FY2016: Investing in Community Growth

August 4, 2015 — As PASS moves into the next year, I'm happy to announce that the Board of Directors has voted to approve our Fiscal Year 2016 budget. We’re excited about the upcoming year and opportunities to continue building this amazing community.

Last year, our goals for FY2015 were to focus on support for SQLSaturday and chapter growth, as well as for our two major conferences: PASS Summit and PASS Business Analytics Conference (BAC). We also prioritized strategic planning for the business analytics (BA) community and focus for our Global Alliance Program and global growth. We committed to investing in the necessary IT to modernize our platforms to enable a stronger community. Over the past year, PASS has made solid progress on many of these fronts:

· We announced our strides and strategies for building and supporting the BA community.

· PASS Summit 2014 saw our highest attendance to date, and we successfully established our venue through 2019, for significant savings.

· We reestablished the strategic focus and community for the PASS BAC 2015, resulting in positive responses from the community and renewed commitment from the industry.

· We added two regional Board advisors to support our Latin America (LATAM) community.

· We relaunched our SQLSaturday website with expanded support for speakers and leaders.

· We made the difficult but necessary decision to retire the SQLRally brand and reinvest those resources into other portfolios.

This year, our budget’s primary purposes are to continue to strengthen our PASS communities. Some key areas of focus in the FY2016 budget include:

· Add a specific BA portfolio, to maintain consistency in the budgeting for our BA efforts, with the aim of continuing growth in both our BA community and PASS BAC event.

· Refocus our SQLRally investments to our SQLSaturday portfolio.

· Increase our global growth through support for our Global Growth Program.

· Add a Sales portfolio, to diversify revenue streams to help ensure the continued success of the PASS community.

· Add resources and staff to support further technology improvements, including a redesign of the sqlpass.org website for better usability and functionality.

You can see this focus in action starting with PASS Summit 2015, October 27–30 in Seattle. With an all-star lineup of expert speakers and can’t-miss sessions, this event represents one of our primary revenue streams as well as offering a wealth of opportunities for community engagement and networking. If you haven’t already registered, contact one of our Local or Virtual Chapters for a discount code.

Next year, don’t miss PASS BAC 2016, May 2–4, 2016 in San Jose. Join influencers in this rapidly expanding industry, to share knowledge and take part in this incredible community.

As far as governance goes, keep an eye out for the PASS Board of Directors elections. Following a successful Nomination Committee (NomCom) election in July, Board applications open August 5. Take advantage of this opportunity to help shape the future of PASS.

As in former years, this year's budget process was successful in large part thanks to our many PASS community volunteers, Directors, HQ staff, portfolio owners, and Finance team. All worked long and hard to assemble the necessary research and crunch the numbers to help us in this important endeavor. Many thanks to you all!

This is a wonderful time to be a part of PASS. I hope that you’re as excited as I am for the future of this community. We often emphasize that “PASS is your organization”—and it’s true. We want to hear your ambitions for PASS; contact us with feedback any time. And thank you for another great year.

Adam Jorgensen
PASS EVP, Finance and Governance

Elections Update

August 4, 2015 — The PASS Board of Directors recently completed Executive Committee (ExecCo) elections. When the current ExecCo completes their terms on December 31, 2015, the new ExecCo will be introduced on January 1, 2016. At that time, James Rowland-Jones will assume the role of Executive Vice President (EVP), Finance & Governance; therefore, his director-at-large seat will be left open for one year—the remainder of his elected two-year term.

According to the PASS Bylaws, when a seat becomes vacant outside of a standard election cycle, the Board of Directors will appoint, by a majority vote, to fill the unexpired term. The initial intention of the Board in writing and passing this particular Bylaw (as shared with the community in 2013) was to add any known vacant seats to the upcoming general election. However, this is the first time since the Bylaw took effect in 2013 that a director-at-large seat will become vacant prior to a full term being filled. In our efforts to follow the Bylaws appropriately, the current Board sought legal advice for clarity around the wording in the Bylaws regarding appointing versus electing a candidate for the unexpired term.

As I said earlier, the EVP elect director-at-large seat will not officially be vacant until January 1, 2016. As this date is nearly six months away, the future vacancy of the EVP elect director-at-large seat cannot be guaranteed to actually occur. We have no reason to think otherwise, but as we cannot predict the future with absolutely accuracy, an unexpected illness, disaster, or other unforeseen event must be considered as a possibility, no matter how slight. Therefore, the vacancy does not exist at the time of the 2015 election. (The full term director-at-large seats that are up for election are known vacancies, as the reason for the vacancies is that the term for those seats expires as of December 31, 2015.)

