Official PASS Summit Blogger

Have you ever just looked around where you are and thought “How the heck did I get HERE?” If I am being honest, it has happened a fair number of times for me. Normally when this happens, I stand in amazement for a few minutes and just let myself soak it in.

One such moment happened at PASS Summit 2018.  It was my pleasure to have been invited to live-blog from the PASS Summit Blogger’s Table for the 2018 Summit Keynotes. Surrounded by some of the most amazing people in the community, I nervously sat out to share my experiences in real time. For reference, those blogs are listed here:

What is PASS Summit?

PASS Summit Day 2: Wake Up Seattle!

Empower Gender Diversity in Technology

This year PASS has decided to try something new and is introducing the Official PASS Summit Blogger Program. I am honored to be chosen as an Official Blogger for PASS Summit!


What is an Official PASS Summit Blogger?

The Official PASS Summit Blogger program is made up of some of the community’s most influential and knowledgeable experts across architecture, data management, and analytics.

This year’s team of bloggers will share the latest event announcements, along with their past experiences and tips and tricks in the lead up to PASS Summit 2019.

What does that mean?

There’s a lot of fancy words there.  So what does this mean for YOU?  Official Bloggers not only get the opportunity to live-blog the keynote events, but we also get exclusive access with the PASS Executive Committee, industry leaders, exhibitors, and sponsors.

Through this program, I will be on the inside and will be sharing:

  • stories and highlights from PASS Summit 2018;
  • tips and tricks about making Summit a great experience,
  • info about PASS Summit events and announcements;
  • and live-blogging events and sessions at PASS Summit 2019!

This is such an exciting opportunity and I am looking forward to sharing everything with you! I can tell you now, there will be a lot of exciting information in the months to come. And as always, along the way I will do my best to entertain and enlighten.  

Other Official PASS Summit Bloggers

The coolest thing about bloggers is that each one of them has a unique understanding to share. I highly suggest you follow me and my fellow Official Pass Summit Bloggers listed below.

Please always feel free to reach out if you have any questions or comments.  I believe we learn and grow as one.  We are always stronger together!

Atlanta on My Mind

A few years ago I accompanied my husband to Atlanta for SQL Saturday. He was speaking and had told me what a wonderful event it was. Not ever wanting to pass up a chance to learn, network with community, and be of assistance to my great friends there, I jumped at the chance to go! I was not speaking yet, so I was purely an attendee.

I dreamed of the day when I would be able to present. I have always admired those who were brave enough to stand in front of strangers and share knowledge and experience. I was never sure I had the courage, or the experiences to share. What I have come to realize is that EVERYONE has a story to share!

Go Big or Go Home

To say that SQL Saturday Atlanta is a big event is a total understatement. There are always tons of people there! Not only that, the planning team is a large group who work seamlessly and tirelessly to pull of an awesome event! The event this year is held on May 18, 2019 at Gwinnett Technical College, Alpharetta, Georgia.

Returning with Data

I am so thrilled to announce that this year I have been chosen to present Data Collection and Usage: Illegal or Unethical? at #SQLSatAtlanta!

Data ethics is something near and dear to my heart. In this session we discuss how data collection and usage is all around us and explore how it is used. Is what we do with the data ethical? Are we collecting and processing biased data? We will take a look at ethical data collection and usage, what it means to your models and forecasts, and how being aware of possible biases can impact your bottom line. You might be training on extremely biased data and not know it, skewing your forecasts in the wrong direction.

I hope you will join me. My goal is to make learning fun and interactive. Fortunately, I am one of the first sessions, so grab some coffee and a snack and join me in Room 226!

More Than Learning

If you have never been to a SQL Saturday, one of the most important things to remember is that it is more than just about learning new skills. SQL Saturdays are a fantastic place to meet new friends, vendors who can make your job easier, and quite possibly meet your new employee or coworker! If you are in search of a new job, networking with vendors and others in the community will boost your reach.

Take a moment to speak with fellow attendees and speakers. We often get so caught up in learning new technical skills that we forget to make time to connect with people. Don’t be shy! We are all in this together, we all want to connect and share. Don’t miss out! Register for SQL Saturday Atlanta today, or a SQL Saturday near you!

Thank you to Idera for sponsoring me as an Idera Ace!

Return To Where It All Started

They say you can’t go back home again. That is true, but this week I will be traveling back to where it all started. I am headed back to speak SQL Sat Nashville! Last year at this time (January 2018) I nervously arrived at SQLSatNash to present for the very first time.

With a ton of support from my friends and family, I created a session over Soft Skills and I was ready to present! I had prepared. I had obsessively gone over each and every word on the slides. I had practiced and practiced and had actually given a test run to my husband’s company. I was ready. I WAS READY!

Is it time to panic?

No sleep was to be had the night before my session. I was excited and nervous.. and very scared. The day was here and I could not be any more prepared. I walked in to set up laptop and the room was freezing. I swear I could see my breath when I talked! You see, the university had been closed the day before due to ice and snow, and the rooms had not yet warmed up. This gave me a new panic. How was I going to keep people’s attention in such a cold room? Would they even stay?

