The "Spring" Event

Re-posted from Andy Warren's Blog

The minutes of the June 2010 Board meeting have been posted and if you haven’t read them yet, you missed a minor but interesting vote embedded there – we’ve voted to hold an event in Orlando in late April/early May 2011 that will consist of 2 full days of sessions plus 1 day of pre-con seminars. We’ll get the final date announced in the next few days, we’re in the final stages of signing the hotel contract. Pricing will be announced soon as well, but expect an average price of $299 for the two day event, and $149 to attend a seminar. In some ways you could think of this as a seriously upsized two day SQLSaturday, or a seriously slimmed down PASS Summit – and that’s our goal, to fill the gap between the two in a way that grows our community.

We’re still in the early stages and things are subject to change, but here are a few notes on what we have in mind:

We haven’t named it yet – we’ll be asking for input from you in the next few weeks
 - “No frills”. We won’t have a lot of fancy signs or event bags, but you’ll get good food and first class speakers (no beginners here!)
 - It’s a hybrid – managed by both PASS HQ and local volunteers, and staffed by volunteers from all the SQL chapters in Florida
 - Invite user groups to submit proposals to host it in 2012 – think an Olympic site selection bake-off. Is your user group ready for the challenge? Doesn’t have to be East coast, just not in the same area as the Summit
 - I’m excited about this, for a lot of reasons. It’s a way to engage people who can’t get funding for the Summit, people who doubt the value of a “conference”, it’s the missing step in our farm club system for speakers (chapter—>SQLSaturday—>This Event—>Summit), a chance to grow pre-con speakers, it’s an option for those who can’t afford the time to travel cross country, and it’s an effort to really partner with chapters and event leaders.

Dreaming some, there’s a chance by 2012 or 2013 that we might hold more than one of these a year. It’s designed to be a regional event, so it’s possible (dreaming, remember?) that we might hold one in Boston (or Nashville, or Charlotte,or Atlanta), Dallas, and Denver – all in addition to the Summit. That’s a big dream, and we don’t want to saturate the market, and we definitely want to continue the growth of both SQLSaturday and the Summit. Another part of that dream is that this can also become our model for hosting events internationally. It’s long past time that we had large PASS events internationally, a co-op model with a low cost of entry is a great way to drive that.

We’re going to strive to be pretty translucent on the process. Got questions? Post here, on the PASS blog, email me, twitter (@sqlandy) and we’ll get someone to work on the answer

Andy Warren

Volunteer leaders needed - fun, over achievers please apply!

PASS is looking for a few great, excitable people to join the ranks of our volunteers. We have three Virtual Chapters starting up and would love your energy in helping us make them a success. The positions available are as follows:

Performance Virtual Chapter 
• Speaker Coordinator -  reach out to potential speakers, schedule Live Meetings, and be a part of the leadership team
• Web Content Guru - navigate the DNN site, update the webpage, and aggregate performance-related content
• Marketing Coordinator - post meetings on the Events tab of, push the sessions out on all virtual chapter channels, and get the PASS community excited about Performance Virtual Chapter events

SQL Azure Virtual Chapter
• Virtual Chapter Leader -  work directly with Microsoft leads to get this group off the ground, connect with speakers, and bring a lot of energy to the PASS community. Preferably this person will be at TechEd where the Virtual Chapter is launching, although it’s not a requirement
• Marketing Coordinator - work with PASS and the SQL Azure team at Microsoft to develop swag, push messaging out, and get the community excited about sessions
• Content Coordinator - aggregate SQL Azure specific links, post meeting information, and facilitate conversation between users

SQL Server and Oracle Virtual Chapter
• Virtual Chapter Leader -  work directly with Oracle and SQL Server experts at Microsoft to get this group off the ground, connect with Microsoft and community speakers
• Marketing Coordinator - work with PASS and the Microsoft leads to develop swag, push messaging out, and get the community excited about sessions
• Content Coordinator - aggregate specific links, post meeting information, and facilitate conversation between users

If you are passionate about the PASS community and have a background in the aforementioned areas of technologies, please send through your interest to with the subject line “Virtual Chapter Volunteer Opportunity” and answer the following questions in the body of the email

Virtual Chapter name and position:

Why would you like to serve as a PASS volunteer?
What makes you great for this position?
Please describe your previous involvement with PASS
Tell me one random and humorous thing about yourself 

Thanks everyone!

