PASS Board of Directors Portfolio Announcements

With the Elections now complete, the PASS Board of Directors met for their in-person board meeting at PASS Summit 2016 yesterday in Seattle.

Last year, we announced portfolio assignments for the Directors-at-Large following the Summit board meeting. However, at this time, no assignments will be made to allow for the Executive Committee to undertake the annual strategic planning process later this year.  We’d like to thank the community for their understanding and patience as we finalize our planning, as this is a change from previous years.

This planning process will give the Executive Committee the necessary time and capacity to consider the financial planning requirements for 2017 and also to evaluate portfolios against the priorities of the organization.

Current board members will continue to lead their portfolios until the end of this year and will support transitions to incoming board members. While Argenis Fernandez will be vacating his board seat at the end of this year, he will continue to assist with the SQLSaturday portfolio transition.

We’ll have more news from PASS Summit 2016 throughout the week, so stay tuned to the blog and follow #sqlsummit and #sqlpass on Twitter.

Adam Jorgensen
President, PASS

The Guidebook is Live! Program Materials onsite at PASS Summit 2016

Our Diamond Partner, Microsoft, will be making an exciting announcement this week at PASS Summit 2016, so until Tuesday morning, only the Guidebook will be available for schedule updates. This means that all printed program materials (Program Guide and Session Schedule) will be available for attendees starting on Tuesday morning at 9:00 AM.

For pre-conference attendees, you will be receiving both the program guide and session schedule during the Tuesday morning session break. Our teams at PASS will be handing them out to you as you leave your session rooms.

Regular conference registrations will receive their printed materials starting at 9:00 am on Tuesday.

Again, in the meantime, please use the guidebook available on your smart phones for the most up-to-date information. Navigate to your app store and download “Guidebook”, then search for “PASS Summit 2016”. But don’t try to find any details of the announcement there either – you’ll just have to wait until Tuesday!

 Enjoy your time at PASS Summit 2016!

Denise McInerney
VP, Marketing

Packing list for PASS Summit 2016

As you finalize your packing list for PASS Summit, starting next week in Seattle, a quick reminder that you should not forget your backpack.  We are not giving away backpacks this year, but we do have something else for you.  Reminders were shared in the attendee bulletins. But in case you didn’t hear of the change and reasons, we are sharing it again. Instead, please bring your own backpack. We are also being more environmentally conscious at PASS Summit 2016 and encourage you to bring your own water bottle. There are water bubblers and refill stations throughout the conference center.

We are incredibly excited about our program and the list of activities planned throughout the week. Don’t forget to download the mobile guide, Guidebook and visit for the latest announcements.  We look forward to welcoming you to PASS Summit.

Denise McInerney

Vice President, Marketing

Anti-Harassment Policy Update for PASS Summit 2016

We want to ensure everybody has an enjoyable, safe and harassment-free experience at PASS Summit, which is why we have extended the
Anti-Harassment Policy (AHP) and made it more convenient to report an incident. I’d like to update you on some important changes that were made to the AHP and the incident reporting process for PASS Summit 2016. 

First a reminder that everyone at Summit (attendees, speakers, partners, exhibitors, volunteers and PASS staff) is expected to follow the AHP at all times. The AHP applies “in any situation in which Summit attendees are interacting with one another during the week of PASS Summit on or offsite; including non-event locations.”

This year all attendees will receive a red ticket with their attendee badge that includes the Anti-Harassment Officer phone number and how to access an incident report. This is a change for 2016, as we want to provide attendees with a direct way to reach out to the Anti-Harassment Officer, as well as report their concerns anonymously.

Here are the ways you can make a report:

  • - Contact the Anti-Harassment Officer directly using the phone number provided in your attendee badge.
  • - Download the Anti-Harassment Incident Summary report online at and email it to
  • - Pick up a paper form at the Information Desk at PASS Summit and drop it in the drop box – this method can be done anonymously.
  • - Approach PASS HQ or Board members to make the call to the Anti-Harassment Officer on your behalf or to discuss anything related to the policy.

Also, there is one very important aspect about the policy:
If you are in physical danger or require an immediate response, you are encouraged to notify appropriate law enforcement first (phone 911). This policy and reporting process is not an emergency response mechanism.

The complete AHP and details for reporting a concern through either of the previously mentioned methods will also be included in your printed Program Guide and the mobile app. I encourage all attendees to take a few minutes to become familiar with the policy while onsite. Posters displaying the AHP will be displayed throughout the convention center.

