Category: PASS General

2016 Executive Vice President Position Filled

Following the recent resignation and departure of James Rowland-Jones (JRJ) from the PASS Board, the Board met during the scheduled December Board meeting and voted on the appointment of Grant Fritchey to the position of Executive Vice President, Finance and Governance, starting 1 January 2016.

Grant’s appointment came by way of a unanimous vote by the Board during today’s Board meeting. Grant will be working closely with the current PASS Executive to get up to speed for his appointment starting at the beginning of the calendar year.

In addition to Grant’s appointment, JRJ’s Director at Large seat becomes vacant effective today (December 10, 2015). In this instance, the PASS Bylaws allow the vacancy to be filled by appointment through a majority vote of the Board for the unexpired term. Following the vote earlier today, I can now announce that the Board appointed Argenis Fernandez, who participated in the Board elections earlier in the fall. Argenis will assume the Director-at-Large seat effective today, December 10, 2015.

Please join me in congratulating Grant and Argenis on their appointments. I know they will work hard to deliver on the many great things the Board has planned.

In the New Year, the Board will seek to appoint a candidate to Grant’s Director-at-Large position and details will be provided on this as soon as they are available. These details will also include who will be leading the SQLSaturday and Chapter portfolio. In the meantime Tim Ford and Grant Fritchey will continue to support the strategic direction of these portfolio, respectively.

Adam Jorgensen
Executive Vice-President, Finance and Governance

Board Announces LATAM Regional Seat

At the December Board meeting earlier today, the Board voted on the motion, “To convert one of the open Director-at-Large seats, which is up for election in the 2016 Board Election, to a LATAM regional seat”. This was done to support our focus on growing the global community and in recognition of the tremendous growth that has occurred in the LATAM region.

In 2013, the PASS Bylaws were amended to allow for inclusion of regional seats. Regional seat benchmarks were established to provide the Board with a measure of when the LATAM region would be ready for the Board to consider adding a seat – measuring the health and stability of community activities across the region. The first regional seat was the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) seat, which was converted from an open seat in 2013 for a term starting Jan 1st, 2014. The EMEA seat is currently held by Jen Stirrup.

I’m very pleased to announce that the community growth benchmarks set for LATAM have been exceeded and the Board has determined the LATAM community is robust enough to warrant a dedicated seat on the PASS Board. This means that in the 2016 election, there will be a LATAM seat as well as a US/Canada and an Open seat on the ballot. Those elected will begin their terms January 1, 2017. Our existing LATAM Regional Advisors, Diego Nogare from Brazil and Eduardo Castro from Costa Rica will continue until June 2, 2016.

The LATAM seat will support our ongoing community development efforts through the region by ensuring a global perspective on the PASS Board. The seat will work with the entire Board to satisfy the long-term strategic priorities set for the PASS community, recognizing and embracing our unique and individualistic learning opportunities for the region. While this seat brings an important perspective to augment our current global perspective, the successful incumbent will not be charged with representing that region alone. Much like the current incumbent of our EMEA seat, they will own a PASS portfolio like all other Board members (i.e. global chapters, or SQLSaturday) and will work with the rest of the Board to drive the growth and health of the organization worldwide.

This is an exciting change for PASS and will deliver opportunities to help us better serve our growing global community.

Adam Jorgensen
Executive Vice-President, Finance and Governance

PASS Financial Outlook

At our October Board meeting, the PASS Board of Directors had the opportunity to discuss the long-term vision of PASS and its ongoing financial well-being. My PASS Summit 2015 Keynote allowed me to share the great financial performance for FY2015, and to look ahead to our priorities for 2016 and beyond. One very important financial activity that came out of our October Board Meeting is our efforts to convert PASS from a not-for-profit organization to a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. While this is currently under consideration with our auditors, we are actively pursuing it to support our ongoing growth and revenue diversification.

In addition to pursuing this, PASS continues to operate in a strong financial position. I am pleased to announce that 78 cents of every dollar of PASS revenue is reinvested back into the community. This places us in the upper-range for community reinvestment/returns in similarly structured non-profit organizations.

Looking forward, we are going to continue to set goals and make investments to support growth. We increased our reserves by a total of 12% to $1.14M, which represents 14% of our FY2015 gross annual revenue of $8.6 million. This puts us in a very good position for the future.

This is all good news, and I am pleased to share the details of our financial journey with you. I will continue to keep you updated of our efforts to become a 501 (c) (3) organization, as well as our financial performance throughout the year. Thank you for your support of this great organization!

Adam Jorgensen
Executive Vice President, Finance & Governance

Standing Down

It is with a mixture of great excitement and some personal trepidation that I am writing to let you know that I have accepted an offer to join the Data Platform Program Management Team at Microsoft. Sadly, that decision isn’t without its consequences. I will therefore be standing down from my position as Director-at Large of PASS and also resigning my position at SQLBits, effective December 10, 2015. I will also therefore not be taking up the Executive Vice President position next year as planned. Adam and the executive have this in hand. It is the subject of another post so I won’t dwell on it here.

