Archive for year 2012
Welcome New Chapters
This past quarter several new Chapters have joined the PASS community:
Astrakhan .NET & SQL User Group, Russia, led by Yana Kuranova
SQL Professionals of Northwest Nevada, US, led by Christopher Sherrill
Taiwan SQL Server User Group, China, led by Byron Hu and Pohan Chen
Codificando .NET, Sao Paulo, Brazil, led by Erickson Ricci
PASS Beijing, China, led by Quan Zhang
BITUGA, Portugal led by Paulo Matos
New Zealand BI User Group, led by Reza Rad
We also have had a lot of new Chapter Leaders join us in existing Chapters as well as rebooting some inactive Chapters and we look forward to helping them keep their Chapters thriving. Be sure to reach out to your Regional Mentors and the PASS Community Evangelists for any questions you have, they are here to help you.
Regional Mentor Updates
It has been great to see more and more Chapter Leaders utilizing the great resources we have in Regional Mentors. We have some Regional Mentor changes to announce for January 2013.
Leaving the role of RM for the UK is Chris Testa O’Neill. Chris has done a tremendous job in helping with the awareness and growth of PASS in the UK the past couple of years and we are thankful for his efforts. Taking the reins in the UK and working along with Jonathan Allen in 2013 will be Mark Broadbent. Mark has been a great supporter of PASS as well as a strong Chapter leader and presenter, and most recently hosted his first SQLSaturday in Cambridge. His experiences in these areas will be a great benefit to helping others in his region.
Alexandro Prado is leaving his role as RM for Brazil after much success in spreading PASS communities in that region. Due to the tremendous size and growth potential Brazil, we decided to appoint two RMs to cover that region. Luciano Moreira, of the Chapter in Brasilia, will work along-side with Laerte Junior out of Sao Paulo. Laerte was co-leader of SQLSaturday #100, the first PASS SQL Saturday event in Brazil. We are confident that Luciano and Laerte will make a dynamo team for that country, and we look forward to seeing what will come in 2013.
I’d like to once again thank Alexandro and Chris for their volunteer time commitment as well as their service to PASS in this key role for Chapters. Their efforts in their local regions will be recognized as the foundation that we will build on for years to come.
Updated Chapters Toolset
Chapter leaders have hopefully already heard about improvements we are making in the tools PASS has for Chapters. We are continually rolling out new improvements so be sure to check in often for updates. To see what we’ve been up to, if you are a PASS Chapter leader and have a PASS hosted DNN site, log into your admin page. If you don’t have a PASS Hosted DNN site, head to the dashboard at http://www.sqlpass.org/PASSChapters/ChapterDashboard.aspx. There you can see:
We are displaying most of the information we have about your chapter within the dashboard. I would like to request that every chapter leader log in to the dashboard and make sure the information is up-to-date. Some fields are intentionally not user updateable so if a field cannot be updated, and needs to be corrected please send an email to with the update you’d like to make. Please pay particular attention to the “Chapter Leaders” tab when making sure the information is correct. In the future we will be relying on this information being up-to-date when making key decisions about Chapters.
For Chapters using a PASS hosted website, you can now benefit from the Events module integration. With this new tool you can enter your event/meeting details in one place and it will auto update those details to the Events page of the SQLPASS website, as well as to your home page of your own Chapter website and your event will also show up on myPASS for members associated with your Chapter. Other events module features include local timezone/ical support, prescheduling future meetings, uploading of meeting presentations/resources, auto archiving old events and more. For instructions on how to setup & publish an event, check out our handy guide listed on the Chapter Resources page. We will continue to update this module with more features in the coming months. Future plans include linking to many other sites/marketing avenues as well as better support for RSVP’s and more.
In addition to contacting those members who’ve registered with PASS and are associated with your Chapter, you can now upload your own mailing lists and email those specific lists about your Chapter. Thank you for the great feedback about the Emailer during the Chapter Leader Meeting at Summit. We’re working to ensure many of your concerns will be addressed in future versions of the tool. As myPASS use increases we are seeing more and more PASS members associate themselves with local Chapters so don’t miss out on this opportunity to reach a great pool of potential new members.
