PASS has come a long way since its inception in 1999. The annual PASS Summit has provided the opportunity for members of the PASS community to connect, share, and learn, as the world of data has evolved and grown over the past 18 years. A key component of that growth has been the support of our partners and sponsors.

One of the things I've experienced over the years, is that our partners are there to help you. Yes, they get sales leads by scanning badges, but that isn’t their true goal onsite. What really matters to them are the conversations they have and the relationships they build with conference attendees. Our partners and sponsors are at the conference to connect with you and understand your challenges, helping you to be more effective at your job. They have tools that can save you time, allowing you to focus on the project at hand, instead of some tedious issue that could be more effectively automated.

In my years in the PASS community (14 years now), the most valuable takeaway for me has been the relationships I've built. As an attendee, a speaker, an MVP, and now as a member of the PASS Board of Directors, I've met and become friends with people who were focused on the Microsoft Data Platform. I've learned from them, and they've learned from me. A number of those relationships were with partners and sponsors, and I've valued those relationships, so much so that I now work for one of our Global Alliance Partners (GAP).

Our partners value the opportunity to meet with you, and build a lasting relationship that will benefit both of you. The best thing you can do is spend a little time at PASS Summit talking with them. Share with them the issues you're having, and listen to how they may be able to help you solve some of those issues. Our partners appreciate that your time is valuable, and it’s their job to determine whether or not they can help you, as quickly as possible.

As an organization, PASS is transitioning, not just to expand to encompass the developer and analyst, but from a sales relationship to a community partnership with our partners and sponsors. This is critical to our growth, and to your success in your role. Along with our GAP, Microsoft has fully embraced this transition. They are not only our PASS Summit Premier Sponsor, but they also partner with us year-round to deliver diverse learning opportunities to all of our members. This year, they are increasing their investment in the community by sponsoring all of our SQLSaturday events.

Our partners make a lot of what we do possible. They support events such as PASS Summit, 24HOP, and SQLSaturdays, and they provide PASS with essential revenue that allows us to grow our community and provide our members with the resources they need to be successful in their data professions.

As a community, we can work together to collectively solve our problems and be more effective at our jobs, and PASS is working to help you at every level of that process. Please take the time to get to know our partners and sponsors - they are there to help you.