PASS Blog

The official PASS blog provides all the latest announcements, developments, and informative updates from the PASS Board. The blog is updated regularly, so please check back often or subscribe to be advised when new posts are published.

Category: Volunteers

Board Q&A Town Hall - Summit Program Innovation

Last Thursday on April 13, PASS held two town hall meetings to give members the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback on the PASS Summit program and the speaker selection process. I would like to thank the participants for engaging with us, sharing your concerns, and exchanging ideas. I ...

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Bringing You the Best Possible Summit Program

In years past, we would have announced a call to the community for volunteers and the upcoming call for speakers for this year’s PASS Summit by now. Some of you may be wondering why we haven’t done that yet, and I wanted to take this opportunity to walk through that with you. As you may ...

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BA Community Goals for FY 2017

I wanted to take this opportunity to follow up on the recent blog from Denise McInerney, The Future of the BA Community. That blog spoke to the history of BA and PASS, and also detailed why PASS has decided not to host a BA Conference in 2017. I won’t go into any more of that reasoning here – you can read that in the blog – but what I will touch on are some of the strategies for community building and the BA Community goals for FY 2017.

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Announcing the 2015 PASS Nomination Committee

July 22, 2015 – Thank you to all PASS members who participated in this year’s Nomination Committee (NomCom) elections. Congratulations to Lori Edwards, Robert L. Davis, and Bob Pusateri, the community representatives whom you have elected to join NomCom Chair Bill Graziano and Board-appointed representative Grant Fritchey on the 2015 NomCom.

A total of 540 voters cast 1229 votes in the NomCom elections. To be eligible to vote in this year’s NomCom and Board elections, PASS members needed to update their PASS profile by June 1, 2015. PASS’ secure online voting system, Simply Voting, doesn’t hold any PASS member email addresses or passwords and helped us to ensure that only eligible voters were able to cast ballots and were able to vote only once (with up to three ballots cast).

The NomCom community seats reflect the three seats up for election on the PASS Board this year: one US/Canada and Open, one EMEA and Open and one Open seat. The five-member NomCom will manage the Board elections process, qualifying, interviewing, and ranking potential candidates. A final slate will then be submitted to the current Board for approval. In addition, this year’s NomCom is charged with streamlining the process for involving and evaluating candidates and with enhancing opportunities for community engagement in the elections.

Applications for the three PASS Board seats up for election open August 5. To learn more about the 2015 NomCom election results and preview the upcoming Board of Directors elections, please see the Elections site. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact PASS Governance.

Congratulations again to Lori, Robert, and Bob. And a special thank you to all the candidates for their dedicated volunteer efforts on behalf of the PASS community and their enthusiastic and professional candidacies in this year’s NomCom elections.

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PASS da la Bienvenida a los LATAM Regional Board Advisors

03 de julio 2015--Como Presidente del Comité de Crecimiento Global de PASS me complace presentar a nuestros dos nuevos consejeros de Junta Directiva para la región de América Latina (LATAM): Eduardo Castro de Costa Rica y Diego Nogare de Brasil. Eduardo y Diego fueron nombrados por un plazo de un año (hasta el 2 de junio de 2016) por el PASS Board of Directors, y ayudarán para que PASS aumente el apoyo a los profesionales de datos en toda la comunidad mundial.

Eduardo y Diego fueron identificados como asesores de la región de LATAM debido a su larga trayectoria y el servicio que brinda en sus comunidades locales de PASS. Ambos han organizado eventos SQLSaturday extremadamente exitosos en sus respectivos países; y sus capítulos locales están prosperando. Como MVP, tanto Eduardo como Diego tienen relaciones comunitarias fuertes, así como un conocimiento en profundidad de las fortalezas y desafíos que son específicas de sus comunidades locales de SQL Server.

Este nombramiento es el último paso en las iniciativas de Global Growth Initiatives de PASS, las cuales iniciaron en el año 2011 con el nombramiento de tres asesores internacionales en la Junta Directiva y se realizaron nuevos avances en 2013 con la introducción de puesto en la Junta Directiva para la región de Europa, Medio Este y Africa (EMEA). Como parte de estas iniciativas, una de las metas del PASS para el año fiscal 2015 ha sido la de establecer una base sólida en la región de LATAM. Nuestro objetivo es apoyar a la comunidad global a través de programas que ayuden a los miembros PASS de habla hispana y portuguesa. Esta meta es sólo una parte de nuestra visión de expandir los beneficios y eventos de PASS a nivel global.

