Category: PASS Chapters

SQLSaturday Site Redesign: Better than Ever

April 6, 2015--Over the past few weeks, we’ve been alerting people to something exciting: our new SQLSaturday website redesign. It’s now faster and easier than ever to manage, speak at, sponsor, or attend a SQLSaturday event!  After a great deal of effort by our staff and community volunteers for months (years, actually) the update is finally here—we hope you’ll stop by and take a look! The redesign will significantly improve the SQLSaturday experience for attendees, speakers, and event and chapter leaders. 

For starters, the new site makes it easier than ever to manage your SQLSaturday event or your Speaker Profile. One of the changes we’ve made is to tie in PASS accounts, so that leaders and speakers don’t need to juggle multiple account logins. 

Speakers now have a universal Speaker Profile that is associated with their PASS accounts and can be applied across events. This change and others make it easier for speakers to manage and track abstract submissions, upload presentations, and get feedback about their sessions. 

If you’re an event leader, you can now use your PASS account to access the Admin site—which has also received a facelift. The site features a cleaner, easier-to-use dashboard that will help to simplify the process of managing an event, including allowing you to associate an event with a chapter.

We’ve also improved the Session Management UI, which now supports a wider variety of session lengths as well as color-coding of tracks and rooms. Plus, you can add keynotes, rest breaks, and raffle draws as non-session items.

SQLSaturday attendees will benefit from the mobile-friendly redesign as well. Use your PASS account to manage your registrations, download SpeedPASS, pay for lunches, and deliver event feedback.

Sponsorship is an even more winning proposition, with a new slider and improved sign-up form that saves sponsors time and effort. (Sponsors will need to complete a one-time upload of new logo graphics to meet our improved display requirements, but beyond that, improvements will be effortless.)

We’re excited to hear what you think about the changes. If you have feedback or questions, we hope you’ll reach out to us at ITSupport@sqlsaturday.com.

--Tim Ford
Director, PASS SQLSaturday

Refreshing the Regional Mentor Program

January 6, 2015 – The PASS Regional Mentor program is all about providing trusted counsel, sharing ideas, and encouraging and supporting local Chapter Leaders and event organizers. From facilitating new Chapter launches and sharing ideas on how to market and grow local user groups to helping chapters find speakers, sponsors, and host a SQLSaturday event in their city, these dedicated volunteer “coaches” are charged with helping build a stronger data community around the world.

Over the past three years, we’ve been making minor adjustments to the RM program to fine-tune processes and provide RMs useful resources, help with consistency across regions, and provide better support to local leaders. Last month, we sent a survey to Chapter Leaders, asking for their feedback on how their RMs, and the program overall, were working for them.

With 18 of PASS’s 19 regions providing input, we were pleased to find that over 75% of respondents say their RMs have been very to somewhat helpful. According to the survey results, 42% of the Chapter Leaders are hearing from their RMs either monthly or bi-monthly, with another 23% hearing from their RMs at least quarterly. But there’s still room for improvement, with a little over 10% of Chapter Leaders feeling that their RMs are not very helpful and some saying they don’t hear from their RMs.

With the Chapter Leaders’ feedback, as well as input from RMs during their annual meeting at PASS Summit 2014 in November, we’ve identified some changes we think will not only help make this program even more valuable to Chapters and local events but will also enhance the volunteer RM role as a key stepping stone to other potential PASS leadership opportunities, including running for the PASS Board of Directors.

Here are the changes we’re making to the RM program for 2015:

    • All RMs will now live in the region they represent. We believe we have a large enough volunteer pool now to meet this requirement.
    • When assigning RMs for a region, we will make sure to choose representatives from various parts of the region to provide better geographic coverage. Again, with the growing number of PASS volunteers, this should be easy to achieve.
    • RM candidates who have prior Chapter leadership experience, have served on a Chapter Board, or have worked to organize a SQLSaturday event will be preferred over candidates without this experience.
    • We will prefer RMs willing to serve in this volunteer leadership role exclusively for the duration of the assignment, although in some areas we understand that this might not be possible due to limited volunteer resources.
    • We will be doing an annual renewal for each RM, based on reports from Chapter Leaders, fellow RMs, and HQ.
    • In the US, we received some feedback about the alignment of states within regions. Based on that input, we are shifting some states to create a new Mountain region and moving some other states around within existing regions*. We’ve also increased or reduced the number of RMs in certain areas, based on local needs.
    • As part of our commitment to helping RMs succeed, we will be meeting with them bi-monthly and providing a monthly summary of PASS initiatives and other resources and tools to help RMs provide better support for Chapter and SQLSaturday leaders in their region.

