Thanks Daytona Beach SQL Server User Group!

The brand new PASS SQL Server User Group in Daytona Beach let me present at their very first meeting July 13th.  Thanks to Brook Ranne and Jim McAleer for inviting me.  I debuted a presentation on the changes forthcoming in SSIS with Denali.  The slides are available here.   If you are in the Daytona Beach area please check this group out!

I also just wanted to share some exciting news for me.  I submitted three sessions for this year’s PASS Summit.  When the schedule came out, none of them made the final selection.  However, this week I found out there still might be hope.  PASS has put together a Community Choice Ballot of 20 sessions for you the community to vote on, and one of mine (SQL Smackdown with Aaron Nelson) made the ballot!  There are five available slots we are competing for.  As I always say, I would love your vote, but regardless of whom you vote for, you should let your choice be known, as there are amazing sessions on the ballot!  Voting ends July 20th, so hurry! And thank you readers for your support this year, without you I’m sure I wouldn’t be on the ballot at all.

Check out the Community Choice Ballot here.

A Call to Arms: Ladies, I’m Looking at You!

I’m helping to organize SQL Saturday #89 in Atlanta. This morning, I looked to see where we were with speakers and submissions. Running through the list, I saw we had 32 speakers. Awesome. Scrolled through again. We had three women. Not awesome.

As of right now, we’re at 35 speakers and 3 of them are women. That’s 8.6% for those keeping track at home. That’s less than 1 in 10 speakers. I just spoke at SQL Saturday #77 in Pensacola, and was the only female speaker. This is not good. This is not the trend I want to see. (By the way, thank you to Melissa Coates (Blog | Twitter), Jen Underwood (Blog | Twitter), and Sarah Barela (Blog | Twitter) for submitting!)

I have a very strong opinion about objectivity in our community. Pick me based on the value of my content, not based on my gender. I’ve said a few times, publicly, that if we just leave smart women to their own devices, gender diversity will work itself out. Wow… That’s just not happening.

What is happening? Was I wrong? Where are we missing the boat? Where are the smart women who are database professionals, and why aren’t they clamoring to submit sessions? You know what’s the worst? I tried to think of someone I could call and say, “Submit already”! I couldn’t think of anyone. That made me angry. Really angry. Ask Aaron Nelson (Blog | Twitter). Poor guy had to listen to me rant (a lot) today. On reflection, I’m mostly angry with myself. I don’t have anyone in mind? I haven’t thought through who I should be encouraging to submit an abstract? Shame on me.

So, I’m stepping off my standard-issue Gender Neutral Soapbox and putting out a call to arms. Ladies, (yes, you… I’m talking to you), submit a session to a SQL Saturday. Get involved! Put yourself out there. Is it scary? Yes. It’s also fun, exhilarating, and rewarding. The first time someone e-mails you to tell you that your presentation taught them something useful, you’ll be hooked. I promise.

Here’s my commitment to any woman who’s trying to decide if she wants to try her hand at presenting and is on the fence: I will be there for you. I’ll review content, help you practice, give you pep talks, whatever you need. There are too few of us out there. Get involved. Help prove me right – that we’re just as capable, just as passionate, and just as ambitious as the boys.

–Audrey

audreydhammonds@gmail.com