Category: Elections

Elections

Reviewing the Election Process

April 2, 2013 – Serving on the PASS Board of Directors is a rich and rewarding experience. It’s also a responsibility that should not be entered into lightly. As we prepare for this year’s elections season, we have the opportunity to review the process for involving and evaluating candidates and for taking full advantage of this chance for the community to come together and share in the vision for PASS.

As part of a lean, not-for-profit, community organization, we must also evaluate the time invested in the election process to protect the return on community investment. With this in mind, a subset of the PASS Board is leading a review of the election process, and we are seeking your feedback on these objectives and their direction.

The objectives set out by the committee are threefold:

  • Inspire more well-qualified candidates to run for the board
  • Streamline the election process
  • Improve opportunities for community engagement during the process

These objectives may expand or contract based on your feedback. Please share your thoughts with the team by emailing ElectionProcessReview@sqlpass.org or by posting on the Elections Feedback site.

Achieving Success
The team has also given serious consideration as to how these objectives may be achieved. We would like to get your input on these proposals too as we will discuss them at the next board meeting, which will take place in Chicago on the 8th-9th of April. We are continuing to shape our plans and ideas, and commit to open communication as we move forward in the coming weeks and months with changes to the election process.

Inspiring Candidates
Of the goals identified, this is the most important one to me. We do need to inspire more well-qualified community members to apply and share their experience at the board level. We are also keen to ensure that we attract an international audience. It is important to remember that as part of the Global Growth program, we will have at least one regional seat in 2013 (for the US and Canada). I will also be asking the board to vote in the April Board Meeting to create the EMEA regional seat.

Our focus at this time is to:

  1. Proactively encourage candidates to apply
  2. Reduce the burden on candidates applying to run
  3. Make it easier for candidates to campaign for votes

As part of his work with the new Volunteers portfolio, Sri Sridharan has taken up the challenge to identify ways to encourage members to apply for the board. We realise we cannot simply wait for people to apply nor rely on our own networks. We must make it clear what the benefits of being part of the board are and also outline the commitments involved.

We can make two significant improvements to the application process that will make it less onerous for candidates:

  1. One form. Currently the candidate needs to fill out an application form and then provide separate campaign materials. We should make this simpler and more coherent.
  2. Max two references. In my application during the 2012 election, I provided eight separate references. That’s more than I’ve provided for any job ever!

Finally, by providing a more structured program of events and activities during the campaigning process, we can make it easier for candidates to be heard. It also helps to level the playing field.

Streamlining the Election Process
There are a number of changes we are thinking about to streamline the overall process. By shrinking the timescales, we aim to inject greater interest and enthusiasm into the election process. It is difficult to sustain interest when a process is drawn out. We believe we can optimise the schedule to really help drive interest with these changes:

  1. Reduce Nomination Committee (NomCom) workload
  2. Create a single time period for campaigning and voting
  3. Significantly reduce the time period for campaigning and voting from 23 days to around 7 days

Part of the NomCom’s workload is driven by the data they are provided by the candidates. We need to ensure that simplifying the application process for the candidate doesn’t dramatically increase the workload of the NomCom. In an ideal world, the workload would be reduced for both parties – so that is the goal.

Improving Opportunities for Community Engagement
To date, the opportunities for the community to engage with candidates have been limited to the PASS election forums. We are looking to improve this area significantly and hope to share more with you in due course. Wendy Pastrick will be spearheading this area of the initiative. Items under consideration are as follows:

  1. Increased use of social media
  2. Enhanced layout of candidates web page
  3. Improved reach by making election content accessible to the widest audience we can

By improving the accessibility of campaign materials and providing greater public interaction with candidates, we aim to significantly increase the engagement level between candidate and community during the election process.

We are in the process of defining what this is all going to look like. However, you should expect much greater use of social media, such as hosted Twitter Q&As with candidates, to really drive a deeper, more personal and impactful campaigning period in this election.

