Build Your Brand Presentation — Aunt Kathi’s SQL Server Home

Tonight I gave my “Build Your Brand with Technical Writing” presentation (slides) to the Triangle SQL Server User Group (Raleigh, NC). I love giving this talk because I typically get one or two people who really want to get started writing ask me for help because of the talk. Writing has been a passion of […]

Build Your Brand Presentation — Aunt Kathi’s SQL Server Home

Beware the pronoun: How inclusive language doesn’t mean an inclusive environment — THE CLANDESTINE


Michela Quecchia is a third year at KCL and a cancer survivor with an interest in healthcare and the environment. Currently juggling OCD and philosophy studies. [Featured Image: Three people with purple hair and green shirts reading they, them, theirs against a light purple background.] Whether you are a student or a professional, or simply […]

via Beware the pronoun: How inclusive language doesn’t mean an inclusive environment — THE CLANDESTINE

Celebrating Women in Tech (Originally published on Simple-Talk)


NOTE: This post was originally published on Simple-Talk. NASA recently named a facility in honor of Katherine Johnson, the mathematician who performed the calculations for space flights in the 50s and 60s. She was one of the “human computers” whose stories were made famous by the movie Hidden Figures just a few years ago. Until […]

via Celebrating Women in Tech — Aunt Kathi’s SQL Server Home

Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide by Linda Babcock and Sarah Laschever — Pages Unbound | Book Reviews & Discussions


Information Goodreads: Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide Series: None Source: Library Published: 2003 Official Summary When Linda Babcock asked why so many male graduate students were teaching their own courses and most female students were assigned as assistants, her dean said: “More men ask. The women just don’t ask.” It turns out […]

via Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide by Linda Babcock and Sarah Laschever — Pages Unbound | Book Reviews & Discussions

Iceland becomes first country to legalise equal pay — World News – Breaking International News Headlines and Leaks

A new law making it illegal to pay men more than women has taken effect in Iceland. The legislation, which came into force on Monday, the first day of 2018, makes Iceland the first country in the world to legalise equal pay between men and women. Under the new rules, companies and government agencies employing at […]

via Iceland becomes first country to legalise equal pay — World News – Breaking International News Headlines and Leaks

T_SQL Tuesday #96: In the Beginning

T-SQL Tuesday is a monthly blog party started by Adam Machanic (t|b). This month’s T-SQL Tuesday is being hosted by Ewald Cress (t|b).  Everyone is invited to this party. Participation is easy. Each month, members of the community write a blog post about the topic presented and post it on the second Tuesday of the month.  This month’s subject is to give a shout-out to people (well-known or otherwise) who have made a meaningful contribution to your life in the world of data.  For me, that goes way back and there are so many that I want to thank.

The two people I am thanking helped me build my career base.  They helped me get started, encouraged me to continue to grow, and showed me that I could do anything.  There have been many others along the way who have helped me with my career in various ways, but Jan MacLeod and Nancy Donelan McCall were there to get me started.


In the Beginning

After high school and a couple of years of college, I could not figure out what I wanted to do with my career.  Rather than continue down a path that I was not excited about, I took a couple of years off from college to figure it out.  I got a full time job working 8-5 in an office.  The job was not great but I learned a lot of valuable lessons.  Here I worked with Jan; a person who really pushed me and helped me advance my career.

First and foremost, I learned I was smart.  I had doubted my ability to be successful but this experience helped me see myself in a new light.  I was not able to make any advancement in this job because I did not have a college degree.  I felt that I was had a lot to offer the company but the HR department told me I needed that degree.

The other thing that I learned at this job was that sexism still existed in the workplace.  The company that I worked for still had the ‘Good Old Boy’ mentality in place.  The men were managers and had offices with windows; the women were administrators and office clerks and worked in an open office setting together.

