Category: PASS Chapters
(Reposted from my blog; read the original post here.)
I was asked by someone to write a mission statement for chapters. I don’t know if this qualifies in the truest definition of a mission statement or not but, I partially stole this from a friend, and I hope he doesn’t mind: 2012 is going to be the year of the chapter.
Its been a busy quarter since I took over responsibility for chapters and there have many changes, hopefully this post can summarize the highpoints.
During the past quarter, we’ve seen exceptional growth of chapters, including seeing 12 new chapters formed across the globe!
- BI Chapter in Wisconsin, led by Farouq Abukhamireh
- Algeria, led by Badrou Zeggar
- Bangkok, Thailand, led by Fukiat Julnual
- Ekatrinburg, Russia, led by Evgeny Fedyakov
- Kharkiv, Ukraine, led by Denis Reznik
- Kyiv, Ukraine, led by by Konstantin Kosinsky
- Las Cruces, New Mexico, led by Colleen Barnitz and Russ Burns
- Leicester, UK, led by Gavin Campbell
- Los Angeles, California, led by Kim Schmidt
- Maidenhead, UK, led by Richard Douglas
- Stavropol, Russia, led by Maksim Lemeshko
- Santa Catarina, Brazil, led by Rodrigo Dornel
Last month, I put forward some recommendations to the board of directors for increased spending for the fiscal year 2012 (ends 6/30/2012); two of those proposals were accepted and funded. Yesterday I had the opportunity to lead two separate meetings with our Regional Mentors in order to bring them up to speed on what those proposals are funding.
The first thing this is going to allow us to do is send a “Chapter Kit” or mailing to every PASS Chapter around the globe! I’m not going to spoil the surprise about what’s going to be inside but, we hope that Chapter leaders will find the contents valuable and can put them to good use.
The second program we’re going to implement is to fund some Regional Mentor travel to PASS chapter meetings and SQLSaturdays. The basics are that we’ve given each Regional Mentor a funding allocation and asked them to visit as many chapter meetings in their region as they can, the primary focus being on chapters - especially those that need help with speakers or are otherwise struggling. We are attempting to fill a gap in speakers at local UGs and allow the Regional Mentors to get out in the community and evangelize for PASS.
Both of these programs are new, and both are things that we’ve talked about trying for a good while. I’m expecting both of these efforts to have a positive impact on the community, and I’m expecting to get lots of feedback during the process and learn some lessons while we see exactly how this is going to work and what impact its going to have.
Since I started with chapters, I’ve been pushing forward with a plan to revamp the existing tools our chapter leaders use to manage chapters, and I’m happy to say I’m starting to see some real movement towards helping with our needs in this area! I expect the first round of changes to start being rolled out within the next 45 days. As this project continues, I'll continue to write about the new and exciting changes we’re making.
(Condensed from my Community Pollination blog – read the full version here.)
This past weekend, there were two SQLSaturday events: #108 in Redmond and #103 in Curaçao. I heard all the “Oh sure, tough choice there” comments, but my plans early on were to attend the Curaçao event.
The original vision for my new role as PASS Community Evangelist was to get to one first-time venue each month to talk to attendees who might not be familiar with PASS. My being onsite to assist with some logistics and last-minute details at these events helps out the first-time organizers as well. Plus, I can see what areas I need to make sure I’m mentoring on before event day.
This trip was only 3 hours from Miami. I was greeted at the airport by event leader and local PASS chapter leader Roy Ernest [blog|twitter]. Roy went out of his way to not only pick me up, but to also pick up each speaker who came from over from the US. None of us arrived at the same time, so it wasn’t exactly convenient for someone already with so much stress of his approaching event. SQLSat #103 had three non- local speakers - Bill Pearson [blog|twitter], Rob Volk [blog|twitter], and Tim Radney [blog|twitter] - and two local presenters: Roy and volunteer and co-worker Rohan Joackhim [twitter].
Friday evening’s speaker appreciation dinner was at a great Indian restaurant - one of many in a renovated fort called Rif Fort. From the outside, it looked like a castle, but when you walked in, there were all kinds of restaurants on several levels, all with open seating. You could look out in one direction and see the beautiful crystal-clear, aqua-colored ocean and then look inward around the fort at all the entertainment, from drummers and bands to folks dancing in the open center area. It was really a unique setting; the only downfall was that the band was so loud, it was hard to hear even someone sitting directly across from you.