I wish you all an enjoyable and exciting time at PASS Summit and look forward to meeting members of our global community onsite.

Denise McInerney
Vice President, Marketing

Addressing Security Concerns around Election Voting

Taking part in a democratic process to elect leadership in our association is vital for making our voices heard and enacting positive change for PASS. The election process started months ago when the Nomination Committee was formed to review the voting process, vet candidates, and submit the final slate of candidates for approval to the Board of Directors. I had the honor to serve on the Nomination Committee as the Board representative. I'm also Director over both the Membership and the Information Technology portfolios. Both have impact on and from the election process. What benefits we can develop and provide for our members come from the visions and passions of those elected representatives of our association.  Information Technology builds the functional processes for the vote casting. It is as the Director of Information Technology that I come to you now via this blog post.

The security of our voting process was called into question by a concerned community member earlier today. This individual reached out to PASS with concerns about sharing of the voting link behind the "VOTE NOW" button created from a hash of their login and password from the MYPASS website. This link is unique to each member and was never intended for sharing. Though PASS is unable to see the votes cast by a member we do need to know that a member, should they vote, only votes once. This link takes you to the secure SimplyVoting site allowing you to cast your vote and take part in our democratic process. If a member were to take purposeful steps to share the unique URL exposed through the hover action on the button or by saving the URL associated with the button through a right click action their votes could be seen if the original member had voted already or could be cast as that original member if they had not yet voted.

As Data Professionals we advocate for proper security behavior as a core message of our roles. These concerns that were raised could be easily mitigated by simply not sharing personal information. However, our community was formed around the mission of connecting and sharing. Members may not be aware that this link is unique for each member. A member who is trying to help a fellow member by providing them with the URL to vote for the PASS Board would inadvertently provide insight into their voting activity.

Our IT staff, in addition to security-focused community members, looked into the matter independently of one another. They all concluded the concern over these issues came down to making mindful decisions about how you share personal information and not violating basic security principles.  While this means that using generally-accepted guidelines to avoid sharing personal information would prevent any intrusion we also understand our community's penchant for wanting to help one another. It's feasible that in doing so consideration about security could be overlooked.

Therefore, to prevent any unintentional sharing of personalized URLs for voting our IT staff took actions immediately to implement a change to hide the URL completely from the "Vote Now" button. The hover action on will no longer display the personalized URL and the target address is obfuscated from the button all together. They have already successfully made the change in the staging site for testing and will be deploying the change to production by the end of the day. I've been assured there will be no downtime incurred or negative impact on the ability of our members to continue to vote.

Please do take the time to vote and also remember it's not too late to attend the PASS Summit this month!  It's also never too late to volunteer or consider running for the Board of Directors the next election cycle.

Thank you,

Tim Ford

PASS Board Election Candidate Scoring

In February of this year the PASS Board announced that the Nominations Committee (NomCom) election would be replaced by a new process where community members submit a letter of interest that would be published for the community to review. You can read about the changes here. These changes were made in an effort to produce a practiced NomCom to qualify Board applicants.

As Immediate Past President I have one assigned duty: to chair the NomCom. Today I want to share some details about the role the NomCom plays in the PASS election. The NomCom spends many hours meeting, discussing, preparing documents, and outlining the processes candidates will use during their run for the PASS Board. The NomCom’s scoring of each candidate is based on the qualities outlined in the Ideal Candidate Description (see table below).

Ideal Candidate Description – Candidate Scores

Candidate Experience
with PASS
Strategic Vision
for PASS
Board Experience
Written & Verbal Communication Skills Leadership / Management / Experience / Skills Financial / Budget Experience References Influence Time Management Skills
Wendy Pastrick
3 3.8 2.6 3 2.8 3 3.8 2.8 2.5
Ben Miller 3.6 3.2 3.3 2.5 3.8 3.8 3.5 3.3 3 3.8
Allen White 4 3.3 4 3.3 3.3 3.5 3.3 3.6 3.6 3.3
Eduardo Castro 3.5 2.8 3.5 3.2 2.6 3.5 3 3.3 3.6 3.2
Jason Strate 3.5 2.6 3.2 1.5 3.2 2.3 1.8 3.5 3.33 3.33
Paresh Motiwala 2.8 2.3 2.8 2.5 2.3 2.6 2.5 3.2 2.3 2.3

I encourage you to review the candidate’s application, bio, and campaign platform by visiting their campaign pages on the PASS website.

