This weekend I attended my 5th SQL Saturday, SQL Saturday #91 in Omaha. Every SQL Saturday I have attended has been fantastic, but each is unique in its own way. If I had to come up with one word to describe this particular SQL Saturday, then I would say “smooth.”
SQL Saturday #91 was held at University of Nebraska at Omaha in a very new, state-of-the-art building. The session rooms were all in the same area, so it was easy to find the sessions. There was a lot of room for the vendors as well as lots of room for networking. It was definitely a great location for a great SQL Saturday.
Most SQL Saturdays have a great mix of local speakers and members of the greater SQL Server community. This one was no different with out of town speakers like Kevin Kline, Brad McGehee, Randy Knight, Bill Fellows, Tim Plas and Kevin Boles. Bill Fellows, in PASS fashion, wore a kilt. A couple of the top Omaha speakers were MVP Phil Brammer and Microsoft’s Sudhir Gajre.
Since I have not been part of organizing a SQL Saturday, I can only imagine the amount of work involved. Somehow, John Morehouse and crew made this one look easy. As John chatted with a few of us in the open area while the first sessions were taking place, I mentioned that this is the first time I have seen the main organizer of a SQL Saturday be able to sit in one place and enjoy the event. I am sure that hundreds of hours went into planning the event, and it showed.
I ended up being the only female speaker, so I asked Sudhir and John to help recruit a WIT panel from among the community. They recruited Betty Avula, Jeanne Paschang and Nuzhat Mahmood. Just like every SQL Saturday is unique, every WIT session is unique as well. One thing that was common to all three was that their career path was not straight and they did not end up where they expected.
An interesting theme was how much to expect from kids. Many cultures expect children to succeed in every subject while in the US, we expect kids to be good at, well, what they are good at. Does putting lots of pressure on kids to succeed help them for the future or just make them afraid to take risks?
My favorite story came from Nuzhat. She told the story of taking a programming class with her now ex-husband. She spent a lot of time on the programming assignments, but he blew off the class. She decided to rewrite the program for him after she was done. Since this was her second stab at the assignment, she was able to write a better program. When the grades came back, her husband received an A+ while she received a B and a stern warning about doing her own work. The instructor could tell that the same person had written both programs but assumed that the husband had done the work.
Overall, it was a fantastic day, and I am looking forward to the next SQL Saturday in Omaha.