The opportunity to help drive new massively parallel processing innovation at hyper scale is a career opportunity I simply cannot ignore. I hope that you, my peers in the community, will understand my decision and not think too badly of me. Serving the community has been an incredibly important part of my personal journey and has helped me to shape my career. Simply put, I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it and am truly thankful for the opportunities it has provided me with.

I couldn’t part without mentioning two areas that have I have been most involved with:

Global Growth
In the global growth portfolio, we have set the tone for international community engagement through strategic long term goals and have enshrined international representation at every level of the organisation. I’d like to thank the entire board, both past and present, for their continued commitment to this effort. I have every confidence that PASS will continue to be globally relevant; embracing the vision to support the worldwide community of data professionals that leverage the Microsoft Data Platform.

Partnerships Special Project
With the partnerships special project, we have overhauled how PASS engages with its commercial partners as we recognise their unique position and value within the community ecosystem. Through the tireless efforts of an outstanding team at PASS HQ the new Global Alliance Partners program is off the ground and is going from strength to strength. I’d like to thank in particular Microsoft and our Alliance Partners namely Dell Software, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, SQL Sentry, Hortonworks, Idera, Kroll Ontrack and Pyramid Analytics for their strategic support and investment in PASS. I look forward to seeing the Alliance program continue to evolve and prosper. PASS has an opportunity to set the gold standard amongst community organisations for partner engagement – that is truly exciting.

Serving the community, especially the PASS board, presents a myriad of wonderful opportunities. I’d like to thank the PASS membership for entrusting them to me. I would encourage anyone wanting to stretch themselves personally and professionally to step up and find out what PASS has to offer. You are unlikely to experience driving an international, multi-million dollar, not-for-profit organisation elsewhere in your professional career. I’ve developed new skills, tackled complex challenges and collaborated with a passionate, diverse group of community oriented people – all looking to make a difference. That last part may sound simple but, trust me, it is not. Building the relationships to work effectively as part of a team is integral to the PASS experience. However, this investment has also been immensely rewarding; many of the people I’ve worked closely with I can also happily call friends. That isn’t something I say lightly. I would therefore like to close by expressing my sincere thanks to the fantastic board members and the entire PASS HQ team with whom I have served for their unwavering support and, of course, friendship.

JRJ
PASS Board, Director at Large

Filling vacant board seats

I wanted to share some upcoming changes to our Board composition. James Rowland-Jones (JRJ) will be resigning from his role as Director-at Large for the PASS Board and joining the Data Platform Program Management Team at Microsoft. JRJ’s resignation from the Board will be effective December 10, 2015.

With JRJ’s resignation from his current Board position, we will now look to fill three positions. The first being the remainder of the term of the Director-at Large seat which JRJ currently holds and the second will be the upcoming two-year Executive Vice President, Finance and Governance seat, which JRJ was elected to fill starting on January 1, 2016.

When a Director-at Large seat becomes vacant outside of a standard election cycle, the PASS Bylaws indicate that the Board of Directors may appoint a candidate, by a majority vote, to fill the remainder of the term, until it may be added to a general election.

The EVP role will be filled by appointment of one of the existing Directors-at-Large. Interviews with interested candidates have been held and the Board will vote on the appointment for this position at the December Board meeting. The appointment of the EVP will leave another Director-at Large seat vacant. The Board will fill this vacancy for up to one year through an appointment by a majority vote. The appointment for this seat will be completed as soon as possible and announced at that time.

On behalf of the PASS Board, I want to take this opportunity to personally thank JRJ, for his dedication and passion, particularly in his efforts in support of the Global Growth strategy and the Global Alliance Partner program, both of which have expanded and grown dramatically under his leadership and guidance. We wish him tremendous success in his new role.

Adam Jorgensen
Executive Vice President, Finance and Governance

PASS Leadership Policy

At the October Board meeting held on site during PASS Summit 2015, the Board voted unanimously to approve the PASS Volunteer Leadership Policy. This policy is designed to develop and encourage new leaders within the PASS community. It aims to help community volunteers develop their leadership skills and transition into new leadership roles while opening up new leadership opportunities for emerging leaders. It also ensures that all leaders are adequately supported through the transition process.

We all know what can happen when we wear too many hats. As well as developing new leaders, the policy provides guidelines to ensure that current and future leaders are able to fully commit to the requirements of their roles. For example, the policy details that due to the extensive time commitment required, PASS Board Members must maintain that single leadership role for the duration of their terms. It also provides opportunities for natural transitions and ensures opportunities for all PASS community members.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of PASS, and this policy forms part of the Board’s recognition of this, providing guidance on all PASS leadership levels. The policy was reviewed by both community and Board members and comments were incorporated before Board approval. I encourage anybody in a leadership role, or anyone who is interested in taking up a leadership role with PASS to read the policy and reach out to any of our Board Members for information.

