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.

PASS Board Elects New Executive Committee

July 18, 2013 – The PASS Board of Directors elected a new Executive Committee today at the in-person Board meeting in Kansas City. The following officers were elected to a 2-year term that begins on January 1, 2014. Congratulations to:

  • President: Thomas LaRock
  • Executive Vice President, Finance: Adam Jorgensen
  • Vice President, Marketing: Denise McInerney

Current PASS President Bill Graziano will remain on the ExecCo as Immediate Past President.

According to the PASS bylaws, any PASS Board member can stand for the Executive Vice President and Vice President, Marketing roles. The role of President must be filled by a Board member who has previously served one term as a PASS Board officer.

A reminder that applications for three seats on the PASS Board open next week – watch for the announcement on July 24. If you have a passion for the PASS community and desire to serve our members, we encourage you to apply. To learn more about why you should run for the PASS Board, check out these sound bites from current and former directors.

In the meantime, read on for more about the new ExecCo members:

President: Thomas LaRock
Thomas LaRock is a seasoned IT professional with over a decade of technical and management experience. Currently serving as a Technical Evangelist for Confio Software, he has progressed through several roles in his career, including programmer, analyst, and DBA. A PASS member for 10 years, Thomas has been on the PASS Board of Directors since 2009, serving as VP, Marketing, for the past 2 years. Thomas holds a MS degree in Mathematics from Washington State University and is a SQL Server MCM, a SQL Server MVP, a Microsoft Certified Trainer, and a VMWare vExpert. He can be found blogging at http://thomaslarock.com and is the author of DBA Survivor: Become a Rock Star DBA (http://dbasurvivor.com).

Executive Vice President, Finance: Adam Jorgensen
After 8 years of service to PASS, Adam Jorgensen joined the PASS Board in 2012. Adam is a SQL Server MVP and the President of Pragmatic Works consulting. He has been leading  innovative SQL Server and Business Intelligence organizations for over a decade, and his passion is finding new and creative avenues for clients and the community to embrace innovation and lower barriers to implementation. Adam holds MBAs in Finance and strategy, and he has authored a variety of articles and books on SQL Server, SharePoint, and analytics. Adam’s previous PASS service includes serving as a PASS Regional Mentor, a member of the Regional Mentor Committee, and co-chair of the PASS BI Virtual Chapter. Adam blogs regularly at adamjorgensen.com. You can follow him on twitter at @AJBigData.

Vice President, Marketing: Denise McInerney
Denise McInerney, a DBA at Intuit and winner of the 2007 PASSion Award, was elected to the PASS Board in 2012 after years as an active PASS Volunteer. She served on the PASS Program Committee for 4 years, including 1 year as Committee Manager, and was chair or co-chair of the Women in Technology (WIT) Virtual Chapter for 5 years. She's also a frequent speaker at Chapter meetings, PASS SQLSaturdays, and PASS Summit. Denise began as a SQL Server DBA in 1998, working at several startups and as an independent consultant. Denise joined Intuit in 2004 where she currently works as a data analyst. She graduated from Boston University with a BA in Political Science. You can find Denise blogging at select*from denisemc.views.
 

Chapters, Chapters Everywhere!

By Wendy Pastrick

June 11, 2013 – PASS is growing every day across the globe. Since the first of the year, we have welcomed 18 physical chapters across Asia, Africa, Europe, and South and North America, bringing us to 306 total PASS Chapters. Local groups allowing SQL Server professionals and enthusiasts to meet face-to-face and talk about their favorite technology builds our community and makes each of us a better professional. When was the last time you attended your local chapter meeting? If you aren’t sure when it meets, find your chapter on the PASS website and check out its schedule.

If there isn’t a Chapter in your area, PASS has all the tools you need to start one. With the help of online tools - plus the expertise of our amazing Community Evangelists, Karla Landrum and Niko Neugebauer -  setting up a group and getting the word out for your first meeting should be a smooth process. You can reach out to Karla and Niko for all the details. Let’s continue the growth of our community and provide local networking in your city.

One of the things Chapters routinely need are people who will stand up in a room of their peers and share their knowledge. It doesn’t matter what your passion is, as long as it can teach at least one person one new thing, your willingness to share it will be appreciated. I hope that anyone who has attended one or two meetings can be encouraged to sign up with their Chapter Leader to speak at the next event!

You don’t have to be an MVP, or even someone with a special title at work. All you need is the desire to share with the community. Here are some questions to get you thinking about topics you could present:

•    Do you have a favorite feature, such as log shipping or Service Broker? Many people have very little knowledge in these areas and would welcome a short demonstration or case study about how to use them.
•    What kind of configurations do you use when you install your server? How about database settings that become part of the standard for your organization? Share them with your colleagues!
•    Have you solved a tricky problem? Describe it to the room, and let them know how you went about solving it. Your experience could benefit others.

Remember, keep up the great work and let people know how your local Chapter has helped you. Then, give back a little and volunteer to help your Chapter Leader or SQLSaturday event team, or sign up as a speaker! I’m looking forward to meeting all the Chapter Leaders, Regional Mentors, and community at large at PASS Summit 2013 in Charlotte in just a few months.

