The Bits Buddies

Flying solo and in need of a wingman? Our Bits Buddies have got you.

So who are the Bits Buddies? All our helpers are friendly, but this bunch are dedicated specifically to SQLBits goers who might want a bit of extra company and support, whether it’s your first time at the event or you visit every year.

The Buddies can be identified by their orange T-shirts and baseball caps, and are usually to be found roaming the event or in the main expo hall around Community Corner. They chat regularly in the run-up to the event using #BitsBuddies so feel free to join in the conversation and ask any questions.

Whether it’s connecting you with like-minded people during the day or at our evening events, recommendations for sessions to attend, or just someone to sit and chat with for five, this group of volunteers is here to keep you company. Think of them as friends you just haven’t met yet. There are a couple of key events the Buddies ran during SQLBits 2024 and expect to run again in 2025.

1) The Buddies pre-flight briefing! Taking place during breakfast each morning, this is especially helpful for first-time attendees to allow them make the most of the event, and will feature a quick run through of the day and the tips the Buddies (many long term SQLBits attendees) have picked up over the years.

2) Bits Buddies Boarding Gate – if you would like to be introduced to a table at Games Night or the Pub Quiz, come along to the SQLBits Lounge first and the Buddies will introduce you to a friendly table to join for the evening’s fun.

Meet Up Opportunities

In the run up to SQLBits, the Buddies run weekly drop ins for an informal chat about attending SQLBits and to make connections before the event. These are very relaxed, you can leave your camera off and join or leave at any time. Check back here once SQLBits 2025 is announced for more details.

Meet the Buddies

Now you know all about what they do, let’s meet 2024’s Buddies.


Emma has transitioned from her days as a SQL On-premise consultant to conquering the Azure SQL realm and shaping data strategy. With an insatiable passion for data engineering, she’s the architect of digital landscapes. When she’s not wrangling data, you’ll find her strolling alongside her delightful springer spaniel, Murphy, bringing data of a different kind – the kind you find in nature. And if that’s not enough, Emma throws a punch at her local gym with her knockout boxing-based workouts, proving that she’s not just a data expert, but a force to be reckoned with in and out of the virtual ring!


Meet Rob: a dedicated data enthusiast who has embarked on a mission to transform the SQLBits experience with us! From his initial hesitant steps into a busy data conference, Robert’s journey mirrored the struggles of many – the feeling of being alone in a crowd. But determination sparked change; he embraced the vibrant community, donned the iconic orange shirt as a volunteer, and now stands as an SQLBits Buddy, committed to ensuring no one feels like an outsider. With his warm demeanor and a genuine passion for connecting, Rob is rewriting the conference narrative alongside us, turning SQLBits into more than an event – a welcoming gathering where shared ideas and friendly camaraderie take center stage.


Malcolm’s data odyssey began in 2000 with call stats on an IT Helpdesk, leading him through DB2, Business Objects, and Microsoft SQL Server, evolving industries in social housing, education, and online auctions. As a DBA, he navigated upgrades to SQL 2019 and pioneered Microsoft Flow integration. Now a Data Architect in Hong Kong’s mobile gaming realm, he deftly manages a hybrid OnPrem/Azure/AWS platform, embodying adaptability and technological prowess in his ever-unfolding narrative.


This is Barney. From a tentative newcomer to a confident speaker at one of the foremost events, Barney’s journey reflects the essence of community that defines the conference. While inherently shy, he dons the orange volunteer shirt to step out of his comfort zone, embodying his commitment to fostering connections and ensuring a welcoming atmosphere for all. With SQLBits providing him opportunities and friendships, Barney’s vibrant presence and willingness to give back encapsulate the spirit of this gathering, where personal growth and fun intertwine. And, as a cherry on top, Barney likes to admit that he “looks really good in orange.”


Victoria is the definition of versatility. By day, she works at Cloud Direct as a Data and AI Practice Lead, shaping data landscapes. But that’s not all – she’s also the brain behind Data Toboggan, a visionary endeavor. Engaging with the community is second nature, as seen in her role on the SQL Saturday board and her constant presence at SQLBits. A Ph.D. researcher specializing in database systems management, Victoria’s accolades include the AOUG Will Swann Award and the esteemed Microsoft Data Platform MVP. Amid her data-driven journey, she finds solace in the harmonies of her trombone, performing with orchestras, quartets, and big bands alike. Victoria’s story resonates with expertise, innovation, and a symphonic passion for both data and music.


Meet Angela, the IT extrovert! While she could chat up a storm about all things tech, her true passions lie in a diverse range of topics, from diving into the waters for a refreshing swim to crafting intricate creations through sewing. Her love for adventure takes her on journeys across the globe, soaking in the thrill of travel and the excitement of sports, with a soft spot for British sports cars that match her dynamic spirit. Off the clock, she’s a die-hard supporter of the Denver Broncos, Manchester United, and the Springboks, because who says you can’t embrace multiple team jerseys? Angela finds joy in the company of Jacob, her loyal four-legged companion, and her favor lies with the timeless Oxford comma. A Ford enthusiast, Husqvarna Viking aficionado, Crocs connoisseur, and avid practitioner of the “tines down” philosophy, Angela dances through life with an exuberant flair that’s simply infectious!


Kay Wilson SQLBits Buddy

Katy first started using SQL back in 2004, when as an analyst it was totally acceptable to leave a query running for 20 minutes and go off and get a cup of tea.  Things have changed a lot since then, Katy has gone on to work as a developer and DBA (she particularly enjoys query tuning) and is now a data engineer.  She attended her first SQLBits without volunteering, and whilst she had fun, it’s definitely more fun being part of the Orange Army in her opinion. Be warned if you see her about, there is a strong chance she’ll say hello and ask you if you’re are enjoying Bits just as much as she is.  The good news is she won’t mind if you’re feeling shy or would rather not speak for too long, she gets it! Outside of SQL-related fun, Katy enjoys hula hooping, aerial/circus classes and is pretty crafty.

Bits Buddies Blast

So, you’ve just met our Bits Buddies, now what? Well, how about giving their podcast a listen!

Introducing the Bits Buddies Blast, in which Emma and Bob set out on a journey to dig deeper into the lives of the wonderful people who speak at, organise and attend SQLBits, and more widely, how the connections they’ve made along the way have shaped their careers and ultimately their lives.

You can listen to Bits Buddies Blast here!

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