MyPASS is the new default homepage for all PASS members who are logged in to the main SQLPASS.org site. We designed this page to bring all of the Chapter and Virtual Chapter meeting information into one easy to use interface for your members. While looking at myPASS please check your profile and make sure it is up to date as well. Early in the new year, the Chapter dashboard will be getting the myPASS look and feel. It will show up on the left side as a tab that is visible only to Chapter Leaders
Summit Downloads for Chapter Leaders
Finally some news I know Chapter leaders have been patiently waiting for! Chapter Leaders should now have access to download the Summit 2012 sessions. The following should enable you to begin downloading/streaming the sessions immediately:
- Go to the Summit 2012 Session listings (you will need to login, or be currently logged in with your PASS Chapter leader Account)
- Click on the “session recording” link next to the session name
- From there you should see a DOWNLOAD button below the streaming player
- Note that in order to play this file you may need to update codecs in your media player
Introducing Wendy Pastrick
As you may know by now, Wendy Pastrick was elected to the PASS Board of Directors during the last election, and will begin her term on the Board January 1, 2013 by leading the Global 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. I hope you will all welcome Wendy and continue to provide her the same great feedback you always have with me. Wendy can be reached on .
Goodbye for now or until we meet again
As my year as Director of Global Chapters is coming to a close, I wanted to take this opportunity thank each of you for helping Chapters as well as recognize the progress we made together this year in helping PASS communities grow stronger. We were able to make some very visible progress during the last year to better support PASS Chapters and their members and with the team we have in place I expect we will maintain that momentum going forward.
I’ll be staying involved with the PASS Community going forward and for now I’ll be focusing on wrapping up some of the Chapter tools changes and working towards a successful handoff of that project. It has been my privilege to work with y’all and I look forward to seeing each of you in the future.
The voters have spoken and I will not be returning to the PASS board as an elected director in 2013. A week ago I wrote a post about campaigning being hard and in it I wrote something that I believe and keep coming back to.
I’ve spent many thousands of hours of my life serving the PASS organization and want the opportunity to spend a few hundred
thousandmore in the same role over the next two years. However, if by chance the community wants to see someone else in my seat on the board I can live with that, there aren’t any bad choices.
As much time and energy as I’ve put into PASS over the years this outcome stung a bit personally but I’ve come to accept the reality of it. Thanks to everyone who supported me in this election cycle, I was truly humbled to receive your support.
Congrats to JRJ, Sri and Wendy. I’m sure yall will do a great job keeping the organization moving forward on the right track.
Its nearing the end of the road for this years PASS elections cycle and according to the elections timeline, in just a few short hours this years election will be over. Voting will officially end at 12PST tomorrow. To help the inner procrastinator in all of us, heres a link that should tell you when the very last moment is for your vote to count!
Hopefully if you’re taking the time to read this blog you are in the final stages of deciding which of the 5 candidates for the PASS Board of Directors you’d like to vote for. I want to thank you for being an educated PASS member and taking your valuable time to vet the candidates. In order to help make that process a bit easier, following is an aggregate of all my pass views about the election.
Detailed info about my candidacy
- Outlining my decision to run and a few important opportunities for change
- A recap of some issues I plan on tackling
- Why Campaigning amongst friends is tough
- Listing many of the things Ive accomplished on the board in 2 years
- Outlining a strategic advantage I have to getting things done
- My answers to questions on the PASS elections forums
- Official election platform
Additional places around the web where I’ve been mentioned
- Grant Fritchey appreciates my PASSion
- David Stein has witnesed my ability to listen and care about community issues
- An audio interview with Denny Cherry
- Ryan Adams believes in the changes & effort Ive put forward
- Laerte Junior likes the direction we’re headed
- Letter of recomendation from Andy Warren
- Letter of recomendation from Jeremiah Peschka
- Letter of recomendation from TJay Belt
Hopefully this makes finding as much info as you need about what I stand for with PASS easier to find. I would be honored If you would cast one of your votes for me. I’m running for the PASS Board of Directors, and I need your help to make a difference.
Previously I’ve written about many things I’ve done while on the PASS Board. It’s often easy to take credit as a member of the board for doing things with PASS. The reality though is that there’s always more to it than just deciding to do something, digging in and personally accomplishing some goal. PASS is lucky to have a paid staff that executes on many of our objectives. This staff collectively is often referred to simply as “HQ” and they are the primary source of continuity within the organization.
