Wrapping up my campaign

Just do it!

According to the published timelinethe 2013 iteration of the PASS Board elections will be over in just a few hours.  As I wrap up this year’s campaign I wanted to send out a huge thank you to the SQL community members who have supported me in my endeavor to have a second term on the Board.  I am humbled to have such a great and supporting group of friends and colleagues.

I hope that my writings have proven helpful by detailing my visions for PASS and that you have already chosen to select my name on the ballot.  However, if you haven’t voted yet, or just haven’t seen enough of my ideas for making PASS a better place, please check out my elections page for plenty more information.

I’m Allen Kinsel, I hope you’ll vote for me and I approve this message

Being a Better Director if Reelected

Happily, It’s Friday and as I was looking at all the digital bits I’ve spilled in this campaign, I realized there was one more topic I wanted to draw your quick attention to: Things I want to do better this time

  • I need to remember that communication is key and telling you what I ‘m working on is at least as important as what I’m working on.  In my first term, particularly towards the end, I sometimes sacrificed communication in order to get something done.  You need to see what I’m doing (or not doing) and be able to give feedback if you think I’ve headed in the wrong direction.
  • I want to get back to doing a better job of utilizing volunteers.  Aligning work and volunteers is hard.  As anyone who has lead a chapter, a SQLSaturday or any kind of volunteer effort know, it often feels easier and faster to just do things than to delegate things.  I had good success with delegation in the program committee and am prepared to return to a similar model during this term.  My success should not be measured by how much I do personally but rather by how much gets done within my portfolio.
  • I want to think “International” every time I start on something new.  Not because it’s the cool community buzzword but because I want PASS to serve everyone and I know I don’t have enough experience to know what will or won’t work in other countries.

That’s it for the week.  Thanks for reading and thanks for voting!  Have a great weekend!

My PASS Network

When I started volunteering for PASS nine years ago I was focused on contributing and helping where I could. I met a few people, volunteered some more, met a few more people, and somehow before I knew it I was serving on the PASS Board.  I learned a lot, tried to help people where I could, had a lot of fun and without thinking about it much at all, had built a network

Once I had decided to run for the board again I decided to ask my network, the people I’ve worked with, for their help in my campaign.  I asked for help reviewing my application, for help preparing for the NomCom interview, and I asked, awkwardly and reluctantly, for their public endorsements.  I am lucky enough to have had many of them answer my call for help and I am humbled by what many of them have said publicly about my efforts and PASSion for PASS.  It would be impossible for me to say that I’m not thrilled in getting these pillars of our communities support for my campaign but the reality is I am equally as happy to know that each of them have recognized the work and effort I’ve put forth for PASS over the years.

Here are a few hand selected quotes from my supporters writings 🙂

Karen Lopez:

“Allen Kinsel should be your very first vote for the PASS Board. His passion for the community and chapters is perfect. In fact, he continued his volunteering and continued to work on Board-level projects during his brief time off the Board”

Andy Warren

“We were colleagues for a year during his first term on the Board and I found him to be hard working, thoughtful, and always willing to listen to other points of view – exactly the qualities a Board member needs!”

Andy Leonard

“Allen has a good sense of the inner workings of the PASS Board. He brings extensive experience with the SQL Server Community, as well.  I think both are important, and that’s why I’m voting for Allen.”

Tom Larock

“Allen Kinsel’s dedication and passion for the members of the PASS Community is second to none.”

Grant Fritchey

“I absolutely believe that Allen has the best interests of this organization at heart. He wants to make a difference for the better. More than that, I’ve seen him working as a volunteer within the organization where he does make a difference, does make things better. He brings passion to the job.”

Allen White

“as head of the Chapter program has helped countless user group chapters come into being and thrive. I think this success warrants a return to the board.”


Rob Farley

“There are few people who can influence PASS like Allen Kinsel. The impact that he while had on the board before was nothing short of remarkable. I’ll be voting for Allen because I know he will serve the community wholeheartedly, throwing his all behind making the SQL community stronger.”

