Newsletter for April 2023

Dear ladies, Happy Spring to everyone!!

We apologize for the gap in newsletter. We’ve been really busy and juggling family/work along with volunteer work is hard. We promise to be regular with this going forward.

Firstly, what were we doing?

Fall/Winter 2022 was primarily spent interviewing the amazing women speakers from SQLBITS conference in Wales two weeks ago. You can read more on Leslie’s experience there below. My experience, although virtual, was terrific too. The conferences that come on the heels of a new release of SQL Server are always the best, and this was among the reasons why the content here was terrific. I
learned a ton of info on SQL Server 2022, which I could take back to work and use/share with my colleagues. If you want to view the short videos of the women speakers we talked to – check them out here!

Secondly, what are we doing now?

Deborah Melkin, one of our allies and MVP/Speaker herself – had this fantastic post on the attendance of women at conferences and user groups. She has researched some snapshots of data showing an uptick in the number of new women speakers, which is good. The seasoned women speakers also are showing up, but the much-needed gap – the speakers who got started and need to keep going, isn’t much. Even if we take the bar down from women ‘speakers’ to women ‘attendees’ – as someone who runs two user groups, this number is pretty low. I am among people who can’t attend an in-person conference yet.

I have many reasons for this. But we at DPWIT are here to know of YOUR reasons and help you to the extent we can – please take a few mins if you are reading this to take this survey for us to understand those reasons! Even if you don’t want any assistance, your input would be valuable data for us to understand the areas to focus on.

Thirdly, what do we have lined up from DPWIT for this year?

1 We will organize the WIT panel at PASS Data Community Summit once more!! This is an in-person only conference happening once more at Seattle this year between the dates of November 14-17. We will be putting out a Call for Speakers at this panel shortly – look out for it and be sure to submit!! The WIT panel has enjoyed excellent attendance at the summit – on some occasions, just second to the keynote. It is a great way to be seen/heard as a woman! RedGate software allows you to attend the entire summit for free if you are a panelist. We hope you will consider submitting, even if you have not presented as a speaker yet. We want to be able to pick from a big pool and have a diverse panel to the extent possible.

2 We host an annual Mental Health and Wellness day virtually. This event started in 2020, just after Covid, and has been well received and appreciated in the community. We are partnering with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion group to host it. The event is set to happen on May 5, 2023 and our Call for speakers is still open! It will be open until 14th of this month, so you still have time to submit!

3 We had to discontinue monthly tech talks due to poor attendance. We are attempting to revive that in partnership with Solarwinds, starting April 27. We plan to host one woman speaker per quarter of this year. Our first speaker will be Josephine Bush(b|t). You can sign up for her talk here! We hope for this partnership to be fruitful in boosting attendance for tech talks by women, and we get to do them more often! 
If you are interested in doing a tech talk – please email us at The topics for this year are limited to Azure SQL hosting or Azure DataOps/DevOps.

4 We attempted to start a podcast dealing with specific issues faced by women/diverse folks. The response to the CFS  for that was rather poor – we have extended its deadlines and re-opened it. We want to hear more women and diverse folk discuss their issues openly – we are here to listen and help you be heard!! Please consider submitting.

Other notable stuff you want to consider –

Our friends at EightKB organize a fantastic conference on SQL Server Internals every quarter. They want to have more women speaking to internals!! Their call for speakers is here – please consider submitting!

Tracy Boggiano (t | m | b)  and Deborah Melkin(t | m | b) have partnered to start up a great program called ‘WITspiration‘ – to offer community based mentoring to women who need it. You can read more about it on Deb’s blog post here. They just closed the sign up sheet for this first cohort. If you are interested, email them at

Our friends at the DEI virtual user group also have a CFS open on monthly talks related to DEI or data topics….submit if this is of interest to you!

That’s it for April, from us at DPWIT!! Drop us a line at dataplatformwit at, if you have comments on anything stated here!! Stay safe and well.

Warm Regards,


Les’s notes

Hello everyone,
I have written a book!! Few joys parallel what comes with holding a printed book with your name on it. You can check out my book here

 I was lucky enough to be able to send me to my FIRST SQLBits this year!  I missed the deadline for submissions and was jealous of all my speaker friends that had been selected. So, I told my husband I needed to go to Wales to see all my friends and support them!  It was a fantastic time.  I was able to meet so many impressive women who inspired me, like:

Kristyna Hughes – knocked it out of the park with a highly technical session on Power BI, the tabular object model, and C# to do some cool stuff on the fly with reporting,

Hollie Whittles – an incredible journey to success by buillding a fantastic team,

Mara Pereira – another incredible journey of an individual success story,

Deborah Melkin – showed how notebooks are the way of the future,

Grace O’Halloran – another super technical session on private end points and networking,

Cathrine Wilhelmsen – sharing her difficult path and mental health status and how to cope.

Other women speakers included Rosie Djurovic, Erin Dempster, Ruth Pearson, Iuliana Tuhasu, Odeta Jankaitiene, Steph Locke, Maria Zakourdaev, Gavita Regunath, Erin Stellato, Monica Rathbun, Rie Merritt, Alpa Buddhabhatti, Meagan Longoria, Pragati Jain, Emma Dolling, Victoria Holt, Heini Ilmarinen, Deepthi
Goguri, Ginger Grant, Anna-Maria Wykes, Maria Gabriel, Jess Pomfret, Gosia Borzecka, Lisa Hoving, and many more including our own Mala Mahadevan.

Besides being an outstanding technical conference, what stood out to me as the best idea for a conference was having the event host the after-hours parties and activities.  There were “Meet the Trainers” nights before each of the pre-con days to interact and meet the “Dungeon Masters”,
 “Game Night” was a ton of fun with arranged Dungeons and Dragons to play, the “Pub Quiz Night” was dinner and teams organized by table, and the grand finale, the famous Bits Party.  Every attendee was
welcome to every event, and there was no need to get an advance ticket for a vendor-sponsored after-party.  It gave the event an inclusive feel, and I appreciated it.

I had a great time handing out Sweary Little Affirmation cards and can’t wait to return next year and do it again!  Thanks for a great time!

Warm Regards,