INSERT <Your Idea> HERE
Being on the PASS Board is a fantastic experience, but it does not give anyone sole rights to good ideas! Please share yours with us. Feel free to post them to the Elections Feedback site or in private via the ElectionProcessReview@sqlpass.org email alias.

Thank you for your time,
JRJ

PASS Board Elections: It's Your Turn

Last week, the PASS Board of Directors ratified the official slate for the 2012 Board of Directors General Election. It’s my pleasure to announce the candidates for three Board seats up for election, listed in the order of their Nomination Committee (NomCom) ranking:
•    James Rowland-Jones
•    Sri Sridharan
•    Allen Kinsel
•    Wendy Pastrick
•    Kendal Van Dyke

The NomCom began evaluating applicants for the PASS Board in August, carefully reviewing each application and interviewing each applicant. Now, it’s up to the community to decide who will fill three 2-year terms on the PASS Board.

As PASS’s Immediate Past President, I can tell you that it takes a lot to be effective on the PASS Board. And as Chair of the NomCom, I can tell you that all the candidates have valuable leadership experience and are “PASSionate” people. To decide which candidates you want to lead your organization, especially as PASS continues its rapid growth, it is important to research and evaluate each candidate. You can learn more about each candidate on the 2012 Elections’ Candidates page.

The elections forums and campaigning are open now, and voting will take place September 28 to October 12. If you were a PASS member before June 1, 2012, you are eligible to vote and will receive a ballot by email. The top three vote getters will be elected and will begin their terms January 1, 2013.

I encourage you to have your say – both in the elections forums, where candidates will be replying to your questions, and by voting. Good luck to all the candidates, and happy voting everyone!

Rushabh Mehta,
Immediate Past President/NomCom Chair

Last Day: Apply for the PASS Board

Several years ago, someone gave me some advice that changed my life. Now, I’d like to pass it on: “You should run for the Board.”

The year was 2006. I was at PASS Summit in Seattle, talking with someone about PASS when they made that comment. Until then, I had been involved with the PASS Special Interest Groups (SIGs, now called Virtual Chapters), but I wasn’t well known in the PASS community as a whole. I looked over the requirements for serving on the Board of Directors, talked a bit about it with then PASS President Kevin Kline, and in the summer of 2007, I submitted my first application for the PASS Board. (I wasn’t elected that year, but ran again and joined the Board in 2009.)

I can say with all sincerity that applying for (and ultimately serving on) the PASS Board has been one of the most rewarding things I have done as a database professional. I’ve had the opportunity to learn so much by serving the PASS community as a Board member, including leadership and presentation skills, budgets and finance, and communication and marketing strategies. Serving on the Board has made me a better person, and I hope along the way I’ve been able to help others improve their skills, careers, and overall well-being.

I believe SQL Server professionals have tremendous opportunities to grow themselves simply by being members of or volunteers with PASS. They can grow technically (such as learning more about SQL Server Reporting Services) and non-technically (by leading a Virtual Chapter, for example). It is important that we continue to offer such opportunities to develop leaders within the PASS community. Serving on the Board of Directors is one of those non-technical ways you can grow, and for some reason most folks are uncertain if they are right for the Board.

Today is the deadline for applying for 3 seats up for election on the Board. (You can see the complete 2012 elections timeline here.) If you are on the fence about applying, or are interested but aren’t sure if you are good enough, let me help you decide:

You should run for the Board.

Announcing the 2012 NomCom

Big thanks to the nearly 1,400 PASS members from 57 countries who made their voices heard in the 2012 Nomination Committee (NomCom) election. And congratulations to Stefanie Higgins, Angela Henry, and Jason Strate, who are joining NomCom Chair Rushabh Mehta and Board of Directors representative Thomas LaRock on the committee to manage this year’s PASS Board of Directors general election.
 
A total of 1,339 voters cast 3,603 votes in this year’s active NomCom election, featuring a slate of 12 incredible candidates. For comparison, 1,951 PASS members voted in the 2011 Board of Directors election.