Virtual Chapter volunteers make PASS a great place to Connect, Share and Learn

In addition to all the physical chapter initiatives we’re working on, Douglas and I have been busy behind the scenes with the Virtual Chapter Portfolio.

We have some of PASS’s best volunteers working with us to make our virtual educational presence a success. These events are largely marketed by the volunteers themselves and illustrate how SQL Server Community volunteers really drive the PASS organization to success. Every month the Virtual Chapter Leaders log into a leadership conference call with Douglas and I, and we brainstorm how to make this portfolio better and more dynamic. There have been some truly amazing ideas this year, and we feel the need to give credit where it is due:

  • Brent Ozar, our Virtualization Virtual Chapter Leader, started the year by encouraging PASS VCs to search out sponsorship from the Community’s many corporate participants. We have since signed on sponsors for 3 Virtual Chapters, created all of our process documents, and have a working model for the portfolio
  • Aaron Nelson, PASS Application Development VC volunteer,  pioneered the Virtual Chapter marketing checklist, and working with the PASS marketing team, pulled all the VCs together to standardize a process of letting our members know about the Virtual Chapter meetings
  • David Taylor with the help of his Application Development VC had the first Virtual Chapter meeting with a physical Chapter, The Adelaide SQL Server User Group. With Speaker Aaron Nelson in Atlanta, the session took place in both virtual and physical space. We hope this will set the stage for future meetings and chapter support
  • The Women in Technology VC has infiltrated SQLSaturday! lead by Wendy Pastrick and Denise McInerney and starting with SQLSaturday #41 in Atlanta, the WIT VC are supporting local WIT sessions in hopes of encouraging more women to enter IT professions
  • We've also focused a lot of the year on mentoring and continuity within our volunteer resources. We have quite a few volunteers who started as a steering committee members, and through effective mentorship, have moved into leading their own groups. Amoung them include Jorge Segarra (Professional Development), Tim Mitchell and Jeff Rush (BI), and Tim Edwards (Performance). All in the past 3 months! 

We have accomplished so much in the first quarter with the Virtual Chapter portfolio and hope to keep the momentum rolling.  Want to start a virtual chapter or volunteer for an existing one? It’s hard work, but incredibly rewarding. Let me know via email if you’re interested.

Thanks all!

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PASS Chapters - First quarter hurdles and milestones

Hello everyone,

Douglas and I have both been hard at work, pulling in everyone we can to make the PASS Chapter Portfolio a more valuable place for User Groups. We realized we’ve been pretty quiet over the last couple months, so we thought we would give you an update on everything happening. It sure hasn’t felt quiet here at PASSHQ!

We are currently at 211 official PASS Chapters as of today, a growth of 11 full chapters since the November Summit. In addition to the increased growth, we met with all of PASS’s Regional Mentors to introduce them to the new Chapter Direction and to outline the new Regional Mentor resources we created. Both Douglas and I continue to meet with the Regional Mentor teams to help them reach out to their groups, listen to what their chapter leaders need from PASS, and work to make regional communities successful. We are so excited about the enthusiasm the Mentors are giving to this new direction. Interested in who they are? You can see their smiling faces on our chapter pages.

Also, here are some little projects we are working on to bring the chapter portfolio through the first quarter of 2010:
• We have outlined PASS’s value proposition to its user groups on the website.
• We are working with the Microsoft SQL Server Product group to deliver on the SQL Server 2008 R2 Community Led Events. If you have a local user group in your area, you can put on one of these PASS-Microsoft sponsored events.
• The European Conference is upon us, starting on April 21st and we are mobilizing the European community to connect, share and learn. We hope to help the European PASS Community be as strong and cohesive as their North American counterparts. More details to follow in a few short weeks.
• The first chapter leader survey has gone out to all PASS User Group leaders. Check out Douglas’ Connector article for our findings as we try to bridge the gap between the chapter leaders and the PASS organization.

