January 7, 2014 – 2013 was a wonderful year for PASS. We grew in service to data professionals around the world across many areas – adding 31 local PASS Chapters, six new Virtual Chapters, and the inaugural PASS Business Analytics Conference – and welcomed over 16,000 new members. With 2013 now in our rear-view mirror, it’s time to look at what lies ahead for PASS.
Before we dive into the coming year, I want to thank Rushabh Mehta, Douglas McDowell, and Rob Farley for their many years of service to the PASS community as they leave the Board of Directors. Their hard work and dedication will be sorely missed.
Let’s also take a moment to welcome the new Directors joining the Board for 2014-2015: Amy Lewis, Jen Stirrup, and Tim Ford. Amy will be taking over PASS Programs, Jen will lead Virtual Chapters, and Tim will be responsible for the SQLSaturday portfolio. You can read about all the Board portfolio assignments on the PASS blog.
As PASS continues to grow, the Board understands the need for Directors to shift away from their historical role as “doers” and toward setting direction through strategic thinking. We have been taking measured steps as part of this transition. And after the 2013 elections, I shared the vision that myself, Adam Jorgensen, and Denise McInerney have for PASS as your Executive Committee (ExeCo).
Vision statements are good, but actions are better. So to start, every Board member is outlining their portfolio tasks so that we make certain they roll up to our higher-level goals and that we hold each other accountable. In my years on the Board, we have had a lot of great ideas but struggled with follow-through and accountability. We are aiming to change that in 2014.
I’ve asked all Board members to submit their goals for 2014 before Jan. 13. The ExeCo will then review the goals before the Board’s January in-person meeting and provide feedback about any tasks not aligned with the overall vision.
With your help – and the leadership of dedicated Board members – I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running this year.
Let’s make 2014 a year to remember, together.
Cross-posted from my blog
October 14, 2013 – As I type this, I’m on an airplane en route to my 12th PASS Summit. It’s been a very busy 3.5 months since my last post on my work as a Board member. Nearing the end of my 2-year term, I am struck by how much has happened, and yet how fast the time has gone.
But I’ll save the retrospective post for next time and today focus on what happened in Q3. In the last three months, we made progress on several fronts, thanks to the contributions of many volunteers and HQ staff members. They deserve our appreciation for their dedication to delivering for the membership week after week.
The Virtual Chapters continue to provide many PASS members with valuable free training. Between July and September of 2013, VCs hosted over 50 webinars with a total of 4300 attendees.
This quarter also saw the launch of the Security and Global Russian VCs. Both are off to a strong start, and I welcome these additions to the Virtual Chapter portfolio.
At the beginning of 2012, we had 14 Virtual Chapters. Today we have 22. This growth has been exciting to see. It has also created a need to have more volunteers help manage the work of the VCs year-round. We have renewed focus on having Virtual Chapter Mentors work with the VC Leaders and other volunteers. I am grateful to volunteers Julie Koesmarno, Thomas LeBlanc, and Marcus Bittencourt, who join original VC Mentor Steve Simon on this team.Thank you for stepping up to help.
Many improvements to the VC websites have been rolling out over the past few weeks. Our marketing and IT teams have been busy working a new look and feel, features, and a logo for each VC. They have given the VCs a fresh, professional look consistent with the rest of the PASS branding, and all VCs now have a logo that connects to PASS and the particular focus of the chapter.
24 Hours of PASS
The Summit Preview edition of 24HOP was held on July 31 and by all accounts was a success. Our first use of the GoToWebinar platform for this event went extremely well. Thanks to our speakers, moderators, and sponsors for making this event possible. Special thanks to HQ staffers Vicki Van Damme and Jane Duffy for a smoothly run event.
Coming up: The 24HOP Portuguese Edition will be held November 13-14, followed December 12-13 by the Spanish Edition. Thanks to the Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking community volunteers who are organizing these events.