En los próximos meses, los nuevos asesores regionales se reunirán regularmente con nuestro Comité de Crecimiento Global y participarán en las reuniones de Junta Directiva de PASS. Juntos, van a trabajar con PASS para comunicar las necesidades de sus comunidades y para desarrollar y proporcionar los mejores recursos para la región de LATAM. Estamos encantados de contar su ayuda a medida que que planeamos maneras de ofrecer el mejor apoyo, eventos y recursos para la comunidad mundial de datos.

Por favor, únanse a mí para felicitar a Diego y Eduardo en sus nuevas funciones.


Adam Jorgensen
EVP, Finance & Governance, PASS Board of Directors 

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PASS dá as Boas Vindas aos LATAM Regional Board Advisors

03 de julho de 2015--Como presidente do comitê de crescimento global do PASS eu tenho o prazer de anunciar nossos dois novos Regional Board Advisors para América Latina (LATAM): Eduardo Castro, da Costa Rica, e Diego Nogare, do Brasil. Eduardo e Diego foram nomeados por um ano (até 2 de Junho de 2016) pelo PASS Board of Directors, e ajudarão o PASS a continuar o crescimento e suporte à profissionais de dados nas comunidades globais.

Eduardo e Diego foram identificados como assessores para a região de LATAM por seu longo histórico e serviços para as comunidades locais do PASS. Ambos tem organizado eventos do SQLSaturdays com extremo sucesso em seus respectivos países; seus capítulos locais estão prosperando. Como MVPs, tanto Eduardo quanto Diego possuem forte relacionamento com a comunidade, como também um entendimento profundo dos pontos fortes e dos desafios que são pertinentes para suas comunidades locais de SQL Server.

Esta nomeação é o mais recente passo das iniciativas de crescimento global do PASS que foram lançadas em 2011 com a nomeação de três assessores do comitê internacional e fez mais avanços em 2013 com a inclusão de um assento da região Europa, Oriente Médio e Africa (EMEA) no Conselho Administrativo. Como parte contínua destas iniciativas, um dos objetivos do PASS para o ano fiscal de 2015 foi estabelecer uma base sólida na região de LATAM. Nosso objetivo é apoiar as comunidades globais de SQL Server através de programas que sirvam membros do PASS de língua espanhola e portuguesa. Esta meta é apenas uma parte de nossa visão para expandir os benefícios e eventos do PASS em todo o mundo.

Ao longo dos próximos meses os novos assessores regionais irão se reunir regularmente com o comitê de crescimento global e também nas reuniões do conselho. Juntos irão trabalhar com o PASS para comunicar as necessidades de suas comunidades locais e para ajudar o PASS a desenvolver e fornecer melhores recursos para a região de LATAM. Estamos felizes em contar com esta ajuda no objetivo de oferecer o melhor apoio, realização de eventos e recursos para a comunidade mundial de dados.

Por favor, junte-se a mim para parabenizar Diego e Eduardo em suas novas funções.


Adam Jorgensen
EVP, Finance & Governance, PASS Board of Directors 

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PASS Welcomes LATAM Regional Board Advisors

July 3, 2015--As Chair of PASS’s Global Growth Committee I am pleased to introduce our two new regional board advisors for the Latin America (LATAM) region: Eduardo Castro, from Costa Rica, and Diego Nogare, from Brazil. Eduardo and Diego, who were appointed to one year terms (through June 2, 2016) by the PASS Board of Directors, will help PASS continue to grow our support for data professionals throughout the global community.

Eduardo and Diego were identified as advisors to the LATAM region because of their long history and service in their local PASS communities. Both gentlemen have hosted extremely successful SQLSaturday events in their respective countries; their local chapters are thriving. As MVPs, both Eduardo and Diego have strong community relationships, as well as an in-depth understanding of the strengths and challenges that are specific to their local SQL Server communities.