And that’s just the first quarter! I will keep you updated as events unfold.

All the best

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Rushabh and Blythe visit SQL Saturday #33 in Charlotte NC


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SQL Saturday #41 - Atlanta

From Stuart Ainsworth, SQL Saturday #41 Event leader:

SQLSaturday #41 is occurring on April 24, 2010 in Atlanta, GA; this is the third event hosted by AtlantaMDF (the Atlanta chapter of PASS), and I am so excited to be involved in the leadership of this event again.  This year we're doing things a little different, and we're trying to involve more of our membership in the planning of the event.  We've got a team of about 10 dedicated individuals working behind the scenes to get this event running; I'd love to name names, but I'm afraid I'll leave someone out, so I'll a wait a few days to post the complete list of organizers.  Keep checking the SQLSaturday site for details and news.


Couple of bullet points to consider:


1.  Registration is capped at 250 seats; last year, we sold out in a matter of hours, so PLEASE register now if you're interested in coming.


2.  The call for speakers is open until March 25, 2010; we'd like a mix of new and experienced speakers, so please sign up ASAP.  We plan on having a diverse schedule, covering database administration, development, BI, and career advancement.  Any topic dealing with SQL Server is welcome, so submit your sessions.  If you've got an idea for a topic, feel free to submit that as well.


3.  Finally, we're always looking for sponsors.  Confio has agreed to be our first gold sponsor for this event, but we'd love to introduce your company to our community.   Events like this are great for both sponsors and attendees, because it gives the attendees the opportunity to hear about solutions to their everyday problems.


Feel free to contact me directly if you'd like more information; I'll be happy to answer as best I can.




Stuart R Ainsworth

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PASS acquires SQL Saturday

Hello Everyone,

It gives me tremendous pleasure to announce that the PASS Board of Directors recently voted to acquire the SQL Saturday Event brand and management. SQL Saturday is a very popular event brand started by Andy Warren, Steve Jones and Brian Knight in May 2007. Since then, over 28 events have occurred world-wide with an anticipated growth of 40-50 events over the next two years.

This great program is a gift to the PASS organization from Andy, Steve and Brian and gives PASS control over the SQL Saturday domain, events, as well as the event management tool put together with collective help from the SQL Server community. Over the coming weeks, we will transition the event program underneath the PASS Community Connection Events umbrella and provide SQL Saturday events the management infrastructure it needs. We are also working to integrate our events portfolio to support SQL Saturday financially at the same levels as our PASS Community Connection branded events. SQL Saturday event owners will not see major changes as a result of this transition, but can expect to receive higher level of engagement and support from the PASS management team.

I am also quite excited to be speaking at the next SQL Saturday event #33 which is being held in Charlotte, NC on the 6th of March. This will also be the first SQL Saturday under PASS management!


Rushabh Mehta
PASS President

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Musings on Steve Jones' Presentation on Building your Brand

Hello everyone.

It was a very exciting morning for me today. I woke up, put on some great music, got in my car, and drove to work nice and early so I could make a big cup of coffee to get mentally prepared for the Charlotte SQL Server User Group Meeting. Steve Jones was presenting on building your brand.

I really enjoy when Peter Shire and his group have these great virtual lunch Chapter Meetings because they not only bring in fantastic speakers like Steve Jones of SQL Server Central, but they also pull together some great SQL Server community folk. It's always nice to hear familiar voices. I was even more excited about this meeting because Steve was presenting on social marking and blogging, something I use frequently here at PASS.

Before I came to PASS, social networking was simply something I started doing to keep in contact with people I had met traveling. It wasn't until I joined PASS that I realized how important it can be to any professional community. I remember Tjay Belt asking me at the Summit if I was on Twitter. I thought it sounded fun, so I joined. I was astonished to find that by the end of the Summit I had over 100 people following me. What a great way to get the word out about the PASS Community.