The NomCom’s role includes finalizing the Board of Directors election application, interviewing and ranking candidates, and putting forward the final slate for Board approval and community vote. Applications for the three open PASS Board Director-at-Large seats will open July 25.
 
To learn more about the 2012 NomCom election results and preview the upcoming Board of Directors general election, see the PASS Elections page. The discussion forums will be closed until the Board elections open, but if you have any questions or concerns, please contact PASS HQ.

Congratulations again to Stephanie, Angela, and Jason. And a special thank you to Louis Davidson, Mark Ginnebaugh, Ryan Adams, Mark Broadbent, Dave Schutz, Neil Hambly, John Morehouse, Nicholas Cain, and Rick Heiges for their enthusiastic candidacies in this year’s NomCom election.
 

Voting Opens for 2012 NomCom

It’s your turn! Voting opens today for three community seats on the 2012 PASS Nomination Committee (NomCom), which will manage the Board of Directors general election. Thanks and good luck to all 12 candidates who applied for this important role.

All applicants have been vetted by NomCom Chair Rushabh Mehta, and in compliance with Election Review Committee recommendations, the slate is being put forward for community vote to decide who will join Rushabh and Board member Thomas LaRock on this year’s five-member NomCom.

The 2012 NomCom candidates are:

  • Angela Henry
  • Dave Schutz
  • Jason Strate
  • John Morehouse
  • Louis Davidson
  • Mark Broadbent
  • Mark Ginnebaugh
  • Neil Hambly
  • Nic Cain
  • Rick Heiges
  • Ryan Adams
  • Stefanie Higgins

Secure, individualized ballots are being emailed today to all PASS members in good standing as of June 1, 2012, and all ballots must be submitted by noon PT on June 22. The ballot allows you to choose up to three candidates you feel will best serve PASS as part of the NomCom.

NomCom members will review applications for the 2012 PASS Board election, check references, and interview and rank the applicants who wish to run for the PASS Board. Volunteer experience and a good understanding of PASS as an organization are critical to success on the NomCom. Check out the Nomination Committee page to learn more about the candidates and the NomCom’s role in the PASS elections process. If you have any questions or concerns about the NomCom election, please contact PASSHQ.

Thanks in advance for taking time to participate in the NomCom election and the running of your organization – and good luck again to all NomCom candidates. Happy voting!
 

Call for NomCom Now Open

Are you a dedicated PASS volunteer with a passion for improving our community? Then you’re eligible to apply for three community positions on this year’s Nomination Committee (NomCom), which will oversee the 2012 PASS Board of Directors election.

The call for NomCom applications – open today through June 6 – kicks off the 2012 PASS elections process. The NomCom will manage the PASS Board of Directors general election, ensuring that each applicant for this year’s three open Board seats is qualified and suited to lead PASS as it continues to grow and reach out to all members of the SQL Server community. But first, the PASS community will elect the three community members who will join NomCom Chair/Immediate Past President Rushabh Mehta and another Board member on the 5-person committee.
 
To be eligible 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, Program Committee member, or frequent community speaker – and participating in other volunteer endeavors. Note that the NomCom is an essential part of the PASS Board elections process and requires a substantial commitment of time and effort. By applying for the NomCom, you are agreeing to the time commitments of the entire general election process, including the applicant interview process currently slated for late August.

If you meet the eligibility requirements and are interested in serving on the NomCom, please review the details and complete elections timeline on the PASS Elections page and download the application today. NomCom applications close June 6, and voting will run June 13-22, with all PASS members as of June 1, 2012, eligible to vote. The top three vote-getters will be elected to the NomCom and begin managing this year’s general election process.
 

Elections Season: Help Shape Tomorrow’s PASS

The PASS elections season is almost here! PASS elections are an important annual event, letting members have their say about where they want PASS to go and who they want to guide the world’s largest independent, user-led organization for SQL Server professionals.

