Summit 2013 in Charlotte, NC was my first and I remember it well. I went with 4 other people from my company but I was pretty new to the SQL PASS community (otherwise known as #sqlfamily). As a matter of fact I didn’t even know what #sqlfamily was at this point. I went to all of the PASS sponsored events like the welcome reception, the vendor party and yes the NASCAR party (which being a NASCAR fan was awesome). I went to all of the sessions and generally hung out with the other people from my company. I did get a taste of the after-life a bit, but for the most part I stayed in my comfort zone.
While I was watching and taking notes I noticed something. I noticed that so many of the attendees knew each other. There were hugs, smiles and a genuine feeling of community that I had never seen before. I quickly realized that PASS is so much more than sessions and technical content. PASS is about community. Connect, share and learn is a perfect motto for our organization, and although the technology is what brings us together, the people are what holds us together.
So after Summit 2013 I was inspired and I made it a point to get involved. I started blogging. I opened a twitter account and have made a ton of friends there. I started presenting at local chapter meetings and SQL Saturdays. I got involved with dbatools.io project because of my love of PowerShell. I got involved with #sqlfamily! What a great career choice it has been! Being involved with PASS has helped me grow professionally.
Fast forward to Summit 2016. Once again I went with a couple other people from my company. I still went to the sessions and enjoyed them as much as I did last time. I talked with vendors about some challenges we are facing. I still went to the PASS reception event. But being involved in PASS has changed everything. Wow, what a different experience! I went to a lot of after hours events and enjoyed networking; sharing experiences and challenges with other SQL Server professionals. Everywhere I went I saw people I knew; from Twitter, from Slack, from SQL Saturday, from my local chapter, etc, etc, etc. I had so much fun putting a real face to an avatar, and meeting everyone in person. I look forward to meeting you all again.
Due to the size of my company (8 SQL DBAs) I don’t think I’ll be going back to Summit for a couple years, but I’m already looking forward to it. I have a lot of momentum coming out of Summit and I don’t plan to let up. Connect, share and learn. It’s what makes PASS such an amazing community and I’m happy to be a part of it!