Nominations Committee

The Nominations Committee (NomCom) administers the election process for the annual PASS Board of Directors election.‚Äč

It is essential to have a committee that understands the role and responsibility of PASS Board members, the existing and potential issues the Board faces as a whole, and has the ability to ask applicable and concise questions of candidates, based on this knowledge. Further, it is important to represent the PASS community with a committee that is diverse on multiple levels (gender, race, involvement within PASS, etc.). Five community members were chosen in order to represent all of these components. The 2020/2021 NomCom members are:

Erin Stellato (Chair)
Lisa Bohm
Joshua Higginbotham
Randolph West
Allen White
Kevin Wilkie

The primary role of the NomCom is to measure each candidate against a set of criteria (the Ideal Candidate Description) to determine the list of candidates with the qualities necessary to be successful on the Board.

The NomCom evaluates all applications to be sure each candidate meets the minimum requirements in order to move to the interview rounds. Recommended candidates are presented to the PASS Board of Directors, which approves the final list.

Below is information that will guide you if you are interested in running for the PASS Board in the upcoming election. PASS Board applications for the 2021/2022 term are now closed.

Role of the Board of Directors


The Creation of PASS

PASS was formed in the late 1990s when Platinum Technologies approached Microsoft about forming a user group. Each company invested $125,000 and the first conference was held in Chicago in the fall of 1999. Platinum was later acquired by Computer Associates (now CA). As Founding Partners, CA and Microsoft were entitled to 2 seats on the Board. Over time, PASS continued to focus on Microsoft technologies, but CA’s product lines were no longer marketed to utilize large venues like PASS and their strategy around Big Data. Additionally, CA had support for technologies beyond just Microsoft. CA was no longer able to commit the necessary marketing dollars for PASS in order to sustain their position on the PASS Board and they officially submitted notice to conclude their relationship with PASS on October 9, 2013. CA officially terminated the agreement with PASS as of January 31, 2014. Microsoft has continued to maintain two seats on the Board, typically allowing one for Marketing and one for Engineering. You can see who currently holds those seats here:

Role of PASS Board Members

PASS Board members are the fiduciaries who steer the organization towards a sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical, and legal governance and financial management policies, as well as by making sure the organization has adequate resources to advance its mission. They are responsible for the short- and long-term strategic direction of the PASS organization.

Beyond this, what PASS needs from the Board is perspective and expertise. Perspective and expertise as a data professional, PASS community member, from their region, or from drawing on other relevant experience (i.e. speaker, business leader, other Board experience).

What PASS does not need from the Board is tactical execution or day to day management of organizational activities.

The challenge is to do this while also providing focus for the organization. Focus to drive the evolution of the organization and to prevent distraction from impeding momentum.

Board members will fulfill their responsibilities as leaders and visionaries by:

  • Collaborating to finalize annual priorities/direction – as outlined by the PASS Executive and PASS HQ.
  • Reviewing and scrutinizing annual fiscal year budget following creation by PASS HQ and review by the Executive Vice President.

Board members are expected to:

  • Follow financial reporting from PASS HQ (i.e. monthly finances, registration, and sales reporting) and ask questions where required.
  • Actively engage as advisors to provide ongoing insights in alignment with annual priorities/direction.
  • Act as influencers – evangelizing, supporting, and amplifying messaging from the organization (i.e. governance, marketing, or community-centric messaging).

What is PASS

PASS is incorporated in the state of Illinois. It is a not-for-profit corporation; however, it is not tax-exempt at either the state or federal level. It is controlled by a Board of Directors as specified in the bylaws. These bylaws can be found here. This means that the organization must conform to Illinois state law in certain situations.

Non-Disclosure Agreement

PASS requires all Board members to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). PASS regularly receives privileged information from Microsoft and other key partners, and Board members have a duty to protect that information. All Board discussions and votes are included in the minutes unless specifically noted that they are NDA. Typically, only those areas where the Board has privileged information, or the Board is not ready for an announcement to be made public, would a subject be considered NDA from the minutes. These items should be specifically identified during discussions or over the email DL.

Where can I find out what’s going on with the PASS Board?

  1. The Governance Page
  2. The PASS Board of Directors
  3. The Board Minutes
  4. The Policies Page
  5. The PASS Election Page
  6. The PASS blog will keep you up to date on all things current

Job Description

Board Candidate Job Description

Do you want to help shape the future of PASS? Are you looking to further your skills as a leader and influencer? Do you want to be the voice of the community in the strategic advancement of PASS?

Who You Are

  • A motivated self-starter who enjoys collaborating as part of a team.
  • A member of PASS for one year minimum with current eligible voting status.
  • A volunteer with direct experience with PASS. Experience can be in the form of service on a committee, service as a Regional Mentor or Group Leader, leading a SQLSaturday event, etc. Speaking at a conference is not sufficient volunteer service.
  • Have worked with at least one of the Microsoft data platform technologies to be considered eligible.
  • Free of conflicts of interest that would affect eligibility (as outlined in the PASS Bylaws, Section VI.3).
  • Agree to the time and travel commitments required to serve on the PASS Board of Directors outlined below (your employer should also agree that you can meet these requirements).
  • Fluent in written and spoken English (as outlined in the PASS Bylaws, Section VI.2).
  • Able to submit three references with a statement of support.

What Serving on the Board Offers

  • Opportunities for career development and advancement by furthering your business and leadership skills.
  • Opportunities to help shape the vision and strategy of PASS.
  • Boosts your public profile and visibility within your industry.
  • Expands your network by making connections with other Board members, PASS HQ, community leaders, vendor partners, and the PASS community.
  • Opportunities to make a difference within the community; see the impact of your work and time on the Board.
  • Experiential learning opportunities through campaigning, hands-on mentorship, serving on working groups, and ultimately being a representative on the PASS Board of Directors.

What We Need From You

  1. Commitment to the term of office set by the PASS Bylaws (two years).
  2. Participation in monthly Board teleconference meetings, as well as two to three in-person meetings per year in January, June, and during PASS Summit.
  3. Participation in the development of PASS’ strategic plan and support of strategic goals through participation on working groups, email communications, and board meetings. Time commitment of two to three hours per week.
  4. Collaboration in finalizing annual priorities/direction as outlined by the PASS Executive Committee.
  5. Review and scrutiny of PASS’ annual budget presented by the EVP.
  6. Identification of prospective Board members, including the recruitment and mentorship of these prospects.
  7. Participation in the self-evaluation of the Board itself.
  8. Adherence to the bylaws and polices that apply to the Board.
  9. Support of Board and governance decisions once made.
  10. Candidates should be ambassadors for PASS in the wider community and help in keeping members informed of relevant PASS information and updates.

Ideal Candidate Criteria

The Nominations Committee has confirmed the Ideal Candidate Description for the 2020 PASS Board election. The Ideal Candidate Description is intended to increase the number of qualified candidates and help ensure that they have the qualities necessary to be successful as a member of the PASS Board. 

Ideal Candidate Criteria

  1. Experience with PASS
  2. Strategic Vision for PASS
  3. Understanding of PASS
  4. Other Board Experience
  5. Written and Verbal Communication Skills
  6. Leadership/Management Skills
  7. Financial/Budget Experience
  8. References
  9. Influence
  10. Time Management Skills

Applying to the Board

Ideal Candidate Description

Evaluation of Ideal Candidate Description Qualities

Candidates for the Board of Directors are evaluated (rated) on a number of categories (qualities) that the Board believes are useful indicators of aptitude in preparation for the role of a PASS Director. None of the categories in the ideal description are mandatory. The mandatory requirements are listed in the Application Guidance document. The NomCom rates candidates against the ideal description from both their application and interview to determine how well suited they are to serve as a PASS Director.

The rating scale is: Weak (1), Acceptable (2), Strong (3), or Very Strong (4). An aggregate score for each category for each candidate will be published during the elections campaign period. This published score will give the community insight into the strengths of each candidate based on the NomCom’s evaluation of their application and interview.

Please note: these are subjective ratings.

1. Experience with PASS

a. Seasoned member of PASS

i. understand the benefits of being a member

ii. understand the challenges associated with membership benefits

iii. Established member – 5+ years

iv. Well versed with current initiatives

b. Participated in multiple roles within PASS

i. Volunteer

ii. Attended events – Summit, PASS Marathon, SQLSaturday, etc.

iii. Presented at PASS-related events

c. Established relationships with PASS HQ

2. Strategic Vision for PASS

a. Able to articulate the vision of PASS as approved by the Board of Directors

b. Ability to determine community needs

c. Ability to explain their vision for the next 1–5 years and how it aligns with the PASS goals

d. Ability to explain any differences from the current vision and mission statement

e. Ability to support the strategic priorities of the Board

f. Innovation / Evolution - diversification of thought

3. Understanding of PASS

a. Clear understanding of the PASS Board composition, including the various committees chartered by the Board

b. Grounded to the community and able to constructively accept and apply external feedback  

c. Conversant with all events owned, sponsored, or branded by PASS

d. Conversant with the PASS Bylaws

e. Conversant with the role of PASS HQ

f.  Understands that the role of a Board member is not to solve technical problems

4. Other Board Experience

a. Ability to recognize the equality of Directors

b. Ability to become versed on Board/Exec goals in a short time period

c. Basic political skills

d. Experience volunteering in a capacity that does not have direct authority

e. Ability to build consensus

f.  Ability to accept a compromise

g. Ability to take an unpopular stance

h. Ability to articulate a view on transparency and the role it plays in Governance

5. Written and Verbal Communication Skills

a. Must be fluent in English – both written and spoken

b. Ability to clearly and concisely communicate ideas, concerns, or objections in both writing and in person

c. Knowledge to appreciate when it’s appropriate to email/write vs. make a phone call or discuss in person

d. Experience with public speaking (desirable)

e. Respectable social media presence

6. Leadership/Management Skills

a. Mentor in the PASS community (either officially or unofficially)

b. Experience leading and managing in a consultative and collaborative manner

c. Experience dealing with conflict

d. Ability to delegate

e. Ability to work across silos/cross functional teams and managing a variety of stakeholder groups

f.  Ability to recognize when change is necessary

g. Willingness to build relationships with Board and HQ

h. Ability to effectively deal with conflict

i.  Experience working in a matrix environment

7. Financial/Budget Experience

a. Ability to effectively contribute to financial decisions

b. Familiar with the current PASS budget

c. Familiar with the most recent PASS financial statements

8. References

a. Strong references from other PASS members involved in PASS leadership

b. References that speak to the candidate’s network – national and global level

c. Strong references from current employer/client

9. Influence

a. Name recognition and sizeable network within their region

b. Strong network that is authentic and trustworthy

c. Ability to build a network to find volunteers, sell ideas, and get meaningful feedback

10. Time Management Skills

a. Ability to work remotely

b. Ability to handle competing schedules

c. Has evaluated the time commitment of serving on the PASS Board

d. Has discussed time demands with employer/family

Candidate Campaign Guidance

Campaign Guidance

Campaign Guidance & Accountability

This document is a quick reference guide to support a successful campaign for PASS Board applicants. The following will give you guidance on specific campaign Do’s & Don’ts, as well as who to go to for questions and support. 

1. Campaigning that breaks the stated rules or brings PASS into disrepute may be challenged by any PASS member. Complaints may be reported to Governance at PASS HQ.

a. All campaigning must promote PASS in a positive manner.

b. Candidates cannot demand election support from PASS members as a condition of employment, nor can such conditions be implied.

c. Candidates may not make use of mailing lists acquired from third parties and/or not compiled by the candidate themselves. All candidates using self compiled mailing lists take responsibility for the collection and use of any personal data within those mailing lists. The PASS Board of Directors and/or the NomCom reserves the right to challenge a candidate’s use of mailing lists if it feels such use violates the spirit of the election process, or if such use brings PASS into disrepute.

d. Candidates who hold leadership positions within PASS (Board members, Group Leaders, SQLSaturday Organizers etc.) cannot use emails lists held by PASS to promote their candidacy due to updated privacy laws. Use of any Group or SQLSaturday lists taken from a PASS owned portal is cause for elimination.

e. An individual's campaign is subject to all the applicable rules and regulations of the jurisdiction in which they reside, including city, county, state, province, country, or any other form of legal jurisdiction. An individual’s campaign must also follow the applicable rules and regulations of the state of Illinois, where PASS is incorporated. Such rules and regulations supersede any of the campaign procedures outlined in this document. 

2. Candidates campaign webpage

a. During the campaign, each candidate will receive their own dedicated campaign webpage on the PASS Elections website. Candidates will be asked to submit information for the landing page in English (and their native language if desired/applicable).

 3. Reporting of campaign discretions

a. Any campaign discretions should be reported to the NomCom Chair directly, with a copy to Governance. In no circumstance should a candidate take alleged campaign discretions or concerns to social media. A NomCom meeting will be assembled as soon as possible in order to address the alleged discretion.

 4. Role of the NomCom

a. In accordance with the PASS Bylaws, the NomCom is the Governing body that has the authority to set all processes and regulations for the PASS Board election procedures, providing they are not inconsistent with any actions or decisions of the Board of Directors. In addition, the NomCom is responsible to monitor campaign activities, conduct interviews and filter applicants to produce the final slate of candidates that will be presented to the PASS Board for approval. The Board-approved slate is then presented to the voting membership. At the end of the election, the NomCom is responsible to advise the Board of the Elections results once balloting has closed.

During the campaign process, candidates are encouraged to reach out to the NomCom via Governance for guidance on election processes and procedures.

Thank You

To all past, present, and future members of our Board:

Thank you for giving so generously of your time. Your spirit of involvement and generous contributions help make PASS the organization and community that it is.

Thank you,
PASS Board of Directors and Nominations Committee

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