July Board Meeting
The Board met July 18-19 in Kansas City. The first order of business was the election of the Executive Committee who will take office January 1. I was elected Vice President of Marketing and will join incoming President Thomas LaRock, incoming Executive Vice President of Finance Adam Jorgensen ,and Immediate Past President Bill Graziano on the ExeCo. I am honored that my fellow Board members elected me to this position and look forward to serving the organization in this role.
Visit to PASS HQ
In late September, I traveled to Vancouver for my first visit to PASS HQ, where I joined Tom LaRock and Adam Jorgensen to make plans for 2014. Our visit was just a few weeks before PASS Summit and coincided with the Board election, and the office was humming with activity. I saw first-hand the enthusiasm and dedication of everyone there. In each interaction I observed a focus on what is best for PASS and our members. Our partners at HQ are key to the organization’s success. This week at PASS Summit is a great opportunity for all of us to remember that, and say “thanks.”
PASS Summit—of course! I’ll be around all week and look forward to connecting with many of our members over meals, at the Community Zone, and between sessions.
In the evenings, you can find me at the Welcome Reception, Exhibitor’s Reception, and Community Appreciation Party. And I will be at the Board Q&A session Friday at 12:45pm.
The newly elected ExeCo and Board members take office January 1, and the Virtual Chapter portfolio is transitioning to a new director. I’m thrilled that Jen Stirrup will be taking over. Jen has experience as a volunteer and co-leader of the Business Intelligence Virtual Chapter and was a key contributor to the BI VC's expansion to serving our members in the EMEA region. I’ll be working closely with Jen over the next couple of months to ensure a smooth transition.
October 11, 2013 – With the PASS Board of Directors elections completed and thousands of community members and volunteers gathering at PASS Summit 2013 in Charlotte next week, it’s time to meet your Board portfolio leaders for the coming year. It’s been a pleasure, as one of my first tasks as incoming PASS President, to match up Directors with the project portfolios where they can put their skills, experience, passions, and energy to best use.
Here are the portfolios for 2014:
- James Rowland-Jones led our Global Growth portfolio over the past year, helping us gather feedback and lay the groundwork for better supporting the global community, including converting two seats on the PASS Board to regional seats. JRJ will remain with Global Growth and also lead Special Projects.
- Sri Sridharan began his term on the Board last year with the reinstated Volunteers portfolio and will continue the important tasks of growing PASS’s volunteer pool, better organizing volunteer efforts, and recognizing volunteers’ valuable contributions.
- Wendy Pastrick will continue leading our Global Chapters portfolio, working to grow and support local user groups with a great team of Community Evangelists and Chapter Leaders and Regional Mentors throughout the world.
- Amy Lewis, newly elected to the Board, will begin her term heading up the Programs portfolio. Working with Director Adam Jorgensen, Amy has served as co-manager of PASS Programs for 2 years, helping improve processes and lead the team that selects sessions for PASS Summit and the PASS Business Analytics Conference.
- Jen Stirrup, elected to the new EMEA regional seat on the Board, will put her experience as PASS BI Virtual Chapter co-leader to valuable use in guiding the Virtual Chapters portfolio.
- Tim Ford, elected to the new US/Canada regional seat, will take over the SQLSaturday portfolio. A passionate SQLSaturday supporter, Tim organized Kalamazoo, MI’s first SQLSaturday. Over 80 SQLSaturdays were held throughout the world in FY2013, and we’re expecting continued growth of these popular free, 1-day training events as we focus on meeting the needs of even more data professionals around the globe.
The 2014 PASS Board also includes the PASS Executive Committee – consisting of myself; Executive VP, Finance, Adam Jorgensen; VP, Marketing, Denise McInerney; and Past President Bill Graziano – and Founding Partner Board members from CA and Microsoft.
