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
“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”
“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!”
“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.”
“Allen Kinsel’s dedication and passion for the members of the PASS Community is second to none.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“Allen is hard working, thoughtful, and dedicated to making PASS a great organization for the members”
“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”
“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.”
“I’ve known Allen for several years and I’ve always admired and respected the passion and dedication he has for the community.”
“The thing that stands out the most is his passion and commitment to PASS and the SQL Server community as a whole”
“He is a shoot-straight Texan who is not afraid to speak up even if what he has to say is unpopular”
“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”
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.
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.
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
A few weeks ago I wrote that I applied to be on the slate for the PASS Board election. Today the list of candidates has been officially announced and I am happy to say that a group of hardworking SQLFamily members on the NomCom thought highly enough of my application, interview and references that I was ranked first on the list of candidates.
Today I am launching a single page that consolidates all of the information about my campaign platform and hopefully all of the reasons you’ll want to vote for me!
Why choose me:
Passion & experience
I am passionate about the community and the things that we can accomplish while working together for the greater good. Over the last 9 years of volunteering with PASS I have gained a level of experience that is unrivaled by any other candidate. I want to give back more to the community that has helped me succeed both professionally and personally. I want to see PASS better serve the needs of our existing community while at the same time having the vision to do what is needed to survive long term in a changing community.
Vision & goals
Having previous PASS Board experience will allow me to hit the ground running on day 1 to carry out my vision for PASS’s future. The combined experience and vision I have for PASS allows me to prioritize my goals as director where I think they will impact PASS’s membership the most. My key goals while serving on the Board will be:
- Prioritizing and investing more dollars in PASS IT to bring our member used systems current. An example of this is expanding the functionality of MyPASS to include enhanced sections for Chapter leaders, Speakers, volunteers & members.
- An additional IT investment will need to be made to bring PASS’s membership roster current. Bringing the roster current will allow PASS to have better knowledge of our worldwide membership and provide them better benefits.
- It’s time to transition from the current board structure of portfolios to a committee based approach. This will allow the board to maintain a more strategic role and grow more leaders as well as help keep projects moving better during election transitions.
I have the community perspective, experience, vision and PASSion that PASS leadership needs
I have decided to apply for the SQLPASS Board of Directors this year. Before I get to some of the specifics on why I’m running for election again, I’d like to tell you a bit about my journey with PASS
In 2004 when I attended my first PASS Summit, I still remember being convinced by two of my new friends, Tom LaRock (B|T) and Pat Wright (B|T) to get up at 7AM and learn about helping PASS. Prior to walking into that room, I had no idea what PASS was beyond the summit or why I’d ever want to volunteer for PASS. It only took Wayne Snyder (B|T) 5 minutes to convince me that PASS needed my help. Wayne, if you’ve not had the benefit of meeting him or seeing him speak, is a very charismatic leader and he could convince most anyone to volunteer with PASS from his sheer passion. It would not be exaggerating to say this was a life changing experience. Following that first interaction, I have volunteered prolifically:
- SIG’s (precursor to Virtual chapters) 2005-2009
- Summit Program Committee Member 2007-2011
- Summit Program Committee Leader 2009-2011
- Nominations committee 2009
- Board of Directors 2010-2011
- Chapter tools project 2012
As a volunteer I have had the opportunity to work with many teams to help implement my visions for PASS. For example the program committee brought in such current Summit favorites as half day sessions and lightning talks. More recently, I realized we were underserving our chapters and their members and created a strategy for enhancing the chapter leader portal that correlates the data used on all members’ MyPASS page as well as the events page. I like to think my volunteer time has been good for the organization but, I know my volunteerism has been good for me professionally. The time I have spent on the board helped me grow my career into a new leadership role recently and I hope that growth will in turn allow me to support doing more on the board.
I want to reinvest in the community that has helped me succeed professionally by further enabling our next generation of leaders to grow and succeed. I want PASS to have grander goals than just having a Summit, BA conference & SQL Rallys or being the SQL Saturday/Chapter steward. Sure, PASS is and should be all of those things but I see PASS in a larger context, PASS should be an enabler. PASS can and should provide vision and solutions to our community on a larger scale than it has attempted to in the past.
To sum all that up in a word: “Passion”. I am passionate about PASS and its ability to help the sqlfamily achieve their professional goals.
I have the community perspective, experience, vision and PASSion that PASS leadership needs.
In the year since I left the Board, I’ve had the opportunity to clearly see how far PASS has come as an organization, as well as how far we still have to go! Having previous PASS Board experience will allow me to hit the ground running on day 1 to carry out my vision for PASS’s future. The combined experience and vision I have for PASS allows me to prioritize my goals as director where I think they will impact PASS’s membership the most. My key goals while serving on the Board will be:
- Prioritizing and investing more dollars in PASS IT to bring our member used systems current.
An example of this is expanding the functionality of MyPASS to include enhanced sections for Chapter leaders, Speakers, volunteers & members.
- An additional IT investment will need to be made to bring PASS’s membership roster current.
Bringing the roster current will allow PASS to have better knowledge of our worldwide membership and provide them better benefits.
- It’s time to transition from the current board structure of portfolios to a committee based approach.
This will allow the board to maintain a more strategic role and grow more leaders as well as help keep projects moving better during election transitions.