Finally, I would like to thank all candidates for their time and commitment to PASS and for running in the PASS Board election, and I wish all candidates the best of luck with their campaigns.


Thomas LaRock

Immediate Past President


PASS Summit Schedule Announcements

With PASS Summit just over 40 days away, we are excited to be announcing this year’s detailed scheduled to attendees today. Our team is continuing to put the final touches on the on-site experiences and events and in doing so, have made changes to the social programs at this year’s PASS Summit. These changes are intended to continue to improve the attendee experience and provide opportunities for you, the attendee, to enjoy ‘Summit week’ both at the Washington State Convention Centre and around Seattle.

During our annual planning and budgeting, the Board reviewed the Summit program including feedback from attendee surveys and sponsor feedback. We found that while PASS continued to balance content delivery with social programs during Summit that people were bouncing from evening event to evening event as a result of the official and unofficial parties during Summit. As a result, we have decided to not host the Community Appreciation Party this year at Summit and offer a free night to attendees. We will continue to host the First Timers Event and Welcome Reception on Tuesday evening and the Exhibitor Reception on Wednesday evening.

The Board deliberated on this decision, considering the pros and cons of hosting the party and looking at alternatives. The Community Appreciation Party is a significant investment for PASS and over the past few years have realized that it was competing with vendors and partners holding their own events. People were also often forced to miss events or divide their time among the numerous sponsor, vendor and community events hosted on the Thursday night, as well as Community Appreciation Party.

So what does this mean for our attendees? It means that Thursday night will now be a more casual night, with a wider variety of opportunities for Summit attendees. We will work to support vendors and sponsors in promoting their events and are also happy for attendees to organize their own activities, which we will also include and promote on the PASS Summit 2016 website. Please note that any social activities listed on the website must adhere to the PASS Anti-Harassment Policy.

While this is a change to the Summit experience, we believe that new experiences can be created this year. Our hope is that you will take advantage of the choices available to you – including hosting or organizing your own social activity. Please reach out to have your activity included on the PASS Summit website, or provide feedback in the comments below.

Denise McInerney

Vice President, Marketing



Membership Personas Help PASS Better Understand Global Membership

Earlier this year, PASS embarked on a project with the goal to better understand our global membership and educational priorities.  Since being founded in 1999, we have not taken the opportunity to survey our membership to understand their educational needs, professional demands and ways in which PASS can enrich the lives of our members. As we continue to growth, it’s critical for us to have a better understanding of you, our members.

When I started my second term, the PASS Board knew this was critical in our ability to continue to provide the level of educational offerings and value to our members as we looked to growing our global community.  That’s why I’m excited to say that we have completed key steps in this process, which included surveying all of our members to obtain demographics and data on preferred technologies, training budgets, member satisfaction, and how you all engage with PASS. Additionally, we met with key individuals inside and outside of PASS to get a better understanding of their awareness of PASS, identify what we could do better, and recognize where we're succeeding as a professional association.

One of the critical insights we wanted to come away with from our survey findings was identifying the makeup of our membership. Even though we operate in a fairly narrow field of study and practice we're definitely not all the same. We established that there were 10 distinct personas that make up the PASS membership.  For each persona, we identified their gender and age distribution, career and educational requirements, learning preferences and how rapidly they adopt new technologies, alongside those other aforementioned items.

The insights we uncover here build a valuable foundation as we move forward in our goals towards providing improved benefits and experiences for our current and future members. We are still compiling insights and making informed decisions as a result. As we learn more, we will of course share this with all of you.

I personally want to thank those thousands of members who took time to complete the survey or talk to us regarding their experiences with PASS.

BA Community Goals for FY 2017

I wanted to take this opportunity to follow up on the recent blog from Denise McInerney, The Future of the BA Community. That blog spoke to the history of BA and PASS, and also detailed why PASS has decided not to host a BA Conference in 2017. I won’t go into any more of that reasoning here – you can read that in the blog – but what I will touch on are some of the strategies for community building and the BA Community goals for FY 2017.

If it wasn’t already clear enough in Denise’s blog, it should be stressed again, that even though we are not proceeding with a BA Conference next year, we are still focused on developing and strengthening our BA community. Our team has been prioritizing activities to support meeting our goals and support PASS’ overall strategic priorities of membership growth and engagement. These priorities were developed based on the status of our current business analytics community; see infographic:

<Click on image to view PDF>

These priorities include:

- expanding and maturing local and virtual events
- community leadership and engagement (advisory program)
- establishing thought leadership content.