In my previous role as PASS President, I was proud to watch PASS’s impressive growth across the world, thanks to the efforts of our hardworking volunteers and leaders. Now as Immediate Past President, I’m excited to oversee the PASS elections and see a new generation of leaders steer PASS in this time of enormous change and opportunity to better serve the global SQL Server community.
 
The Nomination Committee (Nom Com) manages the entire election for Board of Directors – from qualifying and interviewing potential candidates to determining and ranking the final slate. Joining me on the NomCom will be a volunteer from the Board of Directors and three community members elected by the PASS membership.

The main qualification for serving as a community member on the NomCom is a demonstrable record of volunteering with PASS. Applications for the NomCom will be accepted May 30 to June 6. And all PASS members as of June 1, 2012, are eligible to vote in the NomCom election that will follow. The top three vote-getters will complete this year’s NomCom and will immediately begin preparations for the Board of Directors election.

I encourage you to get involved – whether you’re encouraging others to join PASS as voting members, talking about how to improve the organization, or running for office yourself. If you’re interested in applying for the NomCom or the Board of Directors, you can learn all about the process at the PASS Elections site. As community discussions gear up, let current leaders and candidates know what issues are important to you. And please vote. Support the candidates of your choice, and help shape tomorrow’s PASS!

Regards,
Rushabh Mehta
PASS Immediate Past President/NomCom Chair

Board Discusses Appointment Process

The PASS Board meeting wrapped up on Thursday in Seattle, and as promised, we discussed the Board appointment process for close to 90 minutes. We gave careful consideration to the membership feedback received over the last couple of weeks and reviewed all opinions. We understand and respect that certain of our members disagree with our decision. However, the Board members who voted in favor of the appointments of Kendal Van Dyke and James Rowland-Jones stand by their decision.

As PASS President, I erred in not clearly communicating how the appointment process would work. I should have been clear whether I would automatically recommend the runners up or choose from a broader pool for my recommendation to the Board. In the future, if we have known appointment openings prior to the start of the election process, I will clearly, and publicly, articulate how I plan to approach the appointment process.

In the next PASS Connector newsletter, we will provide a roundup of our latest Board meeting and will do so for every subsequent in-person meeting. I’m also encouraging PASS Board members to blog about their Board meeting experiences. We do publish the Board meeting minutes, but I recognize many of you do not have the time to review these lengthy public documents, so we’ll summarize as best as possible and publish the information in our bi-monthly newsletter. This will help us do a better job articulating and communicating PASS Board discussions and decisions.

New PASS Board Appointments

Please join me in congratulating James Rowland Jones and Kendal Van Dyke on their appointments to the PASS Board.

James is a member of the SQLBits organizing committee, a very successful SQL Server event program based in the UK, and has been an international advisor to the PASS Board since August 2011. His approach to problem solving and well thought out ideas and discussions have been a valuable asset to the Board. Kendal is a passionate PASS volunteer and leader of the MagicPASS Chapter based in Orlando, FL. who has demonstrated thoughtful and persuasive arguments around PASS governance issues.

For those of you wondering how and why these two appointments were made to the PASS Board – read on!

PASS Board members that are elected to at-large positions serve two year terms. If they aren’t able to complete their term the bylaws state these seats are “filled, by a majority vote of the Board of Directors, for the unexpired term.” Prior to a June 2009 bylaw change these vacated seats with unexpired terms were filled by Presidential appointment.

The current process to fill vacated seats is simple and PASS Board Directors’ votes are publicly recorded. The Directors get to vote for the people who they feel will best serve the organization. It’s important to note that these appointments require a majority vote of the Board.

Board seats usually come available through resignation or a Board member moving to the Executive Committee. As of January 1st, Douglas McDowell moved to the Executive Vice-President of Finance role by Board election and Andy Warren resigned his seat. This means there were two Board seats to fill with terms expiring at the end of 2012.

