On the fourth Wednesday of each month, the Women in Technology Virtual Chapter of PASS has its monthly conference call to discuss and plan upcoming WIT activities, be it SQL Saturday WIT panels or the WIT luncheon at the annual PASS Summit. To help promote women in technology, I’m declaring the fourth Wednesday of each month “WIT Wednesday” here at the Cleveland DBA.
WIT Spotlight: Meredith Ryan
I think it’s only fitting to kick off this series with the current chair of the PASS WIT chapter, Meredith Ryan (b | t). Meredith is a Senior DBA at Bell Group in Albuquerque, NM. And in case you hadn’t already heard, she’s this year’s Exceptional DBA.
Tell us a little about your road to SQL Server.
I started out at the Help Desk and within 6 months was administrating systems. In fact, one of my first systems was the VMS cluster that ran our primary business systems. In 2002 we migrated from that VMS system to what was then Great Plains, now Dynamics GP. GP runs on SQL Server and our DBA needed a backup person. I stepped up to be his jr DBA, and when he left I took over as the primary DBA. I’ve been in that position since 2006.
You’ve been working for the same company for more than 13 years. With so many IT people “job-hopping”, what can you recommend about sticking with an organization?
Wow! This is a tough question. What I can tell you is that I like stability (no big surprise here – I am a production DBA after all) and I was fortunate enough back in 1998 to land a job with a very stable company that offers me a culture I thrive in, a decent salary, the opportunity to grow both professionally and personally, flexibility when I need it, and a decent salary for the work I do. If I felt that any one of those things were missing I would most likely be looking for my next opportunity.
I think it’s a very personal thing to decide to job hop, or to stay in one place, and I think it all comes down to what is important to you in your professional life. Each of us needs to make that list of what things we value in our jobs, and how our current employer stands up against that list. If it’s not a good fit you should try to change that – either by addressing the concern or finding a new opportunity. I am fortunate enough to have a great employer that is able to fill each of my needs pretty well.
What’s been your biggest challenge as chairperson of the WIT VC?
Not really my biggest challenge, but my biggest fear with taking over as chair of the WIT VC is that I wouldn’t be able to fill the shoes left for me by Denise McInerney. Denise built a great chapter that puts on a great luncheon at Summit every year. When I took over the chair position from her we had great momentum building around SQL Saturday events and we were tossing around the idea of hosting webinars on a periodic basis. I was very worried that the change in leadership would have a negative impact on the work the chapter did.
Fortunately, we’ve not lost any momentum around SQL Saturdays, and have had WIT sessions at most of the events held in the US. We’ve not gotten our webinars off the ground yet, but I’m certain we will find the right volunteer to drive that effort when the time is right.
The topic of this year’s WIT luncheon is “Where have we been and where are we going?” Where would you like to see the WIT VC go in the next 1-3 years?
I would like to see the WIT VC holding periodic webinars either on our own, or in concert with some of the other VC’s, and I would like to see our process for reaching out to SQL Saturday planners more formalized. That process is very informal right now, and as a result we don’t get much feedback on the sessions we do have. It’s hard to continue improving without that feedback cycle.
The perfect Saturday morning?
It depends! It really does. If the weather is nice my perfect Saturday morning includes a cup of coffee and a good book on my back porch. If it’s not such a nice day I’m thrilled to have that same cup of coffee in front of Saturday morning cartoons with my kiddo.
Must-see WIT TV
This month’s featured video is a TED talk by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer since 2008, discussing why we have too few women in leadership roles.
Interested in supporting women in technology?
- Go to the WIT website and check out all the resources, blogs and coming events
- Follow @PASS_WIT and #passwit on twitter
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the WIT mailing list; you’ll also receive invitations to the monthly call
- Participate in the monthly call
- Attend WIT panels at SQLSaturday events
- Attend the WIT luncheon at the PASS Summit