When I started with the SQL Community I was first encourage to start blogging which I started in Sept of 2010. While at the PASS Summit in 2010 I was encourage to submit to speak at a SQL Saturday. I submitted my first ever session for SQL Saturday #62 and got selected to speak. This event was held on Jan 15th 2011. Thank you to Jose Chinchilla for encouraging me to submit. (He didn’t really give me a choice)
It has been an incredible journey since then with speaking at events in numerous states within the US and multiple countries. My most recent out of the country trip was to Costa Rica to speak at SQL Saturday 282. I am very fortunate to have a good friend who lives there who encouraged me to come visit. I met Kenneth a couple of years prior at a SQL Skills class in Tampa Florida. A nice thing that SQL Skills does is one night during each week of training they have a “free for all” where the attendees can get up and present a short talk. I took advantage of this and gave a trimmed down version of my session “Getting Involved and Getting Ahead” where I share my journey with volunteering in the SQL Community.
Little did I know that giving this talk would have such a profound impact on someone in the audience. This is where I met my now good friend Kenneth Urena. After my talk Kenneth approached me with lots of questions on how to do this himself. I shared everything I knew. I talked about local PASS Chapters, virtual chapters, SQL Saturdays, etc. We connected with each other on social media so we could stay in touch and we have.
While at Summit this past year in Charlotte NC we made a deal, if I come to Costa Rica and present a session that Kenneth would come to Atlanta and present. We both held up our end of the agreement however what I did not realize is that it would be the first time my friend presented a technical session in English. I did not realize this until an hour before his session. Kenneth sent me a text to come help him review his slides during lunch (his session was right after lunch). When I arrived he was very nervous but we went through his material and he was awesome. His language was excellent, his slides were great and he knew the material very well. My only advice was to take things slow, not to rush and speak clearly. I hope this helped to calm his nerves because when he got to his room it was packed.
You should read Kenneth’s account of how he came to start speaking and how his session went in Atlanta. The interaction with the room monitor is worth reading the post. http://sqlcr.com/content/my-first-sql-saturday-english-speaker-few-years-journey
Kenneth, thank you for giving back to the SQL Community and helping to extend the #SQLFamily to Latin America. You all are awesome. I had the best time in Costa Rica and can’t wait to come back.