I drove the over 250 miles from my home in Edwardsville, IL, to attend the SQL Server 87 in Louisville, KY. Even though I am not a fan of driving, the beautiful fall day with lots of colorful trees made the drive more of a pleasure than it might have been another time of the year.
I arrived in plenty of time to attend the speaker dinner and hang out with some of the speakers after the dinner. Even though I had just enjoyed spending time with my SQL friends at the PASS Summit, it was wonderful getting to see a few of them once again in Louisville.
Every SQL Saturday is unique. This particular one struck me as being a very warm, friendly event with a sense of humor. Many of the attendees, volunteers and speakers were in costume and there were also a few kilts. Like many other SQL Saturdays, this event had no shortage of MVPs, including Tim Ford, Tom LaRock, Allen White, Rodney Landrum, William Pearson III, Kevin Boles, Kevin Kline, Karen Lopez, and John Magnabosco. I hope I am not missing anyone here, but you get the idea: This was a star-studded line up.
Once again, I organized a Women in Technology Panel at lunch. Continuing the theme from the Summit by including a man on the panel, we made a last minute substitute adding Kevin Kline in the place of Karla Landrum. Karla was in attendance, in her Wonder Woman costume, but stepped aside to let Kevin join. We had almost an almost 50/50 split in the room, and I think that always makes for the best discussion.
I was the moderator, and the panel consisted of Sarah Barela, Karen Lopez, and, of course, Kevin Kline. Our topic was “Encouraging the Next Generation,” and the panel made some fantastic points. Karen brought her Techno-Barbie and explained how her Barbies are conversation starters, but even Computer Engineer Barbie lives an isolated life in a cube. Television shows are starting to show better technical female characters, but there is a long way to go.
Much of the discussion focused on what makes women interested in technology. Sara mentioned that many women want to work on something that very visibly makes a difference, that helps people, or even changes the world. Women seem to be more interested in database administration than jobs like SAN administrator. All of these careers are important to the business, but it is much easier to see how the DBA job directly affects others.
Young women are usually very social. How can we get middle or high school girls interested in science and technology when they are often the only girl in the class? Kevin mentioned a blog he recently wrote about how many successful women in IT were not as social as kids and considered themselves unique. I can relate to that as did the other panel members.
Overall, it was a fantastic panel and a fantastic day. Mal did a great job, and I look forward to attending the next Louisville SQL Saturday.
Here are some resources for kids programming: