Category: Volunteers

PASS Board Applications Now Open!

Vision? Passion? Drive? Sounds like you’re ready for the PASS Board of Directors. Applications for the 2011 Board elections are now open, along with the interactive elections forums for community members to have their say... or start their campaigns.

The PASS Board has three seats up for election for the 2012/2013 term. A fourth seat – being vacated mid-term by Douglas McDowell, who is taking on the role of Executive Vice President, Finance – will be appointed for a 1-year term by the Board president, according to the PASS bylaws.

You can download the PASS Board application form at the PASS 2011 Elections site, and all applications must be submitted to PASS HQ no later than Oct. 19. To qualify as a candidate, at a minimum you must have direct volunteer experience with PASS, such as serving on a committee or as a Regional Mentor or Chapter leader, leading a SQLSaturday or other event, or volunteering in another capacity. Candidates must also currently work with SQL Server to some degree. For more about candidate requirements and to see what characteristics and abilities would make an ideal Board candidate, see the Candidates page.

Make sure you take advantage of the elections forums to ask about the elections process, get information about running for the Board, pose questions to the candidates, and discuss platforms and issues with fellow community members. Just log in with your PASS user information and post away! The PASS HQ team will also be providing links to community blog posts on the Discussion page to keep you up-to-date with all the elections news and commentary.

Good luck to everyone considering applying for this important role to help lead the world’s largest association dedicated to serving the SQL Server community. Apply today!

PASS Board Applications Open October 5

Interested in joining the PASS Board of Directors? Your chance is just around the corner.

The Board of Directors is the executive body of PASS, setting the organization's vision and direction to ensure that PASS achieves its mission to help community members connect, share, and learn. You can find information about the current Board here.  

This year, the PASS Board will have four open seats, three of which will be up for election. The fourth seat - being vacated mid-term by Douglas McDowell, who will take on the role of Executive Vice President, Finance – will be appointed by the Board president, according to the PASS bylaws.

Applications open Wednesday, October 5, and are due two weeks later, by October 19. To qualify as a candidate, at a minimum you must have direct volunteer experience with PASS - for example, by serving on a committee or as a Regional Mentor or Chapter leader, leading a SQLSaturday or other event, or volunteering in another capacity. Candidates must also currently work with SQL Server to some degree. 

For more about candidate requirements or the elections process, please see the PASS Elections 2011 website and feel free to contact PASS HQ Governance with any questions. Good luck to everyone who’s considering running for the Board, and get ready to rock the vote!

PASS Goes Global

We are excited to introduce some changes to PASS in an effort to connect global SQL Server communities and foster relationships between our professionals – wherever they’re located. PASS began in 1999 with a vision to empower all of our SQL Server communities to connect, share, and learn. To meet these objectives for our global community, PASS needs to change who we are and how we engage with communities. The direction for how we evolve needs to be paved by people representing the diversity of voices we want to support and connect with.

Earlier this month, representatives from PASS traveled to Stockholm, Sweden, to meet with key community leaders Johan Åhlén and Raoul Illyés from the Nordic region, James Rowland-Jones and Simon Sabin from the UK, and Rob Farley and Greg Low representing Australia/New Zealand. These leaders represent regions that have vibrant and healthy communities and bring diverse voices and viewpoints as well as a shared passion for the SQL Server community.
 
The primary purpose of the two-day meeting was to discuss our shared goals to strengthen and connect global communities and how we can work together to help all of the communities. The team identified an initial set of priorities that we all believe to be important first initiatives, including:
• Localizing communications from PASS
• Increasing the value proposition of chapters
• Supporting global events
• Exposing event content

As a first step, based on the recommendation from the team that met in Stockholm, the PASS board unanimously voted to appoint Raoul Illyés, James Rowland-Jones, and Rob Farley as non-voting members of the board for a period of one year.

We welcome the ideas and enthusiasm that each of these leaders has brought to their respective communities as an opportunity to help shape the future of PASS. These three appointees will join a team that will define a plan to evolve our governance structure so that PASS better meets the needs of global communities. As a secondary objective, this team will actively participate in various board discussions to ensure that the global perspective and needs are central to every PASS initiative.

We recently read a quote from a TechNet wiki that states, “Individuals are smart, but communities are wise.” These changes are based on our belief that the efforts to connect individual international communities will make all communities stronger. We hope you share our excitement about this next stage for how PASS can support you and your local SQL Server communities.

NomCom Finalized

The 2011 Nomination Committee (NomCom) – a team that assesses and reviews all PASS Board of Director applicants – has been finalized. Three community members have stepped forward to serve in this important role: Bradley Ball, Jack Corbett and Roy Ernest.
 
After the NomCom nomination period, with 3 applicants all meeting the qualification criteria, the election process was no longer necessary and the three applicants were approved by the Board to sit on the NomCom. The final composition of the NomCom is as follows:
 
•         Bradley Ball
•         Jack Corbett
•         Roy Ernest
•         Thomas LaRock (Board of Directors Representative)
•         Wayne Snyder (NomCom Chairperson)
 
To find out more about the NomCom members, please check out their bios and blogs.
 
If you didn’t apply for the NomCom but are still interested in helping better PASS and building a stronger community, there are more opportunities around the corner. The PASS Board of Director’s Elections are coming up. Applications will open on October 5th, 2011. More details will be posted on the elections website as they develop. 

Congratulations to Bradley, Jack, and Roy! The Nomination Committee plays an important role in PASS’s growth, and these members are a valued addition.

Last Chance to Save $600 on PASS Summit

A quick reminder that tomorrow is the last day to save $600 on PASS Summit 2011, the SQL Server event of the year, Oct. 11-14 in Seattle, WA. In the whirlwind of organizing all the conference details and getting the word out, it’s easy to forget exactly what PASS Summit is. Yes, it’s the largest SQL Server and BI conference in the world. But more than that, it’s your conference – planned and presented by the SQL Server community for the SQL Server community.

Volunteers (this year with the help of community session preference voting) select the sessions and speakers. Except for the pre-conference seminars, speakers share their knowledge and experience in exchange for a complimentary Summit registration. Community members are the driving force behind Summit’s special events, including the Welcome Reception Quiz Bowl, the annual Women in Technology Luncheon and Panel Discussion, SQL Kilt Day, the Photowalk, SQL Karaoke, and much more.

PASS Summit continues to grow in attendance and quality thanks to community members like you, who are passionate about the PASS mission – Connect, Share, Learn. And your registration fee stays in the SQL Server community, supporting a myriad of local, regional, and international programs and events that bring database professionals together around the world.

Whether you’re a seasoned PASS Summit veteran or thinking about attending for the first time, we encourage you to take advantage of this low rate before the price goes up July 1. See you in Seattle!
 

SQLSaturday Round-Up (Apr. 13-20)

(This is Round 19 of PASS's weekly round-up of SQLSaturday recaps. PASS community bloggers love their SQLSaturdays, and they love to tell everyone about their experiences, so who are we not to share that love?)

This past weekend, PASS SQLSaturday crossed the Atlantic for its first taste of Europe. It's been a bit silent in the wake of SQLSaturday #78, Portugal - we imagine they're still recovering from the sheer awesomeness of the event. But fret not, because we still have lots of blog posts from the SQL community!

(Clearly, Porto Salvo is a solemn place fit for serious SQL training.)

For those of you on Twitter, follow @sqlpass and make sure to check out the #sqlsat and #sqlsaturday hashtags to stay up to date. Besides attendance at free learning events, there are many speaking and sponsorship opportunities available.

LAST WEEK IN SQLSATURDAY...

Hope Foley presented at SQLSaturday #68, Olympia

Mark Ginnebaugh attended SQLSaturday #73, Orange County

David Levy presented at SQLSaturday #67, Chicago

Tiago Salgado attended SQLSaturday #78, Portugal

+ David Stein helped organize SQLSaturday #63, Dallas

COMING UP IN SQLSATURDAY...