The transition to new assignments is underway, and new portfolio leaders will be meeting with community leaders and volunteers at Summit to get a jump-start on their projects. Make sure you say “Hi” at Summit, join us at the Board Q&A on Friday, Oct. 18, and volunteer to pitch in on your favorite projects. We can’t wait to get down to business!
– Thomas LaRock
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!
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.
April 29, 2013 – Most PASS members are familiar with SQLSaturday events, but many of you may not have attended one yet or know exactly what they are all about. To refresh, SQLSaturday events are free, one-day SQL Server training events that bring together local speakers and attendees while providing high quality technical training sessions. In the true sense of community engagement, they are organized entirely through the efforts of volunteers.
I could go on about the value of SQLSaturday, but members of the PASS community have already done so through many social media and blog posts. Take Kathi Kellenberger, for example. She loves her SQLSaturday events and recently posted about her top 10 reasons why you should attend a SQLSaturday – it’s worth a read. I’d also like to point out Hope Foley’s post from a wowed community member who attended their first SQLSaturday last July. Both posts underscore the magic of SQLSaturday events and how important they are to the SQL Server community at large.
Whether you're attending a SQLSaturday or thinking about hosting your own, we think you'll find it's a great way to spend a Saturday – or any day (that’s right, some SQLSaturday events are held on other days of the week!). Here are the upcoming SQLSaturday events around the world in May; hopefully there is one near you:
May 11 SQLSaturday #209 – Rochester
May 18 SQLSaturday #212 – Redmond
May 18 SQLSaturday #216 - Krasnodar, Russia
May 18 SQLSaturday #220 – Atlanta
May 18 SQLSaturday #225 – Kosovo
May 23 SQLSaturday #208 – Riyadh
May 25 SQLSaturday #219 – Kiev
May 25 SQLSaturday #224 – Sydney
New events are added all the time, so be sure to bookmark the PASS SQLSaturday website and follow @sqlsat on Twitter.
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 1, 2013 – Congratulations and welcome to all the members of this year’s PASS Program Committee! Guided by Program Director Adam Jorgensen and co-Program Managers Amy Lewis and Lance Harra, the Program Committee is responsible for organizing a world-class PASS Summit educational program that equips SQL Server and Business Intelligence professionals for today’s fast-changing world of data.
The 58-member group – PASS’s largest volunteer committee – reviews and selects speakers and sessions for PASS Summit, builds guidelines and resources for creating top presentations, ensures all PowerPoint slide decks meet the highest standards, and works to improve processes for developing and evaluating speakers and encouraging participation in all PASS speaking opportunities, from local and Virtual Chapters to SQLSaturday and 24 Hours of PASS to the Business Intelligence Conference and Summit.
As the PASS Summit 2013 Call for Speakers draws to a close this week, Program Committee members stand ready to begin their work and deliver an exceptional lineup of sessions and speakers. Without further ado, here is your 2013 Program Committee:
|Application & Database Development
|Angela Henry, Lead
||Craig Purnell, Co-Lead
||Colin Stasiuk, Co-Lead
|BI Platform Architecture, Development & Administration
|Scott Murray, Lead
||Roberto Finger Fonseca
|Venkata Krishna Chintapalli
|David Peter Hansen
|BI Information Delivery
||Kimberly St. Jacques
|Christopher Price, Lead
||Ben Debow, Co-Lead
||Pat Wright, Co-Lead
|Cloud Application Development & Deployment
|Mindy Curnutt, Lead
||Jose Guay, Co-Lead
|Enterprise Database Administration & Deployment
||Yani Robel, Co-Lead
|Nicholas Cain, Lead
|Doug Lane, Lead
March 26, 2013 – It’s hard to believe we’re just one week away from the end of Q1 2013, and the PASS SQLSaturday “firsts” just keep coming all over the world.