Steve's presentation was very valuable because he not only outlined how to use social networking tools to enhance professional resumes, but he also gave great tips of how to manage your image by not mixing personal and professional topics in similar social networking platforms.

All of this 'reputation management' speak got me thinking about the last time I googled myself because I hadn't in a while (I have a pretty unique name). It was quite interesting what I found on the first page:

1. Of course all of the Blog posts I have written here

2. My Facebook Page

3. My Facbook Page (different link, same page)

4. My Linkedin Page

5. A page listing me as running for the Students' Union long ago

6. My Twitter information listed on SQLserverpedia under PASS

7. Jeremiah Peschka's Blog Post about the PASS Chapter SIG

8. My placing for the 1997 Alberta Canada final kayaing time trials.

Steve also outlined why blogs can be a great way of chronicling your career as long as you are consistent in your posts. I have to agree with him there. There is no better way to learn than to teach. Great advice.

It was a pleasure to sit in on this meeting. If you're interested in building your modern resume or establishing an online brand, I suggest checking out Steve's Blog on the Modern Resume. It contains some great white marbles of social networking wisdom.

All the best!

Blythe Morrow

PASS Community Coordinator

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PASS Chapters reach 150 Milestone

Hello everyone, your friendly neighbourhood Community Coordinator here.

We have been incredibly busy here at PASS HQ in 2009. The most momumentus occasion that I would like to report to you is that PASS Chapters have now exceeded 150 (155 to be exact)! In the past two months we have added our first chapter in Afria (West Sengal),  Nepal (Kathmandu), Sri Lanka (Columbus),  and Saudi Arabia (Eastern Province). We're all so proud at the Chapter community and those who made it what it is today. It's tough to imagine that in July we had only 80 chapters, and now we have almost doubled in size!

And with the increase in Chapters, we have also had a substantial increase in the number of resources available world wide. The most exciting of these is the Community Connection Sponsorship Program that is available to Chapters who want to put on an event. They recieve both financial and logistical help from PASS: something we haven't been able to give before. For more information, click here

In addition to support for events, PASS Chapters are also now recieving four mail outs a year, marketing materials, enhanced regional Mentor support, Live Meeting accounts/instruction, and webhosting.

We're all so excited here at PASS for the overwhelming response to our new initiates. Stay tuned, more to come.

Blythe Morrow

PASS Community Coordinator

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A Chapter Committee and a SQL tree!

Seasons' Greetings!

With the momentum of the SQL PASS Summit finally winding down, and all the reconciliations made, the folks here at PASS HQ are still working furiously to get everything ready for 2009. Over in the Community Department we realized there were quite a few people who were just too excited about the Chapter Progam not to be involved, so PASS HQ Community, under the direction of PASS Director Greg Low, really wanted the program to be lead and supported by SQL community leaders. We chose people who have intimate knowledge of the SQL Server community, making sure we had representation from all over the world.  

I'd like to just shout out to the following people who have come on board to share their SQL Community expertise. Thank you so much for volunteering your time!

Brad Mcgehee (Hawaii)
Peter Ward (Australia)
Adrian Engelbrecht (New Zealand)
Nathan Pitcher (New Zealand)
Rob Hawthorne (New Zealand)
Jeremiah Peschka (Midwest US)
Charley Hanania (Switzerland)
Andrew Karcher (Pacific Northwest US)
Ron Talmage (Pacific Northwest US)
Felix Quevedo (Honduras)
Troy Shuh
Joe Lax (East Coast US)
John Allman (Midwest US)
Pat Wright (Pacific Northwest)

Also, In the last couple months we set up a special committee that will work on expanding PASS into Asian markets under our newest Regional Mentor, Sujata Mehta. We are so excited to have these three on board, and really look forward to the great things they are going to do for the PASS organization. They are as follows:
Sujata Mehta
Malathi Mahadevan
Jacob Sebastian

And that is the Community update from PASS HQ. Happy holidays!!!

Blythe Morrow
Community Coordinator

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