PASS is built on the shoulders of its strong volunteer community, devoted to helping fellow data professionals around the world Connect, Share, and Learn. And we want to say a special Thank You to all of our hardworking, dedicated RMs for the time, effort, and passion they share with Chapter Leaders and event organizers in their area.

We are excited about the improved service and support as well as the additional opportunities these changes will bring to the PASS community, and we look forward to hearing from RMs and local leaders throughout the year about how the refreshed RM program is working for them. Please send your feedback and ideas to ce@sqlpass.org.
– Wendy Pastrick
PASS Director, Global Chapters

* US Regions Realignment
US-NorthEast – CT, MA, ME, NH, NY, RI, VT
US-MidAtlantic – DC, DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA, WV
US-SouthEast – AL, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, SC, TN
US-NorthCentral – IL, IN, MI, MN, OH, WI
US-SouthCentral – AR, LA, NM, OK, TX
US-MidWest – IA, KS, MO, NE
US-Mountain (new) – CO, MT, ND, SD, UT, WY
US-SouthWest – AZ, CA, HI, NV
US-NorthWest – AK, ID, OR, WA


Working on Strategy for Local BA Events

December 22, 2014 – With a growing interest in and questions among community members about expanding into business analytics-related chapters and adding more local events such as BA SQLSaturdays, the PASS Board of Directors took up the discussion at our last meeting of 2014.

PASS is pursuing a variety of online offerings to serve business and data analytics professionals and is working with the Virtual Chapters that cover BA-related topics. We are also excited about the possibilities in growing our BA-related local activities and creating more in-person training and networking opportunities. But to make sure that we are serving the community in the best way, the Board agreed on our Thursday conference call to suspend such further expansion until we can develop and agree upon a plan for structuring and growing these new BA community groups and events. (Look for the official minutes of this meeting to be posted on the Governance page in January.)

While we work with community members on a strategy that will successfully move us forward in supporting business and data analytics professionals around the world, we ask that you hold off on any new local PASS-sponsored BA initiatives. We’ll be looking for your ideas and feedback in the New Year – feel free to contact me any time if you have questions or comments – and please watch the PASS Blog and Community Connector for the latest updates.

Wishing all the #sqlfamily a safe and happy holiday season,
– Denise McInerney
PASS VP, Marketing

FY2015 Chapter Goals: Supporting Local Data Communities

March 18, 2014  There’s nothing like nurturing in-person relationships with folks who share the same passion as you do. And our 291 grassroots Chapters located around the globe are doing PASS proud by enabling local networking and shared learning with data professionals living and working in the same area.

This is my second year as Director of PASS Chapters, and while we’ve accomplished much this past year, I’m already looking forward to where we need to focus our time and energy in fiscal year 2015 (FY2015).  Here are the Chapter Portfolio goals we’re proposing to support and grow local data communities:

    • Enable Chapters to access more content on a variety of topics, including Cloud, Big Data, and Business Analytics.
    • Continue to provide great benefits to Chapter Leaders, such as access to PASS content and events, in a fiscally responsible manner by establishing parameters for PASS event complimentary registration eligibility. These parameters will be managed via self-reporting tools for Chapters, available in early FY2015.
    • Help establish at least 10 new BI/BA-focused Chapters.
    • Look into setting up additional SQL Server-related Chapters in countries with no or very few Chapters, helping support increased knowledge sharing and learning in those communities.

If you have yet to connect with data peers in your area, I encourage you to look into joining – or starting – a PASS Chapter near you. And before I sign off, I’d like to extend a huge thank you to all the Chapter leaders who work tirelessly to share their passion for knowledge and the community. Please send your feedback on these goals to wendy.pastrick@sqlpass.org.
– Wendy Pastrick
Chapters Director, PASS Board


 


Regional Mentor Welcomes, Farewells

January 21, 2014 – PASS Regional Mentors are all about helping local Chapter Leaders and event organizers on their way to success. From supporting new Chapter launches and sharing ideas on how to market and grow your user group to helping you find speakers, sponsors, and even host a SQLSaturday event in your city, these dedicated volunteers are helping build a stronger data community around the world.

PASS is excited to introduce new and returning RMs for many of our regions, and please join us in extending a heartfelt thanks and best wishes to our outgoing RMs as they continue to serve the PASS community.

