Category: Volunteers

PASS Volunteer Appreciation

(Reposted from my blog; read the original post here.)

Do you know someone in the PASS Community who is a hidden hero? Perhaps a chapter leader who is doing terrific work to help the SQL community. Maybe it's a member who is putting in 110% to organize a SQLRally, a virtual chapter leader who is organizing great sessions, or perhaps it's a speaker you’ve seen go above and beyond and speak at multiple chapters/virtual chapter events this month. There are so many people who contribute and make the SQL community so vibrant that finding those who stand out is tougher than ever!
 
These people are the lifeblood of the SQL Server community. They freely give of their time to make PASS the premiere SQL Server association, and it's about time we start recognizing them!
 
Since I've been volunteering with PASS, one thing that has always struck me is how rare it is that PASS actually recognizes outstanding volunteers. When I first joined, we only had the PASSion Award, which is awarded yearly at the Summit to the single volunteer who had the “most” outstanding contributions. In more recent years, we’ve done a better job of recognizing additional people who are outstanding volunteers through the outstanding volunteers presentation at the Summit. However, these volunteers all come from the PASSion Award nominations, and those nominations are only open just prior to the Summit.
 
I’ve always thought that we should recognize volunteers across the organization in a more consistent way, and not revolve that recognition around the Summit. Luckily, the opportunity to do something about this lack of recognition knocked earlier this year, and we’ve made progress. In last week's Connector, there was an announcement about nominating volunteers to be recognized as outstanding volunteers of the month. The initial intent is that we’ll accept email nominations during every month for any volunteer who has made outstanding contributions to the community. Those submissions will be reviewed on the last day of the month, and recognition will follow the next month. Initially, we are planning to recognize these outstanding volunteers with a nice certificate and highlight them in the Connector newsletter. It's not much compared to what these people do day in and day out, but with success over time, hopefully we can expand this a bit more. For a start though, I think this is a good first step down the right road.
 
We intend to have the first recognition cycle start in March, so that means that submissions are due by 2/29. Please, take a moment and send us an email with as many details as possible about the contributions of an outstanding volunteer who has made an impact in the SQL community. As always with these types of things, the more details the better!

New PASS Board Appointments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SQLSaturday History Is Made! #100 Brazil Recap

(Condensed from my Community Pollination blog – read the full version here.)

If you are part of the SQL Universe, you know that SQLSaturday #100 was held in São Paulo, Brazil, a week ago. I can hardly put into words just how epic this event was and how thrilled I am that I was able to be there to witness not just SQLSat 100, but the very first of these events to take place in Brazil.

Our journey began on Thanksgiving Day (Rodney luckily had enough SkyMiles to go with me and present), and we arrived in São Paulo Friday mid-morning. We were greeted at the airport by two of the main SQLSaturday event organizers, Felipe Ferreira [blog|twitter] and Laerte Junior Poltronieri [blog|twitter].

These two gentlemen have been putting up with my twitter “pushing and prodding” to host a SQLSaturday since February. When I saw their official event request come through in July, the very month I began working for PASS, it was like the icing on the cake for me! I don’t think they really believed at first that a SQLSaturday could happen in Brazil, but these guys and energetic volunteer Andressa Martins [blog|twitter] totally brought it! They had a lot of support from Microsoft Brasil’s João Nunes and Viviane Ribeiro [blog|twitter], as well as expert speakers from all over this large country, several of whom are PASS user group leaders. Right away you could sense that there is a strong SQL community across Brazil, and it was wonderful to see them all supporting each other at this event!

The event had a cap of 300 attendees, which it reached within the first month of being posted. The wait list was over 200 by the day of the event, and around 250 people attended. The event team released 40 from the wait list, but hadn’t forecasted what the drop-off rate would be. They plan to make sure to release more for their next event – a good lesson learned for all of us.

