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.

 

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.

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.

Alexander Arvidsson

  • I work as a principal solutions architect in Sweden, focusing on SQL Server and the Microsoft data platform technologies. I love sharing knowledge and I love seeing the penny drop. I’m a Microsoft Data Platform MVP, a Microsoft Certified Trainer, an international speaker, blogger, podcaster and a Star Wars fan extraordinaire.

    I started working with SQL Server and Oracle back in 1997. But like many others, I didn’t find the SQL Server community for several years, but after attending my first PASS Summit in 2014 I realized I had found my home.

    I started attending SQL Saturdays, blogging and sending abstracts all over. I’ve been teaching and presenting since the turn of the millennium, but the SQL Server community was by far the kindest, most welcoming and exciting community I had ever seen.

    My first SQL Saturday session was in Gothenburg in 2016, and from there it has slowly started to take off. It’s a lot of work, but rewarding like nothing else.

    I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for all the amazing people in the community. I received a huge amount of help and encouragement when I joined the community, and I jump at any chance I get to give back.  We are all standing on the shoulders of those who came before us, and everyone can be a shoulder to someone.

    Speaking is wonderful, speaking is terrible, speaking is draining and speaking is exhilarating.

    I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Alex Yates

  • Location: UK (UTC +0)
  • Expertise: DevOps with relational databases (primarily SQL Server). The GDPR. Telling stories.
  • Contact: Twitter | LinkedIn

10 years ago I graduated with a drama degree in the middle of the financial crisis. After a few years pouring pints, looking after kids and being a ski bum I fluked a sales job at a software company.

In 2014 I started a blog and delivered my first technical talk at a user group. I was nervous about the talk because why would any dev or DBA want to listen to a sales guy like me? Also, demoing to a live audience terrified me. My fingers were shaking over the keyboard and the mouse and I had a lump in my throat.

It went pretty badly. The demo was ok but I mumbled a lot, spoke far too quickly and still overran by half an hour. However, over the following months I got some great advice about how to improve from some wonderful, generous people. I will forever be grateful to those folks who helped me without asking for anything in return.

Fast-forward a few years: In 2017 I delivered 43 sessions at 34 events in 10 countries about Database DevOps and the GDPR and was awarded a Microsoft MVP award.

I am now the director of DLM Consultants and a co-organiser of SQL Relay. I’ve grown to be passionate about the value of the tech community and I aspire to help other people the way I was was helped. I’m happy to spend time with any new speaker to help them to make a positive contribution to to the community.

You can reach me on LinkedIn and Twitter and I’m excited to hear what you have to say. 🙂

Tracy Boggiano

Tracy Boggiano
  • Location: Raleigh, NC (UTC – 5) (EST)
  • Expertise: All DBA topics
  • Contact: Twitter | LinkedIn | Email

22 years ago I got myfirst job in IT right out of high school as a computer operator and started attending college to become a computer programmer.  I hated my database class mainly because I finished the work in 10 minutes and had to sit there bored for the 50 minutes. My instructor didn’t understand I was already using these concepts at work.

I started barely blogging in 2012,  something that wasn’t really encouraged by my current job.  Four years ago I took an awesome job that believed that be involved in the community was a good thing.

Then in 2015, I signed up for my first SQL Saturday. The presentation had a total of five attendees (one being a coworker). I managed to cover 30 slides of HADR material in 30 minutes but wait the presentation was supposed to last an hour. Oops.

Now I’ve done so many presentations it’s hard to keep count. Presented at 18 SQL Saturdays last year, PASS Summit, and a few online presentations. I’m a complete SQL Saturday addict and enjoy going to each and every one of them and don’t mind if there are only five people, it was probably for the best on that first presentation.

You can reach me either on Twitter,  LinkedIn, or Email.