After legal consultation and discussion, the Board has reached the understanding that to adhere to the letter of the PASS Bylaws, we will need to vote to appoint the unexpired term rather than include it as part of the upcoming PASS Board of Directors election. Still, we realize that the Bylaws likely do not accomplish their intended goal. We are working with our legal team to make sure that going forward, the Bylaws match our intentions.

The PASS Board will announce the appointment of the unexpired one-year term seat in January of 2016 when the EVP elect fills his new role on the PASS Executive Committee. If you have any questions, please contact us at governance@sqlpass.org.

Adam Jorgensen
PASS EVP, Finance and Governance

PASS da la Bienvenida a los LATAM Regional Board Advisors

03 de julio 2015--Como Presidente del Comité de Crecimiento Global de PASS me complace presentar a nuestros dos nuevos consejeros de Junta Directiva para la región de América Latina (LATAM): Eduardo Castro de Costa Rica y Diego Nogare de Brasil. Eduardo y Diego fueron nombrados por un plazo de un año (hasta el 2 de junio de 2016) por el PASS Board of Directors, y ayudarán para que PASS aumente el apoyo a los profesionales de datos en toda la comunidad mundial.

Eduardo y Diego fueron identificados como asesores de la región de LATAM debido a su larga trayectoria y el servicio que brinda en sus comunidades locales de PASS. Ambos han organizado eventos SQLSaturday extremadamente exitosos en sus respectivos países; y sus capítulos locales están prosperando. Como MVP, tanto Eduardo como Diego tienen relaciones comunitarias fuertes, así como un conocimiento en profundidad de las fortalezas y desafíos que son específicas de sus comunidades locales de SQL Server.

Este nombramiento es el último paso en las iniciativas de Global Growth Initiatives de PASS, las cuales iniciaron en el año 2011 con el nombramiento de tres asesores internacionales en la Junta Directiva y se realizaron nuevos avances en 2013 con la introducción de puesto en la Junta Directiva para la región de Europa, Medio Este y Africa (EMEA). Como parte de estas iniciativas, una de las metas del PASS para el año fiscal 2015 ha sido la de establecer una base sólida en la región de LATAM. Nuestro objetivo es apoyar a la comunidad global a través de programas que ayuden a los miembros PASS de habla hispana y portuguesa. Esta meta es sólo una parte de nuestra visión de expandir los beneficios y eventos de PASS a nivel global.

En los próximos meses, los nuevos asesores regionales se reunirán regularmente con nuestro Comité de Crecimiento Global y participarán en las reuniones de Junta Directiva de PASS. Juntos, van a trabajar con PASS para comunicar las necesidades de sus comunidades y para desarrollar y proporcionar los mejores recursos para la región de LATAM. Estamos encantados de contar su ayuda a medida que que planeamos maneras de ofrecer el mejor apoyo, eventos y recursos para la comunidad mundial de datos.

Por favor, únanse a mí para felicitar a Diego y Eduardo en sus nuevas funciones.

Adam Jorgensen
EVP, Finance & Governance, PASS Board of Directors 

PASS dá as Boas Vindas aos LATAM Regional Board Advisors

03 de julho de 2015--Como presidente do comitê de crescimento global do PASS eu tenho o prazer de anunciar nossos dois novos Regional Board Advisors para América Latina (LATAM): Eduardo Castro, da Costa Rica, e Diego Nogare, do Brasil. Eduardo e Diego foram nomeados por um ano (até 2 de Junho de 2016) pelo PASS Board of Directors, e ajudarão o PASS a continuar o crescimento e suporte à profissionais de dados nas comunidades globais.

Eduardo e Diego foram identificados como assessores para a região de LATAM por seu longo histórico e serviços para as comunidades locais do PASS. Ambos tem organizado eventos do SQLSaturdays com extremo sucesso em seus respectivos países; seus capítulos locais estão prosperando. Como MVPs, tanto Eduardo quanto Diego possuem forte relacionamento com a comunidade, como também um entendimento profundo dos pontos fortes e dos desafios que são pertinentes para suas comunidades locais de SQL Server.

Esta nomeação é o mais recente passo das iniciativas de crescimento global do PASS que foram lançadas em 2011 com a nomeação de três assessores do comitê internacional e fez mais avanços em 2013 com a inclusão de um assento da região Europa, Oriente Médio e Africa (EMEA) no Conselho Administrativo. Como parte contínua destas iniciativas, um dos objetivos do PASS para o ano fiscal de 2015 foi estabelecer uma base sólida na região de LATAM. Nosso objetivo é apoiar as comunidades globais de SQL Server através de programas que sirvam membros do PASS de língua espanhola e portuguesa. Esta meta é apenas uma parte de nossa visão para expandir os benefícios e eventos do PASS em todo o mundo.