It’s been a big year already, and I’m sure more great things are coming soon!
 

NomCom Applications Open June 12

May 28, 2013 – With the election season for the PASS Board of Directors fast approaching, there will be three seats up for grabs in September. These seats will represent US/Canada, EMEA, and one open seat. As such, the Nomination Committee (NomCom) will reflect the composition of the 2013 Board elections. The NomCom will be composed of five members and chaired by Immediate Past President, Rushabh Mehta. One of these positions will be filled by a member of the Board of Directors, and the final three members of the NomCom will be elected by the PASS community. 

Being a member of the NomCom is an exciting opportunity. Members of the NomCom get a behind-the-scene experience with the Board of Directors election process, using their knowledge and previous volunteer experience with PASS to review applications for candidacy of the Board according to process and criteria outlined by the Board of Directors. Once complete, the NomCom then presents a list of recommended candidates to the Board of Directors, which then approves the final slate.

Think you might be up for the job? The NomCom election process starts with an application, opening June 12 and closing June 19. Stay in the know and watch the next issue of the Connector for application information.


 

Free Training at Your Fingertips

May 13, 2013 – You’ve probably tapped into the gold mine of session recordings available to PASS members from events such as PASS Summit, PASS SQLRally, and 24 Hours of PASS. But did you know you also have access to hundreds of hours of free SQL Server training via PASS Virtual Chapter archives?

From the PASS Virtual Chapters page, simply click on the Virtual Chapter you’re interested in, and check out the group’s Archived Presentations page. If you miss a session or want to review a favorite, most VCs have recordings available for on-demand replay within a week of the live presentation.

To receive notifications of upcoming webcasts from the VCs of your choice, just click “Register to Join” for the VCs you want to hear from. You’ll be in good company, with more than 27,000 VC members from across 100+ countries taking advantage of the free training right at their fingertips.

 

Chapter Referral Program

May 13, 2013 – After receiving positive feedback on the PASS Business Analytics Conference (BAC) Chapter referral program – 14 local PASS Chapters received monetary rewards by participating! – a similar program for PASS Summit has been created. For PASS Summit 2013, any local PASS Chapter (by local, we mean that your Chapter meets in-person) is eligible to participate.

All Chapter leaders should have received a unique discount code to share with their members. When the discount code is used to register for PASS Summit 2013, the Chapter receives $50 USD, with a maximum of $1,000 to be paid out at the completion of the event. Please note that use of the Chapter discount code is not retroactive and cannot be applied to an existing PASS Summit registration.

The following PASS Chapters benefited from the BAC referral program:

St. Louis SQL Server User Group

$100

Capital Area and Central Texas Users of SQL Server (CACTUSS)

$50

Chicago SQL Server User Group

$200

I380 Corridor PASS Chapter (East Iowa)

$50

Southwest Missouri SQL Server Users Group

$50

Madison Professional Association for SQL Server (MADPASS)

$150

Orlando SQL Server Users Group

$100

Rochester PASS

$50

Chicago SQL BI User Group

$50

Sweden - SQLUG

$150

West Michigan SQL Server User Group

$200

Cincinnati PASS (CincyPASS)

$100

SQL Server User Group Norway

$150

MN Microsoft BI User Group

$250

 

PASS SQLSaturday – Get in the Game!

April 29, 2013 – Most PASS members are familiar with SQLSaturday events, but many of you may not have attended one yet or know exactly what they are all about. To refresh, SQLSaturday events are free, one-day SQL Server training events that bring together local speakers and attendees while providing high quality technical training sessions. In the true sense of community engagement, they are organized entirely through the efforts of volunteers.

I could go on about the value of SQLSaturday, but members of the PASS community have already done so through many social media and blog posts. Take Kathi Kellenberger, for example. She loves her SQLSaturday events and recently posted about her top 10 reasons why you should attend a SQLSaturday  – it’s worth a read. I’d also like to point out Hope Foley’s post from a wowed community member who attended their first SQLSaturday last July. Both posts underscore the magic of SQLSaturday events and how important they are to the SQL Server community at large.

Whether you're attending a SQLSaturday or thinking about hosting your own, we think you'll find it's a great way to spend a Saturday – or any day (that’s right, some SQLSaturday events are held on other days of the week!). Here are the upcoming SQLSaturday events around the world in May; hopefully there is one near you:

May 11  SQLSaturday #209 – Rochester
May 18  SQLSaturday #212 – Redmond
May 18 SQLSaturday #216 - Krasnodar, Russia
May 18 SQLSaturday #220 – Atlanta
May 18 SQLSaturday #225 – Kosovo
May 23 SQLSaturday #208 – Riyadh
May 25 SQLSaturday #219 – Kiev
May 25 SQLSaturday #224 – Sydney

New events are added all the time, so be sure to bookmark the PASS SQLSaturday website and follow @sqlsat on Twitter.
 

PASS BA Conference: Another First

April 16, 2013 – The inaugural PASS Business Analytics Conference made its mark on Chicago and the world of business intelligence and analytics last week, featuring 1,150+ registrations and almost 900 attendees from across 26 countries. Thanks to all our attendees, speakers, volunteers, sponsors, and organizers for making the event such a success!

