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.

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

Getting ready for my first speaking event: SQL Saturday #117 Columbus, OH

I’m sitting in the Panera Bread in Grove City, OH eating lunch, reminiscing about the vacation I just wrapped up in the Hocking Hills, and getting ready for my debut as a technical speaker tomorrow at SQL Saturday #117 in Columbus. It has taken a lot of patience, perseverance, and hard work to get to this point, and I’ve had to make a few sacrifices as well (like updating this blog…sorry about that). The one thing that surprised me the most is the amount of time I’ve had to invest into getting ready for a single session. I knew that there is a lot of work that goes into making a technical presentation, but I had no idea how time consuming it would be. Building the slide deck was the quick and easy part. After that came building the VMs and getting them just right (and remembering to take snapshots at the right times), building the demo scenarios, scripting and testing the demos, and then the really time consuming part: practicing. Just like in development, it seems like I need to take my time estimates, double them, and then I might be close to almost being right. 😉

The other tough part in all of this has been juggling life, work, and prepping for my sessions. I’ve been working on two different sessions and will be presenting each of those sessions twice in a one week period (split between three different speaking engagements: SQL Saturday #117 in Columbus, the Ohio North SQL Server User Group meeting next Tuesday in Cleveland, and SQL Saturday #121 in Philadelphia, PA that is a week from tomorrow). Having so much to do in such a short amount of time has been pretty tough to juggle and make sure that nothing slips through the cracks, but somehow I’ve managed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about any of this. In fact, I feel extremely honored to have been selected to speak at these events, and it’s a huge privilege to get to give back to the PASS community that has given me so much over the last year. However, I should have taken more care in submitting my abstracts, scheduling vacations, etc to give myself a little more time to prepare. I think my sessions will go fine, but it never hurts to have a little more time to practice and prepare.

Anyway, I think it’s time to grab another cup of coffee, sit back, listen to some smooth jazz music, and relax a little before my next batch of craziness kicks in. Take care, and hopefully I’ll see you at a SQL Saturday, user group meeting, or at the PASS Summit this year. 🙂