TSQL Tuesday #96: Folks Who Have Made a Difference

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T-SQL Tuesday is a weekly challenge where a topic is provided to people in the SQL community who are looking for fresh ideas to blog about.  Each Tuesday a new topic is given and SQL bloggers start typing!  This is my first T-SQL Tuesday (Transact SQL Tuesday) post, which is hosted by Ewald Cress and is about “the opportunity to give a shout-out to people (well-known or otherwise) who have made a meaningful contribution to your life in the world of data.” Read more about the challenge here.

I had some great male mentors in my early years, two in particular really stand out.

The first was Bill Butler, locally known in Calistoga as the main Veterinarian in town, had a huge impact on my life. He gave me my first job, introduced me to computers (data entry & accounting), was our choir leader in church (folk mass), taught me to play guitar, drive a car, and to fly a plane. He took me to the Reno Air Races to see the jets and to a scholarly talk at a local University to meet Charlie Duke (who walked on the moon). He flew me to UCSB to tour the school and took me in when my Mom had her terrible accident. He was just an amazing, amazing person who I really wanted to make proud. He encouraged me to apply for the US Air Force Academy and was behind me every step of the way, cheering me on. Bill passed away suddenly and unexpectedly a few years ago, and I will miss him the rest of my life.

The second person was George Schofield. George was very entrepreneurial and had a number of businesses going at the same time, I mainly worked with him on Unique Wines (a wine investment group) and to create Supply & Demand reports and projections for the wine grape industry using weather, tonnage, locale, pricing and history. From George I learned the art of multi-tasking, using spreadsheets, creating macros, drawing charts with plotter pens, mailing lists, calculating compound interest, and using statistics to forecast. Most importantly, George taught me to not take a simple “no” as the final answer. If it doesn’t hurt you to ask, then ask. He helped me figure out how to move things around – “playing the game”. Thanks to George I was able to have my parents resubmit 2 years worth of their tax returns without me listed as a dependent. It seems like a small thing, but it opened up the world for me to get funding for college. (Big “a-ha” moment there).  Also, when told I had to reapply for admission to UCSB because I had been absent for 2 semesters due to financial woes, George asked “who can get around that rule?”, which was a real revelation to me. Simply meeting with the Dean and explaining my circumstance, and I was back in without having to reapply. Don’t be stopped by someone telling you No, think about how you can use the system, use the rules, play the game, and get what you want (without hurting anyone of course). Persistence, Creative Thinking and Perseverance, that’s what George taught me. I only worked for George for 3 years, but it was 3 years that has effected my life from that point onward.

There were many others – my Step Father Bill Corry has been a true Dad to me and my brother in every way. Richard & Alice Aubert of Calistoga Pharmacy where I worked off and on from 13 through 21. Father Brinkle of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Calistoga. My friend Alissa Fourkas, who has been a true friend over many, many years – my longest friend. Bobby Walker, who taught me to never apologize on stage, it’s a magic act, they think you’re special, don’t give them any reason to not believe that. Keith Mader, who refused to take no for an answer and just kept on me about going to work for TMW…persistence. He’s a true friend and was great to work with and for. Chris Brickley, also of TMW, just a great friend – and someone who believed in me building the “Mindy Brand”, egging me on and urging me to apply for speaking positions and to grow my presence in the SQL Family. Lastly, my husband Chris Curnutt, who I respect immensely, has a wisdom about him, and keeps my ego in check. 🙂