PASS Executive Board Elections

June 16, 2015--The PASS Board of Directors meeting in Vancouver June 2 and 3 was the site of the 2016 PASS Executive Committee elections. We’re happy to announce your ExecCo, who will take their seats in January 2016: Thomas LaRock as Immediate Past President; Adam Jorgensen as President; James Rowland-Jones as Executive Vice President, Finance & Governance; and Denise McInerney as Vice President, Marketing.

Bill Graziano, current Immediate Past President, will conclude his term in December 2015. Bill has been an active member of the PASS community since 2001, having served five terms on the Board, including Director at Large in 2006/2007. Since 2008, he has sat on the Executive and has served in all four positions within the ExecCo. The PASS Board acknowledges and thanks Bill for his commitment and unwavering support to the PASS organization.

2016-2017 Immediate Past President: Thomas LaRock

PASS President Thomas LaRock will complete his current term (through the end of this year) and then assume the role of Immediate Past President. 

Thomas first attended PASS Summit in Orlando in 2004, joining the PASS community at that time. He joined the Board in 2009 and served one term as a Director at Large. He joined the Executive in 2012 as Vice President, Marketing and became President in 2014.

Thomas will chair the Nominations Committee (NomCom) for the 2016 and 2017 elections cycle as Immediate Past President. He will remain a valuable member of the Executive managing special projects. 

2016-2017 President: Adam Jorgensen

By unanimous vote, current Executive VP, Finance & Governance Adam Jorgensen was elected as the next PASS President and will assume the role in January. 

Adam has been a member of PASS since 2004, he joined the Board in 2012 and served one term as a Director at Large. As a leader of SQL Server and business intelligence organizations for more than a decade, he is passionate about encouraging and supporting innovation and busting through obstacles to implementation. At the meeting, Adam spoke to the Board about the importance of getting community members involved with PASS—and with PASS leadership.

”We [the Board] have an opportunity to make sure that the PASS organization is sustainable for the long term,” said Adam. “I’m interested in identifying leaders within the community; developing those individuals to assume leadership opportunities and ensuring that they are ready to assume the responsibility that comes with the Board. I believe that we need to remove roadblocks, and improve and formalize our processes for getting the best possible people involved in PASS.” 

Adam aims to improve communication with the PASS community to encourage balance, diversity, and commitment. And he spoke to the ways that PASS can offer benefits that grow with the Microsoft data platform. 

“The point of the Board is to represent the community it serves,” he noted. “That includes all data professionals. We need a vision; we need to find opportunities to help the Virtual Chapter and Chapter Leaders grow membership, involvement, and leadership. And with regards to the business analytics community, we need to define and focus our support efforts.”

2016-2017 Executive Vice President, Finance & Governance: James Rowland-Jones

The Board voted unanimously to elect James Rowland-Jones as next term’s Executive VP, Finance & Governance. JRJ has served two terms on the Board, with his first term supporting Global Growth and most recently as the Director of Special Projects. He looks forward to enriching and standardizing the visibility of PASS’ governance policies and working to support and improve the organization’s financial stability. 

JRJ emphasized the importance of collaboration, partnership, and shared learning. In the role of Executive VP, Finance & Governance, he encouraged other Board members to join him in the opportunity to set the framework for the future of the organization and to gain exposure to the role and its responsibilities.

JRJ’s focus is on articulating the opportunities and benefits of being involved with PASS and with the PASS Board, as well as working with our Global Growth Initiatives to support data professionals worldwide. “It’s important for the health and value of the organization,” he pointed out. “We have to think about the community as a living, breathing thing, and it’s our job to support and enrich it.”

2016-2017 Vice President, Marketing: Denise McInerney

The Board voted unanimously to re-elect VP, Marketing Denise McInerney to her current position. After 10 years as an active PASS member, Denise joined the Board in 2012 and first served as Director of Virtual Chapters. In her first year as VP, Marketing, she also chaired the Business Analytics Planning Committee. She is excited about the opportunity to continue her work on PASS’ communication and event initiatives.

“We’ve begun to take steps to get out the PASS message in an accessible, consistent way,” Denise said. “We have begun to talk about the opportunities for and accessibility of professional development and leadership, and we want to continue to do that. The Board Q&A at Summit was a start; the community town halls, the blog posts … we will continue to develop these vehicles.”