Ao longo dos próximos meses os novos assessores regionais irão se reunir regularmente com o comitê de crescimento global e também nas reuniões do conselho. Juntos irão trabalhar com o PASS para comunicar as necessidades de suas comunidades locais e para ajudar o PASS a desenvolver e fornecer melhores recursos para a região de LATAM. Estamos felizes em contar com esta ajuda no objetivo de oferecer o melhor apoio, realização de eventos e recursos para a comunidade mundial de dados.

Por favor, junte-se a mim para parabenizar Diego e Eduardo em suas novas funções.

Adam Jorgensen
EVP, Finance & Governance, PASS Board of Directors 

PASS Welcomes LATAM Regional Board Advisors

July 3, 2015--As Chair of PASS’s Global Growth Committee I am pleased to introduce our two new regional board advisors for the Latin America (LATAM) region: Eduardo Castro, from Costa Rica, and Diego Nogare, from Brazil. Eduardo and Diego, who were appointed to one year terms (through June 2, 2016) by the PASS Board of Directors, will help PASS continue to grow our support for data professionals throughout the global community.

Eduardo and Diego were identified as advisors to the LATAM region because of their long history and service in their local PASS communities. Both gentlemen have hosted extremely successful SQLSaturday events in their respective countries; their local chapters are thriving. As MVPs, both Eduardo and Diego have strong community relationships, as well as an in-depth understanding of the strengths and challenges that are specific to their local SQL Server communities.

This appointment is the latest step in PASS’s Global Growth Initiatives, which were launched in 2011 with the appointment of three international board advisors and made further strides in 2013 with the introduction of an earmarked Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) seat on the Board of Directors. As part of these initiatives, one of PASS’s goals for FY2015 has been to establish a strong foundation in the LATAM region. We aim to support the global SQL community through programs that serve Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking PASS members. This goal is just one part of our vision to expand PASS’s benefits and events worldwide.

Over the next several months, the new regional advisors will meet regularly with our Global Growth Committee and will join Board meetings. Together, they will work with PASS to communicate the needs of their communities and to help PASS develop and provide the best resources for the LATAM Region. We are thrilled to have their help as we plan ways to offer for the best support, events, and resources for worldwide the data community.

Please join me in congratulating Diego and Eduardo on their new roles.

Adam Jorgensen
EVP, Finance & Governance, PASS Board of Directors

PASS Board Elections Update: Protecting PASS Member Information

Sept. 27, 2014 – As many of you know, to help manage this year’s Nomination Committee (NomCom) and Board of Directors elections, PASS implemented a web-based online voting system called Simply Voting, one of the largest and most respected online voting solutions.

In response to questions about the security of member passwords in the voting process, we wanted to share how member passwords were communicated and authenticated between PASS and Simply Voting in June’s NomCom elections, as well as the steps taken to add SSO integration for Simply Votes and to add SSL certificates to all PASS websites to better secure member login information for this year’s Board elections and beyond.

To the best of our knowledge, no PASS member information has ever been compromised or misused by any party. However, protecting the integrity and security of PASS members’ information is paramount. With the steps we’ve taken to tighten security, explained below, we ask that all members take the opportunity this weekend while this information is fresh in your mind to update your password. With these changes, you can make your updates with confidence that your profile information is secure. 

SSO Integration for Voting
In our initial implementation of Simply Voting for the NomCom election, we used the system’s standard security option, which prompted the voter for his/her PASS username and password. Simply Voting then passed those credentials via SSL to PASS for validation and at no time stored the voters’ login information.

Simply Voting is certified with TRUSTe, the same certification used by websites such as eBay, Apple, and those of other retail giants. And while the standard Simply Voting implementation is faster and easier for organizations to deploy and the single link to the ballot is more straightforward for voters, there is still risk – however small – associated with giving a third party access to login data.

During the NomCom elections, several community members contacted PASS about the process and expressed concerns about that risk. The PASS Board agreed with the community’s concerns and implemented the stricter single sign-on (SSO) security protocol with Simply Voting for this and future PASS elections.

In the updated SSO solution for the PASS Board elections, voters log in to sqlpass.org to access a personalized voting URL that redirects them to the ballot on Simply Voting. No external log-in is required.

IT updated the API with Simply Voting and made the necessary UI changes under myPASS to set up and display the voting URL to eligible voters. The extra effort was well worth it to ensure the security of member information. While we appreciate that Simply Voting is a TRUSTe certified vendor, the security of our members’ information is our utmost concern.

