Julie Yack

Location:  Colorado (mountain time)
Expertise:  Dynamics 365, Project Management, Requirements Gathering, User Groups, Social Selling

Find me:  Twitter  Email  LinkedIn

In 5th grade, we had to do a science project.  Part of the project was to present it to the class.  I left school “sick” every day for a week to avoid giving that presentation.  Like most things, the delivery was a piece of cake; certainly not worth the stress I gave it.

I have now spoken at many events, sometimes an audience of 10, sometimes several hundred, sometimes thousands.  And there was that one time I was speaking with the President on C-SPAN.  I make a trek every year to speak to Congress.  I truly enjoy sharing what I have learned and helping others find a better version of themselves.

John Morehouse

  • Location: Kentucky (UTC -5)
  • Expertise: SQL Server and DevOps (well, I like to think so).
  • Contact: Twitter | LinkedIn

I’m a SQL Server DBA living in Kentucky.  I started off as an accidental DBA as most of us do.  Started working with SQL Server full time in 2007.  Anywho, several years ago I recognized that to grow career wise within the field, speaking would really help.

So I signed up to co-present with a lead developer on 10 Things Your DBA Wished You Knew at the Heartland Developers Conference (HDC) in Omaha, Nebraska.

Fast forward a couple of months and it was time.  My first ever public speaking session was give to 130 people.  To 130 really smart people.  To 130 Developer oriented people who probably didn’t like their DBA to begin with.  Yikes!!  Talk about nerve wrecking.

But I got through it.   I didn’t die.  I didn’t faint.

Actually, I loved it.   I had people asking me questions for over an hour after the presentation.  I was hooked and never looked back.

Public speaking is hard no question about it.   However, even with how hard it may seem, YOU have a story to tell so let’s tell it.  Like me, you’ll make it through just fine.

You can reach me via LinkedIn or Twitter

John Deardurff

John Deardurff Tech Summit
  • Location: United States – Indiana East
  • Expertise: Microsoft Certifications, SQL Server, Exchange Server,  and Active Directory
  • Contact: Twitter | LinkedIn | Blog

John has been a Microsoft Certified Trainer since July 2000 and has worked for New Horizons in Indianapolis since August 2002. He specializes in teaching SQL Server, Exchange Server, and Windows Server courses. He has also been a guest speaker at over two dozen SQL Saturday events and Microsoft Conferences.

My first experience teaching professionally was in the spring of 2000 when I was working at a Network Consulting and Learning Center in southern Indiana. I had been hired primarily to be a Windows consultant setting up small to medium networks. I am normally an introverted person and never had any desire to teach. About three months into the position, one of the applications instructors became sick and my boss walked into my office and said, “John, you are teaching Outlook tomorrow, here is the book.” It was trial by fire and I did not sleep at all that night.

But I nailed it the first time, not a single issue happened and I have been an awesome trainer ever since… Obviously, that is not completely true. Although the students loved the class, I was miserable, nervous, sweating, and in constant fear of being found out as an imposter. Traits that still happen to this day, well except the miserable part. That day truly changed my life, as I found that I had a passion for teaching and helping others achieve their goals. Since that time, I have probably taught over 10,000 people from all over the world. Just please don’t ask me to teach Outlook again.


Gavin Campbell

  • Location: UK (UTC+0)
  • Expertise: Data, Databases, Continuous Delivery, Azure, AWS
  • Contact: website

I’m a freelance database developer interested in applying the lessons of Continuous Delivery and Agile to database and PaaS application development.

I’ve been speaking at meetups and conferences off and on for several years, mostly in short bursts of manic activity with long gaps in between.  Some years ago, I did benefit from some semi-formal training in public speaking through the ASC.

I’ve also been an organiser and volunteer at a number of conferences and meetups, meaning that I have a good understanding of the logistical side of public speaking.

Edwin M Sarmiento

  • Location: Canada (UTC -5)
  • Expertise: SQL Server high availability and disaster recovery, PowerShell, Microsoft data platform
  • Contact: Twitter | LinkedIn

What would someone fresh out of university with 17 (not one, not seven, but 17) failed courses and no chance of employment do? Hire himself.

When you have to sell yourself to get contract work, you learn a thing or two about delivering presentations. You have to learn how to be a great storyteller and engage your audience. But that’s not easy when you’re an introvert.

Speaking in front of a crowd is also not easy for an introvert. But the only way to be really good at public speaking is to get yourself out there and – speak.

I have been speaking at conferences and events since 2002. I’m a Microsoft MVP award recipient since 2006 and a Microsoft Certified Master in SQL Server. I specialize in high availability and disaster recovery solutions. I also spend time automating boring, repetitive tasks using PowerShell.

When I’m not working with databases, I’m on my other keyboard – a music workstation –  playing jazz piano or creating EDM tracks. To overcome my fear of public speaking, I have learned the art of telling engaging stories.


David Neal

  • Location: Eastern US (UTC -5)
  • Expertise: JavaScript, Node.js, Electron.js
  • Contact: Twitter | LinkedIn

In 2011, I finally got up the courage to give my first talk at a local meet-up. I was terrible. But, a funny thing happened. People thanked me for presenting, and said I did a good job. With some encouragement and help along the way, I kept on doing it until I wasn’t so terrible!

