2021 : Community Influencer of the Year

Like 2020, this past year was tumultuous, both in the world at large and within our community. I blogged in November about The Year of the Exodus, noting how many folks we know and love have made significant changes to their personal lives and career trajectories. In spite of our imperfect world, our community has resolve and, hardships aside, continues to demonstrate a relentless drive to help each other in just about every way imaginable.

Which brings me to the reason for this post. Every year, I highlight someone in the community who I feel has gone above and beyond for the good of all of us. Previous recipients:

My choice for this year's Community Influencer of the Year is:

Taiob Ali

I first met Taiob (@SqlWorldWide | SQLWorldWide.com) years ago at a local event in Boston, and have always been impressed with his enthusiasm and tireless efforts to help and encourage his fellow community members. He has been a Microsoft MVP since 2019 but, if you told me it had been a decade, I would believe you. Just look at his community contributions in 2021 alone – it's both mind-boggling and awe-inspiring how much he contributes. And even if you only follow him on twitter, you'll know that his spirit of giving and encouraging others extends way beyond tech.

On a more somber note

This year started off in a terrible way. The calendar had barely turned, and we lost a great friend and mentor in Gareth Swanepoel. I couldn't summarize the impact he had on people better than Brent Ozar did back in the moment. But I can say without exaggeration that every single one of us whose path he crossed is a better person for it.

We miss you, Gareth, and I'm just going to leave this here for you:

Aaron Bertrand

I am a passionate technologist with industry experience dating back to Classic ASP and SQL Server 6.5. I am a long-time Microsoft MVP, write at SQLPerformance and MSSQLTips, and have had the honor of speaking at more conferences than I can remember. In non-tech life, I am a father of two, a huge hockey and football fan, and my pronouns are he/him.