In 2003 I attended my very first PASS Summit. I was brand new to the world of MS SQL server, just having been asked to work towards becoming a junior DBA by a teammate, and I was there to learn everything I could in a short week about SQL Server. At the time, I was the only woman on a team of 7, and the guys I worked with ran the gamut in regards to their attitudes towards me. Depending on who you asked on my team, I was a secretary or a technologist, and their treatment of me went with the title they gave me. Despite that, I didn’t feel that I faced roadblocks or extra challenges because I was female.
I distinctly remember my senior DBA suggesting that I attend the inaugural Women in Technology luncheon at Summit that year, and I declined. I was there to learn – not have lunch with a bunch of women that might have spent the time moaning and groaning about how hard it is to be a WIT. At least, that was my perception of the lunch at the time. I can honestly say that I should have gone to that lunch in 2003, and I was dead wrong about what I perceived the WIT Luncheon and Virtual Chapter (VC) to be.
The WIT Luncheon and VC is anything but a group of women that complain about the attitudes and perceptions that make it hard for us to work in technology. Instead, we are a vibrant group of technologists that focus on what it means to be a WIT, how to break down the barriers to girls entering technology fields, providing networking opportunities for WIT, and engaging the entire community to talk about perceptions and challenges that WIT face in the workplace.
Historically, our focus has been the annual Luncheon at Summit. Over the last couple of years we have worked hard to increase our core group of volunteers, which has allowed us to expand our reach beyond the Summit. You can now find an organized WIT presence at most SQL Saturday events, we are in the planning stages for a WIT presence at SQL Rally in May, and we are very happy to support the upcoming 24 Hours of PASS WIT edition March 15-16.
The WIT VC is always looking for more opportunities to engage in the PASS community and the IT community at large. If you are interested in the work we do, or would just like to learn more about our group, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or join us on our monthly conference call on the fourth Wednesday of the month.
Additional information about our activities can be found at http://wit.sqlpass.org.