Denise emphasized the importance of better understanding PASS resources and of tailoring them to the community as it stands today and as it grows with ever-evolving technology and business demands. “With the Business Analytics Conference, we are on the right track,” she said. “The data world is changing and Microsoft is signaling that to us through all the changes to the data platform. We owe some attention to that content, as we think about our core SQL Server community, where their careers are headed, and the educational content that we need to bring to them.”

Inside the PASS Board’s April Meeting

May 13, 2015 – At the April PASS Board of Directors meeting, held April 9, attendees heard an update on the Business Analytics Conference 2015 and on PASS IT priorities. PASS Summit 2015 speaker selection methods were discussed, along with a reminder that it’s budget season. Here’s a quick rundown of the April meeting.

Business Analytics and the PASS Community Vision
PASS Vice President of Marketing and SQL Server MVP Denise McInerney recapped the goals of the Business Analytics Conference: to build a community of business analytics professionals and data professionals who realize the value of business analytics. She reported on attendance of the 2015 conference, as well as statistics regarding the ratio of new to return attendees, effective communication channels, and challenges and lessons learned regarding attempts to reach the target audience. She also outlined the onsite attendee experience for the Board.

Upcoming Budget Preparations and IT Updates
Adam Jorgensen, Executive Vice President of Finance & Governance, reminded the Board that the FY 2016 Budget will be reviewed at the June in-person Board meeting and the necessary steps to prepare for that meeting.

A PASS HQ representative also reviewed current IT priorities and the progress of the SQLSaturday website updates.

Watch for the recap of our May meeting soon. In the meantime, let the Board know if you have questions, comments, or ideas.

– Thomas LaRock
PASS President

I Do Not Choose To Run

by Thomas LaRock

Originally posted: link

In just a few weeks’ time I will travel to Vancouver to attend a PASS Board of Directors meeting. During that meeting the Board will hold our biennial officer elections. I wanted to take a brief moment of your time today to discuss these elections.

I will spare you the details of the PASS bylaws with regard to the officer elections. You can read all about them here if you want. The bylaws lack certain context, and that context is what I want you to understand today.

Years ago the process for officer election was simple. A person would serve two years as VP of Marketing, two years as VP of Finance, two years as President, and finally two years as Immediate Past President (IPP). That’s eight total years just as an officer. Folks were on the Board for ten years (or longer). The burnout rate towards the end of their service was noticeable.

During my early years on the Board we modified the bylaws to allow for a “shorter cycle”. We allowed for a candidate to be eligible to serve as President after just one term in either finance or marketing. By shortening the officer cycle to six years we wanted to avoid the burnout that comes in the last few years.

That bylaw change was not done to allow for one person to serve four years as President, even if eligible. That was not the intent then, and it is not my intent today.

I will not seek election for another term as President of PASS.

It has been my honor to serve you these past seven years on the Board. I’ve put a lot of energy and passion into service for PASS ever since I met Wayne Snyder in Orlando in 2004, and it’s been worth the extra effort.

I thank everyone for their support throughout the years. We’ve shared a lot of ups and downs together, and I would like to think I helped to make things better than how I found them.

I will move into the role of IPP where I expect to remain engaged for the next two years. There I will continue my efforts to help as many people connect, share, and learn from one another.

We’ve got a lot of work to get done still in 2015 and beyond.

Let’s go get it done, together.

Thomas LaRock

PASS Voting Eligibility and Upcoming Elections

May 7, 2015 – During the 2014 election cycle, the PASS Board established specific eligibility requirements for voting in the PASS elections. These requirements are designed to help de-duplicate member data for eligible voters before ballot notifications are sent. Specific mandatory fields have been added to the myProfile section of sqlpass.org to help us better serve the community.

To cast a ballot, members must complete all mandatory fields in their myPASS profile. PASS members who have not completed their profile will receive a reminder to update their myPASS profile to be eligible to vote. Your profile must be completed by 11:59 pm PDT June 1, 2015 to guarantee eligibility to cast ballots in the 2015 PASS elections.   

Don’t miss your chance to vote in the PASS elections! To confirm your eligibility, please log into your myPASS account to look for the follow eligibility stamp:


PASS is your organization. Thank you for helping to shape its future by participating in the elections process. 

–Bill Graziano
Immediate Past President

SQLSaturday Website Update Timeline

As per my blog post on April 9 regarding the SQLSaturday website, the good news is that we’re back online. So far, feedback on the site has been overwhelmingly positive. 

I first want to thank everyone for their patience last week: the organizers and sponsors who couldn’t access the site during the downtime, as well as the community members who have been waiting to hear what happened. As with any issue like this, our main priority was to rectify the situation. Therefore, we felt it best to wait until the site relaunched and all security vulnerabilities were fixed before sharing more specific details. 