The next SQLSaturday takes place on April 30th in Jacksonville, FL. Stay tuned for more events this spring and summer - June's already looking pretty hot and new SQLSaturdays are added all the time.

IN OTHER NEWS...

SQLSaturday founders Steve Jones (blog post) and Andy Warren (blog post) have cooked up a new project to foster training within the SQL community. It's called The Mentoring Experiment and PASS Director Thomas LaRock is one of those excited about the idea

Want to attend or speak at a SQLSaturday? Check out the SQLSaturday website or "Upcoming In-Person Events" on the PASS Home page for upcoming dates near you.

Want to put on your own SQLSaturday? Click here to get started.

PASS Update #55 (SQLSaturday Site Changes & SQLRally)

[cross-posted from Andy Warren's blog at sqlandy.com]

SQLSaturday Site Changes

Earlier this week we deployed the first set of small changes to the SQLSaturday site. We fixed a long standing bug in the iCal, added a list on the front page of reserved dates (often events know the date they want but don’t have the facility nailed down), added sponsor logos to the front page of each event site (example below), updated the networking page to includes photos from gravatar (see example below), and made some minor changes to the admin tools.

We’re moving forward in micro sprints of around 7 days, the second sprint will end on next Tuesday and we’ve already planned number three. The prioritization of these changes is interesting. We’re deliberately going after tasks that are low risk/low cost initially to get our HQ developer comfortable and to make some immediate gains, as we get those out of the way we’ll move into harder stuff. Right now I’ve budgeted for 6 sprints, with an option to do an additional 6 if it makes sense.

We’re also working on engaging a designer to do an update on the look and feel. We had a lot of compliments on www.sqlrally.com, so we want to make a similar investment for SQLSaturday.

Go set up an image at gravatar.com!

image

image

 

SQLRally 2011

Things are proceeding well and I’d almost say smoothly. If you’ve run a SQLSaturday you now what this phase is like – details! Getting volunteer assignments defined and filled, ordering speaker shirts (can’t order too early because speakers change), ribbons for badges, lanyards with sponsor name,etc,etc, etc. We blew through the rooms we had reserved at the site hotel, so we’ve set up contact information for a nearby hotel that has shuttle service. We’re still doing weekly calls and trying to stick to our timeline for logistics and marketing (and actually doing pretty well at that). Registrations are growing nicely and it looks like we may sell out the pre-con seminars.

Jack Corbett is working on some additions to the schedule, a set of informal panel type sessions that will run after the last presentation on Thursday. I won’t steal his thunder by listing what he’s working on, but I think it’s really good stuff, a nice change of pace from the stuff you see during the day.

A good portion of the PASS Board will be on site for the event, we’re meeting parts of Wednesday and Thursday, but we’ll be out and about to see how things are going and spend time talking with attendees.

SQLRally 2012

We’re looking at three candidate cities for the 2012 SQLRally; Denver, Nashville, and Dallas. We laid out an estimated timeline and process back in January, it’s been a struggle to stick to it. Lots of places where we just didn’t know enough about how to accomplish what we wanted, a few places where we didn’t communicate our ideas well to the chapter leaders. Frustrating, for me and for the city teams. Some of it we should have – in hindsight – seen, some of it just the pain of trying something for the first time.

But my frustration aside, we’ve got three cities that have completed applications and are working with HQ to get to the point where we can move to the community selection/vote stage. The biggest holdup so far is identifying appropriate meeting space. Because SQLRally was designed from the start to be a low cost/low risk event, we did not budget for reserving rooms at the event site. That worked in Orlando (and we have it worked out in Dallas), but in particular for Nashville we’re struggling to find space without taking on the room commitment.

Room commitments are one of the hidden risks of running larger events. For example, at the PASS Summit we typically reserve (‘block’) more than 4000 rooms, with a potential exposure to PASS of more than $800,000. We’re not required to reserve the rooms, but from long experience we know that attendees get very, very frustrated if they can’t find a room in close proximity to the event site. For SQLRally we’re looking at a much smaller cost, but our estimate is still in the $35k range.

