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Category: Elections

Elections

PASS Board Elections: The Results Are In!

Oct. 14, 2014  The results are in for the three PASS Board of Directors seats up for election this year. After an extended elections season in 2014, we are proud to announce that Grant Fritchey, James Rowland-Jones, and Wendy Pastrick have been elected to serve for the 2015/2016 term. Grant will serve in the US/Canada regional seat, and James and Wendy were each re-elected to an open seat on the Board.

A total of 3,917 votes were cast this year by 1,570 voters. This is a slight increase when compared to the 3,904 votes cast by 1,514 voters in 2013. For those of us who enjoy data, you can see the voter turnout numbers for the past six years on the Elections Archive page. Results for the 2014 elections are as follows:

Grant Fritchey  1,295 votes     US/Canada seat winner
James Rowland-Jones   1,052 votes    Open seat winner
Wendy Pastrick 1,037 votes    Open seat winner
Sri Sridharan
   533 votes  

To review how the seats were awarded, please see the elections overview document. The newly elected directors will begin serving their term on January 1, 2015.

I also want to take a moment to thank Sri Sridharan for his two years of service on the PASS Board. And while Sri won’t be with the Board in 2015, I know we’ll continue to see great things from him as he continues volunteering and supporting the PASS community.

Now, a few words about voting eligibility for the 2014 elections. As noted in an earlier post, this year the PASS Board extended the deadline for members to update their profile and vote. We did this in an effort to ensure that as many members as possible had the ability to cast their ballot; you can read the details here.

Historically, we have seen the highest number of members casting ballots on the very first few days of the election. This year was no exception, with 535 members casting ballots on the first two days. Between September 26 and October 6, we saw 379 members casting their ballots. 

With the extension this year, we saw an additional spike on October 7, with 262 members casting ballots. Another 394 members voted between October 8 and the close of voting on Tuesday, October 14. 

I’m thankful that we were able to take the steps necessary to get ballots into the hands of the people who updated their profiles. Thank you for your patience, thank you for your PASSion, and thank you for taking the time to exercise your right to vote.

I also want to thank everyone who asked a question in the candidate forums or Twitter chats, who blogged and tweeted about the elections, and who made their voices heard. PASS will always need your ideas, your involvement, and your dedication. As PASS continues to grow, it continues to need more PASSionate individuals to step up and lead. If you're interested in moving into a leadership role within the PASS community, check out volunteer opportunities with your local PASS Chapter or favorite Virtual Chapter and take that next step toward possibly serving on the PASS Board yourself.

And finally, to the newly elected directors: We’ve got some work to do, and I’m looking forward to getting started. See you in Seattle!
– Thomas LaRock
PASS President

PASS Board Elections Update: Protecting PASS Member Information

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Board of Directors Election Update

Sept. 26, 2014 – I would like to address the questions around voting issues for the current PASS Board of Directors election.

Before I get started I want to make something very clear: I accept full responsibility for all issues with the current election process. Together we had, and still have, the very best of intentions. On behalf of myself and the entire PASS Board, I offer the sincerest of apologies for all of the frustration caused.

A quick recap: During previous Board elections some members received multiple ballots because they had multiple PASS member profiles. Responding to community requests to fix this issue, we decided to update our voting eligibility requirements so that PASS members needed to have a completed member profile by June 1, 2014, to receive a ballot for the 2014 Board elections. By updating their profiles, members would be identifying their primary profile and email address for all PASS emails, including ballot emails. We also encouraged members to take advantage of the process to delete old profiles.

We then proceeded to communicate the voting eligibility change through every channel we had available. These efforts included:

    • Launching a registration drive in an article in the January 8 Connector newsletter and publishing details in six more Connectors until the deadline. 
    • Sending emails to our entire membership.
    • Leveraging all of our social media accounts. 
    • Including reminder slides in the monthly Chapter deck.
    • Posting our message and a banner ad on the PASS homepage as well as notices on the Governance and Elections pages. 
    • Sending direct emails to everyone who had voted in the past four years in an effort to get people to update their profile so they could continue to vote.

Unfortunately, despite these measures, we were unsuccessful at ensuring that all members received the message.

As a result, we are therefore extending the deadline to update your profile and vote in this year’s Board elections.

