This is the sixth in a series of interviews with speakers leading up to the 2012 PASS Summit which will be held in Seattle from November 6th - 9th. This interview is with one of the Women in Technology (WIT) panelist, Jen Stirrup.
Tell us about yourself
I'm a SQL Server MVP with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Master’s degrees in Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science. I am part of the leadership team at Copper Blue Consulting, with 15 years SQL experience in delivering end-to-end Business Intelligence solutions.
I am also active in many SQL Server user groups in the UK, helping run the SQLHerts group. I have delivered pre-cons and general sessions at SQLBits and presented webcasts for the PASS Performance Virtual Chapter and 24 Hours of PASS Women in Technology edition.
Tell us your favorite thing about your PASS session(s)
I love the ability to engage people by showing demos. I also love to talk about the 'why' as well as the 'how'. I think that, if people know 'why' things are done in a particular framework, then it makes them better at the 'how'.
Tell us about your first time at PASS Summit
My first time at PASS Summit was awesome. I felt 'at home' with so many SQL Server and data fans around. I made lots of friends who were as passionate about Business Intelligence as I am, and these friendships have lasted. We have such a great community, and it is my privilege to get to know everyone who participates.
What advice do you have for PASS Summit First Timers?
My advice to new PASS first-timers is to attend all of the orientation sessions. Remember that there are a lot of other new people around too, and the people around you might feel shy too. I often start my sessions by asking people to introduce themselves to their neighbour, and talk about their favourite new feature of SQL Server 2012. It's an ice-breaker, and a 'start' in getting people to make business contacts and new friendships.
What are your can't-miss PASS sessions?
My 'can't miss' sessions are given by Michael Rhys. I had the pleasure of meeting Michael at TechEd Europe, and I was very engaged in listening to his research work (he holds a Ph.D and publishes papers) as well as listening to his deep technical insights whilst helping delegates with their technical problems. I had a great week working the TechEd booths with Michael, and I will definitely be attending his sessions.
Besides sessions, what's on your must-do list at Summit?
Outside of sessions, I will be taking a Starbucks in Seattle. You often run into other delegates when you're taking a coffee, so it's always nice to say 'hi' to the person next to you in the queue who is wearing a SQLPass shirt or speaker badge, for example.
I'm Scottish, and not in the US very often. I want to go to the Opera House in Seattle, and I want to go to the Seattle Art Museum too.
How can attendees become involved in the SQL Server Community and continue their learning throughout the year?
I'd strongly recommend the webinars for the Virtual Chapters. You can listen 'in real time' or you can download at a later date. I'd also suggest that people buy the SQLPass DVDs since I believe that they are well worth the money. I am still listening to my SQLPass 2010 set!