"Sit at the table." This was a piece of advice offered to women by Microsoft GM Billie Jo Murray during the recent PASS Women in Technology Panel Discussion. Sometimes the tables we encounter are actual tables (do you sit against the wall at big meetings?) and sometimes they are figurative tables, like the upcoming 24 Hours of PASS (24HOP.) The March 2011 edition of 24HOP is celebrating Women's History Month by featuring female speakers presenting on a variety of SQL Server topics. Abstract submissions are being accepted until January 14 at firstname.lastname@example.org
We (female SQL Server professionals) are being invited to sit at the table. We are being given a chance to showcase our knowledge, highlight our experience, increase our professional profile and build our confidence. How could anyone pass up that opportunity?
But the truth is women often pass up such opportunities. We hesitate to speak up in meetings, we don't ask for the good projects, we don't negotiate for higher salaries, we don't submit abstracts to speak at events. Karen Lopez (blog|twitter) eloquently explained many of the reasons for this in a recent post.
If you have submitted an abstract for 24HOP, I applaud you for believing in yourself and for seizing an opportunity. If you have not submitted an abstract, I encourage you not to let this chance go by. By virtue of being a data professional you have something to teach others. Somewhere along the line you have solved some database problem or learned something interesting about SQL Server. Your peers can benefit from your experience. And in the process maybe you'll get a little better at presenting, feel a little more confident, get invited to speak at a local chapter meeting or get a lead on your next job.
The only bad opportunity is a missed opportunity. Come take a seat at the 24HOP table and submit your abstract by January 14.