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.

Andy Leonard

Andy presenting
  • Location: US (UTC -5)
  • Expertise: Data Integration, SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS), Business Intelligence Markup Language (Biml), Leadership, Management
  • Contact: Twitter | LinkedIn

Andy avatar

I started working (well, playing) with computers in 1975 at age 11. I learned Motorola machine language and then BASIC. I was trained in electronics (and missile guidance systems maintenance) by the US Army and have an Associate’s Degree in Electronics Engineering Technology.

I first delivered training for the Army National Guard Professional Education Center in 1986. During the 1990’s, I was an instructor at ECPI – a technical college in Richmond Virginia (US) where I taught mostly electronics.

Although I had been programming (as a hobby) with BASIC and Visual Basic for a couple decades, I did not begin working with databases until the mid-1990’s. I started with Microsoft Access and quickly moved to Microsoft SQL Server.

Facilitating

In the mid-2000’s I began delivering presentations and writing professionally. I’ve delivered presentations to public and private audiences, both free and paid engagements.

Learning is a passion. I enjoy learning immensely and compare the thrill of learning to the euphoria experienced during my (brief) running days (I trained for and completed a half-marathon at age 50). I love sharing what I learn. I want others to share the euphoric experience. Hence, I’ve written books, blog regularly, and present whenever I can.

I founded Enterprise Data & Analytics and serve as Chief Data Engineer. I built and maintain the Data Integration Lifecycle Management Suite (DILM Suite) – a collection of tools that facilitate DevOps with SSIS. I am honored to be a Friend of Redgate. I was a Microsoft MVP 2007-2012.

I do not know how many presentations I’ve delivered – my best guess is “hundreds.” Like Alex, I share a passion for our community. I am not self-taught, I am community-taught. Although I am still learning to present, I am happy to share what I’ve learned with anyone wishing to listen.

It is always an honor to present.

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Andrew Pruski

  • Location: Ireland (UTC +0)
  • Expertise: SQL Server and Docker.
  • Contact: Twitter | LinkedIn

I’m a SQL Server DBA originally from Swansea, Wales but am now based in Dublin, Ireland.

After three years of blogging at dbafromthecold.com I finally gave my first technical presentation at SQL Saturday Iceland 2017.

Since then I have spoken at various events across Europe about running SQL Server in containers and have become a Microsoft Data Platform MVP.

Being completely terrified of public speaking, I know how hard it is to give your first presentation and am happy to offer any advice or support.

You can reach me via LinkedIn or Twitter

Meagan Longoria

  • Location: Denver, CO, USA (UTC-7)
  • Expertise: Business intelligence/analytics and data viz on the Microsoft Data Platform, distilling complex concepts into useful nuggets of information
  • Contact: Twitter|LinkedIn

When I graduated from college (undergrad), I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I landed a job with a large healthcare IT company where new college graduates were hired, trained, and then placed in various parts of the business. I ended up in the financial reporting group, providing analytics and reporting to company executives and the finance department. That was where I learned that I love working with data and teaching people how to access their data and make sense of it.

In 2012, I attended the SQL Rally Dallas conference and met Bill Graziano, another data professional who lived in Kansas City (where I lived at the time). As we were chatting, I told him I wanted to get more involved with the local SQL community. Bill told me I was welcome to help organize the next Kansas City SQL Saturday, so I joined the planning committee. SQL Saturday has an open call for speakers. I watched as the deadline to submit approached, and I noticed that the submitted abstracts were all focused on DBA and data integration topics. On the last evening that the call for speakers was open, I decided to submit a talk on data visualization in Reporting Services (SSRS). In August of 2012, I gave my SSRS talk. I was nervous, but I very much enjoyed the experience. A supportive community member sat in my session and gave me a few tips and encouragement afterward, and that started the beginning of my addiction to speaking.

From there, I began traveling to speak at other SQL Saturdays and conferences, speaking at several dozen conferences and user groups over the subsequent years. At first, I was just excited to share my knowledge about topics that interested me. Once I got more comfortable, I enjoyed learning from my audience as well. I am continually inspired and enlightened by the other speakers I have met along the way. It takes courage to put yourself out there, but I believe the rewards are well worth it. I have made friends, gained job opportunities, visit new cities, and learned a lot about myself, speaking, and the Microsoft Data Platform. In 2016, I earned the Microsoft MVP award for my community contributions, including speaking at conferences.

You can find a list of my speaking engagements and some presentation materials on my website.

While I know there is always room for improvement in my speaking and presentation skills, I’ve racked up a bit of knowledge and experience over the years and would love to help someone else get started or improve.