PASS Anti-Harassment Policy Reminder

It is unfortunate that I have to write this letter, but it has become necessary.

An Anti-Harassment Policy (AHP) was implemented in 2012 to help provide a harassment-free conference experience. Everyone attending PASS Summit is expected to follow the AHP at all times, including at PASS-sponsored social events. This includes, but is not limited to, PASS staff, exhibitors, speakers, attendees, and anyone affiliated with the event.

This year at PASS Summit I served on the Anti-Harassment Review Committee. As such, it was my responsibility to help review complaints and incidents reported during Summit. The PASS Summit experience should be enjoyable, exciting, and safe for everyone at all times. However, I am disappointed to say that PASS Summit was a negative experience for a few members of our #SQLFamily this year.

I expect Summit attendees and PASS members to treat others with respect at all times, whether that is inside a session room, the conference hallway, a PASS sponsored event, or even at a local coffee shop.

On a positive note, there were people actively using the policy this year and supporting one another onsite as well. I am proud to see that our community has embraced having this policy. It is wonderful to know that our #SQLFamily will not put up with these types of incidents.

If you have concerns or want to report an incident within the guidelines of the AHP, I encourage you to contact

Thomas LaRock
PASS President

Pass Summit 2015, Day Two Keynote: Data Professionals and the Internet of Things

November 3, 2015 - PASS Summit 2015 Day Two launched Thursday with a Keynote by Microsoft Jim Gray Systems Lab’s Technical Fellow, Dr. David DeWitt and Principal Software Engineer, Dr. Rimma Nehme.

The keynote opened with Executive Vice President Adam Jorgensen, providing a PASS financial update and sharing his excitement on our growth and where PASS is headed. Next, Vice President, Marketing Denise McInerney thanked the many PASS volunteers that make events like PASS Summit possible. Denise also recognized outgoing Immediate Past President, Bill Graziano, for his extensive service and support to our community and presented the PASSion Award to this year’s winner, Lance Harra.

Afterward, Dr. Nehme took the stage, immediately beginning to build on her previous PASS Summit keynotes. This year’s topic was Data Management for Internet of Things (IoT), and Dr. Nehme, along with co-presenter Dr. DeWitt, gave us a broad rundown of IoT basics, the state of today’s IoT, what the future will hold, and where and how SQL Server fits. With a leap from 500 million Internet-connected devices in 2003 to a projected 50 billion devices by 2020, IoT solutions offer a wealth of potential but also face issues surrounding bandwidth, connectivity, data deluge, and storage constraints.

“We’re in the ‘Terrible Twos’ of IoT development,” Dr. Nehme told our audience. “As any parent knows, it’s a pretty hard age!”

Dr. Nehme then handed the stage to Dr. DeWitt, who asked the audience “Why should DBAs care about the IoT?” Dr. DeWitt noted that as the amount of data is growing exponentially, DBAs will face the decision to “become part of the steamroller or part of the road.”

Drs. Nehme and DeWitt—while careful to reiterate that the discussion is still very much in the early and even theoretical phases—discussed the role of technologies such as Azure Machine Learning and SQL Server in the development of IoT. Noting that “IoT is a database issue, not just a networking issue”, the speakers explained that an understanding of, and ability to work with, data and data technologies will be vital as we move toward IoT on a broad scale. Dr. DeWitt also emphasized the importance of security by noting that Azure IoT solutions provide per-device identities that are used to authenticate all device-to-cloud events, and that having devices pull cloud-to-device commands reduces the potential attack surface.

In closing, Drs. DeWitt and Nehme noted that after many years of delivering the PASS Summit keynote, this year will be their final joint appearance at the event as they look ahead to different endeavors. Words would never express my gratitude for all their work and dedication they provided to the PASS community through the years.

Thomas LaRock
PASS President

PASS Board Elections: The Results Are In!

September 24, 2015 — The 2015 PASS Elections ended yesterday, and the results have been totaled. Before I announce the results, I want to thank all of the candidates that chose to run in this year’s election. Your commitment to the PASS community is important in ensuring a healthy future for PASS.

Congratulations to Jen Stirrup, Tim Ford, and Ryan Adams on their election to the Board of Directors. Jen was re-elected to the EMEA regional seat and Tim was re-elected to the US/Canada regional seat. Our newest director, Ryan Adams, was elected to the open seat.

