Membership Personas Help PASS Better Understand Global Membership

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

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

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

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

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

BA Community Goals for FY 2017


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

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

<Click on image to view PDF>

These priorities include:

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

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

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

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

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

Jen Stirrup

Director, PASS Business Analytics

Policy on Board Members Accepting Paid Speaking Engagements

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

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

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

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

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

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

At the June Board meeting this issue was resolved.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grant Fritchey
EVP, Finance and Governance

PASS HQ is Hiring its Next Community Evangelist

Are you passionate about community? Do you wake up in the morning wondering how you can support a global engagement movement by growing a dedicated community of data professionals to connect, share, and learn? PASS is seeking a Community Evangelist to join its team.  Read on to learn what it takes to be a stellar community evangelist.

Overview
With a global membership of more than 250,000, PASS’ mission is to become the nexus of thought leadership, with the goal of growing its global membership to two million members by 2020.  Our primary mission is to support education and networking opportunities for individuals leveraging the Microsoft Data Platform. This is done through local and virtual chapters; free online events; local and regional events, and our annual PASS Summit.


What a Community Evangelist Does for PASS
Acting as ambassadors for the organization and advocates for the community, our Community team members play a key role in helping PASS do great things. Reporting to the Director of Marketing and under the direction of the management team of C&C/HQ, here’s an idea of what you can expect in this role:

  • Mentor chapter leaders to help build and sustain their user groups.
  • Coach chapter leaders as required.
  • Identify new cities to host SQLSaturday / regional events and support existing event organizers annually.
  • Look for opportunities to establish new chapters and recruit new chapter leaders.
  • Represent PASS in person at events throughout the year (including international events).
  • Build and enhance an active network of regional mentors, encouraging them to be active PASS ambassadors at events and user group meetings.
  • As part of the PASS HQ team, help execute successful community programs at events like PASS Summit.
  • Work with the larger PASS team (HQ and the Board of Directors) to execute the organization’s strategic vision.
  • Develop strategic priorities and projects to support the membership growth of PASS.
  • Monitor social media and respond/escalate community issues and concerns, as required.
  • Maintain a positive dialogue with the PASS community, including blogging and tweeting regularly about community experiences.
     

What PASS Does for a Community Evangelist
Being an evangelist is incredibly fulfilling both personally and professionally. What can you expect as a PASS Community Evangelist?

  • Grow your network while meeting professionals from all walks of life.
  • Visit new places around the world while travelling on behalf of PASS.
  • Keep your finger on the pulse of Microsoft technologies while attending events as a representative of PASS.
     

Who You Are
We’re looking for someone who is passionate and enthusiastic about supporting and growing a global community.  Our ideal person is friendly, outgoing, self-motivated and an active volunteer (in the data platform community). You don’t mind talking with people (sometimes for many hours a day!) and you enjoy sharing your community experiences through blogging and social media. You don’t need technical expertise, but you do need to be familiar with the technologies at a high level. 

You are as equally comfortable engaging with a data platform professional just beginning their career, as you are a data scientist with many years’ experience, and won’t let a lack of technical knowledge hold you back from establishing and building on these relationships.

As a global organization that needs to communicate with people around the world, we are looking for a candidate that has flexibility in their day to day schedule.  Since the position is located remotely, the ideal candidate is someone who exhibits strong self-management traits, has good administrative skills and is well organized.

Travel is part of the job so expect to fly, and because many of our events take place on weekends you’ll be required to work on Saturdays from time to time.

 

Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s Degree in related field plus at least six years’ relevant professional experience required.
  • Experience building and fostering community and membership engagement.
  • Demonstrated ability to give presentations and speak to groups. 
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills, comfort with Internet technology and social media.
  • High level of attention to detail, flexibility, superior follow through, and the ability to embrace the unexpected with grace and maturity.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the Microsoft Data Platform and its ongoing evolution.
  • Intermediate knowledge of HTML (for email and for web) and CSS.
  • Experience using Google analytics or other web analytics programs.
  • Strong Microsoft Office experience, including SQL Server, Office 365 and Power BI.
  • Passion for travel (this position is ~30 to 40%+ travel - some weeks gone for a few days, some multiple days).


Interested?
If you’re excited at the thought of being a Community Evangelist for PASS we’d like to hear from you! Please email Georgia Dahle, Director of Marketing (
georgia.dahle@sqlpass.org) to learn more or to apply for the position.  Deadline to apply is September 2, 2016.

To be considered for this role, you must include:

    • An up-to-date resume
    • A cover letter outlining your experience and salary expectations
    • Links to your blog, Twitter, LinkedIn account, etc.