2014 Is Here: Let’s Get to Work!

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.
Thomas LaRock
PASS President

Amendments to PASS Bylaws – Member Review Open Until Jan. 22

December 19, 2013 – As CA announced at PASS Summit 2013, it has relinquished its two Founding Partner seats on the PASS Board of Directors, currently held by Rick Bolesta and Neil Buchwalter. A 1999 founding partner member of PASS along with Microsoft, CA has witnessed the organization’s membership grow to 100,000+ data professionals over the past 14 years, and we thank CA, Rick, and Neil for all their support and contributions. Read more about CA and its relationship with PASS.

In light of CA’s departure, the Board has revised the PASS bylaws to address the company’s vacant vendor-appointed seats. The proposed bylaw changes amend Section VI.2., Composition and Qualifications, to reduce the number of both voting Directors and vendor-appointed Directors and to remove CA from appointing vendor-appointed seats.


The proposed bylaw changes are open for member review now through Wednesday, Jan. 22. Please take a few minutes to read over the changes and send any comments or questions to governance@sqlpass.org.

The Board will be discussing your feedback at its January in-person meeting. Once finalized and approved by the Board, the updated bylaws will be posted on the PASS Governance page.
– Bill Graziano
PASS President



Chapter Referral Program Update

December 10, 2013 – Congratulations to all PASS local Chapters that helped refer their members to PASS Summit 2013. Sixty-nine Chapters participated in the program and earned anywhere from $50 to $1000 for their respective Chapters. Gift cards will be sent to each participating Chapter leader early next week. Find out how much your Chapter earned:

Chapter Amount Chapter Leader
Atlanta Business Intelligence Group $450 Teo Lachev
Atlanta SQL Server User Group; Atlanta Microsoft Database Forum $500 Donald Wert
Belgian SQL Server User Group $50 Frederik Vandeputte
Calgary PASS $150 Noel Tan
Canada - British Columbia (Vancouver) $100 Richard Baumet
CBusPASS $100 Dave Schutz
Central New Jersey SSUG $100 Linda Zhang
Central PA SSUG $100 Dustin Jones
Charleston SQL Server User Group $50 Ryan McKnight
Charlotte BI Group $350 Jason Thomas
Charlotte SQL Server User Group $200 Peter Shire
Chicago SQL BI User Group $150 Marcello Benati
Chicago SQL Server User Group $500 Aaron Lowe
Cincinnati PASS $50 Anthony Mattas
Denver SQL Server User Group $250 Steve Wake
Eugene Area SQL Server User Group $50 Dan Guzman
FoxPASS $150 Jes Borland
French SQL Server User Group/Groupe des Utilisateurs
  Francophone de Microsoft  SQL Server (France) $150 Arian Papillon
Hampton Roads SharePoint and SQL Users Group                               $50          Susan Lennon
Houston Area SQL Server User Group $1,000 Nancy Hidy Wilson
IndyPASS                                                                                                $650 Ray Lucas
Inland Empire SQL Server User Group $50 Shannon Shields
Iowa SQL Server User Group $250 Juan M. Moya
Israeli SQL Server User Group $150 Guy Glantser
Jacksonville SQL Server Users Group $150 Devin Knight
Kansas City SQL Server User Group $300 Andrew Cross
KnoxSQL - SQL Server User Group                                                       $250        Arlene Gray
Louisville SQL Server User Group $50 Dave Fackler
Malibu SQL Server User Group $150 Steve Rezhener
Microsoft Business Intelligence Community (MSBIC) $50 Greg Taylor
Microsoft Business Intelligence User Group of South Florida $200 Luis Figueroa
Midlands PASS $50 Kenneth Brian Kelley
Minnesota Microsoft BI User Group                                                        $450 Dan English
Minnesota SQL Server User Group $750 Paul Timmerman
Nashville SQL Server User Group $100 Tamera Clark
Netherlands Antilles (Curacao) $50 Roy Ernest
New England SQL Server Users Group $100 Adam Machanic
New Jersey SQL Server User Group $100 John Dempsey
North Texas SQL Servers Users Group $650 Sri Sridharan
Northern Virginia SQL Server Users Group $250 Jim Rotan
Oklahoma City SQL Server Developers Group $350 Kristin Ferrier
Olympia Area SQL Server User Group $100 Greg Larsen
Omaha SQL/BI User Group $200 John Morehouse
Oregon SQL $50 Arnie Rowland
PASS DC $50 Chris Bell
Philadelphia SQL Server User Group $800 Vince Napoli
Pittsburgh SQL Server Users Group $50 Gina Walters
Portland SQL Server User Group $200 Ken Starnes
Quad Cities PASS Chapter $350 Sheila Acker
Rochester PASS $100 Matt Slocum
Russian SQL Server User Group $50 
Sacramento SQL Server User Group $150 Mitch Bottel
Salt Lake City SQL Server User Group $100 Pat Wright
San Antonio SQL Server User Group $100 Jim Steiner
Southwest Missouri SQL Server Users Group                                        $100 Anthony Young
SQL PASS Edmonton $100 Harry Zheng
SQLPASS in Detroit                                                                                $150 Joseph Fleming
St. Louis SQL Sever User Group $100 Julie Bloomquist
Steel City SQL User Group $50 John Baldwin
Tampa Bay SQL User Group $50 Jose Chinchilla
Toronto SQL Sever User Group $100 Karen Lopez
Triad SQL Business Intelligence User Group $300 Katherine Fraser
Triad SQL Server User Group $50 Kevin Goode
Triangle Area SQL Server Users Group $50 Brett Tomson
Victoria SQL Server User Group $1,000 Jonathan Mears
Wellington SQL Server User Group                                                        $50 David Curlewis
West Michigan SQL Server User Group $200 Josh Fennessy
Wichita SQL Server User Group $50 Patrick Purviance
Winnipeg SQL Server User Group $50 Michael Defehr