A total of 2,997 votes were cast by 1,285 voters this year:

Jen Stirrup, 933 votes (EMEA Seat winner)

Tim Ford, 824 votes (US/Canada Seat winner)

Ryan Adams, 683 votes (Open Seat winner)

Argenis Fernandez, 557 votes

You can see how the seats were awarded by clicking here. Newly elected directors will begin serving their term on January 1, 2016 and continue through the end of 2017.

Thanks to all who participated in the candidate forums and Town Hall meetings, including those who blogged and tweeted about the elections, as well as those who made their voices heard by voting. I would like to give special thanks to all the candidates on a passionate race that covered many issues and ideas that will shape the future of PASS.

Don’t let this election be the end of your involvement with PASS. We need your continued involvement throughout the year. There are volunteer opportunities with your local PASS Chapter or favorite Virtual Chapter. You can read more about volunteering for PASS here. If you take on a leadership role as a volunteer, you might find yourself taking that next step toward serving on the PASS Board someday.

Congratulations again to the newly elected directors!

Thomas LaRock
PASS President

Recap: Inside the PASS Board's July 2015 Meeting

August 20, 2015 — The Board of Directors met via teleconference on July 9, 2015 and were joined by new Board advisors Diego Nogare and Eduardo Castro. Here are the highlights of the meeting:

    • Adam Jorgensen introduced the Board to Diego and Eduardo, PASS’s new Latin America (LATAM) Board advisors.
    • We had an in-depth discussion of PASS’s strategy for growing and supporting the BA community and providing true value for the PASS membership across both new and existing communities, as well as a potential future collaboration with Microsoft. Adam shared feedback that he had collected from the Board, Microsoft Board representative Jennifer Moser, and the PASS Business Analytics Conference (BAC) planning committee.
    • We voted to re-establish the PASS Business Analytics Conference (BAC) planning committee as a Steering Committee through June 30, 2016. The committee, chaired by Jen Stirrup, will help drive the continued growth and strategic development for business analytics focused events and members.
    • We discussed the process for filling the upcoming off-term seat, as explained in an earlier post.

As we head into the Board of Directors election season, I encourage all PASS members to keep an eye on our Elections page for upcoming events and information.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding any of these topics, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Thomas LaRock
PASS President

Recap: Inside the PASS Board's June 2015 Meeting

July 30, 2015 — Our Board of Directors June 2015 meeting was held in Vancouver, Canada. Most of our meetings occur via conference call every month, but we try to meet in-face at least three times a year. At this two-day meeting we had a lot of topics to discuss and meeting in-person leads to better conversations than a phone call could ever provide.

You’ve already heard much of the news from that meeting from previous posts on the PASS blog and various articles in our newsletters, but here are the highlights.

· On Day 1 we welcomed two recent additions to the PASS HQ team: Georgia Dahle as director of Marketing and Charlie Yates-Bishop as director of Sales. As part of our regular review of internal PASS HQ processes, we also reviewed current IT priorities.

· We revisited a discussion from our January 2015 meeting regarding the introduction of Latin America (LATAM) regional Board advisors. Read more about that discussion here (in English), here (Spanish), or here (Portuguese). After reviewing candidates we voted to approve Eduardo Castro of Costa Rica and Diego Nogare of Brazil as our new regional advisors.

· We reviewed the 2016 budget and set a date (June 24) to vote on it.

· Jennifer Moser introduced guest James Phillips, Microsoft corporate VP of Power BI, who was there to give a presentation on Microsoft’s Power BI roadmap. After the presentation there was a healthy discussion about the PASS BA Community, the BAC, and Microsoft’s role in supporting our PASS family. (Read more about this topic here.)

· Day 2 opened with the PASS ExecCo elections. You can read about the results and your 2016 ExecCo here.

· We made a definitive decision about the 2016 BAC, which will be held May 2-4, 2016, in Santa Clara, California.

· The Board evaluated an offer to extend the PASS Summit Seattle venue for an additional year (2019).

· We made the difficult but necessary decision to retire the SQLRally event model. We explain this decision and what it means for PASS members here.

As you can see, it was a busy two days. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding any of these topics please don’t hesitate to contact us.

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone at Summit in just a few months!

