We’re delighted to welcome longstanding helper Steph Martin to the SQLBits Committee for 2024, joining founders Simon Sabin and Darren Green and board members Annette and Jonathan Allen, Alex Whittles and Rob and Traci Sewell.
Steph, currently a Data Solution Architect with ANS Group, initially worked as a software tester and application developer, embarking on her own career in data during a big migration project when she realised she didn’t actually like web development very much. She has a long background with SQLBits, first attending in London 2012 after a co-worker originally booked on was unable to attend. Describing it as a ‘happy accident’, Steph took her colleague’s place to a pre-con with Adam Machanic. Undeterred by the session being somewhat beyond her level of SQL skills at the time and completely enthused by the learning, the atmosphere and the people, Steph returned the following year.
By the time 2013’s event in Nottingham came around, Steph decided to step up to volunteering, and laughs recalling a moment trying to slip in to her session under the radar after a late night on Friday resulted in missing Saturday morning’s helper briefing, earning her the rather uncomfortable focus of Annette Allen’s gimlet eye. Fortunately, despite this she was allowed to return as a helper the following year and took on increasing amounts of responsibility across subsequent SQLBits until she now joins Annette along with the rest of the committee ahead of 2024’s event.
Steph will be acting as Helper lead, marshalling the 70+ group of volunteers who help run SQLBits. It’s a role that spans a full year; recruiting and communicating in advance; managing their deployment at the event itself; and one she is excited about, relishing the opportunity to contribute to their wellbeing and development throughout SQLBits.
It speaks volumes that SQLBits is now big enough to require a devoted helper lead on the board and we asked Steph for her thoughts on why SQLBits continues to go from strength to strength, 16 years on from its inception:
“I think it’s the fun of it. Although it’s taken very seriously in terms of the execution, curating high quality content and delivering a good experience for the attendees, it is ultimately also huge fun. For me it’s a fantastic week I spend with my mates, learning and developing, mentally exhausting but without fail, when you reach the end of it, I don’t want to have to wait a year to do it all over again.”