In January 0f 2009 something crazy and awesome happened for me, SharePoint Saturday was born. I was a 26 year old girl from Saint Louis Missouri who was living in Olathe, KS. About 5 month prior I went to the most pivotal event in my career and life in Washington DC, the Regional SharePoint Conference, where I met Michael Lotter, Paul Galvin, Tony Lanni, Bob Fox, and Rachel Appel. Several months later I was visiting Michael at a code camp in Raleigh North Carolina and he told me we’re going to have an event in New York City that’s like a code camp, but there will only be SharePoint related topics. Somehow Susan Lennon and Michael spoke and then Kevin Israel was involved and the first ever SharePoint Saturday was planned.
I remember I was going to take a flight from MCI in Kansas City and I would meet Michael in Raleigh. The 2009 B&R crew, Nas Ali, Josh Carlisle, myself, and Michael were going to take Josh Carlisle’s Cadillac from Raleigh, NC to Virginia Beach, VA stop at the hotel and then hit up the speaker dinner at some pizza place. I don’t remember much about the drive there and back. I know that we had some great conversations on the way there and back. We made the speaker dinner and I sat down in my backwards Cardinal’s cap, t-shirt, and jeans. I was very nervous. This was my second ever SharePoint only event and my second ever Silverlight talk. Joel Oleson sat down next to me during the dinner. I was completely freaked out and nervous even further. I was trying to avoid eye contact. Of all the people how could Joel sit next to me?
That night Joel and a bunch of us walked around and hung out by the beach. I still have pictures next to the Poseidon statue on my iPhone. I think this was around the time my first iPhone was cracked and the first time anyone took a picture of it in the SharePoint community. We woke up the next morning and headed to the venue. We made it there in record time. When I got there I was so nervous I drank a ton of coffee and ate nothing. I was so wired that I could only sit through John Holliday’s session on CAML .Net. It was like housing all my heroes in one place. It was like I was this tiny little mortal. When I met John for the first time he was so cool and he asked me if I had taken a look at his Codeplex project. I had not and I was so nervous. I remember there was some Star Trek comment that he made that he thought I didn’t understand it was more I was so nervous than anything.
I remember roaming around the area was Dan Usher and Joel Ward. Dan was the quietest person in the whole wide world when I first met him. I remember standing at the top of the stairs after John’s session meeting him. I don’t fully remember the exchange. I also remember during my session Paul Galvin and Dan were in my session. They gave me really great comments and feedback which would shape the Silverlight session that has now morphed into an HTML 5 vs. Silverlight talk. I remember that first photo we took and attempting to hide behind everyone and they made me get into the shot. That year was an epic year and the years after it.
Since that first SharePoint Saturday I have gone through a break up, a flood, three companies, two MVP Awards, an INETA Community Champions Award, several title changes, and the acceptance of much more responsibility. I have even stopped wearing the backwards cap and t-shirts much to everyone’s surprise. If anyone can remember it there was a time when I was so quiet around you all and now you can’t get me to stop talking. Just think if Michael and Susan had not conspired to create SharePoint Saturday I would not be the person I am today with all the awesome stuff in my life. I even would not have been so bold last month as to randomly tell someone out loud I was interested in them. Thank you guys for giving me the gift of an outlet where I feel safe and confident in my personal and professional life. Without SharePoint Saturdays I am not sure I would be the same person I am today. Without Michael in particular I would not be the same person I am today in general. Thank you for all the great advice and mentorship you have given me throughout the years. I know I don’t say it enough, but you are pretty awesome.