From amazing keynotes by Microsoft’s Kamal Hathi and Amir Netz and Freakonomics author Dr. Steven Levitt, to over 60 sessions by 85 of the BI/BA industry’s top experts and a Community Appreciation Party at Lucky Strike, the event delivered world-class training and nonstop networking opportunities. Many attendees also spent a day in one of the BA Conference’s five pre-conference sessions or took advantage of the co-located BigDataCamp meet-up before the Welcome Reception.

Check out all the highlights – including Microsoft’s public preview announcement of 3D mapping tool Project codename “GeoFlow” for Excel - in our community blog post roundups and on our Facebook photostream.

If you missed the conference or just didn’t get to all the sessions you wanted to, you can own the full set of PASS BA Conference session recordings on USB flash drive, including 60+ conference sessions and the Microsoft keynote. Order yours today!

More Business Analytics
Join Microsoft’s Roger Barga, who wasn’t able to make the PASS BA Conference due to weather, for a webinar presentation of “The Unrealized Power of Data,” Thursday, April 25, at noon ET – hosted by the PASS Business Analytics Virtual Chapter.
 

EMEA Regional Seat Created for 2013 Elections

April 16, 2013 – Last week was important for PASS. Not only did we hold our first Business Analytics Conference, but the PASS Board of Directors also unanimously passed two motions that enable PASS to take the next steps in growing the organization’s international reach and influence.

Our focus was to increase the international makeup and perspective of the PASS Board, by voting to:

  • Convert a Director-at-Large seat to a regional seat for EMEA
  • Ensure the elected community representatives to the Nomination Committee (NomCom) reflect the regional seat composition of the 2013 Board elections

With the EMEA slot, the 2013 elections will have two seats reserved for specific regional representation: one for the US/Canada and one for EMEA. The recent PASS by-law changes already convert one Director-at-Large seat to a regional seat specifically designated for the US/Canada region every other year. However, the Board had to vote separately to convert another Director-at-Large seat to an EMEA seat.

By aligning the three elected NomCom community seats to match the Board seats that will be up for election this year, we help encourage balance, international influence, and local investment in both the NomCom and the Board elections.

Thank you to everyone who shared feedback and suggestions about streamlining and improving our elections process for candidates and members alike.

As we focus on engaging more qualified candidates and a more invested, involved electorate, we will also create a PASS election ethics and process guidelines document. It will address and clarify existing processes so that community members and candidates know what is expected of them and what to expect during the elections.

With these important steps toward gaining more international perspective on the PASS Board and improving and refreshing our elections processes, I think we can all expect great things.

Thank you for your time,
JRJ
 

Getting Real with Virtualization

April 16, 2013 – Scott Shaw, co-leader of PASS’s Virtualization Virtual Chapter, shares the group’s mission, upcoming speaker lineup, and a message for the community: Don’t be afraid to run SQL Server on a virtual machine.

Q. What’s the mission of the Virtualization Virtual Chapter?
A.
The primary mission of the Virtualization VC is to educate and inform database administrators and other IT professionals about the risks and benefits of virtualization. We focus mainly on promoting running SQL Server on virtual platforms such as Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware vSphere and the techniques and methodologies for managing the environment.

Q. If you had one message about virtualization you’d like to share with the SQL Server world today, what would it be?
A.
Don’t be afraid to run SQL Server on a virtual machine. Almost every implementation of SQL Server has the potential to run in a virtual environment, and the benefits far outweigh the risks. Take the time to understand the technology, and use it to your advantage.

Q. What can you tell us about the meetings you've had so far this year, and what can we expect the rest of the year?
A.
We’ve had some very successful meetings this year. Attendance has been wonderful, typically ranging between 40 and 80 but sometimes shooting up to 120 or higher depending on who’s speaking. Interest is definitely strong for understanding virtual environments, and we thank the community for both speaking and attending. Looking forward, we have some great speakers coming up, including Brent Ozar (May 8), Grant Fritchey, Jes Borland, and Kendal Van Dyke.

Q. When are your meetings, and how can people keep up with VC news and sessions schedule?
A.
Our meetings are on the second Wednesday of every month. We had some initial glitches with recording our sessions, but we currently have three presentations in the archive for on-demand viewing and will be making all future meetings available there soon after the live presentations. To keep up with the Virtualization VC, just sign up with us on the PASS Virtual Chapters page.

Q. How did you and co-leader Tom Norman get involved in the VC?
A.
When previous VC leader Mark Swofford asked for volunteers to take over for him, Tom and I both answered the call, and I give thanks every day that Tom is there to help. Tom is unbelievable at getting great speakers to take the time to present. He sends out presentation notifications and does a lot of the hard work behind the scenes.

Q. How can people interested in speaking or with suggestions/questions contact you? Are you looking for sessions on any particular topics in the virtualization world?
A.
If you are interested in speaking, please send an abstract to either me or Tom, and we'll be happy to schedule you. The presentations don’t have to revolve around SQL Server – we will accept almost any virtualization topic, including those that focus just on virtualization technologies and where they’re headed.