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.
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!
Immediate Past President/NomCom Chair
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.
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.
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:
- Proactively encourage candidates to apply
- Reduce the burden on candidates applying to run
- 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:
- 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.
- 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:
- Reduce Nomination Committee (NomCom) workload
- Create a single time period for campaigning and voting
- 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:
- Increased use of social media
- Enhanced layout of candidates web page
- 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,
April 16, 2013 – Last week was important for PASS. Not only did we hold our first Business Analytics Conference, but the PASS Board of Directors also unanimously passed two motions that enable PASS to take the next steps in growing the organization’s international reach and influence.
Our focus was to increase the international makeup and perspective of the PASS Board, by voting to:
- Convert a Director-at-Large seat to a regional seat for EMEA
- Ensure the elected community representatives to the Nomination Committee (NomCom) reflect the regional seat composition of the 2013 Board elections
With the EMEA slot, the 2013 elections will have two seats reserved for specific regional representation: one for the US/Canada and one for EMEA. The recent PASS by-law changes already convert one Director-at-Large seat to a regional seat specifically designated for the US/Canada region every other year. However, the Board had to vote separately to convert another Director-at-Large seat to an EMEA seat.
By aligning the three elected NomCom community seats to match the Board seats that will be up for election this year, we help encourage balance, international influence, and local investment in both the NomCom and the Board elections.
Thank you to everyone who shared feedback and suggestions about streamlining and improving our elections process for candidates and members alike.
As we focus on engaging more qualified candidates and a more invested, involved electorate, we will also create a PASS election ethics and process guidelines document. It will address and clarify existing processes so that community members and candidates know what is expected of them and what to expect during the elections.
With these important steps toward gaining more international perspective on the PASS Board and improving and refreshing our elections processes, I think we can all expect great things.
Thank you for your time,
May 28, 2013 – With the election season for the PASS Board of Directors fast approaching, there will be three seats up for grabs in September. These seats will represent US/Canada, EMEA, and one open seat. As such, the Nomination Committee (NomCom) will reflect the composition of the 2013 Board elections. The NomCom will be composed of five members and chaired by Immediate Past President, Rushabh Mehta. One of these positions will be filled by a member of the Board of Directors, and the final three members of the NomCom will be elected by the PASS community.
Being a member of the NomCom is an exciting opportunity. Members of the NomCom get a behind-the-scene experience with the Board of Directors election process, using their knowledge and previous volunteer experience with PASS to review applications for candidacy of the Board according to process and criteria outlined by the Board of Directors. Once complete, the NomCom then presents a list of recommended candidates to the Board of Directors, which then approves the final slate.
Think you might be up for the job? The NomCom election process starts with an application, opening June 12 and closing June 19. Stay in the know and watch the next issue of the Connector for application information.
July 18, 2013 – The PASS Board of Directors elected a new Executive Committee today at the in-person Board meeting in Kansas City. The following officers were elected to a 2-year term that begins on January 1, 2014. Congratulations to:
- President: Thomas LaRock
- Executive Vice President, Finance: Adam Jorgensen
- Vice President, Marketing: Denise McInerney
Current PASS President Bill Graziano will remain on the ExecCo as Immediate Past President.
According to the PASS bylaws, any PASS Board member can stand for the Executive Vice President and Vice President, Marketing roles. The role of President must be filled by a Board member who has previously served one term as a PASS Board officer.
A reminder that applications for three seats on the PASS Board open next week – watch for the announcement on July 24. If you have a passion for the PASS community and desire to serve our members, we encourage you to apply. To learn more about why you should run for the PASS Board, check out these sound bites from current and former directors.
In the meantime, read on for more about the new ExecCo members:
President: Thomas LaRock
Thomas LaRock is a seasoned IT professional with over a decade of technical and management experience. Currently serving as a Technical Evangelist for Confio Software, he has progressed through several roles in his career, including programmer, analyst, and DBA. A PASS member for 10 years, Thomas has been on the PASS Board of Directors since 2009, serving as VP, Marketing, for the past 2 years. Thomas holds a MS degree in Mathematics from Washington State University and is a SQL Server MCM, a SQL Server MVP, a Microsoft Certified Trainer, and a VMWare vExpert. He can be found blogging at http://thomaslarock.com and is the author of DBA Survivor: Become a Rock Star DBA (http://dbasurvivor.com).
Executive Vice President, Finance: Adam Jorgensen
After 8 years of service to PASS, Adam Jorgensen joined the PASS Board in 2012. Adam is a SQL Server MVP and the President of Pragmatic Works consulting. He has been leading innovative SQL Server and Business Intelligence organizations for over a decade, and his passion is finding new and creative avenues for clients and the community to embrace innovation and lower barriers to implementation. Adam holds MBAs in Finance and strategy, and he has authored a variety of articles and books on SQL Server, SharePoint, and analytics. Adam’s previous PASS service includes serving as a PASS Regional Mentor, a member of the Regional Mentor Committee, and co-chair of the PASS BI Virtual Chapter. Adam blogs regularly at adamjorgensen.com. You can follow him on twitter at @AJBigData.