My knees were knocking, and it wasn’t just because the room was a balmy 40 degrees (F)! I was nervous and was constantly questioning my decision to step into the public speaking realm.

I loved seeing it snow at #SQLSatNash 2018

Calm down, you are amongst friends!

In order to calm my nerves, I started playing Can’t Stop the Feeling. This is one of my go-to feel great songs. People started filing in, and I kept it playing. I started dancing (to keep warm and also because I had no idea what to do with all that nervous energy!) and I was surprised to see others started joining me!!!  Much to my amazement and pure enjoyment, Aunt Kathi was on the front row to see ME and she started dancing as well! Actually I think she lead the dancing! ha ha (Seeing Aunt Kathi there in my session made me feel like a super star. Having her join me in dancing made me feel even more special. Thank you Aunt Kathi!)

I look out over my audience and see some amazing people. John Morehouse, Duke (#JohnsDad), Rie Irish, Allen Kinsel, Lance Tidwell, Jim Donahoe, my son Robert, Chris Hyde, and many others were there to support me! What an amazing group of #SQLFamily! The time was now, and I did not want to disappoint them! So here we go, the song was over and it was time to start!

I am thankful for my #SQLFamily

If you have not attended my sessions, they are… less than boring. I feel that my job as a speaker is to not only education, but to entertain. So, sort of edutainment I suppose. I was so full of excitement and energy, I felt like I was buzzing all over the place! I had a lot of great audience interaction and participation and before I knew it, the presentation was complete. WOW! That time sure flew by! I was shaking, I was excited, I was on a new-found high that I had never experienced before! I was totally bit by the Speaker Bug!

SQL Saturday?

I went on to speak at several SQL Saturdays in 2018 and had a wonderful time at every event. If you are wondering where the next or nearest SQL Saturday is to you, you can visit the SQLSaturday website and find out! Remember that just as important as the training you receive, the networking at SQL Saturdays can be greatly beneficial to you and your career. Don’t be afraid to approach a speaker and ask questions. We are there to share knowledge and to network as well.

I am super excited to be chosen to speak in Nashville again. It is such a great event put on by great people. This year I will be discussing something near and dear to my heart, Ethics in Data. I would love to see you at SQL Saturday Nashville 2019! You can find out more and register here!

And hey, if you want to start presenting but don’t know where to start, check out this blog (Just Start at the Beginning) and send me a message! I would love to help grow new speakers! You can do this.

Switching Gears and Moving Cheese

In 2016 I decided to switch careers.  It was a big decision for me, and a bit scary.  I had been working in the legal field since I graduated college.  It was an area in which I grew and excelled, but it had become stale for me.  I knew I wasn’t happy and that my heart truly belonged in a more technically challenging role; however, I had no idea where to start.  In walked the Microsoft Professional Program in Data Science.  Knowing that I learn best from structured programs, I felt confident that the classroom-style lecture and lab would be a great fit.  I found it interesting and so very helpful that the program allowed me to first dip my toe into tech without too much investment.  The courses are designed so that you can audit them and not pay a thing!  Soon, I was hooked!

Jumping Into the Deep End

Standing on the precipice of greatness is often an exciting and terrifying experience.  I was staring at the data field trying to decide which path to take.  I was fortunate to be offered a position as a Marketing DBA with a SQL Server consulting company.  I began learning and growing as a website designer, marketing specialist, CRM specialist, project manager, event coordinator, and database administrator.  Wow, there is SO much to learn!  So many paths to take, so many areas in which to specialize.  It can be very overwhelming to the new student.  After a while I found that I needed to make a move, I needed to take a big leap into the well of knowledge, so I left my position to go back and finish my data science courses.

Data Science

What is “data science?” you may be asking.  I feel that the term is both widely over-used and wholly underestimated. Think about the term “scientist” and what that entails.  A scientist uses knowledge and technology to aid in finding an answer or truth.  So naturally, a data scientist does the same thing.  We use various means of technology, finesse, hypothesis, and trial and error to draw from the data the story that is waiting to be told.  My personal journey took me along the path of learning Python and Azure Machine Learning, two things I never knew I would have any desire to learn.  I faced these two courses with extreme skepticism.  I resigned myself to the thought that I would more than likely barely get by (and that “D stands for diploma” as we used to say in college).  Much to my surprise, I found that not only did I understand both, I absolutely fell in love with coding in Python and predictive analysis with Azure Machine Learning!

Data science really is so much more than exploring with new technology and programs.  Data science also draws on the tried and true, and this is where my background in the legal field comes in really handy.  For instance, can pure, raw data be racist?  (Absolutely, and that will be a topic we save for an up-coming blog. )  When we are given data, it is never in a perfect form: information is missing or duplicated, in the wrong format, or is unusable for many other different reasons.  Because of this, a data scientist must know how to clean, manipulate, and finesse the data in order to pull out the story.  Much like an artist who starts with a block of marble creates a beautiful statue, Data scientists must know the curves and lines to manipulate to bring out the best form of the story the data is designed to tell. In the legal field, we used words and phrases to convey law, tell stories of guilt or innocence, and create the narrative we desired.  It all takes an art form and knack for finesse. 


