June 2014 - Posts

Congratulations to Erin, Andy and Allen on making the Nomination Committee for 2014. As Mark Broadbent (@retracement) stated in his tweet, there’s a great set of individuals for the Nom Com, and I could not agree more. I know Erin and Allen, and I know how much value they will bring to the process. I don’t know Andy as well, but I am sure he will do a great job and I hope I can meet him at PASS soon. The final candidate appointed by the PASS board is Rick Bolesta, who brings a wealth of experience to the process.

I also want to take the opportunity to thank all who have voted. Not just for me, but for all the candidates during the election. Your contribution is greatly appreciated.

Would I apply for the Nom Com again?  Yes I would. My first election experience has been a learning experience in itself. So I accept the result and look forward to applying next year.

Moving on from this, I do want to express my opinion about the lack of international representation in the election process.

One of the tweets that I saw after the result was from Adam Machanic (@AdamMachanic) who commented on the lack of international members on the Nom Com. If truth be told, I was disappointed – when the candidate list was released -- that for the second time in recent elections there was a lack of international candidates on the candidate list. It feels that only Brits and Americans partake in such elections. This is a real shame, and I can’t help thinking why this is the case. Hugo Kornelis (@Hugo_Kornelis) wrote a blog here to express his thoughts. He did raise some valid points.

I don’t know why there is an absence of international candidates. I know that the team at PASS are looking to improve the situation, so I do not want to give the impression that PASS are doing nothing. For reference please see Bill Graziano’ s article here to see how PASS are addressing the situation. There is a clear direction to change the rules within PASS to give greater inclusion of international members.

In addition to this, I wanted to explore a couple of potential approaches to address the situation. I am not saying that they are the right answer, but when I see challenges, I like to bring potential solutions to the table.

1.       Use the PASS mission statement to define a tactical objective that engages community leaders into the election process.

If you are not familiar with the PASS mission statement, let me provide it here as laid out on the PASS website.

“Empower data professionals who leverage Microsoft technologies to connect, share, and learn through networking, knowledge sharing, and peer-based learning”

PASS fulfil this mission statement regularly. Whether you attend SQL Saturday, SQLRally, SQLPASS and BA conference itself. The biggest value of PASS is the ability to bring our profession together. And the 24 hour hop allows you to learn from the comfort of your own office/home.

This mission should be extended to define a tactical objectives that bring greater networking and knowledge sharing between PASS Chapter leaders/Regional Mentors and PASS HQ. It should help educate the leaders about the opportunities of elections and how leaders can become involved. I know PASS engage with Chapter leaders on a regular basis to discuss community matters for the benefit of PASS members.

How could this be achieved?

Perhaps PASS could perform a quarterly virtual meeting that specifically looks at helping leaders become more involved with the election process

2.       Evolve the Global Growth Strategy into a Global Engagement Strategy.

One of the remits of the PASS board over the last couple of years is the Global Growth strategy. This has been very successful as we have seen the massive growth of events across the world. For that, I congratulate the board for this success.

Perhaps the time is now right to look at solidifying this success, through a Global Engagement Strategy that starts with the collaboration of Chapter Leaders, Regional Mentors and Evangelists in their respective Countries or Regions. The engagement strategy should look at increasing collaboration between community leaders for the benefit of their respective communities. It should also provide a channel for encouraging leaders to put themselves forward for the elections.

How could this be achieved?

In the UK, there has been a big growth in PASS Chapters and SQL Server Events that was approaching saturation point. The introduction of the Community Engagement Day -- channelled through the SQLBits conference -- has enabled Chapter Leaders to collaborate, connect and share with PASS, Sponsors and Microsoft.

It also provides the ability for Chapter Leaders to speak directly to the PASS representatives from PASSHQ. This brings with it the ability for PASS community evangelists to communicate PASS objectives. It has also been the event where we have found out; and/or encouraged, Chapter Leaders to put themselves forward for elections. People like encouragement and validation when going for something like an election, and being able to discuss this with peers at a dedicated event provides a useful platform.

PASS has the people in place already to facilitate such an event. Regional Mentors could potentially help organise such events on an annual basis, with PASSHQ providing support in providing a room/Lync access for the event to take place. It would be really good if a PASSHQ representative could attend in person as well.


3.       Restrict candidates to serve only a limited number of terms.

A frequent comment I saw on social networking was that the elections can be seen by some as a popularity conference. Perhaps by limiting the number of terms that an individual can serve on either the Nom Com or the BOD, other candidates may be encouraged to be more actively involved within the PASS election process. I don’t think that the current
byelaws deal with this particular suggestion.

I also saw a couple of tweets that stated that more active community members did not apply for the Nom Com. I struggled to understand how the individuals of the tweets measured “more active”. It just also further solidified the subjective nature of elections. In the absence of how candidates are put forward for the elections. Then a restriction of terms enables the opportunity to be extended to others.

How could this be achieved?

Set a resolution that is put to a community vote as to the viability of such a solution. For example, the questions for the vote could be:

Should individuals in the Nom Com and BoD be limited to a certain number of terms?  Yes/No.

What is the maximum number of terms a candidate could serve?


It would be simple to execute such a vote, and the community will have an opportunity to have a say in an important aspect of the PASS organisation. And is the change is successful, then add it as a byelaw.


So there are some of my thoughts. I am not saying they are right or wrong. But I do hope that there is a concerted effort to encourage more candidates from other reaches of the Globe to become involved with future elections.


It would be good to hear your thoughts





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After discussion with a number of friends, I decided to apply for the PASS Nomination Committee for the 2014 elections. The line-up for this year is very strong, and there are fine candidates that all would do a fine job on the committee. You can see the other candidates here.

My own application for the Nomination Committee can be found here. This provides an explanation as to the reasons for my application. It is also where you can find the application itself.

It would be an honour to be involved in the process of helping select the candidates that will be part of the PASS Board of Director elections later in the year. There are discussions taking place about the Nom Comm process at the following link.  Alternatively you can catch me on twitter at @ctesta_oneill

I wish all candidates the best in the process, the community has a very difficult choice!



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