The event had two tracks, DBA and BI, and was held at the University of the Netherlands Antilles, courtesy of the head instructor, Rinnus Felipa. It’s always nice to meet those who help make a SQLSaturday happen, and kudos to universities such as this, which offer their venues for free to the IT community. It was obvious that the success of this day was important to Rinnus - he was onsite all day and meticulous about details that the university was responsible for, such as lunch. On the lunch menu was “Steak de Wea,” a local combination of rice and steak covered in a savory sauce, with fresh green beans and salad. It was delicious, and I enjoy trying something local and new to my taste buds. SQLSat #103 didn’t charge attendees for lunch, and the university kept the cost very reasonable (I believe each plate was around $7 per person).
The morning of the event, there were 95 registrants, including those who opted out the week prior. Actual attendance ended up being around 60 - so as typically seen at SQLSaturdays, about a 30%-35% drop-off. The event had only three sponsors: PASS, Redgate, and O’Reilly. But even with the little budget he had to work with, Roy managed to put on a great event for his community. As I talked with attendees during breaks and addressed the group as a whole at the end, many comments rang a common tune - they want to see another SQLSaturday… and most don’t want to wait another year for it (hint, hint, Roy!). As always, I stressed to the attendees that they should work on becoming presenters themselves for the next SQLSaturday event, and they could start sharpening their SQL and presentation skills by speaking at their local user group.
This post would not be complete if I failed to mention another key Curaçao volunteer: Surenda Djaoen [twitter], another of Roy’s co-workers and someone he is mentoring to become the new leader of the Curaçao SQL Server User Group. With Roy doing so much running around on Friday, and still prepping his own presentation for the big day, Surenda took on a lot of the last-minute details for the SQLSaturday. One of the highlights of the trip for me was getting time to talk with her about running a user group and some tips on growing the local speaker pool. It’s always rewarding to see volunteers’ eyes light up with excitement as their minds start racing with ideas. That’s all it takes - just plant a few seeds, and watch them grow!
With 250 chapters and counting, PASS is serious about its commitment to global growth. We are excited that members of the SQL Server community from far and wide can connect, share and learn in their own region! In November alone, 8 new chapters were created:
• Himalayan SQL Server User Group, Nepal (Leader: Shree Khanal)
• SQLPASS Egypt (Leader: Wagdy Ishac)
• Cambridgeshire SQL Server User Group, UK (Leader: Mark Broadbent)
• Montreal BI User Group, Canada (Leader: Dwayne Pindling)
• St. Louis BI Users Group, US (Leader: Phil Milner)
• Chicago BI User Group, US (Leader: Emre Motan)
• Quad Cities PASS, Iowa, US (Leader: Sheila Acker)
• New London SQL Server User Group, US (Leader: Victor Pavlovit)
November also saw the addition of 3 Regional Mentors recently appointed, for the US Northeast (Steve Hughes), US Southwest (Phil Robinson) and Western Canada (Colin Stasiuk). Find out more about Steve, Phil, and Colin from PASS Director Mark Ginnebaugh’s recent blog post.
To facilitate chapter development, educational webcasts geared towards chapter leaders are available for streaming from the Chapter Resources page (PASS login required to access). Recent webcasts include:
• Using Dot Net Nuke Websites with Mike Lawell
• Making Your Chapter Legal While Removing Stress with Arnie Rowland
Lastly, SQLSaturday keeps on growing with new events popping up all over the world. New SQLSaturdays are added all the time so be sure to keep tabs on the SQLSaturday event calendar for one near you!
• SQLSaturday#113, Indonesia, Dec 10, 2011
• SQLSaturday#108, Redmond, Feb 25, 2012
• SQLSaturday#109, Silicon Valley, Mar 3, 2012
• SQLSaturday#110, Tampa, Mar 10, 2012
• SQLSaturday#114, Vancouver, Mar 17, 2012
• SQLSaturday#115, Portugal, Mar 17, 2012
• SQLSaturday#107, Houston, Apr 12, 2012
• SQLSaturday#111, Atlanta, Apr 14, 2012
• SQLSaturday#112, Birmingham, May 12, 2012
• SQLSaturday#106, Puerto Rico, May 26, 2012
If you have any questions or comments about chapters, regional mentors, or SQLSaturday events, please contact PASS Community Evangelist Karla Landrum.