The impact of this change on you will depend on your specific situation:

    • If you have received a ballot previously, or if you have already voted, you don’t need to do anything. All votes currently cast will remain valid, there will be no need to recast any votes; if you received a ballot and haven’t voted yet, your access to do so will not be interrupted. All voting will end on October 14 at noon PDT.
    • All PASS members who have not yet received a ballot and who had an existing profile as of June 1, 2014, will be given the opportunity to receive a ballot by updating their profiles before October 5, 2014, at midnight PDT. On October 6, we will pull an updated list of registered voters, filter for duplicates, and then on October 7, we will send all newly registered voters a ballot.  All voting will end on October 14 at noon PDT.
    • PASS members who established their profile after June 1, 2014, do not need to take any action, but will be eligible to vote in next year’s election.

The voting process also highlighted some concerns around the security of member passwords. In response, we have added SSO integration for Simply Voting as well as SSL certificates. We want to assure you that the voting process and your login details and profile activity are secure. We are continuing testing and validation of the security of all PASS sites – stay tuned to the PASS blog for details and updated information as soon as that is completed in the coming days. 

Based on your initial feedback, I will be working with the Marketing team and PASS HQ to improve our communication efforts for voter registration. Going forward we will include reminder slides in every Chapter, VC, and SQLSaturday deck that is distributed, and ask that leaders for these events make a point to mention the details in these slides. I will also ask that we include details on all our key web pages, including the SQLSaturday website.

I recognize that these increased communication efforts may still not be enough. If you do not receive an email on October 7 and believe you should be eligible to vote, please email governance@sqlpass.org and help us understand all the details around your particular situation. We can’t make things better without your help. I will task our Marketing team to review our communication channels throughout the year in order to improve our effectiveness.

I will also work with the IT team to find ways to help our members verify if their profiles have been updated correctly and that they are indeed registered to vote. I want to make certain we give all our members every possible chance to verify their voting status prior to the deadline.

Our annual Summit is just over 5 weeks away. I expect elections and voter eligibility will be among the many topics of discussion. I and the entire Board of Directors will make ourselves available throughout the week for anyone who has additional questions, comments, and concerns about elections, or anything else.

Thanks for your time, your service, and your PASSion.

Best,
– Thomas LaRock
PASS President


Get Out the Vote: September 24-29

Sept. 2, 2014  The wait is almost over! With just 2 weeks until the announcement of the official candidate slate for the PASS Board of Directors 2014 elections, here’s a quick reminder about this year’s campaigning and voting timeline.

The Nomination Committee is currently interviewing and ranking applicants in preparation for the committee’s slate recommendation to the Board for approval. The official slate of candidates for the three seats up for election – one US/Canada regional seat and two open seats – will be announced in the Sept. 17 Connector along with the opening of campaigning.

In addition to their own campaigning activities, each candidate will have his/her own campaign page on the PASS Elections site and will be participating in at least one of two Live Speech/Q&A campaign events Sept. 18 and 19, before voting opens on Sept. 24.

Emails with the voting link will go out at noon PT Wednesday, Sept. 24, to all eligible voters, consisting of PASS members who updated their profile by June 1, 2014. Voting will be open for 5 days, with all completed ballots due by noon PT Monday, Sept. 29. Election results will be announced in the Oct. 1 Connector.

Good luck, again, to all applicants, and we encourage all PASS members to take every opportunity to get to know the candidates before voting. Here’s to a lively and engaging campaign season!

FY2015: Supporting Another Year of Growth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


PASS NomCom: Busy Summer of 2014

August 5, 2014  The five-member PASS Nomination Committee (NomCom) has had a busy summer streamlining the application process and timeline for this year’s PASS Board of Directors elections and working on new campaign events to better engage the community and help them get to know the candidates before voting opens.

First up was a detailed review and update of the PASS Board application, which resulted in two focused documents. The PASS Board Elections Overview covers election processes, rules, and requirements, including everything from applicant criteria, recommended qualifications, and references to time commitments, procedures for ranking applicants and awarding seats, and campaign guidelines. With more requirements details and clearer examples all consolidated in the overview, the application itself is now shorter and easier to navigate.

The NomCom also adjusted the elections timeline so that campaigning opens before balloting and to reduce the time between when candidates are notified of elections results and when those results are announced to the community.

Although the NomCom is still working on PASS-hosted campaign events for this elections season, it has announced two official campaign events for Sept. 18 and 19, before ballots go out. These online Live Speech/Q&A events will feature a time slot for each candidate to give opening and closing statements and have an open Q&A session with the community. The events will be hosted via GoToWebinar; GoToWebinar will provide the audio, with each candidate responsible for providing the video portion of the session, which will depend on the candidate’s webcam and bandwidth capabilities.

