Influences and Influencers

This is the first time I’m taking part in T-SQL Tuesday, so it’s pretty apt that this post is about the people who’ve helped me see the value of the #SQLCommunity, the people who have encouraged me to strive to self-improve, and the people who have made me someone who is generally excited about my career, my profession, and the wonderful people I will get to meet. There are many more people that I could have mentioned, but I’m just going to highlight a few.

Firstly, Michael Johnson [l]|[t]|[b].

Michael is the lead of the Johannesburg SQL User Group, and therefore the first person I met in the #sqlfamily. I heard about SQL Saturday from a blog I was reading, and as luck would have it, SQL Saturday Joburg was 3 weeks away. So I registered. And got rejected because it was full! Undeterred, I signed up to join the User Group, and have been a member ever since. Michael works tirelessly to raise the profile of the #SQLCommunity and his efforts often go unnoticed. Thanks for letting me speak at User groups and SQL Saturdays, and being someone else waging the PowerBI war in South Africa!

Secondly, Gail Shaw [l]|[t]|[b].

It’s not a surprise that Gail is internationally respected for her deep understanding and teaching of SQL, and in particular, optimization. She is a hugely committed member of the Johannesburg SQL User Group, attending and mentoring us, even though the she very rarely learns from us. I’ve learned more from a couple of hours of Gail’s presentations that I have in many hours of studying and reading up on optimization. Additionally, Gail opened my eyes to the amazing Women in Tech community, and some of the issues that I was not aware of. I have grown as a person, and a developer from this discovery, and I am proud to say that everyone else on my team is female, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything! Thanks for showing me how successful South Africans can be internationally, and how geography is only a small obstacle. If I end my career half as knowledgeable and respected as Gail, I’ll be very content!

Gavin Potgieter and Wayne Yan

Gavin and Wayne were the Project Architect, and the Enterprise Architect on the first major project I ever saw succeed. I was very privileged to be included in many of the discussions they were having, and the decisions they were making, because I was building the Data Warehouse to support the project. They took the time to help me understand the OLTP side of software development, which I had not previously been exposed to. In addition, after they had moved on from consulting to my company, and when the need arose, they offered me the chance to move to a new opportunity, at the wonderful company at which I currently work. They constantly overestimate my abilities, but the faith they have shown in me, will never not be appreciated! Thanks for giving me the fresh start I needed, and trusting me to run the Dariel BI project!

Ryan Naude [t].

It’s not often that you can list someone who turned down a job offer from as a major influence in your career, but this is one case. Ryan interviewed me in 2016, and offered me a job that same afternoon. I was just about ready to sign, when I realized that despite the unhappiness that I was experiencing at my job, I was in a situation that very few developers my age were exposed to, and finishing that project would be a huge point of personal pride. However, Ryan opened my eyes to the possibilities in the market, and gave me the confidence to move on a year later. Had timing worked out differently, I may well have worked for Ryan, and I’m sure that he would have influenced me even more, but for now I can only thank him for his contribution to my career!

I can’t write a paragraph about everybody, so a few smaller shoutouts:

Jody Roberts[l] for giving me the opportunity to speak at #SQLSatCT and the naivete to let me sit on the “panel of experts”.

Jodi Craig[l] for the opportunity to speak at #SQLSatDurban.

Steve Rezhener [l] and Virginia Mushkatblat [l] for the opportunity to speak at #SQLSatLA. Up until September of this year, I had done more international SQL Saturday presentations than those I’d done in my own country. For future reference, presenting 3 sessions the day after a 30 hour flight, is not the smartest idea!

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