PASS Board Q&A Recap

October 29, 2013 – The annual PASS Board of Directors Q&A session at PASS Summit 2013 covered the recent PASS Board elections, hosting PASS Summit outside of Seattle, and the PASS organization privacy policy, among other topics.

All current PASS Board members were on stage to help answer questions from the community. Here’s a quick recap of the top three questions and answers:

Q: There are concerns in the community that duplicate votes occurred in the recent PASS Board elections. How did PASS review the votes, and how did this affect the election results?
A:
The election results remain unchanged even when taking duplicates into account. Eligible voters were determined by unique email address and date entered into the system. All submitted ballots were compared to registration lists for paid PASS events. Duplicate ballots were discovered based on first name, last name, and address. Ballots were also compared to our membership data (people who fill in the member profile on sqlpass.org), and additional duplicates were uncovered based on identical first and last name and identical voting pattern.

Q: What are PASS’s plans to host another Summit event outside of the Seattle area?
A:
This Summit in Charlotte, NC, is the first time we’ve been out of Seattle since 2007! It has been a great success, but we are going to spend some time analyzing the pros and cons of hosting outside of Seattle before we decide to move to different locations. Booking facilities for events of this size happens years in advance, and we are booked in the Seattle area for the next 3 years.

Q: There was some confusion among PASS Chapter leaders about how to reach out to local SQLSaturday event registrants.
A:
Any Chapter Leader involved in organizing a SQLSaturday event may use the SQLSaturday sponsor opt-in list to append registrant contact information to their Chapter email list.

It’s a Team Sport: PASS Board Year 2, Q3

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.

Virtual Chapters
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.”

Next Up
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.

Transitions
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.
 

Announcing PASS Board Portfolios for 2014

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


 

PASS Summit 2013: An Anti-Harrassment Zone

October 4, 2013 – The PASS Anti-Harassment Policy (AHP), adopted in 2012, continues to be in effect this year at PASS Summit 2013, helping ensure that all attendees feel welcome and safe at the conference.

One of the cornerstones of PASS is our sense of community, and the AHP furthers our goal of inclusion, standing behind the right of all who come to our event to experience a harassment-free Summit.

PASS is a leader among technical organizations for its promotion and support of women. Our AHP further demonstrates our leadership in this area.

Other technical conferences have had incidents of harassment and inappropriate behavior. Most of these did not have a policy in place prior to having a problem. In addition to making all attendees aware of our policy and what is appropriate behavior at Summit and other events, having the AHP means PASS will be prepared should there be an incident.

Alleged violations of the AHP should be reported to any member of the conference staff, who will then contact the Duty Officer, a designated member of the staff responsible for taking a full report. The Duty Officer will notify the Anti-Harassment Review Committee (AHRC) of the complaint.

The AHRC is the body authorized by the PASS Board of Directors to take action in response to a violation of the AHP. The process document provides guidelines for how the AHRC will conduct its inquiries.

PASS members can be confident that all parties will be treated fairly and with sensitivity. All AHRC activities will be conducted with the utmost discretion.

Having an anti-harassment policy demonstrates our commitment to providing a professional, positive atmosphere at Summit. Everyone at Summit is expected to follow the policy. We ask that any attendee who experiences or witnesses harassment contact a member of staff so that any issues can be addressed.

PASS Elections Follow-Up

October 3, 2013 – PASS is aware of the issue around duplicate ballots in the most recent election. After voting closed, PASS reviewed and analyzed all submitted ballots, and we confidently stand behind the final election result. We are also actively discussing ways we can improve the process prior to the next election cycle. Please bring your questions and ideas to the Board Q&A on Friday, Oct. 18, at PASS Summit. If you can’t attend, feel free to submit your questions the week of Summit (Oct. 15-18) via Twitter using #passvotes or email us at AskBoD@sqlpass.org.
 

PASS Board of Directors Applications

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!
 

Our Vision for PASS

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.