PASS Bylaw Change 2013

February 1, 2013 – Cross-posted from Bill Graziano's SQL Server Blog, January 10, 2013

PASS launched a Global Growth Initiative in the Summer of 2011 with the appointment of three international Board advisors.  Since then we’ve thought and talked extensively about how we make PASS more relevant to our members outside the US and Canada. We’ve collected much of that discussion in our Global Growth site.  You can find vision documents, plans, governance proposals, feedback sites, and transcripts of Twitter chats and town hall meetings. We also address these plans at the Board Q&A during the 2012 Summit.

One of the biggest changes coming out of this process is around how we elect Board members. And that requires a change to the bylaws. We published the proposed bylaw changes as a red-lined document so you can clearly see the changes. 

Our goal in these bylaw changes was to address the changes required by the global growth initiatives, conduct a legal review of the document and address other minor issues in the document.  There are numerous small wording changes throughout the document.  For example, we replaced every reference of “The Corporation” with the word “PASS” so it now reads “PASS is organized…”.

Board Composition
The biggest change in these bylaw changes is how the Board is composed and elected.  This discussion starts in section VI.2.  This section now says that some elected directors will come from geographic regions.  I think this is the best way to make sure we give all of our members a voice in the leadership of the organization.  The key parts of this section are:

The remaining Directors (i.e. the non-Officer Directors and non-Vendor Appointed Directors) shall be elected by the voting membership (“Elected Directors”). Elected Directors shall include representatives of defined PASS regions (“Regions”) as set forth below (“Regional Directors”) and at minimum one (1) additional Director-at-Large whose selection is not limited by region. Regional Directors shall include, but are not limited to, two (2) seats for the Region covering Canada and the United States of America.

Additional Regions for the purpose of electing additional Regional Directors and additional Director-at-Large seats for the purpose of expanding the Board shall be defined by a majority vote of the current Board of Directors and must be established prior to the public call for nominations in the general election. Previously defined Regions and seats approved by the Board of Directors shall remain in effect and can only be modified by a 2/3 majority vote by the then current Board of Directors.


Currently PASS has six At-Large Directors elected by the members.  These changes allow for a Regional Director position that is elected by the members but must come from a particular region.  It also stipulates that there must always be at least one Director-at-Large who can come from any region.

We also understand that PASS is currently a very US-centric organization.  Our Summit is held in America, roughly half our chapters are in the US and Canada and most of the Board members over the last ten years have come from America. We wanted to reflect that by making sure that our US and Canadian volunteers would continue to play a significant role by ensuring that two Regional seats are reserved specifically for Canada and the US.

Other than that, the bylaws don’t create any specific regional seats. These rules allow us to create Regional Director seats but don’t require it. We haven’t fully discussed what the criteria will be in order for a region to have a seat designated for it or how many regions there will be. In our discussions we’ve broadly discussed regions for
 

  • United States and Canada
  • Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA)
  • Australia, New Zealand and Asia (also known as Asia Pacific or APAC)
  • Mexico, South America, and Central America (LATAM)
     

As you can see, our thinking is that there will be a few large regions.  I’ve also considered a non-North America region that we can gradually split into the regions above as our membership grows in those areas. 

The regions will be defined by a policy document that will be published prior to the elections. I’m hoping that over the next year we can begin to publish more of what we do as Board-approved policy documents.

While the bylaws only require a single non-region specific At-large Director, I would expect we would always have two.  That way we can have one in each election.  I think it’s important that we always have one seat open that anyone who is eligible to run for the Board can contest.  The Board is required to have any regions defined prior to the start of the election process.

Board Elections – Regional Seats
We spent a lot of time discussing how the elections would work for these Regional Director seats.  Ultimately we decided that the simplest solution is that every PASS member should vote for every open seat.  Section VIII.3 reads:

Candidates who are eligible (i.e. eligible to serve in such capacity subject to the criteria set forth herein or adopted by the Board of Directors) shall be designated to fill open Board seats in the following order of priority on the basis of total votes received: (i) full term Regional Director seats, (ii) full term Director-at-Large seats, (iii) not full term (vacated) Regional Director seats, (iv) not full term (vacated) Director-at-Large seats. For the purposes of clarity, because of eligibility requirements, it is contemplated that the candidates designated to the open Board seats may not receive more votes than certain other candidates who are not selected to the Board.

