First of all, I’d like to take a moment to thank Allen White (b | t) for his dedication to and leadership of the Ohio North SQL Server User Group over the years, and for personally mentoring me and many others in the User Group, both as speakers and as IT Professionals. Simply put: If it weren’t for Allen, I wouldn’t have started speaking and wouldn’t have half the opportunities (and friendships\connections) that I have today. It’s because of this that Allen’s Open Letter to the Ohio North SQL Server User Group and his decision not to run for the office of Chapter Leader and President of the group is a bit bittersweet for me. While Allen will continue to attend and be involved in the User Group, and I’m sure he will continue to mentor many of us as well, I know I’m going to miss his smiling face, show tunes, and other antics as the face of our meetings and the leader of our group. I can certainly understand where he’s coming from though, and his need to take a step back from the group, as well as his various reasons for doing so (which he outlines quite nicely in his open letter).
With all of that said, I’m extremely proud, honored, and humbled to announce that I have been elected to be the next Chapter Leader and President of the Ohio North SQL Server User Group. Allen left some pretty big shoes to fill, and while I can’t replace him, I’ll certainly do my best to carry the group forward, to continue Allen’s work in mentoring and fostering new speakers and members of our community, and to look for new and creative ways to get others involved in our group and our events and to foster a real sense of ownership in our group. It’s these things specifically that make our User Group one of the best out there. I get asked all the time how we manage to have such an engaged team that follows-through on tasks and routinely puts on such outstanding events, and my reply is always the same: it’s the sense of ownership in the group and in the events and the mentorship and friendship that exists within the group that allow us to be so successful. We’ve got an amazing group of people with an awesome breadth and depth of skills and insights, and as Chapter Leader, I promise to keep fostering that, and to find ways to engage it to the best of my ability.
Finally, I’d just like to close with a brief listing of the things I’d like to work on this year and into the years that follow in an attempt to keep our group moving forward, growing, and evolving:
- Finalize\restart the process to get 501(c)(3) non-profit status for the group
- Help move the group bank account over to the non-profit organization, and not have it tied to any one person
- Continue Allen’s work to foster new local speakers
- Look at how we can adjust the meeting\agenda to better support this (lightning talks, multiple sessions, etc.)
- Have an open invitation to personally help new speakers with session\abstract reviews and ideas
- Hold board\officer meetings to review the current officer positions and their responsibilities and adjust them as needed
- Use my professional network to attract speakers from other areas to speak at our user group (please let me know if you’re interested; we’d love to have you)
- Work with the other officers to improve the user group website, communications, etc.
- Lead the SQL Saturday planning efforts, or work closely with someone else if they would like to lead the planning efforts
- Create additional roles within the group (like the Sponsorship Coordinator position that I held previously) to allow others to contribute to the user group, if desired
- Represent the user group at the PASS Summit, various SQL Saturday events, other user groups, etc. to exchange knowledge and ideas for running a successful User Group or SQL Saturday event
Thank you to everyone who voted for me tonight, and for letting me lead this awesome group of professionals. I’m looking forward to the year ahead and to some new and interesting challenges.
Chapter Leader and President
Ohio North SQL Server User Group