While the President no longer appoints Directors, they do to put forward candidates. I did this in consultation with the Board in hopes of a smooth appointment process.
In this case, I focused on choosing the best individuals from among our membership to fill these slots. I based my decision on several factors: personal experience, whether the individuals stood for election, Nomination Committee rankings, and vote totals during the election. I also considered what they might be doing once on the Board. For example, we have an opening in the SQL Saturday portfolio that would be nice to fill without shuffling or doubling up. I also wanted to consider people from outside North America. Much of the growth for PASS over the next few years will be international and I wanted to see if we could find someone to help facilitate that growth.

I put forward James Rowland-Jones and Kendal Van Dyke as my recommended candidates. The Board discussed the appointment selections at length. We discussed a variety of potential candidates, including the two I put forward. We looked at several approaches for choosing candidates including appointing the two best people we knew, selecting the next highest vote getters in the recent election, choosing based on portfolio need and appointing based on geographic region. A portion of the discussion was placed under NDA in order to candidly discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate and the Nominating Committee information. It didn’t seem appropriate to discuss individuals’ strengths and weaknesses in the public minutes– especially since some of those individuals may not have known they were even being considered. In the end the motion passed 11 to 1 to bring on James and Kendal.

I am confident that these individuals will serve PASS and its membership effectively. Our meeting minutes will be published in a week or two. Please feel free to drop me a line with any comments or feedback, or simply comment on this post.

Board Starts New Year with Portfolio Assignments

For my first editorial as PASS President, I want to take a moment to thank all of you who voted in our Board elections in December and encourage you to get even more involved in your organization in this new year. It was awesome to see the excitement generated by a phenomenal slate of candidates and by wide-ranging community discussion about the biggest issues and opportunities facing our organization. I challenge all of us to translate that energy into creative solutions to help SQL Server professionals around the world connect, share, and learn. With your help, 2012 is going to be a great year for PASS!

One of the first tasks for the President each year is to assign Board members to portfolios, and I’m excited to announce this year’s portfolio leaders. The portfolios for members of the Executive Committee were determined when the Board elected them last June. Douglas McDowell will serve as Executive Vice President, Finance, and Thomas LaRock will serve as Vice President, Marketing. Rushabh Mehta moves to the role of Immediate Past President. These terms started Jan. 1 and run for 2 years.

Directors-At-Large are typically assigned a portfolio for a calendar year, although  sometimes Board members will head the same portfolio for 2 years. This approach works best with the natural Board turnover and matching the desires of Board members with the needs of the organization.

This year, we have only one returning At-Large Director, Allen Kinsel, who is taking over the Chapters portfolio. Allen previously headed the Summit Program committee, and his experience leading a large volunteer team will be invaluable in the Chapters area.

Our three newly elected Board members – Adam Jorgensen, Denise McInerney, and Rob Farley – have also received their portfolio assignments. Adam will lead the Summit Program portfolio, putting his previous  2 years of experience on the Program Committee and service in two other portfolios to great use. Adam’s experience and combined technical and business skills will be central to the continued expansion of our Summit educational offerings.

Denise will take over the Virtual Chapters portfolio. Denise was instrumental in the creation and growth of the Women in Technology (WIT) Virtual Chapter and the growth of its leadership team, and I’m excited to bring her experience to all our Virtual Chapters.

And Rob will lead the 24 Hours of PASS portfolio, heading up our largest online events program and one of our greatest opportunities to reach more members. PASS has a tremendous opportunity to expand its offering of  local-language events that can touch all parts of the globe. Rob’s drive and experience organizing events and volunteers will really shine in this portfolio.

Our last portfolio, the popular PASS SQLSaturday events program, will be filled when the Board appoints someone to fill one of two empty Board seats later this month.

I’m honored to be working with a Board that has more experience and depth than any I can remember. And I’m looking forward to this team and our army of volunteers accomplishing great things for PASS and the SQL Server community this year.