    • LATAM: PASS is welcoming a new RM team for the LATAM region this year, and we thank outgoing RMs Carlos Farias, Jesus Gil, John Bulla, and Mary Arcia – as well as departing Brazil RM Luciano Moreira – for all their efforts in building the foundation for LATAM PASS.
    • Middle East/Africa: Nabeel Derhem (blog | @NabeelDerhem) is partnering with Jody Roberts as RM for the Middle East/Africa region as Gareth Swanepoel moves from MEA to the US-Southeast.
    • UK: Jonathan Allen is leaving as UK RM, with Neil Hambly (blog | @Neil_Hambly) joining RM Mark Broadbent to support the region.
    • US - North Central: John Morehouse (blog | @SqlrUs) is teaming up with existing North Central RM Ted Krueger in place of outgoing RM Jason Strate.
    • US - Northeast: Mike Hillwig (blog | @mikehillwig) is joining Jack Corbett as RM for the US-Northeast as Steve Hughes finishes his tenure.
    • US - Southeast: As noted earlier, Gareth Swanepoel (blog | @garethswan) is moving from the MEA region to join Southeast RMs Kendal Van Dyke and Tim Radney in place of Jose Chinchilla, who is now part of the new LATAM RM team.

Thanks again to our outgoing mentors for all their contributions, and good luck to our 2014 RM teams as they support the growing PASS communities in their regions. If you’re interested in becoming a PASS RM and would like to learn more about this valuable role and future opportunities, please contact Karla Landrum.



2014 Is Here: Let’s Get to Work!

January 7, 2014 – 2013 was a wonderful year for PASS. We grew in service to data professionals around the world across many areas – adding 31 local PASS Chapters, six new Virtual Chapters, and the inaugural PASS Business Analytics Conference – and welcomed over 16,000 new members. With 2013 now in our rear-view mirror, it’s time to look at what lies ahead for PASS.

Before we dive into the coming year, I want to thank Rushabh Mehta, Douglas McDowell, and Rob Farley for their many years of service to the PASS community as they leave the Board of Directors. Their hard work and dedication will be sorely missed.

Let’s also take a moment to welcome the new Directors joining the Board for 2014-2015: Amy Lewis, Jen Stirrup, and Tim Ford. Amy will be taking over PASS Programs, Jen will lead Virtual Chapters, and Tim will be responsible for the SQLSaturday portfolio. You can read about all the Board portfolio assignments on the PASS blog.

As PASS continues to grow, the Board understands the need for Directors to shift away from their historical role as “doers” and toward setting direction through strategic thinking. We have been taking measured steps as part of this transition. And after the 2013 elections, I shared the vision that myself, Adam Jorgensen, and Denise McInerney have for PASS as your Executive Committee (ExeCo).

Vision statements are good, but actions are better. So to start, every Board member is outlining their portfolio tasks so that we make certain they roll up to our higher-level goals and that we hold each other accountable. In my years on the Board, we have had a lot of great ideas but struggled with follow-through and accountability. We are aiming to change that in 2014.

I’ve asked all Board members to submit their goals for 2014 before Jan. 13. The ExeCo will then review the goals before the Board’s January in-person meeting and provide feedback about any tasks not aligned with the overall vision.

With your help – and the leadership of dedicated Board members – I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running this year.

Let’s make 2014 a year to remember, together.
Thomas LaRock
PASS President

Chapter Referral Program Update

December 10, 2013 – Congratulations to all PASS local Chapters that helped refer their members to PASS Summit 2013. Sixty-nine Chapters participated in the program and earned anywhere from $50 to $1000 for their respective Chapters. Gift cards will be sent to each participating Chapter leader early next week. Find out how much your Chapter earned:

