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.

PASS Financial Update FY 2010 Nov-end - by Rushabh Mehta


We recently completed the reconciliation for the summit and I wanted to share the details with our members. If you recall from our 2010 budget that we published, we expected to end the year with a loss of ~$14,800. However, our revenues to date exceeded our budget by $ 134,000 and we expect to end our Fiscal year (Jul 1 - Jun 31) with net positive revenues of $155,000 over budget. Our expenses also increased, but not by that amount. As a result, our net income expectation for FY 2010 is $110,000! The board recently voted in a Budget exception of $50,000 for 2 in-face board meetings in the first half of 2010. This will reduce our profits by that amount. In this profit computation, we are not considering our European event profitability, but we expect it to be a financially positive event that will contribute to the bottom line of the organization.


Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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Assigning PASS Portfolios - Part 1 - by Rushabh Mehta


As most of you are aware, I was recently elected as the next President of PASS. One of my first duties as incoming President is to allocate portfolios. Traditionally, we have had a few portfolios (or programs) and board members get assigned to lead and drive much of what they do throughout the year. Some portfolio ownerships can be multi-year engagements as well. For example Greg Low managed the Chapter portfolio for 2 years and Lynda Rab has been managing the Educational Program portfolio that deals with pulling together and managing the summit program for multiple years. Portfolios certainly have their advantages - there is a clear owner that you can hold responsible and as Andy points out in his post, our budgets are created based on the concept of portfolios and so that portfolio owner is completely responsible for that portion of the budget (planning and managing).


Our traditional portfolios last year were…

  • Global Chapters - Greg Low
  • Educational Program - Lynda Rab
  • Volunteers - Pat Wright
  • Europe - Christoph Stotz
  • Virtual Chapters - Tom LaRock
  • Technology - Douglas McDowell
  • Virtual Communities - Andy Warren
  • Special Projects - Rick Heiges


The Special Projects portfolio was created a couple of years back to handle initiatives that did not cleanly fall in one of the canned portfolios. Our 24 Hours of PASS was an example of an initiative that was led under the Special Projects portfolio. The Executive Committee is responsible for managing the foundational services such as marketing, finance and resources that impact all portfolios and the organization.


The portfolio approach also has some downsides. Traditionally the board member in charge of a portfolio has full control over the direction of the portfolio. This meant that a new board member with a completely different vision could potentially steer the portfolio in a completely different direction than his/her predecessor. This of course can be good or bad. We do have some board level checks and balances to prevent that from happening, especially with drastic changes in direction. We hope that the community oversight will also help us catch that early on. Another downside to the portfolio approach is that while certain board members get the choice of portfolios that they are passionate about, most certainly other board members may get slotted into a portfolio that they don't much care about or are passionate about. It could mean that they get disillusioned or ignore the portfolio for the most part and just do the bare minimum. This impacts PASS.


This year, as I spoke to individual board members to get a feel for their interests, it became apparent to me that certain initiatives that they wanted to see at PASS had larger implications than a single portfolio. For example, the Speaker Bureau. This is a great initiative for Chapters. But, it is also something that would benefit Virtual Chapters and PASS Community Connections and other initiatives where Community Speakers participate. So, a board member responsible for thinking of this program or initiative without the confines of a portfolio will have a better chance of creating a program that works for the organization and not just a single portfolio. There would certainly be involvement from folks in individual portfolios as well to help with the right needs assessment and support execution.  Also, in my discussions, quite a few board members wanted to lead interesting initiatives that did not cleanly fall within existing or predefined portfolios.


When deciding how to best allocate portfolios/initiatives, I also had to ensure that existing portfolios and their ongoing needs as well as ongoing initiatives are continuing to be managed and there are clear owners. The process involved extensive discussions with individual board members, Judy Christianson who also acts as our Executive Director, the HQ team as well as the Executive Committee. We also have to have a clear vision of our priorities as an organization and our goals for next year to ensure that the assignments fall in line with our goals. I have to admit that at the onset, I thought that this would be a short easy process, but, the process has been more complex - probably due to us re-looking at how to allocate portfolios versus focus on initiatives. We may end up with the wrong answer, but in speaking with Andy about the change, he suggested that as long as we can review the process and portfolios at periodic intervals and be open to making changes, it's worth a try.


In a follow-up post, I will detail out the key goals, portfolios and initiatives as well as assignments. I am not ready to do that as yet before talking to each individual board member, outside of mentioning that Douglas McDowell is going to lead Strategic Chapters and Jeremiah Peschka will lead Educational Program. At present Andy Warren is going to start working on the much requested Speaker Bureau and continue to finish polishing the SQL Server Standard program so that it can continue to run smoothly without active board member involvement. Andy is also completing the PASS Online Store.


With the new structure, we will also have room for community leaders to take on initiatives. So, stay tuned for the same.

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Allen Kinsel on the Summit Program Committee

Allen Kinsel (Blog/Twitter), PASS Summit 2009 Program Committee Manager and a 2009 PASSion Award winner, wrote a great blog post recently recognizing and thanking many of the wonderful volunteers on the Summit 2009 Program Committee. We second (and third and fourth!) the thanks, and want to add an additional thank you to Allen as well for his tireless dedication and hard work!