Vice President, Marketing: Denise McInerney
Denise McInerney, a DBA at Intuit and winner of the 2007 PASSion Award, was elected to the PASS Board in 2012 after years as an active PASS Volunteer. She served on the PASS Program Committee for 4 years, including 1 year as Committee Manager, and was chair or co-chair of the Women in Technology (WIT) Virtual Chapter for 5 years. She's also a frequent speaker at Chapter meetings, PASS SQLSaturdays, and PASS Summit. Denise began as a SQL Server DBA in 1998, working at several startups and as an independent consultant. Denise joined Intuit in 2004 where she currently works as a data analyst. She graduated from Boston University with a BA in Political Science. You can find Denise blogging at select*from denisemc.views.
by Thomas LaRock
July 26, 2013 – Last week’s Executive Committee election saw myself (Thomas LaRock), Adam Jorgensen, and Denise McInerney join the 2014 PASS ExecCo team as President, Executive Vice President Finance, and Vice President Marketing, respectively. Along with Bill Graziano as Immediate Past President, we will serve the community for 2 years beginning January 1, 2014.
As part of the ExecCo elections process, we were asked to outline and discuss our vision for PASS for the next 2 years and beyond. When the elections were over we compared notes on the handful of items we feel are most important. The ones we believe deserve the most attention include:
- Establishing PASS as the community leader for Microsoft data technologies. The Business Analytics Conference was a great first touch into the BA/BI/IT-Pro markets. We plan to continue our efforts to serve this new audience with BA-related Virtual Chapters, the onboarding of new chapters, and a confirmed second Business Analytics Conference in the Silicon Valley next May. We’re proud of our efforts over the last 10 years to help the SQL Server community connect, share, and learn, and we’re looking forward to broadening our reach to all database professionals.
- Expanding our engagement and activity in regions outside the US. The EMEA region continues to grow within PASS, and everyone is excited about the EMEA Board of Directors seat up for election in September. More emphasis on LATAM in the coming year will be necessary to build an equally strong community in that region for eventual representation on the PASS Board. We’re also continuing our APAC efforts, although establishing more engagement and activity will require a longer time frame for success. The Global Growth Board portfolio is likely to dissolve as international effort and activity continue to permeate all Board portfolios.
- Establishing strategic relationships with our partners. We all recognize the need to institute a simplified engagement model for vendor participation within the PASS community. Merging our sponsorship and marketing efforts into one unified team is the first step to achieving this vision.
Thoughtful comments and questions in a recent blog post by Kevin Kline spurred this post. Kevin mentions two additional initiatives he’d like to see the new ExecCo focus on: a better volunteer structure and process and improved utilization of social media.
A PASS Volunteers portfolio was established at the start of the year, headed by PASS Board Director Sri Sridharan. Efforts are underway to better help PASS identify active volunteers and to provide a mechanism for PASS HQ and community leaders to publish volunteer opportunities. Look for updates on this project during PASS Summit 2013.
Kevin’s comments about PASS’s use of social media have not gone unnoticed, and the marketing team is looking at ways to take better advantage of all social media opportunities. You can expect to see more of PASS through various social media channels over the next 2 years.
So what are your thoughts about the direction we’re working on for PASS? Have feedback or suggestions? Drop the 2014 ExecCo Elect a note with your comments or post a response below.
By Erin Stellato
Cross-posted from Erin's The SQL Sequel blog
August 8, 2013 – Yesterday, August 7, was the last day to submit applications for the PASS Board of Directors election. I have the honor of serving on the Nomination Committee this year, and while there is very little I can disclose, I do want to take a moment to extend a heartfelt thank you to those that submitted an application for a Board of Directors position.
Thank you for taking the time to complete the application, I know it can be daunting.
Thank you for taking the time to think through what you want to see happen as a Board member. Whether you are elected or not, I hope that you will still endeavor to make those things happen.
Thank you for talking to your friends and colleagues and asking them to be references for you (and thank you to those that agreed to do so).
And thank you, in advance, for committing additional time to meet with the NomCom to share your story and your goals.
When you run for any office, or any board, in any arena, you take a risk. You become vulnerable, and you put your own name out there for discussion. That takes courage, and I applaud all of you for stepping forward and taking a risk so that you may serve the SQL Server community as a member of the PASS Board. I wish all of you the best, and I am confident that three very qualified individuals will fill the Board positions this year. Good luck!
October 3, 2013 – PASS is aware of the issue around duplicate ballots in the most recent election. After voting closed, PASS reviewed and analyzed all submitted ballots, and we confidently stand behind the final election result. We are also actively discussing ways we can improve the process prior to the next election cycle. Please bring your questions and ideas to the Board Q&A on Friday, Oct. 18, at PASS Summit. If you can’t attend, feel free to submit your questions the week of Summit (Oct. 15-18) via Twitter using #passvotes or email us at AskBoD@sqlpass.org.
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.