It has been a little over a full week since I traveled far away from the PASS HQ home of Vancouver Canada to the southern city of Charlotte North Carolina. It's been crazy busy ever since, but I really wanted to share an update on SQLSaturday #33 in Charlotte, NC.
 
As many of you already know, the SQLSaturday founders handed over the reins to PASS last month. What you may not know is how excited we all are to take it on. When PASS HQ took a look at the massive shoes we needed to fill (have you seen Steve Jones’ feet?) we couldn’t wait to take on the challenge of running the events at the same amazing level of execution as the Andy-Brian-Steve team had done - and to see how they could be scaled so we could bring even more SQLSaturdays to our community.
 
The first step was to understand these events from a grassroots level, inside and out. I arrived on the Friday before the event to some of the best hospitality I have  ever encountered. On a morning call with PASS’s Chapter Director Douglas McDowell, I mentioned the amazing service I kept getting, and his only response was “welcome to the South.” Nothing could be more true.
 
The Friday night speaker reception at the SQL Sentry offices was an awesome opportunity to catch up with many of the community leaders present. Everyone was moving a mile a minute getting life updates and connecting with old friends. The SQL Sentry offices was the perfect venue, being brand new and full of fun, nerdy things (nice Xbox!). At a nearby restaurant the mood was more of the same. It really underscored how important events like these are to those who make it a priority to travel on their own dime, prepare sessions, and deliver excellent content. They don’t do it because it affects their bottom line, they do it because it’s what they truly love.
 
The event itself was phenomenal: sponsors connecting with customers, attendees networking with speakers, and everyone getting in some very valuable SQL Server education. I walked around with a pen and paper, taking down registration steps, food and beverage logistics, session room requirements, directional flow of people . . . anything I could think of. I even filmed some of the key people of the event with their thoughts on SQLSatuday to take back to everyone at HQ and hopefully use as best practises when the transition is complete.
 
The day ended with Andy Warren, Steve Jones, Jessica Moss, Patrick LeBlanc, Geoff Hiten, Aaron Nelson, David Taylor and I all sitting around a table talking about SQLSaturday, its importance and how we can make these events better. It was an incredible opportunity to get their views on how each stakeholder needs events like SQLSaturday to be successful and reach their professional goals.
 
I walked out of the event exhausted but so excited to be working on future PASS SQLSaturdays. Thank you very much for the opportunity - I love my job!
 
 
Blythe