But of course, full transparency is important to us and to you. Now that we’re up and running again, here is the timeline of events that occurred over the past week: 

  • • On Monday, April 6, we were alerted to a potential security vulnerability that exposed the contact information (address, city, region, and twitter handle) of some sponsors. We immediately removed this information and decided to take down the entire sponsor page for further testing. The security of information regarding our community and sponsors is of the utmost importance to us, so we wanted to conduct a thorough review of the entire website, not just that specific issue.

  • • By Monday night, we had decided to take the entire SQLSaturday site offline. We chose this option, rather than a rollback, because at the time, we estimated a rollback effort to be more time-consuming than simply taking the site offline and implementing the fix. In addition, we didn’t want to risk losing any new or changed data. We were able to minimize impact as best we could for the upcoming SQLSaturday events over the weekend of the 11th and 12th by providing access to the admin sites for the Huntington Beach and Madison SQLSaturday events. 

  • • The morning of Tuesday, April 7, we decided to ask community members for testing support. Our community comprises some of the best and brightest minds in the industry and it made sense to involve the users of the site in further testing. 

  • • The patch was completed by Tuesday night, making the site ready for testing by volunteers on Wednesday.

  • • During the testing on Wednesday, April 8, a second potential vulnerability—an HTML injection vulnerability—was identified. Because of the seriousness of this potential issue, we decided Wednesday afternoon to keep the site offline for another day so that we could thoroughly research and correct the issue and complete final testing. As we began delving into the issue, we discovered that it also existed in the old site. So again, a rollback was not an option.

  • • The problem was fixed late Wednesday night.

  • • On Thursday, April 9, PASS IT and community-member testing was complete.

  • • Satisfied with the security and usability of the site, we relaunched Thursday at 9:30pm EST.

 

PASS apologizes for this outage and for the difficulties it created for the SQLSaturday organizers, sponsors, speakers, and attendees. We thank those who provided feedback on the issues and the volunteers who stepped in to help test the solutions, particularly K. Brian Kelley (blog | @kbriankelley), Denny Cherry (blog | @mrdenny), and Argenis Fernandez (blog | @DBArgenis). To help prevent a similar issue in the future, we are looking at more extensive QA processes with a specific focus on ensuring site security. Although I believe we made the best possible decisions along this timeline, we will certainly take a different approach to future site revisions, including but not limited to earlier and wider security-based and functional testing by our volunteer experts and progressive change schedules. 

Again, thank you for your patience. If you have any further feedback or questions, please email us at sqlsaturday@sqlpass.org.

Tim Ford 
PASS Board of Directors 
SQLSaturday 

SQLSaturday Website Update

As many of you may be aware, this week PASS launched the new SQLSaturday website. 

Shortly after launching the site we were notified of a security vulnerability which meant that sponsor’s contact details (company or individual name, twitter handle, address, and zip/postal code) were all visible. The intention of this information being available was to streamline the process for sponsors to sign up for an event without having to re-enter their details each time. However, given some of our Sponsors use their home address as contact information there were concerns at having this information publicly available on the site. This information was immediately taken down and out of an abundance of caution we also made the decision to conduct a full assessment to ensure no other issues existed. 

During testing an additional security vulnerability was discovered – it was found that parts of the SQLSaturday website were exposed to HTML injection, which in this case, could allow a hacker to execute HTML and/or Javascript from the session abstract page. With the structure of the SQLSaturday website, abstract submissions will be continuously open, increasing the risks associated with this vulnerability. Further application of fixes to this issue and re-testing caused a further delay in the anticipated turnaround time for the re-launch. 

This afternoon after rigorous testing by PASS IT and volunteers from the community we are pleased to announce the site is live again. 

Further detail on the actions and decisions surrounding this event will be made available in the coming days. 

We thank you for your continued patience and understanding throughout this time and look forward to providing an enhanced experience for event organizers, attendees, speakers and sponsors of SQLSaturdays with the new site going forward. Again we would like to thank everyone who was involved in the vision, planning, feedback and testing of the site.  

- Tim Ford
PASS Director, SQLSaturdays 


 

Inside the PASS Board’s March Meeting

April 8, 2015 – At this month’s PASS Board of Directors meeting, held March 12, the discussions revolved primarily around PASS Summit 2015 and the PASS Business Analytics Conference 2015, which will be held in Santa Clara, CA in just a few weeks. We also discussed budgets and initiatives for our chapters, including Virtual Chapters. Read on for the basics of the March meeting. 