We are happy to announce that three new Regional Mentors are joining the PASS team.
Steve Hughes will be filling the open slot for U.S. - Northeast, providing Melissa Demcsak some badly needed help. Steve is a Principal Consultant at Magenic, focused on Business Intelligence architecture. He recently helped put on SQLSaturday #99 - Minnesota 2011 and convinced Magenic to send nine SQL Server professionals to this year's PASS Summit.
Phil Robinson is our new Regional Mentor for U.S. - Southwest, where he will be working with Tjay Belt. Phil is an independent database developer and BI consultant and is President of the San Diego SQL Server User Group. He has been an organizer of two SQLSaturdays (#55 and #95).
Phil is replacing Andrew Karcher, who is stepping down after a long tenure as a Regional Mentor. Thanks, Andrew for your service, and welcome Phil!
Things are changing in Canada, too! Another longtime Regional Mentor, Scott Stauffer, is ready to hand his responsibilities to an able replacement. We appreciate Scott's efforts and know he will enjoy his return to private life.
Colin Stasiuk is filling Scott's position as Regional Mentor for Western Canada. Colin has been working with SQL Server since version 6.5. He is co-author of SQL Server 2008 Policy Based Management, an active blogger, and founded the PASS Chapter in Edmonton.
Please join us in welcoming Steve, Phil, and Colin to the Regional Mentors team.
- Mark Ginnebaugh
Director, Global Chapters
This weekend marked the 20th SQL Saturday that I have attended, SQLSaturday 84 in a place until now I had never heard of, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Well, I can tell you, that this one broke into my top 3, as this small town, “home like” feeling event, literally warmed my heart! It was admittedly very reminiscent of the first event I hosted in Pensacola in 2009.
When I arrived, with Tommy LaRock who happened to be on the same flight, volunteer Shelly Noll picked us up, the first sign of hometown hospitality. After checking into the hotel, Shelly swung us by the event venue where we met up with the other volunteers. Their event was held at the Kalamazoo Valley Community College, and let me tell you, one of the very nicest community colleges I’ve ever seen. This large venue was gorgeous, with trees growing on the inside, beautiful gardens and courtyards, and amazingly donated for FREE for this event. NICE WIN!
There were at least 8 volunteers, likely more just didn’t count, all working diligently on preparing things for the big day. Right off the bat, you could tell this group was super organized as they were nearly done, and it was only about 3:00 in the afternoon. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such calmness the day before a SQLSaturday.
Things kicked off that evening with the speaker party, a get together at Tim Ford’s beautiful home and was sponsored by SQLSentry. In attendance were so many top notch notables of the SQL world that I am not even going to begin listing them all, as I will surely miss someone. Tim and his lovely wife Amy prepared quite a spread of delectables, from homemade guacamole to apple cobbler (and one cobbler wasn’t enough, there was a peach one as well!), assorted chips and dips and cheeses I’ve never even heard of that were to die for! Plenty of delicious food and then the doorbell rings, as if we needed more, gourmet pizzas show up. A cooler full of frothy beverages out on the deck, again, many I have never heard of, with a wonderfully warm fire roaring in the pit (which was MUCH appreciated by THIS Florida girl, as it was like 50 degrees there!). As chilly as it was (okay maybe not for the others), most everyone ended up gathering out on the deck, surrounding the fire like we were at camp, telling tales of SQL. It was so relaxing, lots of good humor and stories. This by far is now my top Friday evening party for these events. It was like being home. The evening ended, at least for me, of an announcement that someone had eaten all the bacon off all the remaining pizza. One guess!
