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.

Introducing the Diversity, Equality & Inclusion Keynote

Every year that I’ve attended the PASS Summit, I’ve gone to the Women In Technology (WIT) Luncheon.  This luncheon provided a voice for women to express the roadblocks and issues that they’ve faced in the workplace and, specifically, within the tech industry.  It provided a way to help men understand issues they might not be aware of, and discuss steps they can take to help and behaviors that need to be changed.  It also provided a community for women to come together and share their stories.

While we know that women have experienced struggles in the technical industry, we also know they are not the only group within our community facing these issues. In an effort to expand awareness, this year at PASS Virtual Summit, we will also be introducing our inaugural Diversity, Equality & Inclusion (DEI) Keynote in addition to our popular WIT Keynote (keynotes rather than luncheons, while we’re virtual).  Our hope is that this will give other underrepresented groups in our community a voice and platform to help our wider membership better understand what is happening in our industry and what we can do to help.  To prepare for this event, we have been working with a number of community members to collect their feedback and listen to their ideas.

While we have made significant advances in PASS’ DEI efforts this year, the PASS Board knows we need to do more.  At PASS Virtual Summit this year, in addition to the DEI Keynote, badges and speaker presentation slide templates will both have space specifically for pronouns and we’ve updated the Anti-Harassment Policy to include gender identity and expression.  Earlier this month, I also had the opportunity to moderate the Diversity in Data panel discussion with Patrick LeBlanc, DeNisha Malone and Homer McEwen.  It was a great conversation, and our panelists were open in sharing their challenges with attendees.  These are just some of the initiatives we plan to build on and advance in the coming year.

I hope you all have a chance to attend the Diversity, Equality & Inclusion Keynote this year and support PASS in its efforts to become a more diverse and inclusive community.

Lori Edwards
About the author

Lori Edwards has spent the past 16 years working with SQL Server. Her current position is Training Manager for SentryOne and she develops training content to help our users and partners become experts at our products. After attending her first Summit in 2008, she began volunteering for PASS, serving on the Program Committee, the Election Review Committee and Nominations Committee. In 2011, her volunteer efforts were recognized when she won the PASSion award. She has also had the opportunity to speak at a number of events, including SQL Saturdays, local user groups, PASS Summit and SQL Bits.

She hopes to use her background in communication and her love for education and technology to help further the PASS efforts of connecting, sharing and learning for the MS Data Platform community.

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