Was it fun? Oh yeah, it was. Was it perfect? Hmm, maybe not. But was it awesome? Definitely yes! Let me tell you, it was an amazing experience being a part of the whole process. SQL Saturday Charlotte was my 9th SQL Saturday of this year, but there was a big difference from the other ones – this time, I was wearing the Organizer hat and not the Speaker hat. It all started around March of this year when me and Javier Guillen (blog | twitter) were seriously contemplating on starting a BI user group in Charlotte. We pulled in our common friend, Melissa Coates (blog | twitter) to this plan and she in turn informed us that Rafael Salas (blog | twitter) was also trying to do the same. We joined forces and this marked the start of the evening #BeerAndBI rituals, where we started to come up with ideas and plans to start our new user group. In one of those sober (?) rituals, the SQL Saturday idea was introduced and then there was no turning back from there. We informed Karla Landrum (twitter) of our intentions and she was extremely supportive. We started with checking venues around June, and I must say we were really lucky to have Alberto Botero of Central Piedmont Community College as our friend. He acted as a bridge between the college and us, and ensured we had a venue to start off with. We confirmed the dates for SQL Saturday with Karla by June end and started our preparations. Having a big team has its own advantages, it was easier to split tasks without over-burdening anyone. Rafael was in charge of the sponsors and food section, Javier was in charge of finance and venue related section, Melissa was in charge of social media, website, emails, general coordination, etc and me in charge of recruiting speakers and making the schedule. Even though we were assigned specific tasks, it was great to see everyone pooling in their efforts wherever they could. We also got Shannon Lowder (blog | twitter) to help us coordinate all the volunteers. And when the day finally came for setting up the venue on the day before, there were lot of unforgettable moments, for example stuffing the bags on the eve of the event with Javier, Rafael setting off the fire alarm when we were already running late for the speaker dinner, setting up the tables and the cute little raffle boxes made by Melissa, last minute printing with the help of Shannon’s iPhone, etc. The speaker dinner was well attended and was fabulous, we even managed to have a few shots before we left. On the D-day, we reached the venue around 6:45 am in the morning and from that time on till the afternoon, we were so busy that we couldn’t even speak much with each other. I was always of the mentality that we had planned more than necessary and things will flow pretty easily during the event. I couldn’t have been more wrong and it really took a lot of effort from our as well as our volunteers’ side to make sure everything went well. This made me appreciate the great work done by all our volunteers and organizers of past SQL Saturdays all the more. At the end of the day, it felt great to hear all the positive responses about the event from our attendees. A big thanks to all our sponsors, speakers and volunteers who made this possible. It was fun and although it took me around a week to recover completely, I sort of miss all the madness involved in planning a SQL Saturday right now. Anyways, I am sure there will be much more to it with the start of the new BI group in Charlotte. Time to pack up my bags for the PASS Summit and reward myself with a relaxing week at Seattle!