Thomas LaRock
PASS President

SQLRally Update

July 13--For the past six months we have been reviewing the events PASS runs and supports. We’ve evaluated the benefits our events provide the PASS community, focusing on how these benefits align with PASS’s mission. During this time, we found that the goals for SQLSaturday and SQLRally are similar, with those goals being to:

· Promote PASS community growth by supporting opportunities worldwide to connect, share, and learn with fellow data professionals

· Promote the growth of speakers and leaders throughout our community

· Provide the opportunity for local-language content

PASS offers numerous opportunities for both community networking and in-depth technical training in-person and online with events such as SQLSaturday, 24 Hours of PASS, and virtual and local chapters. Through the efforts of our dedicated volunteers, the SQLSaturday event has seen remarkable growth globally, supporting technical training opportunities at a regional level. There were 98 SQLSaturday events in FY2015, compared to 36 events in FY2011, the first year SQLRally was introduced.

These facts led us to look again at the SQLRally event model and the benefits it has been providing to the global PASS Community.

SQLRally was aimed to provide technical content and an event experience between what was offered at a SQLSaturday event and what was offered at the PASS Summit. However, as SQLSaturday events have grown in popularity and add-on features such as pre-conference days have been introduced, they have become better suited as the event model to meet the benefits outlined earlier.

As a result, we have voted to retire the global SQLRally brand and event model.

The resources we have been investing in global SQLRally events can then be reinvested into other models with similar community outreach. In the coming days, we will distribute a survey to all SQLSaturday event organizers in an effort to better understand the opportunities that exist in enhancing the current SQLSaturday model. We will continue to use similar surveys to evaluate the needs of our global community in an ongoing effort to better provide the full breadth and depth of education and training for the data professionals that make up our membership.

If you have any questions or feedback, or if you would like to participate in this survey, let us know. It’s our goal to provide the best resources and training for PASS members.

Thomas LaRock
PASS President

Inside the PASS Board's May Meeting

June 23, 2015 — I wanted to take a minute to offer a recap of our May 15th meeting. The focus of the meeting was to review the “lessons learned” materials regarding the 2015 PASS Business Analytics conference. The discussion was led by Jen Stirrup, Director of the PASS Business Analytics portfolio. Here are the highlights from that discussion.

Jen reviewed the growing industry trends for Business Analytics and how PASS can play a critical role in that community. Organizations need people who understand data in a variety of ways (curation, administration, management, custodian, and analysis). Business analytics enables companies to incorporate data-drive decision making. PASS is well positioned to offering learning opportunities for members to expand their current roles into new careers, as well as offer companies seeking BA practitioners a place to find talented data professionals.

The PASS Business Analytics Conference 2015 presented the right content for its audience. A review of attendee titles show that the conference attracted and engaged its intended audience. According to a sponsor survey from the conference, 87% of exhibitors and sponsors are interested in future PASS BA conferences.

The Board heard from PASS HQ representatives about the opportunity that PASS has to support the BA community. With Gartner predicting in excess of 4 million analytics jobs by the end of this year many companies are struggling to find talent. People who work in data with a focus on the Microsoft data platform want to learn methods for making data-based decisions. PASS can help to foster this community and present content to support those needs.

PASS is working hard to determine the best venue and logistics for future BA conference events. The Board discussed potential options as well as resources and strategic direction.

A full review of the PASS BA 2015 conference will be held at the in-person June Board meeting in Vancouver, Canada. For more details about the May meetings, see the posted minutes on the PASS Governance page. Also, keep an eye on the BA Insights and Connector newsletters and on this blog, for news from the next Board meeting.

As always, stay in touch by contacting us. We welcome any and all feedback!

Thomas LaRock
PASS President

Inside the PASS Board’s April Meeting

May 13, 2015 – At the April PASS Board of Directors meeting, held April 9, attendees heard an update on the Business Analytics Conference 2015 and on PASS IT priorities. PASS Summit 2015 speaker selection methods were discussed, along with a reminder that it’s budget season. Here’s a quick rundown of the April meeting.

Business Analytics and the PASS Community Vision
PASS Vice President of Marketing and SQL Server MVP Denise McInerney recapped the goals of the Business Analytics Conference: to build a community of business analytics professionals and data professionals who realize the value of business analytics. She reported on attendance of the 2015 conference, as well as statistics regarding the ratio of new to return attendees, effective communication channels, and challenges and lessons learned regarding attempts to reach the target audience. She also outlined the onsite attendee experience for the Board.

Upcoming Budget Preparations and IT Updates
Adam Jorgensen, Executive Vice President of Finance & Governance, reminded the Board that the FY 2016 Budget will be reviewed at the June in-person Board meeting and the necessary steps to prepare for that meeting.