That’s $35k of risk. In the best case it’s just a guarantee, no cost to PASS, in the worst case we’d pay for $35k of rooms that weren’t booked by attendees (think a natural disaster scenario). We didn’t budget for it in the 2011 budget, and so far it’s not in the draft of the 2012 budget. Because of that I sent a motion to the Board asking for authorization to commit to up to $40k during the negotiation process. That motion was voted down. It’s a tough call, we are typically financially conservative, and there isn’t much profit built into our current pricing model to cover the risk. That means for 2012 we’re going to proceed with basically the same budget/plan as for 2011, but we’re going to talk a lot more about 2012 and beyond. If we want to seat 500+ attendees, our options get pretty narrow if we only want to rent meeting space, to the point that I’m not sure it’s a realistic goal. Lots more work to do in this area.

I had hoped to announce the 2012 location during the 2011 SQLRally, but at this point that is optimistic. We’re still working on locations for Denver and Nashville, and if we can find them we’ll need some time to review the proposals to make sure all the pieces work. Only then can we approve the final cities to go out for vote. There is the possibility – already communicated to the leaders – that we may not be able to find space that meets our requirements in each city, and that may remove them from the list for 2012.

It’s a work in progress for sure. It will be good to finish up the 2011 event so we can step back and decide if and where we want to tweak the formula, because we certainly will learn some lessons we want to apply to version 2.

 

SQLSaturday Round-Up (Apr. 6-13)

(This is Round 18 of PASS's weekly round-up of SQLSaturday recaps. PASS community bloggers love their SQLSaturdays, and they love to tell everyone about their experiences, so who are we not to share that love?)

This past weekend featured a SQLSaturday double dose straight from the West Coast.

Some lucky attendees got their free SQL training in serene Olympia, WA at SQLSaturday #68, Olympia. Other lucky attendees got their free SQL training near the sunny surf of Huntington Beach, CA at SQLSaturday #73, Orange County. Those of you with grouping skills - wait, that's probably everyone - will agree that there is a common factor here: lucky attendees!

Of course, luck really had nothing to do with it. The success of both events can be chalked up to the dedication of the volunteers hosting them and the eagerness of the close-knit SQL community to get together whenever there's half a chance.

(Actually, Huntington Beach turned out to be a little cloudy and chilly, but that doesn't mean this SQLSaturday wasn't SQLsizzling!)

For those of you on Twitter, follow @sqlpass and make sure to check out the #sqlsat and #sqlsaturday hashtags to stay up to date. Besides attendance at free learning events, there are many speaking and sponsorship opportunities available.

LAST WEEK IN SQLSATURDAY...

Ryan Adams helped organize SQLSaturday #63, Dallas

+ Robert L. Davis presented at SQLSaturday #68, Olympia

+ Arie Jones presented at SQLSaturday #68, Olympia

+ Steve Jones presented at SQLSaturday #63, Dallas

+ Clint Kuntz presented at SQLSaturday #73, Orange County

+ Karla Landrum was part of the leadership team for SQLSaturday #72, Honolulu

+ Chuck Lathrope presented at SQLSaturday #68, Olympia

+ Meredith Ryan-Smith presented at SQLSaturday #73, Orange County

+ Colin Smith presented at SQLSaturday #73, Orange County

+ David Stein presented at SQLSaturday #67, Chicago

+ Paul Turley presented at SQLSaturday #68, Olympia

+ Andy Warren attended SQLSaturday #63, Dallas

+ Reagan Williams presented at SQLSaturday #73, Orange County

COMING UP IN SQLSATURDAY...

Next up is SQLSaturday's first stop in Portugal, which is happening on April 15 - apparently they do Saturdays on a Friday over there! The other SQLSaturday in April is taking place on the 30th in Jacksonville, FL. Stay tuned for more events this spring and summer, though - June's already looking pretty hot and new SQLSaturdays are added all the time.