PASS HQ consists of about 16 people who are permanent salaried staff and at times (summit) upwards of a dozen additional contractors. The Community Evangelists (Karla Landrum and Niko Neugebauer) will be the most likely contact points for most community members however they are just the front lines. The other people within the HQ team are where much of the additional work happens that allows us to put on great events like the Summit. These largely unsung heroes of the SQL community do the majority of the heavy lifting from day to day and in many ways should be recognized as critical members of our SQL Community even if most of them wouldn’t know a tempdb from a checkdb.
Learning to work within the HQ structure is very important for Board members as HQ has such a huge impact on all things PASS that they can greatly contribute to helping make a board member’s priorities a reality or conversely they can contribute to that same board member’s priorities languishing. I’m happy to say that in the years I’ve been volunteering with PASS, I have taken the time to build strong relationships across the organization that allow me to get things done effectively. Building these relationships has not always been a cakewalk, in fact far from it, but adversity seems to have had a way of making the working relationship I have within PASS HQ better. Knowing where to turn within HQ to get answers or to unstick a hung process has proven to be invaluable in my tenure as a volunteer with PASS and now even more so as a Board member.
Please consider voting for me. I’m running for the PASS Board of Directors, and I need your help to make a difference. Click here to read about why I’m running.
tl;dr — Disclaimer
I almost didn’t publish this post once I saw what it became as it was too verbose. I couldn’t find a way to shorten it substantially and I didn’t want to break it up. However, I wanted it out there for no other reason than to serve as a crutch to my aging memory.
Cliffsnotes Version Available
For most of you, the outline below should be plenty of info to help shape your opinion of my first term on the PASS BOD. However, for those that want more details (or are just bored for 5 minutes) the details are included afterwards.
Serving on the Board for the last 2 years has been a great experience and many of my successes and failures have been documented right on this blog but, I thought it would be good to bring some of that data into a single post
- Improved Board Communications
- Improvements to the Website – Chapter Tools Support
- SQL Rally US Decision for FY13
- Supported Global Growth
- Elections process Improvements
- Classifying & Moving Profit into Reserves
- Created a broader volunteer recognition program
- Supported creating and enhancing the community evangelist role
- Voted to move the Summit out of Seattle in 2013
- Supported in house building of core event applications
- Built a partnership for mobile event platform – Guidebook
- Added 1/2 day session to the Summit
- Expanded the role of volunteers in the Program Committee
- Created a process to allow community voting of sessions at the Summit
In the not too distant past, PASS directors weren’t the best at communicating things with the membership outside of official channels (minutes and connector articles). I believe in open and transparent communication whenever possible. I have worked to update this blog with information about PASS happenings at least semi-regularly since joining the board (31 Blog posts about PASS since 1/1/2011)
Over the last 4 months I’ve been spearheading a rather large project within PASS to redesign much of the PASS member interfaces on the website. Being able to increase the exposure our chapter events have should help this grassroots section of PASS grow even stronger. This redesign should be live before this years summit if current projections aren’t off.
In addition to this, over the last 7 months I’ve been leading a separate project to completely revamp the infrastructure PASS uses to manage chapters. It’s an unfortunate reality that when I started in the chapter portfolio, nearly all of our information about chapters, including leaders, meetings, Regional mentors, etc was handled nearly exclusively in excel. We had a great deal of technical debt to deal with in order to begin properly supporting chapters. After a bit of counseling with the experts, we decided to throw nearly everything we had away and start anew. In the time since that decision, we’ve produced a set of tools that our Community Evangelists, Regional Mentors & Chapter Leaders are beginning to use.
I’ve also been redefining the Regional Mentor role within PASS to better outline in clear terms what a chapter leader can expect of an RM and what an RM can expect of chapter leaders and PASS itself! This is still very much ongoing but, we’ve already made some good progress and this group is on a better path into the future.
One of the more difficult decisions I’ve been involved with in the last year was the decision to cancel the North American Rally for FY2013. I believe the Rally model provides a fantastic opportunity for PASS to have a greater impact for more members. The North American rally process worked but definitely had some issues. I don’t think anyone who was associated would disagree however, I’m still of the opinion we could have fixed those issues by tweaking the event model in FY13. There were some great discussions about possible options however, I was not persuasive enough and in the end the board had to choose among priorities and voted not to have a North American Rally in FY13. I’m still optimistic that this will be picked back up in the spring for a FY14 US event.