Jan and I had a long distance friendship.  We worked together but all of our interaction was via phone and company mail.  We talked about the work environment and she was my strength.  She understood the environment and saw my potential.  She helped me build my strength to move forward.  I had a second opportunity to attend college and she was behind me 100%.  She pushed me to be better and rise above the current situation.  Jan was the first person after I had moved out of the house to help me grow as a person and build my career.  After all of these years we are still friends and I will always be grateful for the support and friendship she has provided.


Best Supervisor Ever

Over the years I have had many supervisors, but Nancy was the one who really helped me get started on my database career.  I had some database experience in previous jobs, but Nancy was the supervisor who took a chance on me and promoted me to an Access DBA.  She made sure I had the appropriate training and encouraged me to continue to grow.

It was also when I was working with Nancy that I got my first taste of SQL Server.  We had an enormous data center built in Microsoft Access that needed a more robust system.  Again, she made sure I had the appropriate training to take our system and my career to the next level.

Nancy taught me so much about databases and data structure as well as soft skills.  And there were so many little things that I learned from her along the way.  Individually, they might not seem like much, but together they were all invaluable lessons.  She also has been one of my biggest supporters as I have continued to grow my career.

Some people say it is luck, some people say we make our future.  Either way, I have had some great people in my life supporting me and my career decisions.  There is not enough space to thank them all.  These two were there at pivotal times in my life/career and I would not be where I am today without them.

These Women Inspire Me

Whether it is on Twitter, at a SQL Saturday event, or PASS Summit, I love meeting and talking with women in the Tech industry and hearing what they are doing and what new projects they have going.  Tuesday was the opening of the PASS Summit in Seattle.

The first event I attended in Seattle this year was the PASS Women in Technology Happy Hour & Networking event.  I don’t know if there is something in the SQL water, but these women inspire me.  I connected with women I have met with before as well as introduced myself to people I have seen on Twitter or know of, and I was not disappointed.    They are forward thinkers and they do not let obstacles stop them from accomplishing their goals.

They inspire me to push myself harder

They inspire me to not doubt my abilities

They inspire me to reach for my goals

These women amaze me.  They have different lives with different obligations, but they reach for their goals and they achieve.  They not only reach their goals, they exceed their goals.

One of the biggest things these women do that inspires me is that they give back.  They are busy with so many different things but make time to give back to the community.  This is not required of any of them, but each one makes time to work with others to help them reach their own goals.

The reason I come to PASS is to improve my SQL skills.  I learn from the experts and take new tips and ideas back to implement in our environment.  But on top of improving my SQL skills, I gain so much more personally.  I gain confidence in myself and my work.  These women inspire me.  Hopefully, one day, I will be someone’s inspiration.




Progress…sort of. Finally, progress. Well, sort of. In June, a new website voiced a frustration I share — that there are no women candidates in the Illinois gubernatorial race. A group of Democratic women activists launched “Zero women are running for governor,” the site declared. They asked Democratic Party leaders: “What’s your plan to support women leaders in […]

via WASHINGTON: 3 accomplished women in mix to be attorney general – Chicago Sun-Times — ilheadlines

TSQL Tuesday #93: Interviewing Patterns & Anti-Patterns

This month’s T-SQL Tuesday is being hosted by Kendra Little (t | b). T-SQL Tuesday (#TSQL2SDAY) is a blog party founded by Adam Machanic (t | b). Each month a member of the community hosts the party and selects the topic for us to write about.  

This month’s topic: Interviewing Patterns and Anti-Patterns

What advice do you have for people preparing for or going through an interview?  Feel free to be creative on this topic. Take whichever approach you like best:

  • You may focus on patterns to follow for success
  • You may list anti-patterns, too: things that might seem like a good idea, but are a recipe for disaster
  • You can write about your own highs and lows as a candidate or as an interviewer


The News

It was a really crazy time in my life.  It was the middle of the recession and all of a sudden I was notified that my job of over 15 years was being eliminated and I would be unemployed in five weeks.  WHAT?  The next day I went out and bought a couple of ‘interview outfits.”  Being in IT, I did not have a lot of clothes to wear to interviews.  Over that five week period I had many, many interviews and the questions asked by each interviewer were very similar.  As I went from interview to interview, I picked up on body language and was able to re-use my responses or modify them based on previous feedback.  I was getting good at the interview process.  Maybe a little too good.