At this point last year, we had 12 SQLSaturdays, compared to 13 this year. And even though there’s only one more in comparison, several of last year’s hosting cities have moved to later months in 2013, opening up space for some new locations to join in. This year, Q1 has seen two new countries (Mexico and the Philippines), two new North American states (New Mexico and Connecticut), and two new cities (Detroit in the US and Exeter in the UK). It’s so exciting to see these events continue to grow and provide free, quality SQL Server training - in many cases, in communities that rarely if ever get such an opportunity.
In addition to new events, we’ve welcomed several new sponsors to the SQLSaturday arena already this year. It’s rewarding as a mentor to see organizers get better each year at marketing and getting support for their events, especially at the local level. The skills it takes to show that a SQLSaturday is a good investment will cross over into other areas for these organizers, such as being better able to negotiate a higher salary or convince their employers to provide more training opportunities as part of their annual increase.
Of course, “selling” a SQLSaturday isn’t easy for everyone, especially first-timers, which brings me to something I’ve seen less of these past several months: SQLSaturday blog recaps by organizers, speakers, and attendees. And that’s too bad, because the lessons learned by others have been invaluable to SQLSaturday newcomers for years now.
I encourage the community to get back to blogging their experiences at these events. Organizers recapping the lessons they’ve learned in hosting a SQLSaturday help every volunteer team and event coming up, particularly those considering hosting one for the very first time. Speakers can provide some great feedback and tips to organizers, especially since they often participate in so many of these and other training events. And each attendee has his/her own unique experience at a SQLSaturday.
Everyone can provide some insight as to what worked, what could have been better, and ideas for the next time. For SQLSaturdays in particular, the sharing of these experiences has been key to the growth of one of the most recognizable “grassroots” events in our community. Let’s not stop now!
As 2012 draws to a close, I’m growing increasingly excited about the start of another year full of opportunities for PASS. With the Board of Directors elections completed and a new Board starting in 2013, it’s time to assign portfolios for the upcoming year. Next year sees the return of an old portfolio and the combining of some existing portfolios. It also brings us both returning Board members and new leaders.
Adam Jorgensen headed up the Summit Program portfolio this year and will return to that position next year, leading the team that selects the amazing educational sessions for the largest SQL Server and BI training and networking event in the world. The Program Committee just completed its work for Seattle and is gearing up for PASS Summit 2013 in Charlotte.
Denise McInerney will return to the Virtual Chapters portfolio next year and will also handle 24 Hours of PASS. There are many similarities between these portfolios as well as cross-portfolio opportunities, so it makes sense to assign them to a single director.
Rob Farley will guide the SQLSaturday portfolio. These events are seeing tremendous growth throughout the world. With our continued focus on serving members around the globe, we expect these free events to reach and positively impact even more members in 2013.
James Rowland-Jones, elected to the Board after serving a 1-year appointment, will continue leading the Global Growth portfolio. We’ve made great strides in the past year getting feedback and laying the groundwork for better supporting the global community. Now it’s time to build on that work and put the next steps into action.
Wendy Pastrick will begin her term on the Board by leading our Chapters portfolio. PASS’s support of local Chapters through Regional Mentors, Community Evangelists, tools, best practices, and more has grown tremendously over the last few years, but there’s still much to do.
Sri Sridharan, also newly elected to the Board, will guide the returning Volunteers portfolio. As we continue to grow PASS’s volunteer pool, it’s important to have a dedicated a team to coordinate volunteer activities across the organization. Although this portfolio has existed in the budget, it hasn’t had anyone assigned to it for several years. We are still defining exactly how the Volunteers portfolio will align with our other portfolios, but by the end of 2013, we expect to see more volunteers, better organized, and with greater recognition for their valuable contributions.
In addition to the PASS Executive Committee – consisting of myself; Executive VP, Finance, Douglas McDowell; VP, Marketing, Thomas LaRock; and Past President Rushabh Mehta – as well as Founding Partner Board members from CA and Microsoft, this is the team that will lead PASS for the upcoming year. Please congratulate them on their portfolio assignments and offer them all the support you can. We’re expecting great things from them.