL Server community. But don’t worry! The SQL Server community is the best community in the world, and we’re happy to welcome you to the #SQLFamily.
Tip #1: Twitter
If you don’t already have a Twitter account, get one! It’s a great way to get the latest news about what’s happening, connect with attendees, and keep in touch with everyone when you get back home. Follow @sqlpass and use the hashtags #SQLPass, #Summit15 and #SQLFirstTimers to make sure everyone can see your tweets. I recommend using Tweetdeck to organize content into columns, for example a column just for the hashtags mentioned above. It makes it so much easier to use Twitter.
Tip #2: Say “hi!”
I know, I know, I know. People are scary. It can be terrifying to look up from your phone, step out of your comfort zone and approach someone you don’t know. Do it anyway! You will meet so many interesting people, and you will get so much more out of your PASS Summit experience. Maybe it will become a life-changing experience like it did for me and so many others? You won’t know unless you go for it :)
A tip is to look at people’s name badges and ribbons. It will tell you where they’re from, if they’re first-timers, if they’re speaking, if they’re chapter leaders and so on. If you get completely stuck and feel completely awkward and feel like running away, like I have on many occasions, just point at the name badge and read something on it with a question mark at the end. “Summit Volunteer…?” “BimlUser…?” “MVP…?” – and off you go! ;)
Here’s a short list of questions to get you started:
How was your trip to PASS Summit?
How is Seattle compared to where you’re from?
How did you get started working with SQL Server?
What did you think of the keynote / session / luncheon?
Which sessions are you planning to attend?
Which session has been your favorite so far?
You’re a first-timer as well! What has been your favorite part of PASS Summit?
And so on. I’m sure you can add a hundred more to the list! :)
Tip #3: Attend the evening events and don’t eat alone
I know, I’m really pushing this whole “network and be social” thing, aren’t I? :) We all need some quiet time, but try to join someone for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are always someone who are too shy to sit down at a table and introduce themselves, why don’t you join them instead? The Women In Technology and Birds of a Feather luncheons are great events where you can learn and eat at the same time. Finally, attend the Welcome Reception, Exhibitor Reception and Community Appreciation Party where there’s more food, drinks and lots of people having fun. If you’re not done for the night, there are plenty of after hour events organized by and for the community. Have you heard of #SQLKaraoke? It’s a thing. You must experience it once during PASS Summit ;)
There are comfortable bean bags, power outlets and always something going on. You’ll usually find a bunch of people who are active in the community running user groups, SQLSaturdays and virtual chapters. This is the best place to hear how you can keep learning when you get back from PASS Summit. Also, did I mention fun? This year there will be a TeaSQL event for tea lovers, you might spot some crazy costumes and kilts, or you can try juggling said bean bags :)
See you in Seattle!
Enjoy your week, make new friends and learn lots of cool new things. I hope you have a fantastic time in Seattle, and I hope to talk to you there! Please come and say hi if you see me, and I hope to read your tweets :) See you soon!
If you attended PASS Summit 2014, you probably noticed the Rainbow Unicorn Hoodie, the Fluffy Rainbow Leggings, the Rainbow Wings and the I ♥ Unicorns ribbons. It was the result of Argenis Without Borders and the SQL Server community raising over $13000 (!) for Doctors Without Borders.
And they’re doing it again with Argenis Without Borders 2.0! Please help support a good cause and let’s have some fun while doing it :)
PASS Summit 2015 is close to Halloween, so this year it’s all about Costumey-Crazy Hat-Crazy Fun. #SQLFamily raised over $1000 and reached the first goal in just 1 hour (!) and we all look forward to seeing Argenis in a Ted costume :D
The next goal is $5000. A whole bunch of people from the SQL Server community, myself included, will dress up in costumes and/or hats during PASS Summit when we reach this goal. At $10000, one lucky donor will win a PS4 or Xbox One. (Hey, even if you don’t care about supporting a good cause, donate anyway for the chance to win a really cool prize!) And there are more fun things to look forward to if we do better than last year. Can I tempt you with some embarrassing dancing to beautiful trombone music?
This is such a fun and silly event that it can be easy to forget what it is all about. We can help save lives. Imagine what Doctors Without Borders could do if each of the 5000 PASS Summit attendees donated just $5? What if we decide to skip a drink during PASS Summit and raise the amount to $10? So little, yet so much.