This month TSQL Tuesday topic – ‘TSQL Tuesday #96: Folks Who Have Made a Difference‘ hosted by Ewald Cress is an interesting one and comes at a good time – right before Thanksgiving. It is a great opportunity to recognize folks in #sqlfamily who have made positive contributions in your life and help you move forward. I expect to read lot of nice posts today and I thought it is a great chance to thank my heroes as well.
I moved to Birmingham, Alabama almost 3 years back and joined EBSCO Industries as a Senior Developer – one of the best decisions I have made in my career so far! I got to interact and work with with lot of knowledgeable folks. Few of my colleagues – Blake Helms and Rob Schiefer inspired me to start writing blogs – and I created dotnetvibes.com in January 2016. Thanks to them for the the continuous encouragement and pushing me into the world of blogging – I must say I have loved every bit of it till now!
During that same time, I got to know about a local SQL Server User Group being run by one of my colleagues – John Baldwin and started attending the monthly meetings. I was a mere attendee for a year until John asked me to consider presenting during a User Group Meeting. He provided me with multiple ideas on topics I could speak on and kept following up with me on the progress, and I finally decided to dedicate time to come up with a presentation. I had my own blog site and it was during the first quarter of 2016 when SQL Server 2016 was not yet released. I downloaded the CTP and started playing around with the new features and simultaneously blogging about it. It took my almost 2 months to go through the capabilities of SQL Server 2016 in depth. At that point, I created my presentation slide and planned to present for the first time on May 17th, 2016 to the Steel City User Group. I had a great time presenting and absolutely loved the experience. I decided to start speaking in other conferences and did not look back since then.
John kept motivating me and asked me to take some additional responsibilities in the User Group. I decided to step up and help with organizing the monthly meetings, getting sponsorship for user group, arranging food, updating our Meetup site and more. During this entire process, I got complete support from him and he was always there to mentor me and answer my questions any time of the day. At work, we had our cubicles just beside each other – so that helped too. Talking about work and also planning for the user group stuff side by side. It was during this time we decided to host the SQL Saturday 2017 in Birmingham, since we did not have it in 2015 and 2016. The event was a super hit and was the biggest tech event we hosted in Birmingham for the entire year. Few months later he moved ahead for another work opportunity but has been always a tweet away!
From being a mere user group member to a Speaker to be the Co-Chapter Lead of Steel City User Group and a SQL Saturday Organizer – I had a dream run over the past 2 years. I would like to take this opportunity to thank John Baldwin for all his support and guidance. He is an absolute rock star. I look forward working with him, keep learning and contributing to the community.
To wrap up this post, I must say I was lucky enough to get John and with a bit of motivation & drive, I was able to discover my passion. Well it’s time for you now to go search for another ‘John’ out there somewhere in the #sqlfamily and take a step forward in your journey. Cheers and All the Best!