This appointment is the latest step in PASS’s Global Growth Initiatives, which were launched in 2011 with the appointment of three international board advisors and made further strides in 2013 with the introduction of an earmarked Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) seat on the Board of Directors. As part of these initiatives, one of PASS’s goals for FY2015 has been to establish a strong foundation in the LATAM region. We aim to support the global SQL community through programs that serve Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking PASS members. This goal is just one part of our vision to expand PASS’s benefits and events worldwide.

Over the next several months, the new regional advisors will meet regularly with our Global Growth Committee and will join Board meetings. Together, they will work with PASS to communicate the needs of their communities and to help PASS develop and provide the best resources for the LATAM Region. We are thrilled to have their help as we plan ways to offer for the best support, events, and resources for worldwide the data community.

Please join me in congratulating Diego and Eduardo on their new roles.

Adam Jorgensen
EVP, Finance & Governance, PASS Board of Directors

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Changes to the 2015 PASS Board Elections

June 24, 2015--The 2014 NomCom was tasked to streamline the process for evaluating candidates as well as to enhance community engagement.

The 2015 elections cycle will highlight those changes.

We’ve expanded the minimum criteria for candidates to identify the skills, experience, and qualifications needed to help set the strategic direction for PASS. Here are the minimum criteria needed for candidates to be considered to move to the interview round:
• Be a current eligible voting member of PASS
• Have direct volunteer experience with PASS
• Work with one of the Microsoft data technologies
• Be free of conflict of interest that would affect eligibility
• Be fluent in written and spoken English
• Agree to the time and travel commitments required to serve on the PASS Board of Directors
• Submit three references with a statement of support

In addition, to enhance community engagement and give voters an opportunity to make a more educated vote, the NomCom has made a change to the way candidates will be weighted and publication of that weighting. If an applicant meets the outlined minimum criteria, they will move to the interview round. Each applicant will then be interviewed based on categories to measure the strength of their candidacy. No overall ranking will be published; instead an aggregate score for each category will be published. This will give the community transparency on the strength of each applicant in each category and will provide more information for members to make an educated vote. Look for the 2015 PASS Board of Directors application August 5 on the PASS Elections page, which will outline all the minimum criteria in more detail. See the full details of the 2014 NomCom changes to the 2015 PASS Board elections here.

2015 NomCom

The NomCom is a five-member committee that manages the PASS Board of Directors elections process, qualifying, interviewing and weighting potential candidates. A final slate is then submitted to the Board for approval.

Immediate Past President Bill Graziano will chair this year’s NomCom, which will include three elected representatives reflecting the three seats up for the PASS Board this year: one EMEA seat, one US/Canada seat, and one open seat. A representative appointed by the PASS Board will round up the committee.

Who’s Eligible to Run?

To be eligible to run for the NomCom, candidates must have a demonstrable track record of volunteering with PASS – such as serving as a Regional Mentor, Chapter or Virtual Chapter Leader, or Program Committee member – and participating in other volunteer endeavors. Note that as an essential part of the PASS Board elections process, the NomCom requires significant time and effort. By applying for the NomCom, applicants agree to the time commitments of the entire general elections process, including Board applicant interviews.

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SQLSaturday Website Update Timeline

As per my blog post on April 9 regarding the SQLSaturday website, the good news is that we’re back online. So far, feedback on the site has been overwhelmingly positive. 

I first want to thank everyone for their patience last week: the organizers and sponsors who couldn’t access the site during the downtime, as well as the community members who have been waiting to hear what happened. As with any issue like this, our main priority was to rectify the situation. Therefore, we felt it best to wait until the site relaunched and all security vulnerabilities were fixed before sharing more specific details. 

But of course, full transparency is important to us and to you. Now that we’re up and running again, here is the timeline of events that occurred over the past week: 

  • • On Monday, April 6, we were alerted to a potential security vulnerability that exposed the contact information (address, city, region, and twitter handle) of some sponsors. We immediately removed this information and decided to take down the entire sponsor page for further testing. The security of information regarding our community and sponsors is of the utmost importance to us, so we wanted to conduct a thorough review of the entire website, not just that specific issue.