Wendy Pastrick
Director, PASS Virtual Chapters

The Importance of Reporting Harassment Incidents

There are times in our lives when we are faced with decisions that we only really better understand after the fact.

An occurrence at one of the non-PASS sponsored evening parties during PASS Summit this year brought this into very clear focus for me. I arrived at a venue with some friends, and even though it was crowded, I saw some unknown, friendly, smiling faces and decided to go over and say a quick "hello". Within minutes, there was the first unwanted, uninvited groping. I thought to myself "ew, gross!" and moved away with a scowl in his direction. It was a crowded party and I remember thinking, maybe, just maybe, that didn't really just happen. It was when it happened again from a second guy in the same group a few moments later there was no denying that yes, it really WAS happening.

It's what transpired next, though that has come to upset me in the days afterward. Immediately after the incident, I sought out a trusted friend at the party and after telling him what had happened, he offered to do something. I declined, telling him I was fine.

What is it that keeps women from calling out unwarranted behaviors such as this? Embarrassment? Pride? Worry that somehow "I asked for it?" Here is the real kicker, though. Because I failed to react, to engage others, to call out this behavior – I missed an opportunity to have it addressed. That, my friends, is my biggest regret.

Unfortunately, it is a fact that sometimes women are subjected to inappropriate behaviors from others. My hope is that by speaking out now, if you or someone you know finds this situation happening, you recognize it and act immediately to bring it to somebody’s attention. Tell a friend. Point out the perpetrators. Tell the venue management, organizer, or vendor. Definitely don't ignore it.

PASS has an Anti-Harassment Policy (AHP) in place. I sometimes hear jokes about the AHP. While it might be amusing to poke fun at it and think its only purpose is to keep you from telling me a dirty joke, that's not actually why it's there. It's for situations like this. While I did not make a report at the time, I corrected that and have filed an official report. If you have any concerns or an incident within the guidelines of the AHP, I encourage you to contact governance@sqlpass.org.

Wendy Pastrick
PASS Board of Directors, Virtual Chapter

PASS Anti-Harassment Policy Reminder

It is unfortunate that I have to write this letter, but it has become necessary.

An Anti-Harassment Policy (AHP) was implemented in 2012 to help provide a harassment-free conference experience. Everyone attending PASS Summit is expected to follow the AHP at all times, including at PASS-sponsored social events. This includes, but is not limited to, PASS staff, exhibitors, speakers, attendees, and anyone affiliated with the event.

This year at PASS Summit I served on the Anti-Harassment Review Committee. As such, it was my responsibility to help review complaints and incidents reported during Summit. The PASS Summit experience should be enjoyable, exciting, and safe for everyone at all times. However, I am disappointed to say that PASS Summit was a negative experience for a few members of our #SQLFamily this year.

I expect Summit attendees and PASS members to treat others with respect at all times, whether that is inside a session room, the conference hallway, a PASS sponsored event, or even at a local coffee shop.

On a positive note, there were people actively using the policy this year and supporting one another onsite as well. I am proud to see that our community has embraced having this policy. It is wonderful to know that our #SQLFamily will not put up with these types of incidents.

If you have concerns or want to report an incident within the guidelines of the AHP, I encourage you to contact governance@sqlpass.org.

Thomas LaRock
PASS President

PASS Summit 2015: Women in Technology Luncheon

November 3, 2015 — On Day Two of PASS Summit, we welcomed Angie Chang, VP of Strategic Partnerships at Hackbright Academy, as keynote speaker of the 13th annual PASS Summit Women in Technology (WiT) luncheon. PASS VP of Marketing Denise McInerney sat down with Angie in front of hundreds of luncheon attendees to discuss Hackbright and its role in training women and promoting gender diversity in technology.

Hackbright Academy is a Bay Area engineering school for women; its mission, to “increase female representation in tech through education, mentorship, and community.” With hundreds of its alumni successfully entering engineering jobs, Hackbright boasts more female graduates per year than Stanford and UC Berkeley. The school’s rate of job placement is impressive, as are the companies with which its students find employment—among them, Uber, Eventbrite, Pinterest, Facebook, Dropbox, and SurveyMonkey. Hackbright graduates are well trained not just to enter the engineering field, but to lead it—several have gone from nascent coders to managerial engineering positions within the span of just a few years.

Angie, whose first involvement with tech was making websites in high school, went on to engineering and technical positions with UC Berkeley, Hightail (formerly YouSendIt), Azureus, SquareTrade and more before co-founding Women 2.0, a media brand that aims to connect, inspire, and educate the next generation of technology leaders. Angie joined Hackbright after spending more than 7 years as Women 2.0’s Editor-in-Chief. She is also founder of the Bay Area incarnation of Girl Geek Dinners, which offers education and networking for women in technology fields.