The strategy is designed to take a more localized, grassroots approach to building and supporting the PASS BA Community. Our efforts will include ongoing thought-leadership development within the business analytics community. We will deliver regular BA Marathons throughout 2017 and will also establish regular thought-leadership podcasts with leading influencers and business analytics experts. We will also engage our BA Advisors and experts on a variety of topics throughout the year.

At the core of the strategy is a series of BA Days, one-day events that focus on in-depth training and longer sessions on leading topics specific to business analysts. We are currently putting together a pilot event set for January 2017 and have invited community members to reach out to us expressing their interest in partnering with PASS to host a future event.

Finally, we will continue to work with our established Virtual Chapter Leaders to further support their needs and educational content. This includes thought leadership pieces and new webinar formats (e.g., the ExcelTV and Excel BI VC partnership, with the first event to be delivered on August 16, 2016).

We want to continue to build, strengthen and streamline these efforts using the aforementioned goals. If you have any feedback or thoughts on how we can build the community, please reach out.

Jen Stirrup

Director, PASS Business Analytics

Policy on Board Members Accepting Paid Speaking Engagements

Earlier this Spring the Board of Directors commenced a discussion surrounding the policy of accepting payment for speaking engagements as a PASS Board member.

Through communications within the Board, posts on my personal blog, as well as conversations with various interested individuals, I solicited feedback about how best to approach this situation. The goal was to provide clarity and transparency around the issue of compensation at PASS-branded and PASS-sponsored events.

The PASS Bylaws are clear about Board members and payments by the organization. Section VI.14 talks about compensation:

Directors shall not receive any salaries for their services as Directors, but by resolution of the Board of Directors, a fixed sum and/or expenses of attendance, if any, may be allowed for attendance at each regular or special meeting of the Board; provided that nothing herein contained shall be construed to preclude any Director from serving PASS in an educational or speaking capacity and receiving compensation upon approval by a majority vote from the Board of Directors. 

To expand on this, when we serve on the Board, we’re doing it as volunteers. However, with the approval of the Board (which requires a recorded vote during an official meeting) we can receive payment to speak at a PASS event (e.g. Summit), and receive payment for a pre-conference session, just like any other community speaker.

The bylaws don’t define what happens when the event isn’t being run by PASS. A current example is SQLSaturday. While PASS owns the brand and supports all worldwide events through the website, funding, assistance in sponsorship, and through various other means, PASS doesn’t legally run those events. A SQLSaturday is branded by PASS, but not managed by PASS. As such, if a SQLSaturday wants to host a pre-conference seminar and charge for attendance, a Board member would find themselves in an odd spot if they chose to take compensation because until recently, it was unclear how that was dealt with. The bylaws also don’t talk about events that PASS provides sponsorship to, but isn’t in any other way affiliated.

At the June Board meeting this issue was resolved.

We now have a policy in place, approved by our lawyers, that didn’t require a change to the bylaws, that defines how this works for sitting members of the Board:

PASS recognizes that speaking may be an important part of individual Board member careers and/or community involvement. As such, PASS Directors are empowered to apply for, and take advantage of, any unpaid speaking opportunities, either within or outside of the PASS organization.

PASS Directors are able to take advantage of certain paid speaking opportunities while they serve on the PASS Board. As a Director of the PASS Board it is expected that Board members put the interests of the PASS organization ahead of any personal or professional concerns to avoid a potential conflict of interest. Directors may speak at both “PASS-branded” and “PASS-sponsored” events; however, as per the PASS Bylaws, they may not take paid speaking opportunities at “PASS-owned” events without asking permission of the Board.

PASS Directors may also take advantage of paid speaker opportunities outside of the PASS umbrella (i.e. not PASS owned, branded, or sponsored).

Directors are asked to disclose any paid speaking opportunities during the monthly Board meetings.

On the one hand this is a very minor issue that was quickly resolved. On the other hand, this is about addressing two vital requirements for the Board. First, we must ensure that we are as open and transparent as possible in order to avoid even the suggestion of impropriety. Second, we recognize that Board members may also be active speakers within the community.  This new policy clarifies the issue and satisfies those important requirements.

I want to thank all the members of the Board for their assistance and input on this. I also want to thank all the work done at PASS HQ to help us with this issue. Most of all, I want to thank everyone who provided feedback when I asked how this should be approached. Everyone helped to craft a clear policy that will support our organization as we move forward.

Grant Fritchey
EVP, Finance and Governance