Well the day I’ve been dreading for the last few weeks has finally arrived, and it is with great sadness and joy to read Karla’s announcement that she will be leaving her current role in the PASS family. Sadness because Karla has not only become a great friend and ally over the years (and I will deeply miss her in doing what she does), but joyous because I know that she is moving on to the next successful phase of her life story -one in which she can rightly reap the rewards of her brilliance.
In the beginning
I don’t know how it happened, but I somehow managed to miss Karla at the PASS Summit in 2010 during my first ever visit to Seattle. Stranger still was that I did not bump into her during my (first “International”) speaking gig at SQLRally Orlando in 2011 either. So my first time meeting Karla in person was at SQLBits in 2011, which was apparently not too long after she had joined PASS proper in her Community Evangelist role (although she did it so well, you would have thought she had been doing it for 20 years).
I’ve told her this before, but the minute I’d met her I knew that she was someone who I wanted to be friends with. I could tell she was a DO-ER. A no-nonsense, no bullsh*t professional. A straight talker. But most of all, she was very approachable, warm and had a wicked sense of humour and infectious laugh. There are very few people on this planet (when I see them) that suddenly everything seems good with the world, but Karla is most definitely one of them.
Over the years since our first meeting we have worked together professionally for many years. Karla was instrumental in helping me launch the UK’s first SQLSaturday (SQLSaturday Cambridge) in 2012 and I can say with hand on heart, that without her support in doing so, it could not have happened. I also went on to serve my 2-year term as UK Regional Mentor amongst other things. I would jokingly call her (and regard her) as “my boss”, but one who did not pay me! Being close to Karla was reward enough, for the time that I spent with her discussing or participating in community activities controlled by her, were usually very successful and happy occasions.
From our professional relationship, we have grown a friendship and I know that there is a huge number of you who will also echo my feelings. She is never scared to tell me that I am talking nonsense when she disagrees with anything I may say, but can do so without being condescending. She also has broad shoulders and can listen to my criticism (or moaning) without taking things personally, and people like her are rare indeed. She has helped support me through the good times and the bad times in equal measure, and for that I feel incredibly privelaged to have known her.
It’s not the end
Now I know what you are thinking. This post is reading a little bit like an obitury. The reason for this is simple. When Karla leaves her current role at PASS we are all losing someone special, and someone who “has our back”. It is natural for me to but feel sad at this loss, but I am also happy and encouraged that she is returning to a technical role with the possibility that she will still be part of our community, and we all will benefit from that. Either way, I will not stop having a private moan to Karla about anything that is annoying me no matter where she goes (you cannot escape me Karla!).
Karla has been pivotal in helping me grow, develop and succeed during her tenure at PASS and is leaving some very big boots to fill. I hope you (like me) will wish her the best of luck with the future and thank her for everything she has done for us and SQLSaturdays, PASS and the SQL Community at large.
Karla you’re the best!