We debated whether to have multiple ballots or one single ballot.  Multiple ballot elections get complicated quickly.  Let’s say we have a ballot for US/Canada and one for Region 2.  After that we’d need a mechanism to merge those two together and come up with the winner of the at-large seat or have another election for the at-large position. 
We think the best way to do this is a single ballot and putting the highest vote getters into the most restrictive seats.  Let’s look at an example:

There are seats open for Region 1, Region 2 and at-large.  The election results are as follows:
 

  • Candidate A (eligible for Region 1) – 550 votes
  • Candidate B (eligible for Region 1) – 525 votes
  • Candidate C (eligible for Region 1) – 475 votes
  • Candidate D (eligible for Region 2) – 125 votes
  • Candidate E (eligible for Region 2) – 75 votes
     

In this case, Candidate A is the winner for Region 1 and is assigned that seat. Candidate D is the winner for Region 2 and is assigned that seat. The at-large seat is filled by the high remaining vote getter which is Candidate B.

The key point to understand is that we may have a situation where a person with a lower vote total is elected to a regional seat and a person with a higher vote total is excluded. This will be true whether we had multiple ballots or a single ballot. 

Board Elections – Vacant Seats
The other change to the election process is for vacant Board seats. The actual changes are sprinkled throughout the document.

Previously we didn’t have a mechanism that allowed for an election of a Board seat that we knew would be vacant in the future.  The most common case is when a Board members moves to an Officer role in the middle of their term.  One of the key changes is to allow the number of votes members have to match the number of open seats.  This allows each voter to express their preference on all open seats.  This only applies when we know about the opening prior to the call for nominations.  This all means that if there’s a seat will be open at the start of the next Board term, and we know about it prior to the call for nominations, we can include that seat in the elections.  Ultimately, the aim is to have PASS members decide who sits on the Board in as many situations as possible.

We discussed the option of changing the bylaws to just take next highest vote-getter in all other cases.  I think that’s wrong for the following reasons:
 

  • All voters aren’t able to express an opinion on all candidates.  If there are five people running for three seats, you can only vote for three.  You have no way to express your preference between #4 and #5.
  • Different candidates may have different information about the number of seats available.  A person may learn that a Board member plans to resign at the end of the year prior to that information being made public. They may understand that the top four vote getters will end up on the Board while the rest of the members believe there are only three openings.  This may affect someone’s decision to run.  I don’t think this creates a transparent, fair election.
  • Board members may use their knowledge of the election results to decide whether to remain on the Board or not.  Admittedly this one is unlikely but I don’t want to create a situation where this accusation can be leveled.
     

I think the majority of vacancies in the future will be handled through elections.  The bylaw section quoted above also indicates that partial term vacancies will be filled after the full term seats are filled.
Removing Directors

Section VI.7 on removing directors has always had a clause that allowed members to remove an elected director.  We also had a clause that allowed appointed directors to be removed.  We added a clause that allows the Board to remove for cause any director with a 2/3 majority vote.  The updated text reads:
Any Director may be removed for cause by a 2/3 majority vote of the Board of Directors whenever in its judgment the best interests of PASS would be served thereby.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the authority of any Director to act as in an official capacity as a Director or Officer of PASS may be suspended by the Board of Directors for cause.
Cause for suspension or removal of a Director shall include but not be limited to failure to meet any Board-approved performance expectations or the presence of a reason for suspension or dismissal as listed in Addendum B of these Bylaws.


The first paragraph is updated and the second and third are unchanged (except cleaning up language).  If you scroll down and look at Addendum B of these bylaws you find the following:

Cause for suspension or dismissal of a member of the Board of Directors may include:

  • Inability to attend Board meetings on a regular basis.
  • Inability or unwillingness to act in a capacity designated by the Board of Directors.
  • Failure to fulfill the responsibilities of the office.
  • Inability to represent the Region elected to represent
  • Failure to act in a manner consistent with PASS's Bylaws and/or policies.
  • Misrepresentation of responsibility and/or authority.
  • Misrepresentation of PASS.
  • Unresolved conflict of interests with Board responsibilities.
  • Breach of confidentiality.

