TSQL Tuesday #96: Folks Who Have Made a Difference


Today’s blog post is part of T-SQL Tuesday. T-SQL Tuesday is the brainchild of Adam Machanic. It is a monthly blog party on the second Tuesday of each month. Everyone is welcome to participate.

This month’s T-SQL Tuesday, hosted by Ewald Cress‏ (blog | twitter), is all about people who have made a difference in our careers. I’m listing several.

  • My mom, Kimberly Tripp, and Kalen Delaney
  • Dr. Shaw Lin
  • Fabian Dibot
  • Aaron Nelson
  • Rob Sewell
  • Cathrine Wilhelmsen
  • Jeffrey Snover & Lee Holmes
  • Brandon Abshire

My mom, Kimberly Tripp, and Kalen Delaney

I’d like to open with the women who normalized women in tech for me. Growing up, my mom was an accountant who always had PCs around the home office. We were the second family in town to get a mouse, right behind the Leblanc family. My mom knew that computers would be a big deal and encouraged her three kids to play on her Leading Edge 8088s. She even paid me $10/hr to format floppy disks. Her encouragement paid off, and all three kids ended up in tech. My oldest brother leads the Air Force Cyber Command and my other brother is a a tech-oriented hospital administrator who started his executive career at a medical software company.

Years after formatting those floppy disks, I decided to become a DBA and jumped into the world of SQL Server. I remember seeing Kalen Delaney and Kim Tripp everywhere. Their talent and advice were sought after yet there was rarely, if ever, a mention that they were women. They were simply SQL Server experts. This enabled me to relax because I knew my gender wouldn’t have to be a big deal in my career.

And that’s ultimately what I want. Sort of like how it’s not a big deal in Europe that I’m married to a woman, and there’s no “WOW!” when I introduce my wife, it’ll be a great day when girls and women in IT exist to the point that it’s just not a thing and there is no need for them to seek refuge in knowing there’s a Kim or Kalen who’s already paved the way.

Dr. Shaw Lin

Back in 1999, Shaw “please don’t call me doctor” Lin gave me my first well paying job. He also gave me career changing advice. “Chrissy, drop out of college.” This was coming from someone who had two engineering PhDs from an Ivy League school. “Wait, what?” Shaw then went on to say that this tech boom will likely only happen once in my life, and that, once it ends, the experience I can gain at his company would provide more immediate value than school. Plus, once the bubble bursts, I can always go back to school and get my next employer to pay for it.

That’s exactly what I did. I’m now almost finished with my Masters in Systems Engineering (two classes left!), don’t have any debt, and can claim nearly 20 years of experience with SQL Server. Thank you forever, Shaw!

Fabian Dibot

Back in January 2015, French PowerShell MVP Fabian Dibot nominated me for PowerShell MVP and changed the course of my life. Winning the MVP award was insanely thrilling, totally overwhelming and completely life changing. Without Fabian’s nomination, faith and encouragement, I wouldn’t have had all the opportunities that I have today.

Aaron Nelson

Aaron contacted me soon after I won the MVP, and together we helped shape the world of SQL PowerShell. Aaron can be relentlessly encouraging, which is sometimes exactly what I need.

Aaron’s excitement about all of the possibilities of SQL PowerShell has been genuinely inspiring, and it’s been a blast working, advocating and celebrating together.

Rob Sewell

Presenting regularly with Rob has been one of the most satisfying advancements in my career.

It’s positively magical to have such an ease with a fellow co-presenter. I remember Luc Dekens talking about presenting with his friend Alan Renouf saying how natural and easy it was. I thought he was so lucky to find his person and now I found mine.

It’s reassuring to know that I can call Rob up at any time and ask if he’d present at any conference with me and know that the answer will be “of course!” Rob has an ease that I admire and aim for in my own presentation style.

Cathrine Wilhelmsen

I was fortunate enough to have Cathrine sit in on my first ever public presentation. What a treat! I was a nervous wreck and confessed my anxiety to Cathrine. Even though she’s not a DBA, she offered to watch my session, give moral support and let me know if there’s anything I can improve.

Cathrine noted that the presentation went very well overall, but the end just kind of fizzled out. I agreed. Cathrine suggested that I end strong, letting everyone know that the presentation has concluded. “How about ‘My name is Chrissy LeMaire and thank you so much for joining me today'”.

I swear, that’s been some of the best advice ever! I consistently see positive responses when I end on that note.

Jeffrey Snover & Lee Holmes

Jeffrey and Lee are so 😍 to me because they are both brilliant yet remain down to earth.

I met Lee at a conference back in 2005. He was super approachable, encouraging and enthusiastic and he remains so today.

Same goes for Jeffrey Snover. Jeffrey the world famous inventor of PowerShell who became a Technical Fellow at Microsoft yet he is still super kind, always smiling and always delighted to hear your PowerShell stories. Also, he doesn’t take himself so seriously that he can’t take a pic doing the femme head tilt at PSConf.eu

Brandon Abshire

I’d like to close this post by giving a shout out to my lifelong BFF, co-founder of RealCajunRecipes.com and a fellow DBA, “Bun”.

Brandon is one of the smartest technologists I’ve ever met and I admire so many things about him. Not only did he teach me PowerShell, but he also gives me confidence as a DBA because if I ever get stuck on some issue (the more complex, the more up his alley), I know I’ll always have someone to jump in and help solve it with me.

Brandon is also funny as hell and a talented artist, as can be seen the original RealCajunRecipes.com mascot that he created, Alphonse Renee Adams.


I love you bawwww.

Chrissy is a Cloud and Datacenter Management & Data Platform MVP who has worked in IT for over 20 years. She is the creator of the popular SQL PowerShell module dbatools, holds a master's degree in Systems Engineering and is coauthor of Learn dbatools in a Month of Lunches. Chrissy is certified in SQL Server, Linux, SharePoint and network security. You can follow her on Twitter at @cl.

Posted in PowerShell, SQL Server
2 comments on “TSQL Tuesday #96: Folks Who Have Made a Difference
  1. Wow, thank you, Chrissy! This means a lot to me. My mom would have been first on my list, too. I grew up thinking it was perfectly reasonable that I loved math and science, because of her.

    • Chrissy LeMaire says:

      It’s an honor to see your reply, Kalen!

      I remember not thinking twice about my interest in computers until someone made a big deal about my gender. It’s one of the reasons why it not being a deal is important to me.

      Since it was made a big deal, however, it was always nice to be able to say “Actually, the most respected people in our field are women. It’s just not an unusual for SQL Server.” So thank you for that.

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