Recent PASS Board Meeting Updates

The PASS Board recently concluded their two day Board meeting in Seattle.  The minutes will be published here later this week or early next week. The minutes for a two day meeting run to nearly ten pages and need to be approved by a majority of the Board prior to publishing. While the minutes cover all the topics in detail, I want to focus on six items that I feel are important to share: 

Information Technology. Three years ago the PASS IT department had one individual trying to keep up with office support, rolling out web sites and custom writing applications to support our business. We had many competing priorities and were struggling to make progress. Today we have three individuals and they’re providing outstanding support to the organization. Our internal support is efficient and we are quickly able to rollout event web sites. We’ve also started making significant improvements to the SQLSaturday web application. One huge win has been Orator, our custom developed tool that manages speakers and abstract submissions for conferences. Orator is already starting to reduce workload at HQ and amongst our various event program teams and has improved communication with speakers. 

PASS SQLRally. The selection process for the PASS SQLRally 2013 will be starting up in the next couple of weeks. This year we expect to have a room block approved to broaden the base of possible host cities. We’re also going to have HQ more involved in helping the cities with the logistics side of their proposal. We discussed various ways to involve PASS members in the selection process: either selecting the final city from a short list or having a vote earlier in the process that simply counts as one component of the selection process. Whatever form this takes will be clearly outlined in the application process. With PASS Summit 2013 on the east coast, our hope is to balance out our geographic footprint with SQLRally 2013. 

PASS Summit. We’ve grown so big that for this year’s Summit we will be using both the North and South sides of the convention center. The biggest change? The dining hall will move over to the North side and will be accessible via the sky bridge. We’ll likely have to move a few session rooms over to the North side as well – which means larger capacity rooms! We also brainstormed on new ideas/formats for this year’s Summit and discussed the possibility of having only 2 keynotes this year. What do you think? Let us know. The Summit selection process for 2015 and 2017 was also touched on. 

Board Appointments. The Board spent 90 minutes discussing Board appointments. I briefly covered this in a blog post last week. The discussion covered a variety of topics with the entire Board participating, and the bottom line is that we stand by our recent appointment decisions. However, we know we need to improve our communication around how the appointment process will work next time. 

Global Growth.  In an effort to manage the explosive growth of SQL Server events and membership outside of North America, we’ve set up committees to look at various ways we can better support our global membership. The Event, Event Content, Communications, Chapters and Governance committees all provided updates. Some highlights: we will temporarily un-gate all PASS recorded sessions currently on our website, we’re going to implement a new Connector newsletter look and feel, and we’re exploring different models of PASS governance structure.  I’ll be writing more about our  governance discussions and ideas in a future newsletter.

The next in-person Board meeting will be in Dallas in conjunction with PASS SQLRally 2012, which will also be attended by the Board. I hope to see many of you there!