Redgate 100 Spotlight: Community Heroes

Since the launch of The Redgate 100, we’ve been celebrating those on the list who pride themselves on sharing their technical expertise with others. But we also want to shine a light on those in our Community Heroes category, whose contributions go beyond their own knowledge sharing, and even outside the data community. Here is just some of the amazing work our Community Heroes do.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I)

Coined as one of WeAreTechWomen’s “Inspiring Women”, Lætitia Avrot’s goal is to get more women speaking at conferences, contributing code, and mentoring one another to increase the diversity of the Postgres community. As one of only three women in the official Postgres contributors list, this was the catalyst for her co-founding Postgres Women Group. The aim is to increase the attendance of female engineers and developers at events while supporting them with mentoring and speaking at conferences. This group does incredible work improving diversity at Postgres conferences, offering tickets to events, mentoring new speakers, sponsoring events, and hosting a Postgres Women breakfast at PGConfEU.

Someone who needs no introduction and was recognized by Barack Obama himself, LaShana Lewis. Not only did she create a business solely around helping companies improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace, she is also heavily involved with initiatives and non-profits that help achieve that goal. LaShana is Chair for the STARs Advisory Council, which envision a future where employers hire people based on their skills rather than their degree, a Steering Committee Member for the St. Louis Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Consortium, Board President for Black Girls Do STEM, and has been involved with St. Louis LGBT Community Center, the LGBTQ Tech and Innovation Summit, Black Pride, Women 2.0., and the St. Louis Equity in Entrepreneurship Collective. I don’t know where she finds the time!

When he’s not busy hosting multiple podcasts, running a successful YouTube channel, programming, or speaking at events, Scott Hanselman prides himself on being an inclusion advocate. He has been involved in some fantastic work with multiple organizations such as Digital Undivided; catalyzing Latina & Black women founders, The Hidden Genius Project; training and mentoring Black male youth in technology creation and entrepreneurship, and Women Who Code; introducing women in tech to open source.

Kellyn Pot’Vin-Gorman is one of only six women in the Oak Table, a network for Oracle scientists. She has done incredible work shining a light on the challenges that women in technology face. Alongside authoring numerous technical books, Kellyn contributed to “A let them finish series: Story from the trenches” alongside Community Heroes; Angela Tidwell, and Tracy Boggiano and has also authored Crushing the IT Gender Bias. This book not only highlights the challenges many women in tech face and provides a platform for addressing bias, it also provides practical advice related to hiring practices, salary negotiations, and more. When she isn’t working as a Principal Azure Data Engineer at Microsoft, writing books, presenting or blogging she offers 1:1 mentoring for Tulane’s Women in Technology Program.

Ben Weissman and William Durkin, the masterminds behind DataGrillen, also brought us Dativerse and New Stars of Data.  Dativerse’s aim is to elevate those who are usually underrepresented at conferences due to their race, gender, sexual orientation, location, or other reasons. New Stars of Data is an evolution of the “Newcomer Track” At DataGrillen, which is dedicated to nurturing new talent and providing a wealth of knowledge to help new speakers succeed. They have gone to great lengths to foster a more inclusive and welcoming community for all.

If it isn’t enough that Sarah Conway develops websites for conferences and events across the Postgres community and is an organizer of PostgresOpen; she also became involved with United States PostgreSQL Association’s Diversity Committee in 2019, first as a committee chair, and more recently and a PgUS director since May 2022. The committee’s purpose is to facilitate diversity and inclusion within the PostgreSQL community and beyond.

Previously the Simple Talk Editor, and now helping our customers succeed in a Solutions Engineer role, it’s Redgate’s very own Kathi Kellenberger. Kathi invests much of her time mentoring, and teaching T-SQL through an organization called LaunchCode, a non-profit which started a group specifically for women called LaunchCode Women+.

Alongside organizing and speaking at SQLSaturdays, Angela Tidwell is also an active member of the WIT community. Contributing to the Stories from the Trenches: Volume 2 from the Let Them Finish Series, also giving talks in-person or online, celebrating other WIT, or being part of panels guiding and mentoring others.

Education and Mentoring

Up next, is SQLServerCentral Editor and Redgate Advocate, Steve Jones. There’s a good chance you’ve benefitted from Steve’s contributions to the community at one point or another during your career; whether that’s reading, or writing for SQLServerCentral, attending or presenting at a SQLSaturday, or seeing one of his many talks; both technical and those on professional development. He’s been a catalyst for allowing others to share their own knowledge and providing the platforms to do so both online and in person.

Inspired by the struggle to find new speakers at SQL Relay; now Data Relay, Alex Yates kindly offered his time to mentor new or nervous speakers via Twitter. Off the back of this was one of his top–performing tweets, which led to the creation of, a place where you can find or become a mentor.

Rising star, Jean Joseph, who also makes an appearance in our “Ones to watch” category, has not only started sharing his own knowledge with the community, he has also recently created opportunities for others to speak and share through founding and organizing both Cloud Data Driven User Group and Future Data Driven Summit.

Not only does Matt Gordon regularly give insightful talks at conferences, he also supports the community by offering mentoring for speakers, running the Lexington Data Technology Group, and volunteering as a helper at events such as SQLBits.

Local Community

On top of being a co-leader of the Triangle SQL Server User Group in Raleigh, NC, and the DEI Virtual Group, Tracy Boggiano volunteers with North Carolina Guardian ad Litem and cites it as her favourite and most important job. Since 2003, she’s been doing remarkable work advocating for abused and neglected foster children in court and has advocated for over 60 children. If that wasn’t enough, she is also a mental health advocate through the PAIMI (Protection and Advocacy of Individuals with Mental Illnesses) Advisory Council with the DRNC (Disability Rights of North Carolina).

On top of all the amazing work LaShana Lewis does surrounding DE&I, she has also been involved with a broad variety of initiatives to improve her local community such as The Center for Election Science; a national, nonpartisan nonprofit focused on voting reform, UMSL Succeed; an inclusive post-secondary education program for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, City of St. Louis Downtown Engagement and Public Safety Initiative; to activate downtown’s cultural potential while improving public safety. And then there’s her work at The Downtown St. Louis Community Improvement District (CID); which aims at making downtown a cleaner, safer, and more attractive space as well as International Institute of St. Louis; the community’s immigrant service and information hub.

*Caveat: this does not include the full list of contributions from our Community Heroes, for that we may have needed to write our own book or two.

What an inspiring group of people, it definitely makes us want to step up and do more. So, on that note, we’ll be donating $1,000 each to the top 3 most voted for organizations:

Voting will close on 12th December