A PASS HQ representative also reviewed current IT priorities and the progress of the SQLSaturday website updates.

Watch for the recap of our May meeting soon. In the meantime, let the Board know if you have questions, comments, or ideas.

– Thomas LaRock
PASS President

I Do Not Choose To Run

by Thomas LaRock

Originally posted: link

In just a few weeks’ time I will travel to Vancouver to attend a PASS Board of Directors meeting. During that meeting the Board will hold our biennial officer elections. I wanted to take a brief moment of your time today to discuss these elections.

I will spare you the details of the PASS bylaws with regard to the officer elections. You can read all about them here if you want. The bylaws lack certain context, and that context is what I want you to understand today.

Years ago the process for officer election was simple. A person would serve two years as VP of Marketing, two years as VP of Finance, two years as President, and finally two years as Immediate Past President (IPP). That’s eight total years just as an officer. Folks were on the Board for ten years (or longer). The burnout rate towards the end of their service was noticeable.

During my early years on the Board we modified the bylaws to allow for a “shorter cycle”. We allowed for a candidate to be eligible to serve as President after just one term in either finance or marketing. By shortening the officer cycle to six years we wanted to avoid the burnout that comes in the last few years.

That bylaw change was not done to allow for one person to serve four years as President, even if eligible. That was not the intent then, and it is not my intent today.

I will not seek election for another term as President of PASS.

It has been my honor to serve you these past seven years on the Board. I’ve put a lot of energy and passion into service for PASS ever since I met Wayne Snyder in Orlando in 2004, and it’s been worth the extra effort.

I thank everyone for their support throughout the years. We’ve shared a lot of ups and downs together, and I would like to think I helped to make things better than how I found them.

I will move into the role of IPP where I expect to remain engaged for the next two years. There I will continue my efforts to help as many people connect, share, and learn from one another.

We’ve got a lot of work to get done still in 2015 and beyond.

Let’s go get it done, together.

Thomas LaRock

Inside the PASS Board’s March Meeting

April 8, 2015 – At this month’s PASS Board of Directors meeting, held March 12, the discussions revolved primarily around PASS Summit 2015 and the PASS Business Analytics Conference 2015, which will be held in Santa Clara, CA in just a few weeks. We also discussed budgets and initiatives for our chapters, including Virtual Chapters. Read on for the basics of the March meeting. 

Business Analytics and the PASS Community Vision
The Board heard about and discussed various logistics of the upcoming PASS Business Analytics Conference, which happens April 20–22. As you might expect, hosting a major event entails a multitude of tasks and details, from speaker and abstract evaluation, scheduling, lodging and venue choices, sales, feedback, and so on. As such events draw closer, the Board and other PASS personnel focus even more closely on ensuring that everything is in place to deliver a stellar experience for attendees and speakers alike.

In addition, Denise McInerney, PASS Vice President of Marketing and SQL Server MVP, emphasized that this conference is a pivotal piece in PASS’s vision to support the entire data community, including data analysts and Excel users, as it navigates new developments and constant changes in technology, tools, and strategies. Denise gave the Board an overview of her recent interview with Excel TV, in which she discussed the role of Excel in the conference as well as her own journey as a data professional. We all acknowledged the importance of communicating PASS’s vision and the opportunities that it presents to the data community via all the means at our disposal, be it through conferences, chapter or online events, or social media.

Chapters and Virtual Chapters
Next, Director of PASS Global Chapters Grant Fritchey gave the Board an update on PASS’s chapters and virtual chapters. A pre-approval for the FY2016 budget funds earmarked for the chapter and virtual chapter referral program and complimentary registrations was voted on, and approved. Referral program details and complimentary codes have now been sent to Chapters and will be sent to Virtual Chapter leaders within the week. If you haven’t received yours by EOD Friday April 10, please reach out to or

Summit Abstract Evaluation Review
Lastly, Amy Lewis, Director of PASS Programs, gave us an overview of the new abstract-evaluation service that PASS made available for Summit 2015 submissions. We looked at feedback from the committee regarding how many abstracts were reviewed, the average time spent on each, and the strengths and challenges of the process. We discussed the possibilities of offering the service again for Summit 2016. We also applauded the efforts and commitment of the review committee as we head into speaker and session selection.

We’ll check in again next month with a recap of our April meeting. In the meantime, remember, the Board is always interested in hearing your questions, comments, and ideas

– Thomas LaRock
PASS President