Bright and early Saturday, we headed to the event venue at Microsoft’s offices, which were donated as part of their sponsorship. The event was held on the 31st floor, making this not only the first SQLSaturday in Brazil, but at least for me, the highest one! The event came staffed with Microsoft employees handling the check-in process, while the volunteers filled nice backpacks donated by sponsor Ka Solution with swag. In addition to Ka Solution and PASS, SQLSaturday Brazil sponsors included SolidQ, Mainwork (a Confio partner), RedGate, and SQLSentry. It was nice to see the continued support of these companies for a SQLSaturday outside the US.

The line of registrants quickly grew very long, snaking from the bottom floor (where they were checked through security) up to the 31st floor, and all the way down the hallway, past the elevators. The SQLSaturday opened with a keynote from Microsoft and remarks from the organizers – all in Portuguese.  The event had three tracks totaling 18 sessions, with two coffee breaks/delicious snacks and sub combos for lunch. (Personal lesson learned: Do not try to drink Nespresso by the gallons, like you do coffee in the states!)

The day closed with sponsor raffles and end-of-day announcements. When it was my turn to talk about PASS, I started to ask the attendees if they wanted to see more of these events in Brazil – and before I could get the words out, they were all cheering and clapping. Needless to say, we have several conversations going on now with leaders and volunteers to host several more SQLSaturdays in Brazil. My guess is that a country its size could easily sustain 4 or 5 events a year.

The after-event get together featured some of the most amazing food ever and lots of cold beverages, supplied by João Nunes. Besides all the great conversation, we enjoyed entertainment by a Big Band – full on with saxophones, trombones, and drums! The room filled with cheers to the end of a very successful SQLSaturday and thanks for PASS’s support in helping to bring this event to Brazil.

Below are just a few links to the many blogs and photos from this event. You can find more by searching for the #sqlsat100 hashtag on Twitter (this event has more post-event tweets than I’ve seen for any other SQLSaturday – the buzz is still going strong).

 

Community Update

With 250 chapters and counting, PASS is serious about its commitment to global growth. We are excited that members of the SQL Server community from far and wide can connect, share and learn in their own region! In November alone, 8 new chapters were created:

•    Himalayan SQL Server User Group, Nepal (Leader: Shree Khanal)
•    SQLPASS Egypt (Leader: Wagdy Ishac)
•    Cambridgeshire SQL Server User Group, UK (Leader: Mark Broadbent)
•    Montreal BI User Group, Canada (Leader: Dwayne Pindling)
•    St. Louis BI Users Group, US (Leader: Phil Milner)
•    Chicago BI User Group, US (Leader: Emre Motan)
•    Quad Cities PASS, Iowa, US (Leader: Sheila Acker)
•    New London SQL Server User Group, US (Leader: Victor Pavlovit)

November also saw the addition of 3 Regional Mentors recently appointed, for the US Northeast (Steve Hughes), US Southwest (Phil Robinson) and Western Canada (Colin Stasiuk). Find out more about Steve, Phil, and Colin from PASS Director Mark Ginnebaugh’s recent blog post.

To facilitate chapter development, educational webcasts geared towards chapter leaders are available for streaming from the Chapter Resources page (PASS login required to access).  Recent webcasts include:
•    Using Dot Net Nuke Websites with Mike Lawell
•    Making Your Chapter Legal While Removing Stress with Arnie Rowland

Lastly, SQLSaturday keeps on growing with new events popping up all over the world. New SQLSaturdays are added all the time so be sure to keep tabs on the SQLSaturday event calendar for one near you!

Recently added:
•    SQLSaturday#113, Indonesia, Dec 10, 2011
•    SQLSaturday#108, Redmond, Feb 25, 2012
•    SQLSaturday#109, Silicon Valley, Mar 3, 2012
•    SQLSaturday#110, Tampa, Mar 10, 2012
•    SQLSaturday#114, Vancouver, Mar 17, 2012
•    SQLSaturday#115, Portugal, Mar 17, 2012
•    SQLSaturday#107, Houston, Apr 12, 2012
•    SQLSaturday#111, Atlanta, Apr 14, 2012
•    SQLSaturday#112, Birmingham, May 12, 2012
•    SQLSaturday#106, Puerto Rico, May 26, 2012

If you have any questions or comments about chapters, regional mentors, or SQLSaturday events, please contact PASS Community Evangelist Karla Landrum.

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.