After all of the interviews, I had narrowed down my interest to three companies and each one provided a very different experience.

The Contractor

The position at Company A was my top pick.  I loved the company, the environment, they had relatively new hardware and software, and the people who I interviewed with seemed forward thinking.  We spent over an hour talking about their project and goals. I felt comfortable with the team and felt like I could walk in and easily fit into the team.

The only drawback to this position was that it was a 3 month contract job.  If I was used to contract work or this was my only offer, that would have been great.  However, I don’t think I am made for short term contract jobs.  It felt like I would have to start looking for another job in about a month.  I was tired and did not want to go through that process again.  I often wonder what would have happened if I took this position.  Would it have turned into a full time position with the company or would I have been out looking for a job again in 6 weeks.

Too Many Interviews

Going to work for Company B intrigued me because of one of their benefits…I would spend two weeks out of each month in Denver and two weeks out of each month in Dallas.  While spending two weeks out of the month in Dallas is not considered a benefit for most people, I used to live in Dallas and I still have a lot of very good friends there.  Awesome.  This company is going to pay for me to go see my friends! 

But as we went through the interview process, I started getting tired of Company B. The first interview was with a recruiter.  The second interview was with the person who would be my supervisor.  The third interview was with the person who would be my task supervisor.  The fourth interview was with the person who would be my supervisor (again) and someone from HR.  The fifth interview never happened.  They requested a fifth interview with my supervisor (again), another IT employee, and two members of senior management.  While the job was a good fit and I would probably have a gazillion frequent flyer miles by now, I decided I did not want to work for a company that needs at least five interviews to hire a SQL DBA.  

The 15 Minute Interview

A week before my final day at my old job, there was a company lunch for a group of us who were leaving.  I had an interview scheduled from 11:00am-11:30am with Company C and the lunch was going to be back at the office across town at noon.  It was a tight schedule but I could make it.  I got to the interview at 10:55am and had a seat.  They were still interviewing someone else.  11:05…11:10…11:15…11:20…I was finally called into the interview.  I was on edge and asked if we could reschedule as I had another appointment at noon.  This was the last day for interviews and they assured me we could get through the interview and I could make my appointment at 12:00pm.  OK, let’s do this.

It was a group interview and they were organized.  They had a list of questions that they asked each candidate then rated everyone’s response on an equal scale.  I liked that process.  They started going around the table asking questions.  At one point we had a long discussion and I started getting nervous about the time.  Someone asked “who has the next question” and I answered for them.  By then I was on the front of my chair answering questions at a very rapid pace.  This was my fifth interview of the week and I felt like I had answered all of these questions several times already which gave me a lot of confidence.

The person to my right had the last question, which is the typical last questions for many job interviews.  She asked me “Why should we hire you?”  I was in a weird space and feeling super confident and out of my mouth came the response “Because I am fun and lovable.”  Awkward silence.  The minute I said it, I knew I needed to say something else so I went into the ‘I am hard working and pay attention to detail‘ spiel.

We ended the interview at 11:40am, just 15 minutes after we started the interview.  I thanked them for the interview, ran out of there, sped back to the office, changed out of my interview outfit and back into my jeans and t-shirt, and made the going away lunch at noon.  I have never had such a short interview and I never thought I would make it to lunch on time.  The interview was a success and lunch was delicious.


I went through so many  interviews and so many different types of interviews (phone, one on one, group) during that time.  But no matter the type of interview, the information covered was very similar across all companies.  If you know your stuff, interviews are not that hard.  What I got out of the process was self confidence.  During my time with my old company, I had progressed in my career, but I had not had to sell myself in an interview format in a long time.  Going through the process made me realize how I had grown throughout my career.  It also helped me set a more focused path for my career.