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The official PASS Blog is where you’ll find the latest blog posts from PASS community members and the PASS Board. Contributors share their thoughts and discuss a wide variety of topics spanning PASS and the data community.

PASS Summit: A Big Part of My Life

I attended my first PASS Summit in Seattle in 2003 after about eighteen months in my job as a DBA. SQL Server Central had a post about a price increase coming up for Summit, and I showed the information to my manager not really thinking she would approve. Attending the conference meant a week away from the office as well as the expense of the conference and travel so I was thrilled when she said yes.

That first PASS Summit was both exciting and overwhelming for me with so many sessions to attend. I came back to the office energized with lots of ideas; it turned out to be a great investment. Even though I attended as many sessions as possible back in the early days, I eventually started spending more time networking and asking the Microsoft folks questions. This past year, I was a panellist for Speaker Idol, co-leader of the PASS WIT group, and an employee of sponsor Redgate, so PASS Summit was quite hectic for me. Luckily, I can watch sessions as needed from the recordings throughout the year, and that’s great for anyone because there is so much to do at Summit.

My advice is to check out the schedule in advance and add sessions that you must see because of interest or the chance to see a fantastic speaker. Then set aside time to spend in the vendor exhibit hall, community zone, and Birds of a Feather Luncheon. If you want to have more fun at the end of the day and make even more new friends, be sure to find out about the activities happening in the evening. (There is usually a page set up for scheduled activities each year, and you can blame the karaoke on me.)

Attending PASS Summit has had a big impact on my life and career. I was inspired to begin writing and speaking because of a session in 2004 called “How to Make a Name for Yourself.” The things I have learned and connections I made have directly led to job opportunities, consulting engagements, and friendships. Chances are that you wouldn’t be reading a post from me today if I hadn’t attended PASS Summit back then.

If you're thinking about attending this year's event, registration for PASS Summit is now open at

Kathi Kellenberger
About the author

Kathi Kellenberger is the editor of Simple Talk at Redgate and a Data Platform MVP. She has worked with SQL Server for over 20 years and has authored, co-authored, or tech edited over a dozen technical books. Kathi is the co-leader of the PASS Women in Technology Virtual Group and a volunteer at LaunchCode. When Kathi isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, cycling, singing, and climbing the stairs of tall buildings. Be sure to check out her courses on Pluralsight.

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