The bold line about your inability to represent your region is what we added to the bylaws in this revision.  We also added a clause to section VII.3 allowing the Board to remove an officer.  That clause is much less restrictive.  It doesn’t require cause and only requires a simple majority.

The Board of Directors may remove any Officer whenever in their judgment the best interests of PASS shall be served by such removal.


Other
There are numerous other small changes throughout the document.

Proxy voting.  The laws around how members and Board members proxy votes are specific in Illinois law.  PASS is an Illinois corporation and is subject to Illinois laws.  We changed section IV.5 to come into compliance with those laws.  Specifically this says you can only vote through a proxy if you have a written proxy through your authorized attorney. 

English language proficiency.  As we increase our global footprint we come across more members that aren’t native English speakers.  The business of PASS is conducted in English and it’s important that our Board members speak English.  If we get big enough to afford translators, we may be able to relax this but right now we need English language skills for effective Board members.
Committees.  The language around committees in section IX is old and dated.  Our lawyers advised us to clean it up.  This section specifically applies to any committees that the Board may form outside of portfolios.  We removed the term limits, quorum and vacancies clause.  We don’t currently have any committees that this would apply to.  The Nominating Committee is covered elsewhere in the bylaws.

Electronic Votes.  The change allows the Board to vote via email but the results must be unanimous.  This is to conform with Illinois state law.
Immediate Past President.  There was no mechanism to fill the IPP role if an outgoing President chose not to participate.  We changed section VII.8 to allow the Board to invite any previous President to fill the role by majority vote.

Nominations Committee.  We’ve opened the language to allow for the transparent election of the Nominations Committee as outlined by the 2011 Election Review Committee.
Revocation of Charters. The language surrounding the revocation of charters for local groups was flagged by the lawyers. We have allowed for the local user group to make all necessary payment before considering returning of items to PASS if required.

Bylaw notification. We’ve spent countless meetings working on these bylaws with the intent to not open them again any time in the near future. Should the bylaws be opened again, we have included a clause ensuring that the PASS membership is involved. I’m proud that the Board has remained committed to transparency and accountability to members. This clause will require that same level of commitment in the future even when all the current Board members have rolled off.
I think that covers everything.  I’d encourage you to look through the red-line document and see the changes.  It’s helpful to look at the language that’s being removed and the language that’s being added. 

I’m happy to answer any questions here or you can email them to feedback@sqlpass.org.
 

Changing Times for Data Professionals

January 23, 2013 – Cross-posted from the PASS Business Analytics Conference Blog
By Chris Webb

One thing that’s always surprised me in the 15 years I’ve worked in the business intelligence industry is how little I’ve been involved in the analysis of the data I’ve been working with. Maybe this was because some of the business users I’ve worked with haven’t been very interested in analysing the data themselves. I deliver a nicely formatted report with a table and a few charts on it. They see whether their sales are going up or down, they get a warm fuzzy feeling (if sales are going up) or some harsh words from their boss (if sales are going down), and that’s it.

I’ve never been happy with this state of affairs, though. Many companies have ignored the potential of the data they’ve captured. What’s more, I feel I’ve been missing out as well – left out of the rewarding process of digging through terabytes of data to unearth some previously unknown insight that could transform my customer’s business.

Fortunately, times are changing. All the recent discussion around “big data” and “data science” is enticing more companies to do something useful with all the data they’ve piled up. This, in turn, presents a challenge and an opportunity to business intelligence professionals like me. The challenge is that now in addition to ensuring that the numbers are correct and the reports are pretty, I also have to be able to help my customers understand their data. I need to know about data visualisation techniques and understand why pie charts are a bad idea and why 3D graphs aren’t cool or clever. I need to know about data mining, how to calculate a forecast using linear regression, and that correlation is not the same thing as causation.

I’ll never know as much about these things as a statistician or a quant on Wall Street, but that’s OK because they’ll never know as much about the systems delivering data to them as I will. But I will need to know enough to be able to talk intelligently to people in these roles – and to be able to provide guidance to my customers when they don’t have skilled data analysts on their staff. This, of course, provides the opportunity for me to become more closely involved with how the business is run and, therefore, more valuable to it.

