Archive for September, 2012
My PASS History
Serving on the PASS Board for the last 2 years has been a great experience, in those two years I’ve accomplished more with PASS than I expected yet there is still more I’d like to see happen. This is the primary reason I’ve decided to run for re-election to another 2 year term on the board.
During my initial year on the board there was definitely a learning curve. Even after spending a long period of time as a volunteer, coming up to speed was quite a bit tougher than I had expected. During the first year I asked for and was assigned the portfolio of the Summit Program committee which I had previously been volunteering on. Having a familiar tactical duty during that first year while figuring out the learning curve of strategic leadership on the board was very helpful. After my first year on the board, which was my 5th working on the program committee I realized I wanted a new challenge. I knew I wanted to work on one of the biggest problems I thought PASS had so, I did a bit of lobbying and starting in January of this year I was given the Global Chapters Portfolio. After spending some extended time with Karla Landrum (Blog|twitter) and several regional mentors it became obvious that I had underestimated the amount of work that chapters were going to need from me. During this time it also fully sunk in to me the level of impact PASS could have by making it easier to be a chapter leader. In the 9 months since them, I have seen a whirlwind of activity around what we’re doing for chapters and I’m proud to say that I feel like the community is starting to see some real changes in PASS’s support of chapters.
In some ways making the decision to run for the board again this year was a tough one for me. In my estimation in order to be truly successful on the board and make a difference the community can see/feel it takes an average of at least 5 hours a week. Likewise, if a board member wants to tackle some of the tougher issues that number can easily double, triple or more. By no means am I saying this is an absolutely required amount of time, rather that this is what I considered the commitment to be by re-running for the board. As much as I might have liked to convince myself that I could spend less time on next terms PASS duties, I recognize that I have an unfortunate personality trait where I cant seem to figure out how to do things at any other setting than “all-in” so while scaling back sounds good in theory, it never seems to work out for me personally. In the end though my desire to finish what I’ve started and hopefully solve a few other issues drove me to decide to re-run for the board.
There’s more to do
In the last 9 months we’ve made a lot of improvements but, there is still a large amount of work to do for our chapters. I plan on spending the coming board term putting in place the tools, processes and documentation that I believe will help our worldwide chapter leaders spend less time worying about the logistics of their groups and more time building and growing these great local groups. In order to do this effectively I’ve been focusing on two specific facets of our chapter support. Regional Mentors and their roles, as well as Chapter leader tools. I expect that during the middle of next year the chapter tools will be significantly complete and additional things will be added to the list of things Im focusing on improving. In order to tactically bring about real change, I believe it’s very important to focus on a couple of chapter needs at a time. The difficulty is that PASS chapters have many needs so juggling this and drawing clear lines is often quite a challenge especially as these priorities have to fit into the overall strategic PASS organization priorities.
In addition to everything I want to see accomplished for Chapters, I am also committed to working on a couple of other things within the PASS Board I should mention.
- Transparency – I believe we have made great strides in this area recently and I’d like to see us continue the upward trend and I plan on continuing to lead the board towards a greater level of transparency. One thing in particular that I will champion is for every board member to communicate with the membership regularly. For an organization like ours, I believe this is critical in maintaining trust and transparency while giving candid thoughts about the direction of our organization. Since taking my seat on the board I’ve made 31 blog posts in the category SQLPASS. As I’ve been seated on the board for roughly 21 months that makes for an average of nearly 1.5 blog posts about PASS per month. I’m not completely happy with that post count as I had intentions on doing better but, I believe our community is better off for having this sort of information freely (and candidly) available.