Moving Cheese

There will come a time in life, perhaps many times, where you find your cheese has been moved.  Many times as well that you find you need to move your own cheese.  “Why the cheese talk Angela?” you might be pondering.  Back in my first job out of college, an attorney I worked with gave me a copy of a book he wanted me to read.  It was truly an eye-opening and life changing moment for me.  If you have not read the book Who Moved My Cheese ?  I suggest getting a copy.  It is a good reminder that no matter where you are in life, if you are not living happy and feeling fulfilled, you CAN make a change.  You can wait for someone else to move your cheese, or you can just move it yourself.  So this is what I did, I moved my cheese.

An Invitation

I invite you to come along on this data science journey with me as we explore new programs and technologies.  Over the next few weeks, I will be diving into my experience in each section of the Microsoft Professional Program in Data Science.  I will NOT be sharing answers to test or lab questions, that would be cheating, and you know that as well as I do!

Power BI Data Gateway

What is a Data Gateway in Power BI?

When creating reports in Power BI, the end goal is to make them useful to many users. In order to share reports created in Power BI, they must be published to the cloud (known as Once nestled in the cloud, the data in the reports will either stand static, or will need to be updated on a regular basis. In order to refresh data and keep end users in up to date, the cloud must have access to data sources. This is where you need a Data Gateway. Think of a data gateway as a bridge between your on-premises data sources and the cloud.

A gateway should be installed on a machine that is always on and connected to the internet. Gateway cannot access information from a machine that is powered off or loses internet.

  •  Before installing, take into consideration that if you are installing on a laptop and it is turned off, not connected to the internet, or asleep, the gateway won’t work and the data in the cloud will not sync with your on-prem data. Also, if the machine on which the gateway is installed is connected to a wireless network, the gateway may perform more slowly and that will take longer for the data to sync with the cloud and your on-prem data.

Power BI Gateway can be installed in two ways:

  • On-premises data gateway – This gateway can be used by any user that has access to the server on which the gateway is installed. It can be used for scheduling refreshes and live queries.
  • On-premises data gateway (Personal mode) – This gateway is can only be used by the person setting up the gateway. This mode is only used for scheduling refreshes in Power BI. At the time of writing, Live Connection, DirectQuery, Power Apps, Logic Apps, and Microsoft Flow are not supported.

Only one gateway in each mode can be installed on one machine. That is, you may install one gateway in personal mode, and another in regular mode. You cannot install two or more personal mode gateways on one machine. You can, however, manage multiple gateways from the same interface on Power BI.

Installing a Gateway

To install a gateway, you will first need to sign on to Take note that this is NOT the desktop app, this is the cloud-based service. Look at the top right on the menu bar, click on the icon that looks like an arrow pointing down. The dropdown will reveal several actions. You will want to choose ‘Data Gateway’.


This will take you to a new webpage where you will be able to start your Gateway download. Click on the DOWNLOAD GATEWAY button and wait for the download to begin. Once the Download Installer has finished, open up the exe and follow instructions.


When the installer opens, you will be ready to start setting up your gateway.


Click NEXT to choose the type of gateway you need.  Before you choose, take into consideration the role of each. Remember that the Personal mode is only useful for on demand refresh and scheduling refresh in PowerBI and cannot be used for Live or DirectQuery. On-premises data gateway can be used by multiple users and does support both schedule refresh and DirectQuery.

Please note the following in regard to installing either mode:

  •  both gateways require 64-bit Windows operating systems
  •  gateways can’t be installed on a domain controller
  •  you can install up to two On-premises data gateways on the same computer, one running in each mode (personal and standard)
  •  you cannot have more than one gateway running in the same mode on the same computer
  •  you can install multiple On-premises data gateways on different computers, and manage them all from the same Power BI gateway management interface (not including Personal mode)
  •  You can only have one Personal mode gateway running for each Power BI user. If you install another Personal mode gateway for the same user, even on a different computer, the most recent installation replaces the existing previous installation.


Once you have chosen your mode and clicked next, it will take a a few seconds for it to download and get ready to install your gateway.

The next step is to point the download to the drive on wish you want the install to go. You will want the Gateway positioned as close to your data source as possible. Be sure to read and accept the terms of use and privacy statement.

Upon successful installation, you will need to add an email address to use with this gateway. Next you will need to sign in.


We have successful installation of our Gateway! Now you will have the option to configure a new gateway, migrate, restore, or take over an existing gateway. Here we will register the data gateway.

Register On-Prem

To configure a new gateway, you will need to enter a name for the gateway, enter a recovery key (minimum 8 characters) and finally, select Configure. Be sure to store your recovery key in a safe place. You will need it in the future if you ever need to migrate, restore, or take over a gateway.


Congratulations, you now have a successful installation and configuration of Gateway! Now you will be able to connect to on-prem data sources! For use with Power BI, you will need to add your data sources to the gateway within the Power BI service. This is done by going to the menu bar, clicking on the gear icon and choosing MANAGE GATEWAYS from the drop down. We will cover adding data sources in the next blog!

*For a more in-depth look at Gateway installation, information can be found on Microsoft Docs.