Early the next morning, once again, Shelly was kind enough to pick me up from the hotel and head on over to the venue to get things set-up. Others were there and much of what was needed done was well on its way to completion. I cannot say enough, what a super, efficient crew of volunteers! I was there on behalf of PASS, so I went to work setting up our table in the sponsor’s area. This I would say would be the only thing that I would recommend they look at changing up at next year’s event, the placement of sponsors. Unfortunately it was the only place with outlets all the way around the walls, hence why they chose this spot, but it was pretty far from the registration check-in, and tucked off to one side. It was at least near the doors to where three of the sessions were being held, so Tim the quick thinker, placed a big billboard they had with the rooms and sessions posted directly by those doors, so we could sway folks over to our area as they stopped to find their way. This worked out, as I do think many attendees managed to get their raffle tickets into the drawings all the sponsors had. Maybe next year they can find some other way to get the registration and the sponsors closer together.
The day went by very quickly, probably because I spent most of the day working and in discussions with Alison MacDonald from PASS Marketing, oh, and that other person who seems to never stop talking, no, not Rob Farley, Tom! (I hear Rob out talks Tom, I find that really hard to believe after this weekend). Throughout the day many attendees, as usual at these events, were commenting on how great the event was and how happy they were that it came to Kalamazoo. The turnout was very close to the numbered registered, I think they ended up with only about a 12% drop-off, even though there did seem to be a lot of food leftover, but I think that is typical when you do food trays with sandwiches. I think sandwich shops under state really just how many people one tray will feed. This was the first event that I attended that we had the new SQLSaturday laptop stickers and patches, and those went over big time, everyone wanted those. Looking forward to seeing how many of these make their way to the Summit next month. For their event, they had a WIT Panel during lunch led by Shelly, which unfortunately I missed due to talking too much myself! The WIT Panel was a great line-up of Kendra Little, Wendy Pastrick, Yanni Robel, and Erin Stellato. Since I missed it, I can’t do it justice, but Sarah Strate did a full detailed blog about it, that you can read up on here: http://sarahsjolander.wordpress.com/2011/09/17/3-questions-for-the-wit/
As the day was winding up, Tim needed someone to head over early to the after party venue to let them know we were coming, as they did not allow reservations ahead of time. So Amy, Austin and Trevor (they ever so entertaining boys) and I all headed over, which meant I wasn’t there for the raffle drawings, which was fine, but I did miss out on a very special moment for Tim. Josh Fennessy, who was that day announced as the new chapter leader for the West Michigan SQL User Group, presented Tim with a plaque of recognition for all his years of contributions to the SQL community. Check it out http://lockerz.com/s/139887810
The after party was at a very cool restaurant/bar in downtown called Kalamazoo Beer Exchange . Great food, but the absolutely coolest thing about this place was the Beer Market. At 6:00pm, on various big screens throughout the three story facility, the Beer Market would open. Think Stock Market. You watch the price of beers go up or down based on consumption. I had never seen this anywhere, and it was so cool! When the price of the beer changed, it stayed at that price for 12 minutes. There were arrows, just like the stock market, that showed if the price was going up or down. At one point the beer market crashed, and all the beers were 2 bucks! Drink, drink, drink!
After a while we all made our way to a nearby piano bar, something we do for the after party at Pensacola each year, and in my opinion, great entertainment and fun for all no matter where you live. I had hoped to make my way to a third place that had bull riding, as I am determined to do this someday, but was just too tired and had an early flight out. I was smart and booked my ride with Joe Fleming earlier in the evening, stating “make me go with you no matter how much I insist I want to stay longer”, so thank you Joe, I made it to the airport on time that next morning. Which by the way another hospitable thing happened, my cab driver, Cliff, insisted on not charging me for the lift to the airport.
In closing, I want to say to the SQLSaturday Kazoo team, GREAT JOB! Thank you so much to all of you for bringing this event to your community. On a personal note, thank you to Amy and Tim for making me feel so welcome and having us all over to your home. You are such good people, and I hope to spend time again with you some day. I feel like I not only had a great opportunity to network, but made connections with some folks that I would consider good friends now. And special shout out to Josh, don’t forget our date in Seattle, your christening of the Hurricane Café. Rodney and I are both looking forward to it!
We are excited to announce the formation of the PASS Nordic Region, formalizing our support for the tremendous Nordic SQL Server Community. To help us provide this support, we have appointed two leaders of that community who will serve as PASS Regional Mentors. The countries represented in PASS Nordic are Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.
