Tell us your story

While we have seen more than 100 speakers present their first ever session at either New Stars of Data or the DataGrillen Newcomer Track, we are sure there are many more stories out there, that we haven’t heard about yet so we want to hear from YOU!

  • What got you into speaking?
  • What was your first speaking experience like? How could it have been better?
  • What made you decide (not) to become a public speaker?
  • How was your experience mentoring a new speaker?
  • Which new speaker(s) have impressed you?
  • Why do you think new speakers are important for us as a community?

Whatever it is that makes you passionate, happy, frustrated, confused, excited…

Many already took part in our #NewStarNovember

Thank you to all of you!

Steve Jones started, on his story on how he got into speaking but continued his series as a 3 part post – you can find all of his contributions to #NewStarNovember at

Taiob Ali was next with another recap of how he started speaking.

One of our Newcomer Track speakers at DataGrillen 2022, Olivier van Steenlandt shared more about his path on getting into speaking but also the steps he took and was mentored with to prepare for his first speaking engagement.

One of our first ever New Stars of Data, Nikola Ilic – or as you may call him, Data Mozart, shared some amazing advice on how he became a speaker but also why you should get into speaking and why we even do need new speakers. Read more about his Road to Public Speaking.

Leslie Andrews shared some insights on her early speaking gigs and how it is OK for things not to be great from the beginning and how attending and speaking at community events changed her life.

One of our contestants of our latest round of New Stars of Data, Rosie Djurovic wrote about her experience and how much she enjoyed it.

Reitse Eskens was also part of the first New Stars event. His post also pointed out the importance of a great moderator, especially for new speakers, to break the awkward silence before a session but also to support you during the presentation.

One of our most loyal supporters, Beardy McBeardface (to some of you also known as Rob Sewell)’s story on getting into speaking not only shared about how it happened and why YOU should do it, too but also his lesson’s learned from mistakes or glitches in his first presentation.

Deborah Melkin who has continously supported our events in the past as a Moderator and Mentor as well (THANK YOU!) described the steps she took from a User Group to a SQL Saturday to becoming a speaker at a huge international conference. One of our favorite quotes from her post: It doesn’t matter how experienced a speaker you are, we all get stuck sometimes. So don’t wait for your abstract to be 100% perfect – it may never be but it doesn’t have to! Join the speaker club!

Tracy Boggiano who supported our Dativerse Event #1 with her Keynote also shared an amazing journey with us. From being terrified of speaking to doing solid double digit events per year. But it is not just about the speaking itself – speaking advanced Tracy’s career and made her a mentor and helper for so many others in our community – and gave her a family.

Andy Yun started a similar initiative back in 2016 where he challenged prospective new speakers to blog about their ideas and existing speakers to share their experiences and wisdom. Take a look at the new(ish) speakers from back then – who are now present at so many other events. All of us started somewhere!

Deepthi Goguri who also started at the first New Stars of Data and probably broke some records on the number of events she spoke at since then taught us more about the importance of not rejecting ourselves.

Mala Mahadevan described more on how long it took her to really get into speaking despite thinking about it – and also being encouraged by others – a lot. This is one of many stories that show is: Even if you waited for a long time, you can (and should) get started.

Michael Wall submitted his post a day late but in exchange, he answered ALL our questions so we do give extra credit for that 🙂 If we had to pick out one “most important” lesson from his post though, it would be My first presentation had everything go wrong. Michael, as many other of our rockstar community members, has evolved from being “just” a speaker to mentoring new speakers as well and the advice he keeps giving those mentees is: Start at small events like user groups, then work your way up.

Matt Gordon shared his very personal story of how he managed to overcome stuttering and his fear or public speaking and despite messing up in almost every conceivable way, he is now a regular speaker at so many international events that his story about Shaking Hands and Broken Demos almost sounds too hard to believe!

How can you still take part and contribute?

Publish your story and send an email to to still be added to the list of stories here!

PS: If you do not have a blog and need help getting your story published, ping and we’ll work something out for you 🙂