A Story Of Support: How The MVP Community Came Together After Quake Hit Croatia Amid COVID-19
Published Apr 22 2020 12:09 PM 1,163 Views
Iron Contributor

It certainly has not been an easy run for the organizers of PASS SQL Saturday Croatia 2020.


The original live free training event planned for April was postponed, much like everything else, in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic. And then, a little more than a week after the postponement was announced, the Croatian capital of Zagreb was rocked by a powerful 5.5-magnitude earthquake - the most powerful quake to hit the city in more than 100 years.


This obviously was not how conference organizer and Microsoft MVP Damir Matešić planned for things to go. The community, however, came together to respond to the dual crises in a surprising way.


“We got support messages from the whole community and especially from a dear friend, Dejan Sarka, telling us that if we planned to host an online event that they would like to participate,” Damir said. “The messages let us know that in these hard times we can count on the whole community.”


Before Damir knew it, the first virtual meeting of the Croatian SQL Server User Group (PASS) had quickly evolved into the first virtual SQLSaturdayCroatia.


“Some emails and a few hours after that moment, we had 10 excellent speakers ready to present online and share their knowledge!”


What’s more, the “mini” version of SQLSaturdayCroatia 2020 was held on April 4 - the original event date before the postponement.


More than 200 attendees joined the event (largely from former countries in Yugoslavia as the majority of sessions were held in local languages) for five hours over two tracks.


The online event included presentations, which can be viewed here, from current Microsoft MVPs Dejan Sarka, Ljubo Brodarić, Jasmin Azemović, Tomaž Kaštrun, Miloš Radivojević, and Mladen Prajdić. Former MVPs Matija Lah, Dean Vitner, Aleksandar Talev were also on hand to speak at the event, along with Former Croatia SQL Server User Group Lead Vedran Kesegić.


Damir gave special thanks to frequent co-organizer Dean Savović for his support, and Tomislav Bronzin who assisted with Microsoft Teams infrastructure.


Bronzin, the Microsoft Regional Director for Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Kosovo, commended the community for its unity during trying times. “I must say it was a really great event organized by Damir and Dean! I hope that there will be a number of such “SQL Saturday’s” and (at least) one in-person a year! A great job done by all speakers,” he said.


“I hope that this is just the beginning of a new and great story!” Damir said.


SQL Saturday Croatia is a free training event for professionals who use the Microsoft data platform. These community events offer content across data management, cloud and hybrid architecture, analytics, business intelligence, AI, and more.


The Croatian event will host 18 sessions before 150 people on the new date of June 27, at Hotel International in Zagreb.


For more information or updates on the event, see their Facebook.

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