“Serving on a previous NomCom and being a former Board candidate, I am happy with the changes we’ve been able to make to this year’s processes,” said NomCom member Allen Kinsel. “The streamlining we did on the campaign timelines and changes to the election events should have a great impact on candidates’ ability to execute successful, interesting campaigns – which should also increase voter interest in who is running and what they can do to make PASS a more successful organization.”

Added Erin Stellato, who has served on both the 2013 and 2014 committees: “The highlight for me has been the significant progress we’ve made on what last year's NomCom started. I think that we have improved the application process for candidates, and we are working to give the community an even better opportunity to get to know the candidates prior to elections.”

The NomCom is continuing to work on ranking methods for future elections and streamlining the overall elections process even more. These items will be reviewed post-election so that the NomCom can get a better idea of what can be improved. The current ranking methods will remain in place for this year’s elections, and as in the past, all applicants’ rankings will be posted to the public unless they opt out.

“We’ve identified some tweaks that I think will be good for candidates and voters,” noted NomCom member Andy Warren, “and we know that we need to put more time into a document that explains the ‘why’ of parts of the process to future NomCom members. It’s also a lot of fun to work with a group that is serious, diverse, and open minded, so much so that I think when we finish the work of the NomCom, we should find another project to tackle!”

Announcing the 2014 PASS Nomination Committee

June 9, 2014 – A big thank you to everyone who made their voices heard in last week’s 2014 Nomination Committee (NomCom) elections. And congratulations to Erin Stellato, Andy Warren, and Allen Kinsel, the community representatives elected to join NomCom Chair Bill Graziano and Board-appointed representative Richard Bolesta on the committee to manage this year’s PASS Board of Directors election. 

A total of 539 voters cast 1,537 votes in the NomCom elections, featuring a slate of 11 incredible candidates. To be eligible to vote in this year’s NomCom and Board elections, PASS members needed to update their PASS profile by June 1. The IT and Marketing teams analyzed the voting list for any duplication before sending out the NomCom elections ballot link to 9,086 eligible PASS voters.

The NomCom elections also saw the successful debut of PASS’s new online voting system. The secure and easy-to-use web-services-based Simply Voting system doesn’t hold any PASS member email addresses or passwords.

The NomCom community seats reflect the three seats up for election on the PASS Board this year: one US/Canada seat and two open seats. The five-member NomCom will manage the Board elections process, qualifying, interviewing, and ranking potential candidates. A final slate will then be submitted to the Board for approval. In addition, this year’s NomCom is charged with streamlining the process for involving and evaluating candidates and with enhancing opportunities for community engagement in the elections. 

Applications will open August 6 for the three PASS Board seats up for election. To learn more about the 2014 NomCom election results and preview the upcoming Board of Directors elections, please see the Elections site. The discussion forums will be closed until the Board elections open, but if you have any questions or concerns, please contact PASS Governance

Congratulations again to Erin, Andy, and Allen. And a special thank you to all the candidates for their dedicated volunteer efforts on behalf of the PASS community and their enthusiastic and professional candidacies in this year’s NomCom elections.

Global Representation in NomCom and Board Elections

June 4, 2014  Discussions around this year’s Nomination Committee (NomCom) elections have raised some questions about global representation on the NomCom. The three community seats on the five-member NomCom match the three seats up for election on the PASS Board of Directors. Here’s a quick summary of where we are in the process of increasing international representation and participation in PASS leadership via regional seats and how that relates to this year’s NomCom and Board elections.

Last year, the PASS Board approved bylaw changes that allowed the transition of its formerly all open seats to a mix of open seats and regionally-reserved seats, paving the way for more international perspectives and representation on the Board. The bylaw changes also set the NomCom to mirror the composition of Board seats up for election in any given year. The Board began this transition by adding two regional seats for the 2014/2015 term: one US/Canada seat (won by Tim Ford in the 2013 Board elections) and one EMEA seat (won by Jen Stirrup).

The bylaws call for a total of two regional seats representing the US/Canada, one each to be up for election annually, so this year defines that second US/Canada seat on the Board. Thus, for the 2014 NomCom and Board elections, community members are voting to fill one US/Canada regional seat and two open seats. Going forward, at least one US/Canada and one open seat will be up for election each year, with the EMEA regional seat up for election every other year. You can review the process for awarding PASS NomCom and Board seats here.