Business Analytics and the PASS Community Vision
The Board heard about and discussed various logistics of the upcoming PASS Business Analytics Conference, which happens April 20–22. As you might expect, hosting a major event entails a multitude of tasks and details, from speaker and abstract evaluation, scheduling, lodging and venue choices, sales, feedback, and so on. As such events draw closer, the Board and other PASS personnel focus even more closely on ensuring that everything is in place to deliver a stellar experience for attendees and speakers alike.

In addition, Denise McInerney, PASS Vice President of Marketing and SQL Server MVP, emphasized that this conference is a pivotal piece in PASS’s vision to support the entire data community, including data analysts and Excel users, as it navigates new developments and constant changes in technology, tools, and strategies. Denise gave the Board an overview of her recent interview with Excel TV, in which she discussed the role of Excel in the conference as well as her own journey as a data professional. We all acknowledged the importance of communicating PASS’s vision and the opportunities that it presents to the data community via all the means at our disposal, be it through conferences, chapter or online events, or social media.

Chapters and Virtual Chapters
Next, Director of PASS Global Chapters Grant Fritchey gave the Board an update on PASS’s chapters and virtual chapters. A pre-approval for the FY2016 budget funds earmarked for the chapter and virtual chapter referral program and complimentary registrations was voted on, and approved. Referral program details and complimentary codes have now been sent to Chapters and will be sent to Virtual Chapter leaders within the week. If you haven’t received yours by EOD Friday April 10, please reach out to Carmen.Buchmann@sqlpass.org or Elizabeth.Jeffs@sqlpass.org

Summit Abstract Evaluation Review
Lastly, Amy Lewis, Director of PASS Programs, gave us an overview of the new abstract-evaluation service that PASS made available for Summit 2015 submissions. We looked at feedback from the committee regarding how many abstracts were reviewed, the average time spent on each, and the strengths and challenges of the process. We discussed the possibilities of offering the service again for Summit 2016. We also applauded the efforts and commitment of the review committee as we head into speaker and session selection.

We’ll check in again next month with a recap of our April meeting. In the meantime, remember, the Board is always interested in hearing your questions, comments, and ideas

– Thomas LaRock
PASS President

SQLSaturday Site Redesign: Better than Ever

April 6, 2015--Over the past few weeks, we’ve been alerting people to something exciting: our new SQLSaturday website redesign. It’s now faster and easier than ever to manage, speak at, sponsor, or attend a SQLSaturday event!  After a great deal of effort by our staff and community volunteers for months (years, actually) the update is finally here—we hope you’ll stop by and take a look! The redesign will significantly improve the SQLSaturday experience for attendees, speakers, and event and chapter leaders. 

For starters, the new site makes it easier than ever to manage your SQLSaturday event or your Speaker Profile. One of the changes we’ve made is to tie in PASS accounts, so that leaders and speakers don’t need to juggle multiple account logins. 

Speakers now have a universal Speaker Profile that is associated with their PASS accounts and can be applied across events. This change and others make it easier for speakers to manage and track abstract submissions, upload presentations, and get feedback about their sessions. 

If you’re an event leader, you can now use your PASS account to access the Admin site—which has also received a facelift. The site features a cleaner, easier-to-use dashboard that will help to simplify the process of managing an event, including allowing you to associate an event with a chapter.

We’ve also improved the Session Management UI, which now supports a wider variety of session lengths as well as color-coding of tracks and rooms. Plus, you can add keynotes, rest breaks, and raffle draws as non-session items.

SQLSaturday attendees will benefit from the mobile-friendly redesign as well. Use your PASS account to manage your registrations, download SpeedPASS, pay for lunches, and deliver event feedback.

Sponsorship is an even more winning proposition, with a new slider and improved sign-up form that saves sponsors time and effort. (Sponsors will need to complete a one-time upload of new logo graphics to meet our improved display requirements, but beyond that, improvements will be effortless.)

We’re excited to hear what you think about the changes. If you have feedback or questions, we hope you’ll reach out to us at ITSupport@sqlsaturday.com.