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Volunteering: Giving the Gift of You

Volunteers are the lifeline of PASS. And as 2009 draws to a close, we want to express our heartfelt thanks to the thousands of people who prove the power of giving every day by volunteering their time and talents to PASS—from the local chapter level to regional and virtual events to the Board of Directors.

Volunteers run PASS, and the simplest actions make a difference. Every effort builds on another to create a valuable chapter meeting, an insightful SQL Server Standard article, a successful SQL Saturday, a phenomenal 24 Hours of PASS, and an unparalleled PASS Summit. And every task has its own gift for the giver: a new business contact or friend, greater confidence in speaking, a new outlet for sharing your knowledge and skills, tips for better meetings, more management experience, or fresh ideas you can apply to other areas of your work or personal life.

So all PASS wants this holiday season is you! How can you get involved—or more involved—in volunteering with PASS? First, check out the PASS Volunteers page for an overview of volunteer opportunities and the PASS Chapters page to find your local chapter or virtual chapters you may be interested in volunteering with. Then read the following blogs for inspiration and descriptions of various ways you can help support and grow the SQL Server community through PASS:

Thanks, again, to the many passionate volunteers who power PASS. There would be no association without you.

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Board Members at the 2009 PASS Summit in Seattle - by Rushabh Mehta

It feels like eternity, yet only 6 weeks back the PASS community came together in Seattle for yet another exciting summit. The educational content was cutting edge and the company comprised of who's who of the Microsoft SQL Server world. This year's summit certainly did not fail to excite and rejuvenate everyone who attended.

The PASS board and the terrific team at HQ worked extremely hard all year to build the community at large and support various community initiatives. The summit was a time for the entire team to reach into the community, to  receive input on how they had done so far and what they should do moving forward. Although the summit itself was demanding, it was also a time to celebrate successes.

As we went through the pictures from the summit, we found this collection of amazing pictures of our board members. We hope you enjoy them as well.

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PASS Connector Editorial for December 16- by Andy Warren

It’s December already? 2009 seems to have gone by altogether too fast. As I had some time to reflect about the year, it’s been a mixed 12 months for me. I’ve accomplished most of my goals, missed a few, and endured the still slow economy.  Yet, somehow there’s that nagging feeling that I could have done more – ever feel like that?

I like goals rather than resolutions. Only one difference between them. There isn’t much accountability for resolutions! It’s easy to set goals; the hard part is setting goals that require you to work hard and stay focused but are also doable.  Set too many or set them too high, and you can end the year feeling like a loser. Set them too low, and you might end up feeling like you could have done more.

No easy answer for that problem, but this year I’m going to try to set goals 3 times a year. I think four months is long enough to accomplish something meaningful, and if a project needs to stretch over the year, I’ll just break it up into three phases. Hopefully with a lot of work that will have me thinking I did a much better job at the end of 2010!

So what goals should we set? This is where a couple hours in a quiet place will do you a lot of good as you think about this list as a starting point:

  • Work – it pays the bills, maybe you want to shoot for a promotion, a pay raise, doing a pet project that will add value to the company, maybe finding a new job. Are you still challenged? Maybe the challenges just require you to look for them?
  • Family – it’s why we work, so maybe you aim to spend more time with them, pre-pay their tuition, take a much dreamed of ‘real’ vacation.
  • Personal & Professional Development – I see this as separate from work, it’s where you invest in YOU. Typically we see this as work related; learning a new skill/version/language, but it could also be taking a certification exam, loading up SQL 2008 R2, taking a class on managing or networking. But…it should also be about things that grow you – maybe you want to learn a new hobby, or get better at an existing one, or put more time into volunteering for something.

Got some goals? Right them down and put them some place you see every day. Try hard to achieve them, but just like with projects at work, sometimes you’re going to have to re-scope or cancel a goal. Writing it down is important; it can’t be a list in your head!

Hope you have a happy holiday season.



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PASS Connector Editorial for December 2- by Andy Warren

Re-Launch of SQL Server Standard Magazine

Today we’re pleased to feature the first issue of the newly re-launched SQL Server Standard magazine. Those of you who have been PASS members for a while will remember that the Standard served as our flagship magazine for many years until we had to halt production due to rising print costs. It’s taken a while to get going again, but we’re now offering it again in a much streamlined PDF format – for free to our members!

I wrote in greater detail about the history and vision for the Standard in my blog, but the short story is that it should be a place for our members to showcase their skills and provide value to our members.

People often ask me how they can help PASS, so here’s a great example of how you can help:

  • Download it, read it, and send us comments (forums for the issues are coming soon, for now you can send to me at Was it a good article? Is there an article you’d like to see written?
  • Forward the PDF  to every SQL user you know with a short into, tell them why it’s worth a few minutes of their time
  • Consider writing an article for us. You have to have some experience under your belt, but if you’re interested contact Grant Fritchey ( to get the full scoop. If we accept your idea and you get it done, you’ll net a cool $500 – you’ll earn every penny of it!

Going forward we’ll call out new issues right here in the Connector. We’ll also evolve our formula as we learn more, with a hard focus on sustainability. If we get things going and we can do more, we will.

Andy Warren



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