My MVP Award Story

3,5 years ago, I started working as a SQL Server DBA Consultant at Kohera. The goal that I had, next to being a good SQL DBA, was becoming a SQL Server MVP.
Many people told me that it was really hard and difficult to become an MVP, but I believed in myself that it was possible. I knew already a lot of SQL Server because of my previous job but I still had to learn a lot.
I began with reading a lot of blog posts, SQL books, forums ,… and took the exams to get Microsoft certified. I also joined the SQL User Group in Belgium to get to know the SQL people and to learn about the interesting stuff they provide in the user group sessions.

However, I was new and unknown in the SQL community world, so I started to figure out how people could get to know me.
I created a Twitter account (@Pieter_Vanhove) and started following the local “SQL guru’s” in Belgium and some of the most famous SQL guys (MCT’s and MVP’s) in the world.
I started participating in discussions on Twitter and replied on some #sqlhelp questions. Every week, slowly, I got a few extra followers. But I knew that tweeting wouldn’t be enough.

I also wanted to share my SQL experience and started this blog. I don’t blog a lot but I try to share as much as possible my SQL experience. I mostly blog interesting stuff that I have noticed in my day to day job or some interesting scripts that I’ve created.

After a few months, I was asked by Microsoft if I wanted to give a Technet Live Meeting. Sure, why not! The goal of this is to provide an online session that people can join on the web. It was actually my first speaker experience, although it was not in front of a live audience.
As a result of these live meetings, I was selected to join the Microsoft Extended Expert Team (MEET). All MEET members are Belgian experts which have been selected for their skills and knowledge in their area of expertise. They all share their knowledge via their blogs and are regular speakers at Microsoft events or User Group meetings.

After one year, I got a question of the SQLUG if I would like to give a session on SQL Server Days. This is *the* SQL event in Belgium every year. Of course I did and I was really excited about it, my first session in front of a live audience! It was great and it tasted like more. So I’ve started speaking at other events like Community Day, 12 hours of SQL Server 2012, SQLUG sessions and Microsoft Discovery day. I tried already a few times to speak at international events like SQLBITS or SQL PASS Summit, but I never got selected… (maybe this year 😉 ) I didn’t gave up and I wanted to see how my chances are to present on a SQL Saturday event. So I submitted a few sessions for SQL Saturday in Slovenia and guess what, I got selected!!

And last but not least, this year I joined the SQL Server Days group to help organizing the biggest SQL Event of the BeNeLux. It was again a really great experience.
I met a lot of nice people from the SQL community (or SQL Family as they call it), like Thomas LaRock (Twitter|Blog), Kevin Kline (Twitter|Blog), Mark Stacey (Twitter|Blog), … and they gave me some really good advice and tips.

A few weeks later, I got nominated for the MVP Award and on the 1st of January 2014 I got and E-mail from Microsoft starting with

Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2014 Microsoft® MVP Award!

I also would like to thank all the people who supported me and believe in me!