And the results are in…

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.

Sincerely,
Adam Belebczuk
Chapter Leader and President
Ohio North SQL Server User Group

PASS Summit 2014 Recap

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Just moments ago, the PASS Summit 2014 wrapped up, and will be forever in the history books. When I got back to my hotel room, I started thinking about the event, the awesome people that I met for the first time, the old friends that I was able to reconnect with, the completely mind-blowing experience of being a first time speaker at the Summit, and everything else that has gone on over just one short week. I quickly realized that I wanted to take a moment to blog about it and share some of my experiences, but to also act as a journal of sorts. Below are just some of the awesome things that I’ve done, or that have happened to me this week:

  • I finally got to meet Paul Randal, Kimberly Tripp, and Jonathan Kehayias of SQL Skills and I was able to attend Paul’s pre-conference session on Performance Tuning Using Waits and Latches. As expected, the pre-conference session was awesome, as were Paul, Kimberly, and Jonathan.
  • I was able to network with other people from the Cleveland area, as well as from around the world, and I was even able to recruit at least one person to apply for a job at my company.
  • I was able to attend volunteer meetings and the SQL Saturday Roundtable meeting for the first time and to get some insight into PASS as an organization and how other community members approach their events. In addition, I was able to hear from several sponsors about how the community can better engage them.
  • I volunteered as a Summit Ambassador for the first time and was able to assist attendees with finding their way around the conference center.
  • I was interviewed by PASS TV to speak about local events and was able to give a shout-out to both the upcoming Cleveland SQL Saturday and Columbus SQL Saturday.
  • I presented my Introduction to AlwaysOn Availability Groups session to one of the largest audiences that I’ve ever presented to in-person (it was also video recorded), and even had a Microsoft employee attend my session and offer some insight into where AlwaysOn Availability Groups are heading in future versions of SQL Server. I was also paid a visit by the Demo Gremlins when my demo laptop decided to reboot while I was presenting the first half of my session. Fortunately, I was able to recover from the issue on the fly and still presented a successful, working demo of an Availability Groups (it just had 2 replicas instead of 3 😉 ). My audience was energetic, enthusiastic, and engaged, and I even had a swarm of attendees approach me after my session to say hi and to ask follow-up questions. As a speaker, I couldn’t be happier with how things worked out.
  • I was able to visit the Experience Music Project (EMP) museum for the second time for the PASS Community Appreciation Party, and it ROCKED!
  • I was also approached by Pluralsight to produce a training video about AlwaysOn Availability Groups, and by Apress to write a book about them as well. We’ll see how these opportunities pan out, but I’m cautiously optimistic about them at this point. *fingers crossed*

As you can see, it’s been a busy, exciting, fun, and exhausting week for me. I’m still blown away by the fact that I was selected to speak and that I was approached by Pluralsight and Apress, and it’s all thanks to PASS and to amazing friends and mentors like Allen White, Erin Stellato, and Brian Davis who got me started as a speaker and helped me grow over these past several year. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: this community has an amazing ability to change peoples’ lives and to help them grow by bring them together for a common cause. It’s been a wild ride, and the best part of it is that it’s only just the beginning.