I get asked quite frequently about the different PASS committee’s and how a person goes about volunteering for them.  I thought I’d take a little time and explain what the program committee does and a little about how they do it.

The program committee

The current program committee could easily be renamed “The Summit Committee”.  This group of community volunteers are responsible for most pieces of education at the annual SQLPASS Summit.

Committee Members

Every year PASS sends out a call for volunteers for the program committee (usually in Jan-Feb).  This call is actually quite formal with a few questions asked in an online survey.  The answers to these questions are used to match volunteers to tasks within the committee

The Program Committee Structure 2010

PASS Board Member (2010 Jeremiah Peschka)

PASS HQ Elena Sebastiano & Craig Ellis

Program Manager (2009-2010 Allen Kinsel)

Program Leaders (2 or 3 for lg projects)

Abstract review team members
Tasked team members

    PASS BOD Member

    The program committee always has a BOD member in charge of overseeing everything, they are usually expected to come up with great ideas, keep everything running smoothly and handle the “problems” as they arrise.  Actually the BOD members that get tricked into taking over program are very involved in so many decisions I don’t even know what they are!


    These 2 are the backbone of “getting things done” and making sure we volunteers stay on task and on schedule.  In program, as with most high profile projects, once the deadlines start they never seem to stop and if they start to slip its not good for anyone!

    Program Manager

    Thats my current job, I wish I could find a job description.  Id surely like to see it!  Essentially, I like to consider myself the glue that holds the group together and keeps us moving in the right direction.  Sort of like a project manager that actually works on the work of a project <zing>

    Program Management/leaders

    These are high level volunteers that work to meet more difficult goals.  Such as define criteria and make selections of pre/post-con Sessions and spotlight sessions.  Develop speaker resources, develop better evaluation procedures and various other similar things.

    Abstract review teams

    This group of volunteers, usually 11 people, is split up into teams by track (DBA, BID, BIA, AD, PD) This group gets the daunting task of reading and ranking every single submitted abstract.  Then they are asked to choose not only the accepted sessions but alternate sessions.  This process is several months long and the bulk of the work usually happens from Mar-May

    Tasked Teams

    This year I intend to change the requirements of the volunteers on the committee and split up the work a little more.  Every year the program committee is asked to do more work since the conference grows annually.  So, I’ve been looking for ways to split the work up even more.  This has 2 benefits, one its less work for any one person or group of people.  Two, it allows more people to get involved in a great organization.

    This year I hope to pull together several task based groups (with leaders) to do things such as pull the session evaluation data together for all years available (2005 onward), review the session powerpoints, revamp the speaker terms, design and test our >proposed< new summit speaker tool, group abstracts, and several other tasks.  There should be plenty of work to go around the biggest issue I normally run into is finding volunteers willing to take on leadership of these tasks which leads me to my 2010 program goals.

    Goals for 2010 — I have 1 goal other than a successful summit program, that is to recruit several people into leadership positions within the program committee.  It is my opinion that the only way everything PASS needs to accomplish will get done is if I can find a few good volunteers willing to lead tasks & projects.