It’s not just BI pros who will need to move with the times. DBAs, developers, and anyone else in IT who works with data will also be affected by these changes. Having the skills to manage data or move it from place to place won’t be enough in the future; we’re all going to have to work together to add value to our data by helping people understand it. If IT as a whole isn’t willing to contribute to these business goals, it risks being relegated to a non-core function or even outsourced.

All of this is why I’m going to the PASS Business Analytics Conference in Chicago this April. Business analytics is the next stage of evolution in getting the most value from the data we collect and manage, and I want my career to encompass that full life cycle. The BA Conference is a place where traditional BI pros like me and the analysts who work with the data that we deliver can come together and learn more about each other’s responsibilities and how we can all do our jobs better. I’m excited about the opportunity to learn new skills and grow professionally, and I hope you can join me in Chicago and on that continuing journey.

 

El Capítulo Virtual Global en Español les da la Bienvenida

22 de enero 2013 – ¿Estás buscando entrenamiento SQL Server de calidad, en español? No busques más, el nuevo capítulo virtual global en español de PASS lo tiene, con sus dos sesiones en línea mensuales, como la sesión de hoy, “Análisis Predictivo con SQL Analysis Services 2012” impartida por Alan Koo de Puerto Rico.

“Nos emociona mucho poder brindar entrenamiento gratuito, de SQL Server, a todos los hispano hablantes. Hemos tenido asistentes de todo el mundo, incluidos México, Puerto Rico, Perú, Colombia, España, Estados Unidos, Canadá y hasta de China,” señala Miguel Angel Granados Troncoso quién se encarga de la logística de los eventos del capítulo virtual.

El capítulo virtual global en español es en realidad una extensión de lo que se inició en 2009 como una opción de reunión en línea para el Capítulo Virtual de PASS en México. En 2010, el capítulo suspendido las reuniones físicas por completo en favor de las sesiones web, y el otoño pasado, se convirtió en el capítulo global de habla hispana para los profesionales de SQL Server alrededor del mundo.

Próximamente el capítulo virtual contara con la participación de otros reconocidos expertos en SQL Server, como Rafael Salas, José Luis Rivera (quién se encarga de la difusión de los eventos del capítulo virtual) y Héctor Jiménez, el capítulo virtual cubrirá una gran variedad de temas enfocados a SQL Server 2012 entre los que destacan desarrollo y administración de bases de datos, Business Intelligence, big data, alta disponibilidad y más. Las sesiones son grabadas y archivadas en el sitio web del capítulo virtual para que puedan ser vistas posteriormente por los miembros; se pueden registrar al capítulo virtual global en español desde la página de los capítulos virtuales de PASS.

El capítulo virtual trabaja continuamente en un repositorio de recursos de BI y SQL Server en español bajo el liderazgo de Héctor Eugenio Jiménez y la colaboración de Miguel y José en la búsqueda de otros voluntarios que quieran participar en el capítulo. Héctor dejo la siguiente invitación “Si están interesados en contribuir o tienen alguna idea o quieren hacer alguna pregunta, no duden en ponerse en contacto conmigo ya que juntos tenemos muchas oportunidades de apoyar a la comunidad de habla hispana.”

Spanish Virtual Chapter Says, ¡Bienvenidos!

[Read en Español]

January 21, 2013 – Searching for quality SQL Server training in Spanish? Look no further than PASS’s new Global Spanish Virtual Chapter, which is hosting two free web sessions a month, including today’s “Análisis Predictivo con SQL Analysis Services 2012” by Alan Koo of Puerto Rico.

“We’re excited to be able to deliver free SQL Server training for everybody who speaks Spanish,” notes Miguel Granados Troncoso, who handles events logistics for the VC. “We have attendees joining us from all over the world, including Mexico, Puerto Rico, Peru, Colombia, Spain, the US, Canada, and even China.”

The Global Spanish VC is actually an extension of what began in 2009 as an online meeting option for the Mexico PASS Chapter. In 2010, the chapter suspended physical meetings altogether in favor of web sessions, and last fall, it transitioned to a Virtual Chapter for Spanish-speaking SQL Server professionals around the world.