Chapter Amount Chapter Leader
Atlanta Business Intelligence Group $450 Teo Lachev
Atlanta SQL Server User Group; Atlanta Microsoft Database Forum $500 Donald Wert
Belgian SQL Server User Group $50 Frederik Vandeputte
Calgary PASS $150 Noel Tan
Canada - British Columbia (Vancouver) $100 Richard Baumet
CBusPASS $100 Dave Schutz
Central New Jersey SSUG $100 Linda Zhang
Central PA SSUG $100 Dustin Jones
Charleston SQL Server User Group $50 Ryan McKnight
Charlotte BI Group $350 Jason Thomas
Charlotte SQL Server User Group $200 Peter Shire
Chicago SQL BI User Group $150 Marcello Benati
Chicago SQL Server User Group $500 Aaron Lowe
Cincinnati PASS $50 Anthony Mattas
Denver SQL Server User Group $250 Steve Wake
Eugene Area SQL Server User Group $50 Dan Guzman
FoxPASS $150 Jes Borland
French SQL Server User Group/Groupe des Utilisateurs
  Francophone de Microsoft  SQL Server (France) $150 Arian Papillon
Hampton Roads SharePoint and SQL Users Group                               $50          Susan Lennon
Houston Area SQL Server User Group $1,000 Nancy Hidy Wilson
IndyPASS                                                                                                $650 Ray Lucas
Inland Empire SQL Server User Group $50 Shannon Shields
Iowa SQL Server User Group $250 Juan M. Moya
Israeli SQL Server User Group $150 Guy Glantser
Jacksonville SQL Server Users Group $150 Devin Knight
Kansas City SQL Server User Group $300 Andrew Cross
KnoxSQL - SQL Server User Group                                                       $250        Arlene Gray
Louisville SQL Server User Group $50 Dave Fackler
Malibu SQL Server User Group $150 Steve Rezhener
Microsoft Business Intelligence Community (MSBIC) $50 Greg Taylor
Microsoft Business Intelligence User Group of South Florida $200 Luis Figueroa
Midlands PASS $50 Kenneth Brian Kelley
Minnesota Microsoft BI User Group                                                        $450 Dan English
Minnesota SQL Server User Group $750 Paul Timmerman
Nashville SQL Server User Group $100 Tamera Clark
Netherlands Antilles (Curacao) $50 Roy Ernest
New England SQL Server Users Group $100 Adam Machanic
New Jersey SQL Server User Group $100 John Dempsey
North Texas SQL Servers Users Group $650 Sri Sridharan
Northern Virginia SQL Server Users Group $250 Jim Rotan
Oklahoma City SQL Server Developers Group $350 Kristin Ferrier
Olympia Area SQL Server User Group $100 Greg Larsen
Omaha SQL/BI User Group $200 John Morehouse
Oregon SQL $50 Arnie Rowland
PASS DC $50 Chris Bell
Philadelphia SQL Server User Group $800 Vince Napoli
Pittsburgh SQL Server Users Group $50 Gina Walters
Portland SQL Server User Group $200 Ken Starnes
Quad Cities PASS Chapter $350 Sheila Acker
Rochester PASS $100 Matt Slocum
Russian SQL Server User Group $50 
Sacramento SQL Server User Group $150 Mitch Bottel
Salt Lake City SQL Server User Group $100 Pat Wright
San Antonio SQL Server User Group $100 Jim Steiner
Southwest Missouri SQL Server Users Group                                        $100 Anthony Young
SQL PASS Edmonton $100 Harry Zheng
SQLPASS in Detroit                                                                                $150 Joseph Fleming
St. Louis SQL Sever User Group $100 Julie Bloomquist
Steel City SQL User Group $50 John Baldwin
Tampa Bay SQL User Group $50 Jose Chinchilla
Toronto SQL Sever User Group $100 Karen Lopez
Triad SQL Business Intelligence User Group $300 Katherine Fraser
Triad SQL Server User Group $50 Kevin Goode
Triangle Area SQL Server Users Group $50 Brett Tomson
Victoria SQL Server User Group $1,000 Jonathan Mears
Wellington SQL Server User Group                                                        $50 David Curlewis
West Michigan SQL Server User Group $200 Josh Fennessy
Wichita SQL Server User Group $50 Patrick Purviance
Winnipeg SQL Server User Group $50 Michael Defehr



PASS Board Q&A Recap

October 29, 2013 – The annual PASS Board of Directors Q&A session at PASS Summit 2013 covered the recent PASS Board elections, hosting PASS Summit outside of Seattle, and the PASS organization privacy policy, among other topics.

All current PASS Board members were on stage to help answer questions from the community. Here’s a quick recap of the top three questions and answers:

Q: There are concerns in the community that duplicate votes occurred in the recent PASS Board elections. How did PASS review the votes, and how did this affect the election results?
A:
The election results remain unchanged even when taking duplicates into account. Eligible voters were determined by unique email address and date entered into the system. All submitted ballots were compared to registration lists for paid PASS events. Duplicate ballots were discovered based on first name, last name, and address. Ballots were also compared to our membership data (people who fill in the member profile on sqlpass.org), and additional duplicates were uncovered based on identical first and last name and identical voting pattern.

Q: What are PASS’s plans to host another Summit event outside of the Seattle area?
A:
This Summit in Charlotte, NC, is the first time we’ve been out of Seattle since 2007! It has been a great success, but we are going to spend some time analyzing the pros and cons of hosting outside of Seattle before we decide to move to different locations. Booking facilities for events of this size happens years in advance, and we are booked in the Seattle area for the next 3 years.

Q: There was some confusion among PASS Chapter leaders about how to reach out to local SQLSaturday event registrants.
A:
Any Chapter Leader involved in organizing a SQLSaturday event may use the SQLSaturday sponsor opt-in list to append registrant contact information to their Chapter email list.

