My #SQLFamily Story

Microsoft is donating $50 to the Pragmatic Works Foundation for the first 400 #SQLFamily stories submitted by 12/31/2011.  So, here goes:

I’d been attending user groups, reading blogs, and basically lurking in the background of the SQL Community for quite a while.  When I lived in St. Louis, Missouri, I told myself “when I relocate to the East Coast I’ll jump into the community.”  My logic, flawed as it was, was that I’d need to start doing the dreaded “networking” thing – something that comes naturally to very few of us – and a fresh start would make that easier.

Fast forward to mid 2010, not long after I had relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina (an adventure for my husband & I had planned for many years).  As a consultant with Mariner, I received an e-mail from Wayne Snyder (MSBICentral | LinkedIn) titled “What you can do to better your career!”  In it, Wayne discussed some things we could do to be more visible as a leader within the SQL and BI Community, such as writing and presenting.

More than being just a cheerleader, Wayne’s e-mail said:  I will help you.  Let me repeat that:  Wayne offered to help with advice, discussions, review of materials, mentorship, making connections in the industry, etc.

And help he did.  For the next few months, 5 of us met every other Friday for lunch to discuss our progress.  We learned a lot, and we gave each other confidence to just do it.

In the last 16 months:

  • Blog.  My SQLChick blog currently has about 3,000 unique visitors a month.  For a little fish in the pond like me, I’m pleased with the growth & the feedback that it’s useful to others.
  • Presentations.  I’ve spoken at 3 SQL Saturdays, a Code Camp, a SharePoint User Group, and 2 SQL User Groups.
  • Articles.  I’ve authored two articles.

The biggest thing that was impressed upon me was that I don’t have to wait until that “magic” point in the future when I think “Okay, now I know enough – I can start blogging & speaking without anyone thinking I’m a fraud.”  Don’t get me wrong, those thoughts creep in, but having a group of supporters being led by Wayne sure helped me overcome the fear of just getting started.

So, a huge thanks to Wayne for believing in me – and everyone else who has encouraged me along the way.  I will pay the favor back to someone in the #SQLFamily one day.