Jeremiah Peschka

“Allen is hard working, thoughtful, and dedicated to making PASS a great organization for the members”

Brian Kelley

“Allen knows how to do the job, can do the job, has the experience for the job, and the passion for the job. I can’t say that about any other candidate, as good as they are. That’s a key reason Allen stands out to me”

Wayne Snyder

“There are a couple of things I look for in a Board Member for PASS. Long Term Committment to the community and to PASS, whatever you promise – you must deliver, demonstrated ability to work with and motivate other community leaders, and PASSion. Allen has shown all of these traits during his long experience with our organization and our volunteers and will make an excellent Board Member.”

Aaron Bertrand

“I’ve known Allen for several years and I’ve always admired and respected the passion and dedication he has for the community.”

Patrick LeBlanc

“The thing that stands out the most is his passion and commitment to PASS and the SQL Server community as a whole”

Tim Mitchell

“He is a shoot-straight Texan who is not afraid to speak up even if what he has to say is unpopular”

Jack Corbett

“More was accomplished for local groups in Allen’s time leading that portfolio than in any other time period during my involvement with PASS. Allen’s passion for the PASS mission to Connect, Share, and Learn drives him to cut through the red-tape and get things done”



Dividing The Effort Pie

During my earlier term on the Board I struggled to keep up with all of the opportunities that came along to contribute.  I had projects within my portfolio I wanted to get chartered, projects in other portfolios that interested me, and plenty of intra-Board discussions where participation is vital. It’s was incredibly easy to find myself working 15 hours a week or more on top of my day job.  It’s absolutely about time management, but also about making some decisions about what you care about most. The method I found that worked for me before and that I plan to use again is to look at every task and map it into one of the three key areas (AKA:  slices of pie).  Let me walk you through what those look like.

Tactical portfolio level

This is what I like to call immediate term work.  Typically when joining the Board a Director is assigned a portfolio, given some resources and tasked with being its steward.  Depending on the portfolio and its current state this can either be a huge assignment or a rather minor one.  As a new director it’s very easy to get sucked in to spending all of your time working on things in this area.  While this is admirable, the problem is the organization still has needs in the other areas, particularly the longer term vision.

General PASS Improvements

Things I group into this area are generally not immediate term but, closer to short/middle term.   When I group things in to this category, they are typically things PASS is looking to do within the next year or two and have a limited longer term impact on the organization.  I would include things in this group like approving a budget, deciding to have a second Business Analytics Conference, or whether there should be a SQL Rally in a certain location.

Board & Governance issues

This is the last major category of time I use.  It’s easily overlooked and critically important to the long term viability of the organization.  Governance is typically boring and filled with minutiae but it is absolutely critical for a Board member to continue to look into the future and make decisions now that put the organization in a favorable position.  During my previous tenure on the board global growth, business analytics strategy and restrictions on company BOD representation fell into this category


I know that if I’m elected I won’t be able to do it all. I’m going to have to make choices and I’ll make the choices that I think serve PASS over the long(er) term.

Why experience matters

I’ve been fortunate enough to have gained a wealth of experience with PASS over the last 9 years.  Serving in as many different roles as I have has allowed me to see the organization from most angles, good, bad, or otherwise.  While thinking of all those experiences, I can’t think of a more challenging one than when I first joined the board of directors in 2010.  When I was campaigning then I thought I had an idea of how the board worked, after all I had read all of the meeting minutes and I knew all of the Board members personally and I thought if they can do it, so could I!  The reality was something quite different for me personally.  From my experience, and conversations with others who’ve been through it, the consensus is that it takes the better part of a year to get totally up to speed on what is required of a director.

Learning the ropes-curve

When first joining the board there’s a learning curve and that curve is substantially steeper when a new director doesn’t come from a management or board/leadership background.  There are obvious things I had thought of and planned for including budgets, learning the HQ staff roles, meeting the CA/Microsoft board appointees and getting assigned a portfolio. Then there is everything else, like learning how to communicate effectively (and efficiently!) through email, learning the processes to do nearly anything, dealing with a budget that was already set, learning the history of why something is a certain way, understanding a board meeting flow, and probably most importantly learning how to get things done politically.  It turns out making decisions is actually incredibly easy on the board, the difficult part is getting everyone else to agree with that decision.

Experience matters

I have maintained the relationships I had with the members of the Board and PASSHQ  from my prior term on the board.  When you combine that with my PASSion and prior PASS Board experience, it gives me the ability to step back into that leadership role and continue to move the organization in the right direction

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