SSL Certificates for PASS Websites
However, we weren’t quite finished. Community members noted this week that we still had a security vulnerability because PASS’s website didn’t have SSL certificates installed. In the case with Simply Voting, a query string containing the username and salted hash (composed of the username and a system security passphrase) is passed from the PASS website to Simply Voting, which validates the information and allows the member access to his/her ballot. Without an SSL certificate to validate our website's identity and encrypt all information sent to and from it, that string is still viewable and potentially vulnerable.

Over the past 36 hours, the PASS IT team applied SSL certificates to the main sqlpass.org site, our event sites and VC/Chapter sites, as well as SQLSaturday.com (public and admin sites). This effort resolves both the Simply Voting query string issue and the issues our members have raised about overall login security on our sites themselves. 

For the peace of mind and security of all PASS members, and especially those who voted in the NomCom elections, we ask that you please take a moment to update your password if you haven’t already. Note that all member passwords are encrypted in the database.

We apologize for the oversight in not having SSL certificates implemented earlier and for the inconvenience this has caused.

Thanks to everyone who provided feedback on better securing PASS’s environment and member information, and please let me know if you have other questions or concerns.
– Adam Jorgensen,
PASS Executive VP, Finance and Governance

FY2015: Supporting Another Year of Growth

August 19, 2014  As PASS moves into a new year, I'm excited to announce that the Board of Directors has approved the Fiscal Year 2015 budget and positioned our organization for another great year of growth and service to the data community.

This year's budget process highlighted – perhaps more than ever before – the incredible community expansion that PASS continues to experience. We saw an array of innovative ideas from Board members, community volunteers, and HQ department heads that build on those successes, and I'm excited that many of those are in the budget and underway.

Budget planning and approval can be a long and tedious process, but this year’s tasks were accomplished well within our timeline, thanks to engaged Directors and portfolio owners and the strong relationships they have with their HQ counterparts. In addition, our Finance team worked long hours to assemble research and make the numerous changes that occur during the process, all while keeping our many stakeholders informed. They deserve our huge thanks!

To increase accountability and transparency, we focused this year on budgeting for our current initiatives and goals while committing to revisit further investments through our open budget-exception process for new ideas and future projects. Some key areas of focus in the FY2015 budget include:

    • Continuing support for SQLSaturday, Chapter, and Virtual Chapter growth around the world, capitalizing on amazing year-over-year performance in those portfolios 
    • Exciting growth of our major events, PASS Summit and the PASS Business Analytics Conference
    • Strategic planning and activities for growing and engaging our business analytics community
    • Increasing focus on our Global Alliance Program to continue its early success in aligning with key partners from the data community 
    • Continuing IT investments to modernize our platforms and take advantage of technology to enable a stronger, more connected community 

As you know, PASS generates a significant portion of its revenue from our event platforms. We are back in Seattle November 4-7 for PASS Summit 2014 and expecting our biggest and best gathering of SQL Server and BI professionals ever. Don't miss our all-star lineup of amazing sessions, non-stop opportunities for community engagement and networking, and perhaps even your first SQL Karaoke experience. We hope to see you there – if you haven’t already signed up, I encourage you to register today.

In addition, the PASS Business Analytics Conference is returning to Silicon Valley in 2015, and we expect this event’s growth to match the increasing community interest and enthusiasm in the analytics space. We have a strong group of influencers helping drive this event, and we're excited about its potential for PASS.  

From the governance side of the house, just a reminder that the PASS Board of Directors election is coming up next month. Thanks to our Nomination Committee members  for all the time and effort they’ve dedicated to helping streamline the application process for candidates and the work they’ll be doing over the next weeks to help you get to know the candidates. PASS supports the greatest community of technical professionals in the world – it's hard not to want to be a bigger part of that. Thanks and good luck to everyone who applied to run for the Board this year. I’m looking forward to a lively campaign season as the candidates and community discuss how to make PASS even better. 

It’s thrilling to see everything happening right now in PASS, our industry, and the data world at large. We're excited to share these experiences with you and help community members continue to connect, share, and learn. I can't wait to see you out there!
– Adam Jorgensen
PASS EVP, Finance and Governance

The Future of PASS

February 6, 2013 – PASS just wrapped up its first Board meeting of the year and, as the minutes* will show, we passionately discussed the future of PASS. We must continue to service and grow our existing community but also recognize the need to meet the changing demands of insight-driven organizations. Our challenges are similar to those your firm or customers are experiencing. PASS needs more data, better ways to analyze it, and a renewed focus on solving business questions instead of focusing directly on tools.