Today, I’ve given talks at conferences and events all over the USA, as well as the UK, Norway, Uruguay, and Australia. I’ve even had opportunities to deliver keynotes!

There is so much I’ve learned about public speaking that I would be glad to share with you. These are skills and strategies I believe anyone can learn. If I can do this, a 100% introverted and socially-awkward geek, I know you can, too!

Here are few things I’ve done that I hope will inspire you to take that leap of faith!

Please reach out to me on Twitter or LinkedIn! I would love to connect with you, encourage you, and help you get started on this incredible journey!

Chris Gardner

  • Location: Huntsville, AL (UTC -6)
  • Expertise: .NET, Career Development
  • Contact: Twitter | Email

I started programming on a old TRS-80 back in the early 80’s.  I’ve always been amazed by how I could make this curious little machine do what I told it to do. 30+ years later, I’m still amazed by these little machines.

Programming wasn’t my only passion. In the 90’s and 00’s, I attempted to get involved with the music industry. I played in lots of bands, did some work for radio, and worked in several clubs. All that time gave me a huge set of people skills.

As I began to abandon my entertainment aspirations and take my development career seriously, I started to miss those connections to the people. It was around that time that I discovered technical conferences. Shortly after, I took the plunge and presented at my first conference.

Standing in front of your peers and sharing your story is not easy. However, if you have a passion for something, people will respond. When they do, it can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.

You’ll get there. The other mentors and I are here to help.


Cathrine Wilhelmsen

Cathrine Wilhelmsen
  • Location: Norway (UTC+1)
  • Expertise: Data Warehousing, ETL, SSIS, and Biml. Abstract writing, slide design, PowerPoint, and presentation tools.
  • Contact: cathrinewilhelmsen.net | @cathrinew | LinkedIn

Hi! I’m Cathrine. I love teaching and sharing knowledge 🙂

My work is focused on Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence projects, and I specialize in ETL, SSIS and Biml development. Outside of work I’m active in the SQL Server and PASS communities as a Microsoft Data Platform MVP, BimlHero Certified Expert, author, speaker, blogger, organizer and chronic volunteer.

I started speaking in 2014 and have since experienced everything from the adrenaline kick of walking off stage after delivering a mostly flawless presentation, to the disappointment of not having anyone show up at all.

You can read more about some of my experiences in my blog posts:
Dealing with Disappointment and Learning from Failures
3 Mistakes I Made While Presenting Remotely
Presenting a webinar for the first time
Help! My computer is dead and I’m supposed to do a demo-based presentation!

I received a lot of help and support when I first started speaking, and I am doing my best every day to give back and pay it forward. Speaking can be terrifying. Things can, and will, go wrong. You will have ups and downs, amazing days and horrible days. But the experience you gain, the people you help, and the friends you make along the way is worth it all!

Everyone has their own unique story, and everyone has experiences and knowledge that can help others. I’m here if you want someone to help you with abstracts, slide decks, or demos. I’m here if you need someone to listen to your rehearsals and give you feedback on flow, content, language and body language. I’m here to support you and cheer for you, whether remote or in-person when you need some external courage.

You can do this! 🙂

Angela Henry

  • Location:  High Point, NC (UTC +5)
  • Expertise:  SQL Server BI Stack (SSIS, SSRS, SSAS), DBA topics
  • Contact:  Twitter | LinkedIn

I am a DBA/BI Developer, living in High Point, NC and love what I do. I’ve been working with SQL Server for 20+ years.  During that time I’ve worn all the hats that come with dealing with SQL Server: developer, administrator, data architect and BI developer.  I have my MSCE: Business Intelligence and was awarded Microsoft’s MVP – Data Platform in 2018 for my community contributions.   I have been a PASS Local Group leader since 2012.

When I first went to college, I wanted to be a teacher, until I realized I had a horrible fear of public speaking.  I quickly switched careers paths, but never lost my desire to teach.  Back in 2013, I was asked to give a talk at a local user group on SSIS by a very good friend because her speaker had cancelled at the last minute.  I couldn’t leave her hanging, so I threw something together really quickly and presented for the very first time.  Because I didn’t hyperventilate, I considered it to be a success.

Since then I have spoken at several Local Group meetings, a local tech conference, and numerous SQL Saturdays.  I have even given a virtual presentation.

I know how hard it is to speak in public.  I still get nervous, but I have developed ways to deal with that nervousness and would love to help others achieve their goal of public speaking.  If I can do it, so can you!

Andy Yun

Andy Yun presenting Everybody Has a Story To Tell

I have been working with SQL Server since about 2000/2001, but I did not discover the SQL Server Community for another 10 years.  I started attending events like SQL Saturday, and was in awe of the speakers who presented awesome sessions.  The thing is, I never thought I could ever be one of those people.  I’m not a walking encyclopedia, SQL Server guru… I’m just a regular guy… a DB developer.

But as time went on, I became friends with many regular speakers, and I discovered something important.  These experts, who I thought were far superior to me, were not that much different from me.  They just had the passion, energy, and courage to share their story.

And I learned that I have my own story to tell too.

I gave my first full presentation at SQL Saturday Madison 2014 (#287) and I have not looked back.  Since, I’ve presented all over at User Groups, SQL Saturdays, SQLBits, and PASS Summit.  And I’ve had an unbelievable amount of fun along the way, befriending many awesome people in the SQL Server community.

It’s been a fantastic journey and I want to help you start your own.