The PASS Summit Call for Speakers opens tomorrow and I want to clarify some of our process changes this year.

To begin, I want to acknowledge all the hard work the program committee and additional community volunteers have put into the Summit program so far. The strategic vision of the Board is driving these Summit program changes and our volunteer program committee has the enormous responsibility to turn this vision into reality which has resulted in a tremendous amount of work. I also want to thank the community for your patience and your feedback as PASS continues to finalize all the details for the Summit program. 

In the last town hall meetings, Denise McInerney (Vice President, Marketing) mentioned we would share the community survey highlights that we’ve been using to help shape some aspects of the program changes. You will find these on the Call for Speakers page when it opens tomorrow.

In an effort to put content first, potential speakers will be asked to submit based on technology focused topics, as well as the new tracks I mentioned in my last post. The technical tracks are now based on the way you approach your job on a day-to-day basis and include: Design, Build, Support, Perform, Scale, and Analyze. Our technical tracks offer a new way of looking at the great content you have come to expect from PASS Summit which are practical, applicable learnings that you can take back to work with you and help you drive your company’s business forward. 

Although excluded from this year’s Call for Speakers, we are also introducing two new inspirational tracks: Evolve, and Innovate. These tracks will cover some of what we used to have within the professional development track, plus more aspirational and visionary content. We are looking to fill these tracks with some fresh and innovative content, and while these tracks are not open for submission, if you have a great idea to share, please contact programs@pass.org.

We have been driving a great deal of change with the educational content for Summit 2017. Most significantly, we have made a shift from creating a program based solely on submitted abstracts from the Call for Speakers to a more strategic, content driven approach. This necessitates changes to our Call for Speakers review and selection processes. 

Ensuring the Summit program contains the correct balance of quality content and is presented by speakers with the relevant expertise is key. Submissions will therefore be reviewed based on content and the content expertise of the submitter. This means there is no longer any need for a blind speaker review process as the speaker should be experienced in the submitted topic area. Up-and-coming speakers, who have the knowledge and expertise, are welcome to submit. The only requirement is for a speaker to have at least three prior speaking engagements. Please be sure to include your key area of related expertise and years of experience in your bio during the submission process.

A second change to the selection process is the abstract feedback process. Providing Individual feedback and reasons as to why an abstract was not selected for the PASS Summit program will no longer occur as part of the abstract review process. Let me explain the reason for the change. The program team’s priority is to create an educational program based on a content driven strategy. Providing thoughtful and useful feedback for every abstract submission is extraordinarily time consuming and has been questionable in terms of the real value it provides. It’s simply an ineffective way to provide valuable feedback. Instead, program volunteers will be available in the Community Zone at Summit 2017 for abstract writing tips and tricks for those who are interested, and we’ll be sure to also organize virtual options for community members who can’t make it to Summit this year.  

These changes support the delivery of a robust and valuable program for the thousands of attendees who count on Summit as their primary learning conference. The overall quality of world class training offered from your data professional peers in the industry at PASS Summit will continue to be top-notch.

If you have any feedback, please don’t hesitate to share it. I’m sure there will be continued room for improvement in a process that is still in its infancy, and I thank you all so much for your patience and support as we roll all this out. Thanks again to everyone who has provided feedback so far! If you have any that you would like to share, please contact programs@pass.org

Wendy Pastrick
Director, Educational Content