Other well-known SQL Server experts coming up on the VC lineup include Rafael Salas, José Luis Rivera (who serves as the VC's evangelist), and Hector Jiménez, with the VC covering a wide array of topics, including SQL Server 2012, database development and administration, business intelligence, big data, high availability, and more. The sessions are also recorded and archived on the VC website for on-demand replay by members; you can sign up for the VC on the PASS Virtual Chapters page.

The VC is working on building a repository of SQL Server and BI resources in Spanish and the leadership team of VC President Hector Eugenio Jiménez, Miguel, and José is seeking speakers and other volunteers to help manage the group. “If you’re interested in contributing or have any ideas or questions, don’t hesitate to contact me,” invites Hector. “We have so many opportunities to serve the Spanish-speaking community.”
 

AppDev Virtual Chapter Seeking Volunteers

January 7, 2013 – After a year of transition, the PASS Application Development Virtual Chapter is ready for a fresh start, with this week’s call for volunteers and its first meeting of 2013 scheduled for Feb. 8.

The AppDev VC – one of PASS’s earliest virtual chapters – currently has 10,750 subscribers. After suspending meetings mid-way through last year, the VC is looking to get back on track delivering free webcasts and other resources for application developers working with SQL Server, including information on T-SQL, SQL Server Management Objects (SMO), .NET and CLR integration, ORMs, LINQ, best practices, and more.

“SQL Server is a powerful cornerstone to any data-driven application,” notes new VC leader Gabe Villa. “And knowing how to take advantage of its features can decrease development time and increase application performance.”

Kelly Martinez will present the VC’s first meeting this year, covering “ORMs from A to Z to SQL Server ” Feb. 8 at noon MT/19:00 GMT. To start with, the VC will host a webcast the second Friday of every month and looks to grow from there. To keep up with the latest AppDev VC meetings and news, you can subscribe to the VC on the PASS Virtual Chapters page.

“I’m also looking for volunteers to join me in leading the group and updating our website to make it a valuable resource, such as adding exclusive SQL Server development articles and links to the best learning and support sites,” Gabe adds. “I’d love to hear everyone’s ideas.”

Interested in volunteering, or have suggestions for what you'd like to see from the AppDev VC? Email appdev_DL@sqlpass.org and join the discussion on Twitter (@passappdev) and the VC’s new LinkedIn Group.

 

Amendments to PASS Bylaws – Member Review Open Until Feb 8

January 6, 2013 – The PASS Board of Directors has been diligently working the past couple of years to address the needs and issues of a growing worldwide PASS community. A concerted focus on global growth issues began in 2011 with the appointment of international advisors and continued in 2012 with Global Growth proposals being put forward for your input.
 
PASS received valuable feedback from the town hall and community leader meetings and Twitter chats, as well as on the published vision document describing how to reorganize PASS to address the needs of a global SQL Server community. Based on your feedback, many meetings, and legal review, the Board has revised the PASS bylaws to reflect where PASS is today and where it wants to be tomorrow.
 
Now it’s your turn to review the proposed bylaw changes and let us know if you have any comments. You can read:
•         Current bylaws (adopted April 2010)
•         Proposed bylaws (2012)
•         Blackline comparison of the proposed bylaws against the current version
•         Minutes from recent Board meeting

Bylaws define the basic principles of an organization and are important for continuity and guidance, especially for not-for-profit organizations that have changing leadership at the Board level. Bylaws enshrine what is key to PASS’s understanding of itself and how it chooses to operate, and they are not something the Board chooses to open and review lightly.
 
We appreciate you taking the time to review the new bylaws. All comments are welcome until Friday, February 8, 2013. Please send your feedback to governance@sqlpass.org. The Board of Directors will be discussing your feedback on the proposed bylaws at its January in-person meeting, with the final vote slated for February 14, 2013.
 
Once finalized and approved by the Board of Directors, these bylaws will be posted on the PASS Governance page. More detailed descriptions of how the PASS Board and organization conduct daily business are not included in the bylaws but are rather captured in policies documents, which the Board will be finalizing in 2013 and publishing to the community.
 
PASS’s commitment to global growth is not restricted to these bylaw changes. This is just one step on the continuing path toward greater engagement, relevance, and balanced representation for the global SQL Server community. We appreciate your feedback, and we’re excited about where PASS is heading and what we can accomplish together.

