Santa comes early

kumar_christmas_smallerWith days to go before Santa boards his sleigh and pulls back on the reigns tethering his trusty magical flying reindeer to perform what is probably the most incredible feat of logistical planning and execution the world has ever seen, I can look back on the last few months with surprise, satisfaction and appreciation and thank those people who have helped to make my run up to Christmas an extremely rewarding and happy affair.

After a very busy start to November in which I delivered a presentation to my 2nd US SQLSaturday (and my 5th SQLSaturday of the year) in Portland, I then flew back up to Seattle to present two regular sessions and a lightning talk. Whilst 101 things could have gone horribly wrong with the whole affair, I think that I not only managed to pull it off, but also enjoyed the experience of doing so. Along the way I have not only met some fabulous new people but have also got reacquainted with many old friends.

Normally, all of this alone would have been a fantastic end to the year but there was lots more to come on my return back to the UK.

Within a week or so of arriving back in Cambridge from Seattle I received the results of the MCM Knowledge exam that I’d taken prior to leaving for the States. I had hoped that my results were going to be received prior to setting off for the PASS Summit so that I could take advantage of being there and scheduling in my Lab exam, but sadly this wasn’t to be. Still, I was very pleased that when they did arrive, to find that (joy of joys I’d managed to pass the Knowledge exam first time).

exam

Whilst I didn’t think the questions were particularly hard, they were a little bit of a surprise (and truth be told I could have been a bit more prepared). In my opinion, the questions seemed to be not quite as polished as I had expected and a little unrefined or ambiguous (just my opinion -not necessarily fact).

passpink

Pretty in Pink

A week later I then received an email from PASS HQ stating that I was the recipient of their Outstanding Volunteer Award which is sparing given to just one (or a very small handful of individuals) every month GLOBALLY! This really was a very big honor for me and it was very gratefully received. Now would probably be a good time to state that the award is really something that I feel has been made possible by not just my efforts, but the efforts and sacrifices of those close to me (i.e. family and friends). To be allowed to spend a week in Amsterdam simply to help represent PASS at TechEd Europe this year is no small ask (and especially hard on the kids) but when you realize that this was simply just one of a multitude of trips away this year that contributed to being awarded (which have been very hard to professionally and financially justify), then you will probably agree that the award is more for them than for me. To top it off, my wife had been fundamental to the success of SQLSaturday #162 Cambridge in the UK this year having expertly project managed it to success amongst filling a thousand other roles. So a HUGE big-up to her.

Finally, the last Christmas cracker to arrive on my doorstep was the confirmation that I am now officially taking over the role as PASS UK Regional Mentor from Community good guy, SQLBits organiser and SQL Server MVP Mr. Chris Testa-O’Neill (blog|twitter). Yes, his are very big boots to fill but I shall try my hardest and will always do so with the interests of the Community at the forefront of my thinking. Chris will of course continue to support the community efforts (as he has always done) so I would just like to say a huge thank you to him for his contribution so far. His efforts also highlight the fact that in order to contribute towards anything, all we need is a desire to do so -and this desire is something which I believe I have in spades.

catbertObviously the decision for the Regional Mentor position has not come out of the blue and has been thought about and discussed for a very long time; and with a number of other worthy candidates here in the UK I can only be humbled by PASS’ choice of myself to work alongside (the other UK RM) Jonathan Allen (blog|twitter). Hopefully we can deliver exactly what is expected and much MORE!

So thanks to everyone who has contributed to all these things and more (a special mention should go to Karla and Niko). Hope you all have a fantastic Christmas!

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