I don't know about you folks, but Thanksgiving has to be one of my favourite holidays - in terms of food for sure! I like to think of it as a dry-run for the huge family feasts which inevitably define the December holiday season around my household. This years' lessons learned: you can never have enough mashed potatoes and gravy, yams and cinnamon-flavored apple slices are a heavenly combination, and nothing - but nothing - beats a long walk on a beautiful cottage trail to take the edge off of tryptophan overload. I hope you had a great long weekend remembering all the people in your life for whom you are truly thankful.
High on my list of people I'm thankful for in the SAS world are the amazing individuals behind the Golden Horseshoe SAS Users Group (GHSUG). This innovative and approachable executive committee have consistently delivered exceptional value to their attendees, and the meeting taking place this Friday, October 15th, will be no different, I'm sure! Meeting out of the ArcelorMittal/Dofasco offices on Burlington St. East in Hamilton (you can find a map at the bottom of this page), this small but tremendously engaged group always features some of the most enjoyable and informative presentations in the SAS world... and the conversations which take place afterwards are truly inspiring. These are also some of the most accessible SAS user group meetings for individuals new to the SAS world. Graduate students are often featured presenters, and this is balanced by presentations from the manufacturing sector by SAS users with over 20 years of experience on average! Truly, it's the best of both worlds.
In fact, GHSUG is one of the leaders in terms of nurturing and growing the SAS user community. The executive committee members support new presenters by mentoring them through their build process: making suggestions, giving hints, and being generally supportive. It's also a forum for brand new SAS customers to get a sense of what the user group community offers. I recall that a year ago, one of our sales executives sent representatives of a new SAS customer to the meeting. Brand-new to the SAS world, their questions were quite broad and general. The other attendees and executive committee not only made them feel welcome and addressed all of their questions, but several individuals offered to assist the group beyond the meeting with some areas of confusion. It's this spirit of collaboration and support which makes me happiest: SAS users helping other SAS users, there's very little more rewarding in my world than when that type of connection is made.
If you're in the Greater Toronto Area and would like to benefit from the outstanding connections which can be made at GHSUG, feel free to check out their webpage for agenda details and an invitation to register. Remember, it's always free to attend!
The one thing my post-Thanksgiving stomach is NOT looking forward to right now? The traditional massive lunch with the executive committee at King's Buffet following the meeting. Oh, my aching stomach...
Stay tuned for a post later this week with more detail around the exciting Toronto Data Mining Forum taking on October 20th at the SAS offices.