2012: Oh, the Places We’ve Been!

2012 has been an amazing year for PASS in so many ways, it’s hard to know where to begin reflecting on the last 12 months. So let me start by simply saying “Thank you.” Thank you to the thousands of incredible PASS volunteers and everyone who organized, presented, or participated in over 540,000 technical training hours delivered to the global SQL Server community this calendar year.

PASS is 127,000 members strong and growing, and we owe it all to our vibrant grassroots communities. We currently have over 250 local PASS Chapters in more than 65 countries and 20 Virtual Chapters, including six new this year: Big Data, DBA Fundamentals, Master Data/Data Quality, and the language-based PASS Portuguese, Spanish and Global Chinese Language.

Beefing up our support for Chapters, Virtual Chapters, and local event organizers worldwide, PASS welcomed the addition of Niko Neugebauer as a Community Evangelist working alongside Karla Landrum. We also rolled out new and improved chapter tools to help leaders better and more easily serve their communities (see Allen Kinsel’s blog post about the enhancements) and debuted new MyPASS functionality that helps members easily manage their profiles and chapter subscriptions.

Local communities hosted 79 free SQLSaturdays this year – nearly an 80% increase over last year – with 30 of those events outside the US. (See Kendal Van Dyke’s SQLSaturday fiscal year-end report for some great details.)  Just this month alone, we’ve had SQLSaturdays in Tokyo, Istanbul, and Washington, DC, with Nepal rounding out the year this weekend. And the 2013 SQLSaturday schedule is filling up fast.

The popular 24 Hours of PASS virtual events branched out into Portuguese and Russian versions this year, joining the annual Spanish and spring and fall English editions. And we saw SQLRally events in Dallas and Copenhagen, with a mini-event in Russia. More international SQLRally events are in the planning, including the 3rd annual Nordic SQLRally tentatively slated for November 2013. In addition, PASS was proud to sponsor nine non-PASS community events internationally in 2012.

And of course, we’re still celebrating a record-breaking PASS Summit, with nearly 4,000 attendees joining us in Seattle last month for the largest gathering of SQL Server and BI professionals in the world. All these events and associated recordings add up to 540,000+ technical training hours – or as I like to think of them, touches that improved someone’s SQL Server skills or professional development. With the inaugural PASS Business Analytics Conference in Chicago April 10-12, we’ll increase our data community reach by supporting business analysts, data scientists, architects, and BA/BI practitioners.

Throughout this year, PASS has also worked hard to ensure that global considerations permeate all aspects of what we do, focusing on making content and communications relevant for an international audience across geography, language, and time and validating and updating our event models for international communities. You can learn more about these initiatives on PASS’s Global Growth microsite. Next up is ensuring balanced international community representation on the PASS Board of Directors, with the Board working on proposed by-law changes to allow designating Board seats by geographic region. Stay tuned to provide additional community feedback once the proposed changes are published early next year.

As successful as this year has been, we still have much to do to better serve the community. And I believe the best is yet to come for PASS, thanks to your commitment to connect, share, and learn with each other. Looking forward to 2013, I’m proud to paraphrase the great Dr. Seuss: “Congratulations! Today is our day. We’re off to Great Places! We're off and away!”

Board Portfolios for the New Year

As 2012 draws to a close, I’m growing increasingly excited about the start of another year full of opportunities for PASS. With the Board of Directors elections completed and a new Board starting in 2013, it’s time to assign portfolios for the upcoming year. Next year sees the return of an old portfolio and the combining of some existing portfolios. It also brings us both returning Board members and new leaders.

Adam Jorgensen headed up the Summit Program portfolio this year and will return to that position next year, leading the team that selects the amazing educational sessions for the largest SQL Server and BI training and networking event in the world. The Program Committee just completed its work for Seattle and is gearing up for PASS Summit 2013 in Charlotte.

Denise McInerney will return to the Virtual Chapters portfolio next year and will also handle 24 Hours of PASS. There are many similarities between these portfolios as well as cross-portfolio opportunities, so it makes sense to assign them to a single director.

Rob Farley
 will guide the SQLSaturday portfolio. These events are seeing tremendous growth throughout the world. With our continued focus on serving members around the globe, we expect these free events to reach and positively impact even more members in 2013.

