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Professional Growth – Community Involvement

As part of my professional development and to help raise my professional profile, I have become more involved with my local user group (OPASS) and with SQLSaturday #21 – Orlando.  With OPASS I have taken on the task of trying to find speakers.  This can be a bit of a daunting task as I am relatively new to the Orlando area (2 years) and have really just begun meeting the technical community in the last year or so, which means my personal network is limited.  I have found social networking, particularly Twitter, to be helpful in this area. In reality becoming involved in this task is forcing me to be more aggressive in networking, as I believe networking is not just meeting people, but also keeping in touch with them so that they can help you and you can help them.  I have been able to schedule speakers for the last OPASS meeting and the next OPASS meeting, now I just need to get someone for our November meeting.  Anyone interested?

With SQLSaturday I have been tasked with selecting and scheduling sessions.  At this writing we have had 45 sessions submitted by about 25 people.  Part of the SQLSaturday goal is to give local people a place beyond user groups to share their knowledge, so in most cases every person who submits a session will be selected, but it is still a lot of work as I have to check for similar sessions so we have a variety, group sessions into tracks, and, in some cases, deal with speaker scheduling issues.  I also need to contact speakers from past years, if they have not submitted, to make sure they know we are interested in having them back and because, to be honest, the more sessions we have submitted the more attendees we are likely to have as there is a greater variety in the sessions.  As I’ve worked through the process, I’ve definitely gained a greater appreciation for the job done by the PASS program committee as they have many more submissions than sessions available, while I basically just have to schedule the sessions submitted.

If you are interested in speaking at SQLSaturday #21 – Orlando you need to get you abstract(s) in by August 30th.  Here’s the link, http://www.sqlsaturday.com/callforspeakers.aspx

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