- Community involvement – I believe PASS’s greatest asset is our volunteers and we’re currently missing opportunities to involve them at all levels of our organization. In my past role as leader of the Program committee I did a pretty good job of involving as many volunteers as reasonably possible to run that portfolio. As the Chapter Portfolio leader I haven’t expanded involvement greatly because we already had a large group of very dedicated volunteers but, as opportunities arise I plan to involve more volunteers. Looking for other areas within the organization to involve more volunteers should be a priority for every board member and our organization as a whole. Increasing volunteer participation leads me directly into my my next point
- Leadership growth – PASS needs to do more to promote our next generation of leaders, in order to do that we must involve volunteers more at all levels of the organization. We need to create opportunities for volunteers to participate in the decision making process, especially near the top of the organization. I hope to do this by convincing the board to transition from the current portfolio system to a system where board members serve as chairs on small committees with volunteers from our membership. Changing this process is going to become even more critically important in the near future as we pursue our international growth goals and dedicate some board seats to our international members.
If you believe in these changes and you like how I communicate them, 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.
PASS Chapters Update
As PASS Director of Chapters, I had my first set of meetings a few weeks ago where every Chapter Leader worldwide was invited and thought I’d write a quick post about it.
Getting up to speed in a new PASS portfolio and having something good to talk about takes time so this meeting took a lot longer to materialize than I’d originally hoped. The primary delay was it took quite a while to get enough good content that I felt comfortable inviting 300+ chapter leaders to give an extra an hour of their lives to PASS. Now that the initial break in time is handled and I know we’re making solid progress towards improving PASS’s support of Chapters (I’ll have stuff to talk about that matters) We’ve agreed to schedule these update meetings quarterly. This is in addition to the update meetings we’ve already been having bi-monthly with Regional mentors and the Bi-Monthly(ish) Chapter update emails/blog posts Ive already been doing.
Global Organizations = Follow the sun = Hard
Trying to find a time (or 2) that accomidates 300 different people is extremely challenging, In the past we’ve held Regional Mentor meetings at 9AM CST and 9PM CST in an effort to allow as many RM’s as possible to participate. We’ve had varrying degrees of success and quite a few requests to have a time that better fits those in the EMEA region. So we decided to move the initial time of the Chapter leader meeting to 6AM CST leaving the 9PM CST meeting in place. This seemed to work out OK but, being ready to present at 6AM local time was tougher than I expected, combine that with a PASS site that wasnt working properly and the first meeting went less than spectacularly. In the future we’ll probably move the morning meeting back to 9AM CST and offer a third meeting option in the middle of the day that better supports those in EMEA. The meetings are recorded and posted online for all to chapter leaders so theres always that option as well. Im open to other ideas about timings of these meetings so If your a RM or a Chapter leader and have an opinion feel free to contact me to share it.
Chapter Leader Resources
Karla (Blog|Twitter) has been working incredibly hard to update the Chapter Leaders resources page. She has made many updates and changes to this Chapter leader only page, one of the largest changes mentioned is related to the new process that book publishers are asking PASS Chapters to use. Im optimistic that the new process will help Chapters get a better selection of books in a shorter amount of time. Karla also added a new Chapter logo as a resource on this page.
Chapter Tools Project
A good portion of time was spent going over the changes in tools that have been rolled out for chapters.
The aim of this project is for PASS to provide effective tools to minimize the marketing work Chapter Leaders have to perform and increase reliability of records all while creating a one-stop shop of resources to efficiently promote and run a PASS Chapter.
To date, weve completed updates to the chapter newsletter emailer, created a chapter dashboard and created an events framework for chapters to use in displaying their meetings. The events framework is the latest update, it is currently used on the chapters portal, and although its currently a v1 release it handles many things chapter leaders let us know they wanted like Auto archiving of meeting details, Auto populating Speaker info, timezone display differences, uploads and more. There are several other hooks planned in the future for this events framework but this should provide a good starting infrastructure as we build more on to it.
Community Meetings at the Summit
Also covered were the community meetings at the summit. If you’re a PASS community leader one or more of these is likely for you!
VIRTUAL CHAPTER LEADERS
Tuesday, November 6
8:00 am – 9:00 am
Led by Denise McInerney
Tuesday, November 6
9:30 am – 12: 30 pm
Led by Kendal Van Dyke
Tuesday, November 6
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Led by Allen Kinsel
Tuesday, November 6
2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Led by Allen Kinsel and Regional Mentors