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The official PASS Blog is where you’ll find the latest blog posts from PASS community members and the PASS Board. Contributors share their thoughts and discuss a wide variety of topics spanning PASS and the data community.

February Board Meeting Recap

We hosted our first in-person PASS Board meeting of 2020 in Kirkland, Washington, from February 3-4. This was also our first in-person meeting with newly appointed Board members Mindy Curnutt, Melody Zacharias, and Hamish Watson. We look forward to their experience and insights as we continue to work together on the Board.

To kick off the meeting, we reiterated our commitment to our FY 2020 priorities and focusEducational Content, Accessibility, and Engagement. These pillars provide us with a strong foundation to grow our organization, and will allow us to pivot as needed in the future to support our membership.

We then reviewed a reconciliation of the PASS Summit 2019 financial results to find out where we landed from a revenue standpoint. Thanks to strategic budgeting and significant cost cutting efforts, this year resulted in our largest-ever profit margin. PASS Summit continues to be self-sustaining and profitable, regardless of an overall decline in attendance and the resulting drop in year-over-year revenue from the event. As PASS Summit provides 94% of the revenue support for the PASS organization overall, this is a situation we need to address by shifting PASS’ revenue through diversification efforts.

This issue has been on our radar for quite some time, and in order to address this, we have entered a research phase to identify opportunities for diversifying our revenue, based on what the community and industry data is telling us. We will be moving quickly on this, collaborating with members across our community, and sharing more details with the wider membership as the plan develops.

The Board meeting was also very community focused. Throughout the second day, we hosted a series of break out sessions to discuss and share ideas around a variety of initiatives – including exciting topics and spotlights for PASS Summit; the content that we offer 365 days a year; how to expand on our referral programs; recent changes to the Regional Mentor program; and updates to Local Group tools, including ongoing support for our community leaders and organizers and the tools they use.

One of the key topics discussed during our break out groups was diversity and inclusion across our organization. While this has been a priority for us and we have made progress as an organization, we also acknowledge that we still have a long way to go. We are committed to this and will be working with members of the community to make progress in impactful and meaningful ways.

We also had some great discussions with our Microsoft Board counterparts, Asad Khan and Ramnik Gulati, and they remain committed to growing their relationship with the PASS community and helping to support our efforts toward revenue diversification.

It’s been amazing to grow such an incredible partnership over the years, and we received further encouragement from the Microsoft leadership team, with them following up after the meeting to thank PASS “for such a fantastic partnership” and tell us what an “amazing community” we have.

We have some exciting new initiatives with Microsoft on the horizon and we look forward to sharing those with the community once we have more details.

As we continue to support our priorities in FY 2020, we also look forward to identifying new revenue opportunities and working with the community to understand the best approach for our organization. Stay tuned for all of the exciting updates to come!

Wendy Pastrick
About the author

Wendy Pastrick joined the PASS Board in 2013, serving as a Director-at-Large over User Groups, Virtual User Groups, and Educational Content. She has worked as a Database Administrator since 2000, supporting both development and production environments. Her many years of involvement with PASS include working with the Women in Technology Virtual Group and the Chicago Suburban User Group, serving as Regional Mentor for the Midwest region, and serving on both the 2011 Election Review Committee and the 2012 PASS Summit Program Committee. Wendy has organized many highly successful PASS SQLSaturday events in Chicago and has spoken at numerous others around the country. She received PASS' highest honor, the PASSion Award, in 2010.

1 comments on article "February Board Meeting Recap"

3/12/2020 12:41 PM
Wil Sisney

Good post, Wendy. I am glad to see PASS thinking along the lines of diversification. Recent conference and trade show cancellations show just how dangerous it could be to rely on Summit to fund PASS for the future.

I just took the survey sent out 3/12/2020 about these future revenue streams, and I think you're looking along the right directions. There's about to be a big gap in technology-specific certifications, as Microsoft ends some of their database-oriented MCSA and MCSE programs. I am sad to see those go, but I think PASS could provide a definitive value in this area. I hope the survey feedback aligns with my hopes for PASS, and I hope you run focus groups on this topic soon. PASS has a chance to build something pretty amazing here.

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