It is also a pleasure to announce that Johan Åhlén and Raoul Illyés have accepted our invitations to become PASS Nordic's first Regional Mentors. Johan is a Microsoft MVP and Chairman of the Swedish SQL Server User Group.
Raoul is a leading voice in the Nordic SQL Server community and a founding partner of the PASS SQLRally Nordic event. He is based in Denmark and recently joined the PASS Board of Directors as a non-voting member in support of our international outreach efforts.
Our efforts to work more closely with the Nordic Region are in alignment with PASS's global initiative. Supporting this initiative, the PASS Board recently appointed three International Board Members: Rob Farley (Australia), James Rowland-Jones (UK), and Raoul Illyés (Denmark), also mentioned above as a new Regional Mentor.
Furthering our efforts to support the international SQL Server community, PASS SQLRally Nordic will be held in Aronsborg, Sweden, November 8-9.
PASS Regional Mentors have extensive experience with the local and regional SQL Server Community and provide help and guidance to leaders of our local chapters worldwide. The Regional Mentors work closely with the PASS Community Team.
Please join me in welcoming Johan and Raoul as PASS Nordic Regional Mentors, and check out more information about PASS Regions and Chapters here.
PASS Director, Global Chapters
Congratulations to Dallas and the North Texas SQL Server User Group, which will be hosting PASS SQLRally 2012 next spring! PASS HQ and NTSSUG are currently working to nail down the event venue and dates – watch this blog, Twitter (hashtag #sqlrally), and the PASS Connector enewsletter for the latest updates.
The 2-day regional SQLRally event, filling the gap between SQLSaturdays and the weeklong Summit, debuted this year in Orlando to great reviews and lessons to share for future conferences. Good luck to NTSSUG – and other PASS chapters pitching in to help – as they strive to take SQLRally to the next level!
You can read more about PASS SQLRally 2012 and the site selection process at:
The PASS HQ team is thrilled to announce the addition of two new team members to its core staff.
Karla Landrum—already well-known as a PASS volunteer extraordinaire— will join as our newest member starting on July 1. Karla’s passion and enthusiasm for the SQL Server community and PASS is unmatched. An active PASS Regional Mentor for the US Heartland region, Karla has been the lead organizer for 4 PASS SQLSaturdays, and she has volunteered at more than 15 other PASS-related events. Based in Orlando, FL, her role with PASS will focus on the community, managing the PASS Chapter and Regional Mentor programs along with the full roster of SQLSaturday events. Karla brings a true community insider’s perspective to the role, and we look forward to having her onboard. Karla, in her own words, is all set to “work hard, have fun, smile, and achieve success!”
Jumping into the new role of PASS Senior Executive Administrative Assistant during the recent Orlando, FL, PASS Board meetings, Michelle Nalliah has already proven herself to be indispensable. Based in Vancouver, BC, and working out of the PASS offices, Michelle manages all administrative duties and governance-related tasks for the PASS Board of Directors and HQ. She also assists the finance and operations teams where required. Michelle has 7 years of administrative experience and comes to us most recently from the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. We are delighted to have her as part of the team and have no doubt her organizational skills will be a great asset to PASS and the community.
Karla and Michelle are joining a strong team of individuals who work tirelessly behind the scenes to help PASS and its members to connect, share, and learn. And starting next month, you can learn more about each PASS HQ member through a new “PASS Staff” highlight feature in the PASS Connector newsletter.
In the meantime, please extend a warm welcome to Karla and Michelle and feel free to drop me a line with any questions or comments.
[cross-posted from Bill Graziano's blog at sqlteam.com]
I wanted to give a little background on the legal status of PASS. The Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) is an American corporation chartered in the state of Illinois. In America a corporation has to be chartered in a particular state. It has to abide by the laws of that state and potentially pay taxes to that state. Our bylaws and actions have to comply with Illinois state law and United States law. We maintain a mailing address in Chicago, Illinois but our headquarters is currently in Vancouver, Canada.