Everyone on the board has been involved in the move to make PASS a truly international organization and I am have been no exception to this. JRJ spearheading this group has allowed the board to make great progress on this objective. Much of this process has been collaborative and I believe we are currently on track to create a great global organization. If you haven’t read the info on the global growth site, I would encourage you to do so!
I’ve been quite vocal within the board (as well in the minutes) about my belief that for the health of the organization we should form a small group (3ish) yearly after the elections to function in an ERC capacity. I think having them meet a time or two yearly to go over the election process and any concerns from anyone involved makes a lot of sense, and allows the organizations processes to naturally evolve instead of the abrupt changes we’ve had in the past. I don’t believe this group has to have a bunch of overhead but, I’d like to see it engrained in our culture.
PASS occasionally makes a small profit in a given year based on how well the summit does financially. Since joining the board, I’ve been concerned with our process for handling this profit. We currently have a small amount of money in reserves and I believe for the long term health of the organization we need to be putting more of this profit into these reserve accounts. During our last board meeting I was finally successfull in getting an action item created to create a reserve policy and transfer FY11&FY12 monies into these accounts. To the average PASS member, this probably isn’t seen as a big deal and seems like a bit of minutiae however, increasing reserves for the organization in good times will allow us to have better options when things get tough again. Once money gets moved into the reserve account it becomes a bit more difficult for the organization to spend on a regular expense as it takes a board vote.
PASS has awarded the PASSion award to one outstanding volunteer annually. Given the large amount of volunteers we have in the organization, I’ve always felt that we should be doing more to recognize them. Earlier this year I helped drive the creation of a true volunteer appreciation award program. The outstanding volunteer award is only a small token but, receiving recognition including a badge and paper certificate that is signed by the president of PASS is in my mind the least we can do for those who do so much for the PASS community.
Prior to 2011 PASS HQ had experience in working with volunteers to do things like start chapters, administer SQLsaturdays, etc. However, HQ truly had no one on the team that had been there and done that in the community so to speak. Finding someone who had lived and breathed community for as long as Karla Landrum (Blog|twitter) had and was willing to leave their Job was truly a stroke of luck. However, convincing the board that this new type of community support person was indeed the best way to spend our funds was a different matter altogether. The face of PASS has been forever changed by this additional role and because of the great success of Karla, as of Oct 22 we will be adding a second Community Evangelist, Niko Neugebauer (Blog|Twitter) to help do even more things directly with the community.
Back in 2010-2011 this was quite the hot topic within our community. Ultimately I voted to move the Summit to Charlotte in 2013. Only time will tell whether that was a good decision but, at this point I listened to the community and believe it was the right choice. I wrote a lengthy reply in the election forum about this topic as well so I won’t rehash it here.
Early on when I was involved with managing the program committee I lobbied heavily for PASS to invest in the tools needed to do the job of managing our speaker selection process and scheduling for the larger PASS events. In the time since then we have invested heavily in custom built tools and I’m happy to say that even though there are occasionally bugs, the decision to build these tools has allowed PASS to scale events without paying large fees to 3rd party software per event. One interesting thing I worked into the tools requirement was an odata feed . Getting this baked in from the beginning has allowed many others to build applications that make use of the data in interesting ways.
In early 2011 We were looking for a vendor to deliver a mobile experience for the Summit. Because of the existing odata infrastructure for our larger events and new XML feed enhancements planned for the SQLSaturday site, I was able to work with HQ and guidebook to sign a 2 year agreement covering them hosting mobile applications for all of our single day and longer events (sqlsat+).
In 2011 I created a new summit session type that has thus far proven to be a great addition to the event
When I began with the Program committee way back when, I believe there were a grand total of 8 volunteers on the committee. When I left as leader of that group we had approximately 25 people actively working on teams and an additional 10 people who were part time dealing with things as needed. By growing these opportunities we are allowing the community to play a greater role at higher levels of the organization. Hopefully some of those same volunteers will move on to higher roles in the org because of their initial involvement in the program committee.
While leading the Program Committee I attempted to involve the community at large as much as possible. Under my watch, for the first time the community was allowed to vote on several sessions to be presented at the summit.
If you like what I’ve accomplished in 2 years and want to see more done, please consider voting for me.
I’m running for the PASS Board of Directors, and I need your help to make a difference. Click here to read about why I’m running.