--Tim Ford
Director, PASS SQLSaturday

Feedback Requested on SQLSaturday Numbering System

March 3, 2015 – Hello fellow SQL Community Members! It's been a great year for PASS and a banner year for SQLSaturday in particular! By the time you read this post, we will have announced our 100th SQLSaturday event for this fiscal year. By comparison, it took us 1,480 days to complete our first 100 events.  Event 200 came 510 days later, followed by event 300 after another 572 days. Thanks to the global growth of PASS and SQLSaturday and the determination and passion of our community and our organizers, we hit this last benchmark in record time.

Take some time right now to give yourselves a well-deserved pat on the back. I'll wait...

Done?

Good.

Now that we've reached this milestone and as we look to the future of SQLSaturday, I think it's time to make a small change. This adjustment will help to provide a more environmentally sustainable program while enabling our individual organizers to buy promotional items that won't expire at the end of each year. Here's the plan: We're doing away with the numbering scheme that we've traditionally used for individual events. Instead, we're going to identify individual SQLSaturdays by the name of the city or region in which they are hosted.  For example, the next time we produce a SQLSaturday in Kalamazoo, we'll call it just that – SQLSaturday Kalamazoo – rather than SQLSaturday Kalamazoo #501. Behind the scenes, we'll still use the same URL constructs and numbering (for internal purposes), but we'll market each event sans numbers. This means that we can re-use undistributed materials from year-to-year, and we can order in larger quantities for lower per-unit prices. This change allows for one of the things I love to preach about when I speak at SQLSaturdays: consistency.

I'm sure that some of you might have different ideas on the matter… perhaps ideas that lay somewhere between what I'm proposing and the status quo. The PASS Board of Directors really wants your input in the matter. We're planning on making this change mid-year, so if you want to make your voice heard, whether to let us know that you agree with the plan or to propose an alternative, reach out to the SQLSaturday Team at webmaster@sqlsaturday.com, using the Subject line "SQLSaturday Renaming Plan."

I think the time has come for this minor marketing change, and I want to offer up full transparency. I have the privilege to help guide the program, but it's our amazing local organizers who continue to push us forward with such a successful program day in and day out! Please let us know here at the Board and PASS HQ what you think – and help shape the future of PASS and SQLSaturday.

Tim Ford

PASS Director, SQLSaturday

Inside the PASS Board's February Meeting

February 26, 2015 – The PASS Board of Directors gathered this month, with discussions focusing on this year’s upcoming conferences, the first Town Hall Q&A webcast, and the PASS Volunteer Leadership policy. Here’s a recap of the February meeting:

PASS Business Analytics Conference 2015

We kicked off the meeting with an update on various programs from Marketing for the upcoming PASS Business Analytics Conference, being held in Santa Clara, CA, April 20-22. We were excited to receive confirmation that noted blogger and BI Brainz founder Mico Yuk will be appearing as the conference’s Day Two keynote speaker. Keep an eye out for upcoming news on the Day One keynote speaker.

We also discussed conference sponsorship and new Expo Hall initiatives, which will include the Excel-eration Lounge (with plenty of Excel-driven sponsors and content).

Town Hall Q&A Webcast

The first quarterly Town Hall Q&A webcast took place on February 11, and we were pleased to report that the feedback was positive for the first run of this. The recording for anyone who missed it is available here; written summaries for future Q&As will also be provided. The 15 attendees had plenty of questions for the Board around educational programs, this year’s elections, volunteers, budgeting processes and more. We’re looking forward to the potential that these Town Halls offer to open up communications between the Board and community members. I want to thank those who attended, and I hope to hear from even more participants at future Town Halls. Look for more information on upcoming Q&As on the Board Contact Us page and Connector as we head into the next quarter.

Volunteer Leadership Policy Update

Virtual Chapters Director Wendy Pastrick confirmed that the recommendations made by the Board at last month’s Board meeting were implemented into the PASS Volunteer Leadership policy. This policy sets parameters and guidance for volunteers in leadership roles within the PASS community. Wendy is now in the process of gathering and considering feedback on the most recent draft of the policy.

PASS Summit 2015 Call for Speakers

Programs Director Amy Lewis informed the Board that the Call for Speakers for this year’s PASS Summit, to be held in Seattle on October 27-30, would open on February 18 and remain open for one month. Information about submitting session abstracts appeared in the February 17 issue of the Connector, and I encourage those who haven’t spoken at PASS Summit before to submit an abstract – we even have an Abstract Evaluation service run by volunteers this year to help you fine-tine your abstract before submission.

We’ll continue to keep you up-to-date on what the Board is working on. In the meantime, I hope that you’ll reach out to any Director with your questions, comments, or ideas.

– Thomas LaRock

PASS President