Chris Webb’s recent editorial  touched on this need for change. I agree with Chris’ position that organizations are driving toward more and more analytic insight. This insight goes beyond system performance, beyond report speed, and even what kind of charts or graphs to use. Today’s companies must explore their data in new ways, use more of it to model better decisions, and do it faster and more nimbly than ever before. They don’t care how it happens so it’s up to us to figure it out. What an exciting opportunity for all of us to tackle this challenge together. 

I feel blessed to work in an industry with so many strong players and vendor solutions that embrace the Microsoft Data Platform—giving us a strong lineage for the types of self-service solutions our companies and clients are looking for. The upcoming Business Analytics Conference focuses on these types of solutions. We’ve got sessions for the power analyst, BI practitioner, Excel guru, data scientist and anyone who is involved in solving these types of challenges for their executives. I know Chris said he is coming to the conference, and I’m looking forward to seeing him there.  Those of us in the business intelligence field have long wished for this type of knowledge sharing to help bridge the gap between building these solutions and achieving viral adoption— with the goal of having our organizations use these analytic-based solutions to their fullest potential. 

My challenge to you: explore the tools in this new area. We’ve got our Big Data and Business Analytics Virtual Chapters set up to start the transition and a top notch line of speakers for this inaugural event! I have carefully reviewed the program for the Business Analytics Conference and am very excited. It’s been a long time since we had more than a new cool feature to be excited about in the data platform space. These new tools, techniques and cross platform solutions are the kind of things a database person’s dreams are made of! I can’t wait to see you there. Stay up to date on the latest by following @sqlpass and @passbac.

* Board meeting minutes will be available at the end of February.

Top Speakers Invited to Submit Spotlight Sessions

They’re back! Favorite speakers from PASS Summit 2011 were invited late last week to submit special 90-minute Spotlight session abstracts for this year’s conference.

Spotlight sessions highlight top-rated Community speakers, as determined by attendee evaluations. To receive a Spotlight invitation, speakers had to receive an overall rating of 4.6 or higher for their PASS Summit 2011 session (excluding Lightning Talks and Chalk Talks), with a minimum of 15 attendees and 15 submitted attendee evals.

This year, 27 speakers received a Spotlight invitation and are also welcome to submit Regular and ½-Day sessions, up to an overall total of four submissions. If they meet the speaker requirements for Pre-Conference sessions, they can submit two pre-con abstracts as well. All Spotlight abstracts not selected for a 90-minute Spotlight session will be considered for a regular 75-minute session. (See the PASS Summit 2012 Call for Speakers for all the details.)

Congratulations to all the fantastic speakers who received a Spotlight invitation – we can’t wait to receive your abstracts!
– Adam | Adam.Jorgensen@SQLPASS.org | @AJBigData


In the Loop with PASS Summit

We've got some great things going on in the PASS ecosystem and I want to make sure you’re looped in!

The 2012 PASS Summit Preference survey has closed with nearly twice as many responses compared to last year. Thank you! Your feedback will help drive the content at PASS Summit this year.

On that note, the Summit Call for Speakers is open to all community and Microsoft presenters and I encourage you to submit an abstract by the May 13 deadline. You'll need to use your PASS member login to access the Call for Speakers site. If you don't have a login, you can create one now. This year’s program will span over 6 tracks and you can put forward up to 4 session abstracts and 2 pre-conference abstracts. It’s going to be great!

We have selected the remaining folks to help with the program committees. This excited group of volunteers is being notified of their committee assignments and going through training so we will be ready to get going as soon as the Call for Speakers closes. The invitations for spotlight sessions are also going out this week so keep your eye out, you might be invited to submit one of these sessions!

The PASS Summit Program portfolio is moving along nicely with great input and support from the rest of my team of board members. The best feedback I get however is from you, so please keep that coming. Stay on the lookout for my upcoming blog interview with Mike Lynn, our winner from the drawing we held from survey respondents. Mike will get a chance to share what he would like to see at PASS Summit, what he thinks about PASS and how we can continue to become more relevant to each of you in your day-to-day data world.

PASS SQLRally Dallas is upon us next week and this is incredibly exciting. I’ll be attending my second board meeting at the event and delivering some sessions with the rest of a tremendous cast of characters (yes I think you are all characters)! If you have not already done so, please consider making it out to the event and if you’re coming, take advantage of some of the amazing pre-cons that are happening. 

Speaking of board meetings, I am looking forward to this one. My first experience was better than expected and the group really aligned quickly to begin delivering on some commitments and planning for awesome happenings this year. There are some big topics to discuss, fun Summit planning, and some special projects being worked on by some great volunteers. Stay tuned for more info on some of these great initiatives.

– Adam | Adam.Jorgensen@SQLPASS.org | @AJBigData

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