James Rowland-Jones, elected to the Board after serving a 1-year appointment, will continue leading the Global Growth portfolio. We’ve made great strides in the past year getting feedback and laying the groundwork for better supporting the global community. Now it’s time to build on that work and put the next steps into action.

Wendy Pastrick will begin her term on the Board by leading our Chapters portfolio. PASS’s support of local Chapters through Regional Mentors, Community Evangelists, tools, best practices, and more has grown tremendously over the last few years, but there’s still much to do.

Sri Sridharan
, also newly elected to the Board, will guide the returning Volunteers portfolio. As we continue to grow PASS’s volunteer pool, it’s important to have a dedicated a team to coordinate volunteer activities across the organization. Although this portfolio has existed in the budget, it hasn’t had anyone assigned to it for several years. We are still defining exactly how the Volunteers portfolio will align with our other portfolios, but by the end of 2013, we expect to see more volunteers, better organized, and with greater recognition for their valuable contributions.

In addition to the PASS Executive Committee – consisting of myself; Executive VP, Finance, Douglas McDowell; VP, Marketing, Thomas LaRock; and Past President Rushabh Mehta – as well as Founding Partner Board members from CA and Microsoft, this is the team that will lead PASS for the upcoming year. Please congratulate them on their portfolio assignments and offer them all the support you can. We’re expecting great things from them.
 

Welcome, Beijing and Taiwan Chapters

A warm welcome to PASS’s two newest local Chapters: the PASS Beijing Chapter and the PASS Taiwan Chapter. The Beijing Chapter – founded by Sun Wei, Song YunJian, and Zhang Quan – will hold its first meeting December 11 on “SQL Performance Tuning.” The Taiwan Chapter, led by Po Chen and Byron Hul, will host its debut meeting December 1. Check out the photos of the new Chapter leadership teams taken PASS Summit 2012 and a video from the Beijing group.

 

Fresh Start for Azure Virtual Chapter

The sky’s the limit for the refreshed PASS Azure Virtual Chapter, focused on Windows Azure and cloud computing, with a steady breeze of SQL Database flowing through its free training and networking for the PASS community.

“Azure and cloud computing are part of the new wave of technology advancement,” says Nigel Sammy, the Virtual Chapter’s leader. “We’re here to help spread knowledge about the technology and provide information that empowers IT professionals to make decisions about whether and when to adopt this technology and how best to apply it to their needs.”

Nigel volunteered earlier this year to help reboot the PASS SQL Azure Virtual Chapter. While the VC was in reboot phase, Microsoft renamed SQL Azure to SQL Database, causing the VC’s leadership team to consider renaming the group as well as changing its focus. The result is the PASS Azure Virtual Chapter, launched in September, under the leadership of Nigel, co-leader Paras Doshi, and webmaster Jose Rivera.

Microsoft Principal Cloud Evangelist Brian Prince presented the VC’s debut session, “Getting Started with Windows Azure.” And Herve Roggero, SQL Azure MVP and co-author of Pro SQL Azure, spoke on "In-Depth Azure’s No-SQL with Azure Tables" in November, with the VC currently making arrangements with Scott Klein for its December meeting. All sessions are recorded and archived for on-demand viewing.

The VC covers topics on Azure and cloud computing, with the PASS community sure to appreciate sessions on SQL Database (SQL Azure) or those that include information about it. If you are interested in speaking at one of the VC meetings, you can contact Nigel.

With the VC's mission to enable Azure knowledge sharing and create a network of Azure and cloud computing professionals, “the goal for next year is to have at least one meeting every month,” Nigel notes, “and to also have some sessions done in various countries and languages so that the Azure community we’re helping build is truly a global community.”

The VC is still working on its meeting schedule to accommodate the most attendees and is also looking at how to serve members in different time zones. You can find information about future meetings on the Azure VC website, the PASS Events page, and via email notifications to VC members and Twitter.

In addition to meeting information, the VC website also has a resources page, which includes links to related blogs and articles. Anyone interested in joining the Azure VC can do so via the PASS Virtual Chapters page. And the VC is always looking for extra assistance – if you’d like to volunteer with the Azure VC, please contact any of the team members.