Announcing PASS Board Portfolios for 2014

October 11, 2013 – With the PASS Board of Directors elections completed and thousands of community members and volunteers gathering at PASS Summit 2013 in Charlotte next week, it’s time to meet your Board portfolio leaders for the coming year. It’s been a pleasure, as one of my first tasks as incoming PASS President, to match up Directors with the project portfolios where they can put their skills, experience, passions, and energy to best use.

Here are the portfolios for 2014:

  • James Rowland-Jones led our Global Growth portfolio over the past year, helping us gather feedback and lay the groundwork for better supporting the global community, including converting two seats on the PASS Board to regional seats. JRJ will remain with Global Growth and also lead Special Projects.
  • Sri Sridharan began his term on the Board last year with the reinstated Volunteers portfolio and will continue the important tasks of growing PASS’s volunteer pool, better organizing volunteer efforts, and recognizing volunteers’ valuable contributions.
  • Wendy Pastrick will continue leading our Global Chapters portfolio, working to grow and support local user groups with a great team of Community Evangelists and Chapter Leaders and Regional Mentors throughout the world.
  • Amy Lewis, newly elected to the Board, will begin her term heading up the Programs portfolio. Working with Director Adam Jorgensen, Amy has served as co-manager of PASS Programs for 2 years, helping improve processes and lead the team that selects sessions for PASS Summit and the PASS Business Analytics Conference.
  • Jen Stirrup, elected to the new EMEA regional seat on the Board, will put her experience as PASS BI Virtual Chapter co-leader to valuable use in guiding the Virtual Chapters portfolio.
  • Tim Ford, elected to the new US/Canada regional seat, will take over the SQLSaturday portfolio. A passionate SQLSaturday supporter, Tim organized Kalamazoo, MI’s first SQLSaturday. Over 80 SQLSaturdays were held throughout the world in FY2013, and we’re expecting continued growth of these popular free, 1-day training events as we focus on meeting the needs of even more data professionals around the globe.

The 2014 PASS Board also includes the PASS Executive Committee – consisting of myself; Executive VP, Finance, Adam Jorgensen; VP, Marketing, Denise McInerney; and Past President Bill Graziano – and Founding Partner Board members from CA and Microsoft.

The transition to new assignments is underway, and new portfolio leaders will be meeting with community leaders and volunteers at Summit to get a jump-start on their projects. Make sure you say “Hi” at Summit, join us at the Board Q&A on Friday, Oct. 18, and volunteer to pitch in on your favorite projects. We can’t wait to get down to business!
– Thomas LaRock


 

Chapters, Chapters Everywhere!

By Wendy Pastrick

June 11, 2013 – PASS is growing every day across the globe. Since the first of the year, we have welcomed 18 physical chapters across Asia, Africa, Europe, and South and North America, bringing us to 306 total PASS Chapters. Local groups allowing SQL Server professionals and enthusiasts to meet face-to-face and talk about their favorite technology builds our community and makes each of us a better professional. When was the last time you attended your local chapter meeting? If you aren’t sure when it meets, find your chapter on the PASS website and check out its schedule.

If there isn’t a Chapter in your area, PASS has all the tools you need to start one. With the help of online tools - plus the expertise of our amazing Community Evangelists, Karla Landrum and Niko Neugebauer -  setting up a group and getting the word out for your first meeting should be a smooth process. You can reach out to Karla and Niko for all the details. Let’s continue the growth of our community and provide local networking in your city.

One of the things Chapters routinely need are people who will stand up in a room of their peers and share their knowledge. It doesn’t matter what your passion is, as long as it can teach at least one person one new thing, your willingness to share it will be appreciated. I hope that anyone who has attended one or two meetings can be encouraged to sign up with their Chapter Leader to speak at the next event!

You don’t have to be an MVP, or even someone with a special title at work. All you need is the desire to share with the community. Here are some questions to get you thinking about topics you could present:

•    Do you have a favorite feature, such as log shipping or Service Broker? Many people have very little knowledge in these areas and would welcome a short demonstration or case study about how to use them.
•    What kind of configurations do you use when you install your server? How about database settings that become part of the standard for your organization? Share them with your colleagues!
•    Have you solved a tricky problem? Describe it to the room, and let them know how you went about solving it. Your experience could benefit others.

Remember, keep up the great work and let people know how your local Chapter has helped you. Then, give back a little and volunteer to help your Chapter Leader or SQLSaturday event team, or sign up as a speaker! I’m looking forward to meeting all the Chapter Leaders, Regional Mentors, and community at large at PASS Summit 2013 in Charlotte in just a few months.

It’s been a big year already, and I’m sure more great things are coming soon!