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Professional Development Blog

Kathi Kellenberger's Articles

An Interview with Sanil Mhatre

Sanil Mhatre (Twitter: @SQLSuperGuru, Blog: organized the first SQL Saturday in St. Louis in September, 2012. I spent some time with Sanil to learn about his experience.

Book Review: The Last Lecture

Partially due to the ease of carrying hundreds or thousands of books around with you easily today (Thank you Amazon for the Kindle!), I am reading more non-technical books. I recently read “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch. You may have heard about this lecture, available on

Many college professors give a “last lecture” based on what they would like to say if it was actually the last lecture they would ever give. Randy was a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University when he learned that he had just months to live. He decided to give a last lecture, in part to leave a legacy for his three young children.

His lecture was based on how he had achieved his childhood dreams and enabled the childhood dreams of others. He claims some pretty specific and far-reaching dreams, such as working for Disney Imagineering and experiencing weightlessness. He encountered many of what he termed “brick walls” along the way to achieving these dreams, but, because of networking and perseverance he managed to meet most of his goals.

Professor Pausch was a pioneer in virtual reality technology and one of the developers of the Alice programming software. It was important to him that investments in Alice continue after his death so that he would continue to make a difference long after he was gone.

Of course, I while reading I had to think back at what my childhood dreams were. There were some silly things like marrying Davie Jones, but I also wanted to be a teacher and to write a book someday. One of the big stars when I was a kid was Cher. I dreamed about singing.

Unlike Randy, I forgot about my dreams for many years. Eventually, I just fell back into them. I wrote a book in 2009. I have taught at the college level and also teach training classes for Pragmatic Works. If you know me well, you probably know I love to sing and was the person who originally introduced the SQL community to Karaoke. I developed a new dream as an adult, to be a programmer, and let nothing stand in my way to achieving that goal in 1997. It’s also always been important to me to make a positive difference in the world. As “Aunt Kathi” to SQL Server professionals all over the world, I believe I have done that.

“The Last Lecture” is a great read with lots of good advice about managing time and focusing on what is important. I think that the overall lesson is to have fun no matter what you do. Even when he had just months to live, he was determined to have fun until the end.

Another thing that struck me was Randy’s stories about his childhood. His family was very focused on education and providing great experiences for their children. I noticed the same theme when reading the memoir of Steve Wozniak. Both of these men were innately brilliant, but their parents helped create the spark.

Many of us SQL Server professional work long and odd hours. We need to make sure that we get away from computers once in a while, spend time with our kids, and, well, just have some fun. Be sure to take a look at the lecture or read the book if you need a bit of inspiration.

Book review: The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs

A few weeks ago, I was asked to speak at a couple of SQL Server 2012 launch events. The attendees at the launch events were asked to fill out an evaluation form from Microsoft, with many marketing questions and just a few rating the presentations. Most of the ratings were high, 8 or 9 out of 9, but a handful were in the 5 to 7 range. Of course, the folks giving me the medium ratings did not leave any comments on what they would have wanted me to do differently. The woman from Microsoft that I was traveling with suggested that I read The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience by Carmine Gallo as a good way to improve my presentation skills. I purchased the book on Kindle and read it last weekend. I would like to share my impression of the book with you.

An Interview with Linchpin People Founder, Andy Leonard

I recently spent some time with MVP Andy Leonard (Twitter: @andyleonard Blog: Along with Brian Moran, he founded Linchpin People. I wanted to learn just what Linchpin Poeple was all about.

Interview with Donald Wert

I met Donald Wert at the 2012 PASS Summit. I spent some time learning what he thought about the Summit and the SQL Server Community.

Summit First Timer Follow Up

Matt Slocum (blog: Twitter: @SlocumMatt) attended the PASS Summit for the first time in 2011. In order to help newcomers feel more welcome and engaged, PASS created the First Timers program. I volunteered as a “Big Sister” or, in my case, “Aunt” this year. Matt was one of my “nephews,” and I interviewed him about the First Timers program before the Summit. Matt had some high expectations about the Summit, and I was wondering if those expectations were met.

An Interview with PASS 2011 First Timer Matt Slocum

PASS is always trying to improve the experience of the Summit attendees. Last year, PASS created the First Timers Program to help those new to PASS get the most out of the experience. I spent some time with one of the First Timers, Matt Slocum, to find out what he hopes to get from the Summit this year.

An interview with Brian Knight

Brian Knight is the author of several SQL Server books, one of the founders of SQL Server Central and founder of Pragmatic Works. He recently took some time from his very busy schedule to talk about how he got to where he is today.

An Interview with PASS Director, Allen Kinsel

Long time PASS volunteer and 2009 PASSion Award winner, Allen Kinsel was elected to the Board of Directors during the 2010 election.

An Interview with MVP Jen McCown

Jen McCown, SQL Server MVP, is one-half of the Midnight DBA team. I spent some time with Jen learning how she got started with databases and the unusual story behind her MVP award. 

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Professional Development Blog

Professional Development Blog

Professional Development Blog

Professional Development Blog

Professional Development Blog

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