Over the last few weeks, it’s been amazing to see our community come together to lend a helping hand; whether that’s by giving advice on home office set ups, sharing your favorite online learning resources, or simply setting up a virtual social hour to stay connected with friends around the world. It’s moments like these that make me so proud to be a part of this community.
We know that these are challenging times for everyone. The disruptions caused by COVID-19 have meant that you’ve had to rapidly change and adapt to your new realities, and re-evaluate your plans for the future. We also know that this causes a great deal of uncertainty.
As we began to understand the magnitude of these changes, our priority as an organization was to evaluate the potential impact on our community – both in the immediate and long-term – and put together a plan to support our members however, and wherever, they needed over the coming months.
This included working with SQLSaturday organizers as they make the difficult decision to postpone, reschedule, or cancel upcoming events. We are making unique considerations around the flexibility of dates and locations for re-scheduled events, and will be supporting one-off virtual versions of SQLSaturday events where possible. To further minimize the impact on in-person community events, we have provided Local Group leaders with GoToMeeting licenses, allowing them to continue meeting virtually.
We also realize that our members have questions regarding PASS Summit 2020. I want to assure you that we will be hosting PASS Summit this year, whatever the future holds.
As a community built on connecting, sharing, and learning, we know that PASS Summit is the best experience for our members to fully immerse themselves in 3 days of expert data training and networking opportunities.
Our plan is to move forward with an in-person conference, but like many other events around the world, the Board and PASS HQ have been focused on contingency planning; including hosting a virtual PASS Summit should the choice be taken out of our hands. This virtual event would offer all of the same high-quality content and opportunities to connect and network with each other, along with new ways to connect directly with Microsoft and our vendor partners.
That said, our small and dedicated team continues to plan for the PASS Summit that you know and love! Should we need to go the virtual route, there are still many details that would need to be ironed out, including pricing, refunds, transfer of registration, financial impact, and many more. As PASS’ primary fundraiser for the year, there are many dependencies and financial decisions which will need to be made for our organization as we see what the future holds. You’ll have questions, which we’re working to answer, but we need time to work through these details.
An important part of this planning process is continuing our work with the PASS Summit program. Our Call for Speakers is now open after being postponed and extended to give our community time to adjust to their new realities and provide additional time to work on abstracts. Our program timelines are tight to ensure the best possible experience at PASS Summit, and we are excited to work with speakers and the Program Team to make this happen.
We appreciate the support we’ve received from the community, and we understand that transparency is key, so we will continue to update you throughout every step of the process and with every new development.