Denise spoke with Angie about Hackbright’s purpose, the necessity of offering coding education to women of all ages, and the benefits for companies who hire women engineers who are coming to coding from past careers in a variety of other fields.

“Our students come from a wide array of backgrounds, running the gamut from former teachers to lawyers to cancer researchers,” said Angie. These women join the school for its full-time 12-week accelerated software engineering fellowship or its part-time courses, such as Intro to Programming.

Angie noted several important aspects that make Hackbright particularly successful:

· Mentoring of students by women in the industry

· Graduates who return to reinvest in the community

· An encouraging, energetic environment

· Training and career services that goes beyond coding to interviewing, management, and more

Graduating students create final projects, which range from visual, interactive reporting dashboards that help educators turn standardized test results into better instruction to an app that delivers safer walking routes to pedestrians, based on rasterized crime data sets.

Opening questions to the audience, the discussion covered many of the issues that face both women in tech as well as companies searching to diversify their workforces:

· The benefits of networking with fellow women in tech

· The best ways for parents to encourage their young daughters to get excited about coding and data

· How to create a workplace that welcomes gender diversity and inclusion

· The myth of the “pipeline problem”

“It’s important that we let younger women and girls know that it’s okay to fail, stub your knee, break things,” said Angie. “That’s how we learn and something that’s important in this field.”

She also noted that gender diversity offers benefits for hiring organizations as well as the women who work for them. Diverse teams have better results and provide a more realistic reflection of consumers and the way they think.

When asked about her thoughts on the “pipeline problem”—an oft-heard response of companies that claim their teams lack diversity because of a lack of qualified diverse candidates—Angie noted Laura Weidman’s theory that the problem with the pipeline isn’t that it’s narrow, but that it’s leaky, with too many women missing a successful transition from education to employment. For this reason, Hackbright focuses on this period, giving graduates the opportunity to participate in Career Day, which includes partner company introductions, speed interviews, lunch, and optional networking. And many graduates return to teach, mentor, or even recruit new classes of Hackbright students.

The full interview can be viewed on PASStv.

Wendy Pastrick,
VC Director

Pass Summit 2015, Day Two Keynote: Data Professionals and the Internet of Things

November 3, 2015 - PASS Summit 2015 Day Two launched Thursday with a Keynote by Microsoft Jim Gray Systems Lab’s Technical Fellow, Dr. David DeWitt and Principal Software Engineer, Dr. Rimma Nehme.

The keynote opened with Executive Vice President Adam Jorgensen, providing a PASS financial update and sharing his excitement on our growth and where PASS is headed. Next, Vice President, Marketing Denise McInerney thanked the many PASS volunteers that make events like PASS Summit possible. Denise also recognized outgoing Immediate Past President, Bill Graziano, for his extensive service and support to our community and presented the PASSion Award to this year’s winner, Lance Harra.

Afterward, Dr. Nehme took the stage, immediately beginning to build on her previous PASS Summit keynotes. This year’s topic was Data Management for Internet of Things (IoT), and Dr. Nehme, along with co-presenter Dr. DeWitt, gave us a broad rundown of IoT basics, the state of today’s IoT, what the future will hold, and where and how SQL Server fits. With a leap from 500 million Internet-connected devices in 2003 to a projected 50 billion devices by 2020, IoT solutions offer a wealth of potential but also face issues surrounding bandwidth, connectivity, data deluge, and storage constraints.

“We’re in the ‘Terrible Twos’ of IoT development,” Dr. Nehme told our audience. “As any parent knows, it’s a pretty hard age!”

Dr. Nehme then handed the stage to Dr. DeWitt, who asked the audience “Why should DBAs care about the IoT?” Dr. DeWitt noted that as the amount of data is growing exponentially, DBAs will face the decision to “become part of the steamroller or part of the road.”

Drs. Nehme and DeWitt—while careful to reiterate that the discussion is still very much in the early and even theoretical phases—discussed the role of technologies such as Azure Machine Learning and SQL Server in the development of IoT. Noting that “IoT is a database issue, not just a networking issue”, the speakers explained that an understanding of, and ability to work with, data and data technologies will be vital as we move toward IoT on a broad scale. Dr. DeWitt also emphasized the importance of security by noting that Azure IoT solutions provide per-device identities that are used to authenticate all device-to-cloud events, and that having devices pull cloud-to-device commands reduces the potential attack surface.

In closing, Drs. DeWitt and Nehme noted that after many years of delivering the PASS Summit keynote, this year will be their final joint appearance at the event as they look ahead to different endeavors. Words would never express my gratitude for all their work and dedication they provided to the PASS community through the years.

Thomas LaRock
PASS President