The Board has been diligently working on the next steps for adding other regional seats to promote greater global perspective and representation. We will be sharing this with the PASS community in the coming weeks. As the Board grows globally via regional seats so will the NomCom.

The transition to additional regional seats is an important process, but I want to remind dedicated volunteers and prospective candidates outside of US/Canada and EMEA that you don’t have to wait until a seat is added for your region. As always, candidates from any region are eligible to run for open seats on the PASS NomCom and Board of Directors, and we encourage you to do so.

Good luck to all our NomCom candidates during this week’s election and to all those thinking about running for the PASS Board later this year. Watch Friday afternoon for announcement of the full NomCom – including this year’s Board-appointed member – after the Board approves the final election results and appointee nomination. And please let us know if you have any questions.
– Bill Graziano
Immediate Past President/NomCom Chair


 

NomCom Candidates Announced – Elections Next Week

May 28, 2014  It’s your turn! The candidate slate has been finalized and voting opens Tuesday, June 3, for three community seats on the 2014 PASS Nomination Committee (NomCom), which will manage the Board of Directors election. Your 2014 NomCom candidates are: 

    • Allen Kinsel - US/Canada & Open
    • Andy Warren - US/Canada & Open
    • Angela Henry - US/Canada & Open
    • Brandon Leach - US/Canada & Open
    • Chris Testa-O'Neill - Open
    • Erin Stellato - US/Canada & Open
    • Kendal Van Dyke - US/Canada & Open
    • Mark Broadbent - Open
    • Ryan Adams - US/Canada & Open
    • Steve Wake - US/Canada & Open
    • Tamera Clark - US/Canada & Open

The community representatives will reflect the three seats up for election on the PASS Board this year: one US/Canada seat and two open seats. Immediate Past President Bill Graziano will chair the NomCom, a five-member committee that manages the PASS Board of Directors elections process, qualifying, interviewing, and ranking potential candidates. A final slate is then submitted to the Board for approval. In addition, this year’s NomCom is charged with streamlining the process for involving and evaluating candidates and with enhancing opportunities for community engagement in the elections. A representative appointed by the PASS Board will round out the committee.

NomCom campaigning will begin June 2 – watch the Elections site to learn more about the candidates. Secure, individualized ballots will be emailed June 3 to all PASS members who have updated their profile by June 1. All ballots must be submitted by noon PT on June 6.

Thanks in advance for participating in the NomCom elections and the running of your organization – and good luck to all 11 candidates who applied for this important role!


Call for NomCom Now Open!

May 14, 2014 – Are you a dedicated PASS volunteer with a passion for improving our community? Then you’re eligible to apply for three community seats up for election on this year’s Nomination Committee (NomCom), which will oversee the 2014 PASS Board of Directors elections.

The call for NomCom applications is open now through noon PT May 22.

What Is the NomCom? 
The NomCom is a five-member committee that manages the PASS Board of Directors elections process, qualifying, interviewing, and ranking potential candidates. A final slate is then submitted to the Board for approval. In addition, this year’s NomCom is charged with streamlining the process for involving and evaluating candidates and with enhancing opportunities for community engagement in the elections.

Immediate Past President Bill Graziano will chair this year’s NomCom, which will include three elected community representatives reflecting the three seats up for election on the PASS Board this year: one US/Canada seat and two open seats. A representative appointed by the PASS Board will round out the committee.

Who’s Eligible to Run?
To be eligible to run for the NomCom, candidates must have a demonstrable track record of volunteering with PASS – such as serving as a Regional Mentor, Chapter or Virtual Chapter Leader, or Program Committee member – and participating in other volunteer endeavors. Note that as an essential part of the PASS Board elections process, the NomCom requires significant time and effort. By applying for the NomCom, applicants agree to the time commitments of the entire general elections process, including Board applicant interviews.

Thinking about running? See what recent committee members have to say about serving on the NomCom.

Get Started Today!
If you meet the eligibility requirements and are interested in serving on the NomCom, please download the application for full details and submit your completed form to governance@sqlpass.org by 12:00pm PT / 19:00 GMT May 22. Successful candidates will be notified by May 27.

NomCom elections will run June 3-6, with all PASS members who have updated their profile as of June 1, 2014, eligible to vote. Good luck and thanks in advance to all applicants!