IN OTHER NEWS...

If you're a speaker, you know that it's sometimes tough to have to hear criticism after pouring your heart and soul into a presentation. Brent Ozar's also been there - he provides some tips on how to deal with criticism.

Finally, PASS Director and SQLSaturday co-founder Andy Warren recently blogged about changes being made to the SQLSaturday web infrastructure. The plan is to make things easier and more streamlined. Check out his post here.

Want to attend or speak at a SQLSaturday? Check out the SQLSaturday website or "Upcoming In-Person Events" on the PASS Home page for upcoming dates near you.

Want to put on your own SQLSaturday? Click here to get started.

PASS 2011 Summit Abstract Submissions

[cross-posted from Allen Kinsel's blog at allenkinsel.com]

This week we’ll be launching the call for abstracts for the 2011 PASS Summit.

I thought it would be good to go over the basics for this year especially since some things are changing from years past.  Many of the changes are minor, some are behind the scenes so to speak, and a small amount are larger and more public facing.

A New Site

PASS HQ and the Program Committee team has been diligently working to bring the summit speaker/education management programming inhouse.  With this effort comes a new site for abstract submissions.  We hope this new site will make the abstract submission process easier and more relevant to collecting the info PASS needs in order to facilitate session selections.

A New Process

One of the largest changes on the backend process this year is going to be seperating the speaker review from the abstract review piece of the selection process.  Essentially, this year we have two seperate teams to do each task.  This came about from the comments of previous review team members as well as the need to offload some of the work the call generates for the larger teams.  Im hopeful that this change will help bring a little more stability to the scores each team gives an abstract as well as cut some of the subjectiveness (likely only a tiny bit)

A New Session Type

I wrote previously about having 1/2 sessions at the Summit and they are still planned.  Now you know where to bring your best and brightest content!  In case your thinking what it would be like to have your 1/2 day session recorded, Ive got great news.   Ive got a tentative compromise devised.  This year we will be distributing two seperate DVD sets, 1 for attendees of the Summit which will have every session.  Another for non attendees that will have all of the regular sessions excluding the deep dive 1/2 day sessions. 

Spotlight Sessions & Invitations

Thanks to some great feedback last year The formula that we used for spotlight selections was adjusted and looks like this: We will invite all speakers who recieved an overall evaluation of 4.5 or greater and had at least 15 attendees and 15 completed evaluations.  We will be excluding Lightning talks, Chalk Talks, and Microsoft speakers.  This year that leaves us with a whopping total of 27 people getting spotlight invites.  These speakers are truly spectacular, and they deserve the extra recognition/time for their sessions.  All abstracts submitted as spotlight will be considered not only for a spotlight slot but, will also be considered for a regular session if they dont get picked for a spotlight session.

Preconference Changes

I would be remiss to not mention this here but, some different things (changes!!) are planned for this year, as soon as I get a chance to finalize them a bit more I will write about it, hopefully in the next few days to a week. 

Abstract Limits

We have decided to change the limits on abstract submissions a bit for this year.  We will be encouraging you to submit up to 4 total : Regular, 1/2 day and Spotlight (if invited) Sessions.  In addition if you meet he qualifications you can submit up to 2 Preconference sessions.  On top of this each person can submit 1 panel (discussion type) session for consideration.  In order to do this each speaker in your panel will need to have speaker details entered so we can rate the session properly.  This in itself is a pretty good sized change so get creative and see what the selection teams think!

But when

I can hear you asking from here… “All of thats great but, when will the call for abstracts for the 2011 PASS Summit open?”  I have great news. 

The call will open this Wednesday! 4/13/2011 

look for more info coming officially from PASS

 

PASS Virtualization Chapter Seeking Speakers

[cross-posted from Andy Warren's blog at sqlandy.com]

The virtual Virtualization Chapter is seeking speakers for their monthly meetings. If you’re working with HyperV, VMWare, or other virtualization technologies and SQL Server, or know someone that is, drop a note to David Smithey (dsmithey at sqlsvrman.com).