  • • By Monday night, we had decided to take the entire SQLSaturday site offline. We chose this option, rather than a rollback, because at the time, we estimated a rollback effort to be more time-consuming than simply taking the site offline and implementing the fix. In addition, we didn’t want to risk losing any new or changed data. We were able to minimize impact as best we could for the upcoming SQLSaturday events over the weekend of the 11th and 12th by providing access to the admin sites for the Huntington Beach and Madison SQLSaturday events. 

  • • The morning of Tuesday, April 7, we decided to ask community members for testing support. Our community comprises some of the best and brightest minds in the industry and it made sense to involve the users of the site in further testing. 

  • • The patch was completed by Tuesday night, making the site ready for testing by volunteers on Wednesday.

  • • During the testing on Wednesday, April 8, a second potential vulnerability—an HTML injection vulnerability—was identified. Because of the seriousness of this potential issue, we decided Wednesday afternoon to keep the site offline for another day so that we could thoroughly research and correct the issue and complete final testing. As we began delving into the issue, we discovered that it also existed in the old site. So again, a rollback was not an option.

  • • The problem was fixed late Wednesday night.

  • • On Thursday, April 9, PASS IT and community-member testing was complete.

  • • Satisfied with the security and usability of the site, we relaunched Thursday at 9:30pm EST.

 

PASS apologizes for this outage and for the difficulties it created for the SQLSaturday organizers, sponsors, speakers, and attendees. We thank those who provided feedback on the issues and the volunteers who stepped in to help test the solutions, particularly K. Brian Kelley (blog | @kbriankelley), Denny Cherry (blog | @mrdenny), and Argenis Fernandez (blog | @DBArgenis). To help prevent a similar issue in the future, we are looking at more extensive QA processes with a specific focus on ensuring site security. Although I believe we made the best possible decisions along this timeline, we will certainly take a different approach to future site revisions, including but not limited to earlier and wider security-based and functional testing by our volunteer experts and progressive change schedules. 

Again, thank you for your patience. If you have any further feedback or questions, please email us at sqlsaturday@sqlpass.org.

Tim Ford 
PASS Board of Directors 
SQLSaturday 

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SQLSaturday Site Redesign: Better than Ever

April 6, 2015--Over the past few weeks, we’ve been alerting people to something exciting: our new SQLSaturday website redesign. It’s now faster and easier than ever to manage, speak at, sponsor, or attend a SQLSaturday event!  After a great deal of effort by our staff and community volunteers for months (years, actually) the update is finally here—we hope you’ll stop by and take a look! The redesign will significantly improve the SQLSaturday experience for attendees, speakers, and event and chapter leaders. 

For starters, the new site makes it easier than ever to manage your SQLSaturday event or your Speaker Profile. One of the changes we’ve made is to tie in PASS accounts, so that leaders and speakers don’t need to juggle multiple account logins. 

Speakers now have a universal Speaker Profile that is associated with their PASS accounts and can be applied across events. This change and others make it easier for speakers to manage and track abstract submissions, upload presentations, and get feedback about their sessions. 

If you’re an event leader, you can now use your PASS account to access the Admin site—which has also received a facelift. The site features a cleaner, easier-to-use dashboard that will help to simplify the process of managing an event, including allowing you to associate an event with a chapter.

We’ve also improved the Session Management UI, which now supports a wider variety of session lengths as well as color-coding of tracks and rooms. Plus, you can add keynotes, rest breaks, and raffle draws as non-session items.

SQLSaturday attendees will benefit from the mobile-friendly redesign as well. Use your PASS account to manage your registrations, download SpeedPASS, pay for lunches, and deliver event feedback.

Sponsorship is an even more winning proposition, with a new slider and improved sign-up form that saves sponsors time and effort. (Sponsors will need to complete a one-time upload of new logo graphics to meet our improved display requirements, but beyond that, improvements will be effortless.)

We’re excited to hear what you think about the changes. If you have feedback or questions, we hope you’ll reach out to us at ITSupport@sqlsaturday.com.

--Tim Ford
Director, PASS SQLSaturday

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