We have roughly a dozen people that work in our Vancouver headquarters and 4-5 more that work remotely on various projects. These aren’t employees of PASS. They are employed by a management company that we hire to run the day to day operations of the organization. I’ll have more on this arrangement in a future post.
PASS is a non-profit corporation. The term non-profit and not-for-profit are used interchangeably. In a for-profit corporation (or LLC) there are owners that are entitled to the profits of a company. In a non-profit there are no owners. As a non-profit, all the money earned by the organization must be retained or spent. There is no money that flows out to shareholders, owners or the board of directors. Any money not spent in furtherance of our mission is retained as financial reserves.
Many non-profits apply for tax exempt status. Being tax exempt means that an organization doesn’t pay taxes on its profits. There are a variety of laws governing who can be tax exempt in the United States. There are many professional associations that are tax exempt however PASS isn’t tax exempt. Because our mission revolves around the software of a single company we aren’t eligible for tax exempt status.
PASS was founded in the late 1990’s by Microsoft and Platinum Technologies. Platinum was later purchased by Computer Associates. As the founding partners Microsoft and CA each have two seats on the Board of Directors. The other six directors and three officers are elected as specified in our bylaws.
As a non-profit, our bylaws layout our governing practices. They must conform to Illinois and United States law. These bylaws specify that PASS is governed by a Board of Directors elected by the membership with two members each from Microsoft and CA. You can find our bylaws as well as a proposed update to them on the governance page of the PASS web site.
The last point that I’d like to make is that PASS is completely self-funded. All of our $4 million in revenue comes from conference registrations, sponsorships and advertising. We don’t receive any money from anyone outside those channels. While we work closely with Microsoft we are independent of them and only derive a very small percentage of our revenue from them.
[cross-posted from Allen Kinsel's blog at allenkinsel.com]
What has PASS been up to?
Ever find yourself with tons of extra time just looking for something to dig through?
yeah, me neither… But, I do make it a point to go out and read through lots of PASS documents regularly. Sure, Some of those documents are not for public consumption but, a large portion of them are available for any PASS Member to view. Almost all of them will require you to be logged in to the PASS site.
A good starting point is the PASS Governance Page <- lots of good stuff hides on this page, Im working on getting this page removed from behind the login wall
PASS BOD Meeting Minutes are posted on the left hand side
The Feb 2011 Minutes are here
- Good discussions in here about Globalization of PASS, especially revolving around events
The Jan 2011 Minutes are here
- This was an in-person meeting and there is a literal ton of info in here. Highlights are globalization, Summit 2011 Planning, Summit 2010 Post mortem, 5 Year plans, Bylaw Changes
PASS Monthly Reports are found in the middle on the left
These are gems that reveal the day to day inner workings of the BOD and HQ
The Feb report should be posted in the next day or 2
The Jan report however, is here
- In here You’ll find things about Chapters, IT Projects, Marketing initiatives, ERC info, Sponsorship Sales, Summit Program, SQLRally, Gloablization, etc
The Dec report is here
- This one contains things like Chapter info, HQ Finance, IT Projects, Marketing, Summit, Rally, 24hop, SQL Saturday,
The budget for PASS is included at the bottom of the governance page
2011 Budget is here
- Wanna know where the money is supposed to be coming from, and where its supposed to be going? this is where to look.
- Side note: Im going to check into where the 2010 audited financials are, they should be available by now.
The SQL Rally has posted all of the planning meeting notes posted here
- There is tons of good stuff in here, its especially interesting to me to watch the minutes back and forth dealing with very familiar problems as what I’ve seen in the Summit program group.
- Wanna know how many attendees are registered so far for the Rally? yup its in there. Wanna know how many are in Precons? yup its in there too
We (PASS Program) started posting meeting minutes near the lower left side of this page
- I have written about these minutes before
- Good information in here about many new changes that are being considered by the Program Committee
- Essentially It says that I’m not getting nearly enough done for the program committee lately. I need to work on that!
- Im including this here because lost of good stuff gets posted here but, for me I can only find it since its in my RSS Reader.
In Summary, PASS releases a ton of information about what its doing. The problem with this is two-fold, one its a ton of information. Two, the information is spread out all over the place and is often difficult to find on the site using conventional browsing methods so I hope this helps