Friday, November 7, 2014

PASS Summit: Blogger Q&A with Board of Directors Executive Committee

On Thursday, I was invited as a blogger to attend an intimate conversation (Q&A) with the PASS Board of Directors: Adam Jorgensen (EVP – Executive Vice President), Denise McInerney (VP Marketing) and Thomas LaRock (President). I started to try to understand why I was asked, but gave up due to mental exhaustion from attending the PASS Summit 2014. It was a great event with just way too much to do.

I decided to fish the internet and other community people for questions to ask. They boiled down to info about the BA conference, BOD structure/commitment, location of Summit and inquire about growth of DBAs in our community.  There were other questions, but the hour ran out. But, all three assured us that if you (Us and Ya’ll all) have a question or concern about PASS, each is individually willing to talk one on one through emails or phone calls. They even gave examples of individuals in the community that talked one on one to resolve an issue or understanding without have to use twitter or a blog post be load. We talked some about being mature members (growing up).

BA Conference – Why was it started, who is pushing it and why will it continue?

Thomas LaRock used my career  - from developer to DBA to BI Architect to a want to progress to Business Analytics. I never even thought about that until he mentioned it. Microsoft re-branded its SQL Server area for us as Microsoft Data Technologies – adding what is happening to data in this time and age. These are new opportunities for us data people.

There was no direct answer to the “pushing”, but the word Microsoft came up here and there. They are booked for the BA conference for the next 2 years in Silicon Valley (Santa Clara, CA) where there is a pool of speakers and talent in this area. Microsoft knows we (PASS) do community well, so they want us to help develop the community around BA. Adam mentioned the boards intent is not to split the community, but bring us together.

Denise mentioned how the first PASS Summit was an initiation only conference and they are going in that direction this year to help us get some understanding of what BA is really all about and help start to grow the speaker pool. It made sense. (I just read Mickey’s blog and she mentions there are vendors/exhibitors available as well in this area).

Summit Location – It will be in Seattle for the next 3-4 years (2015-2018 I believe)

There was no answer if it will be in another location. The deal is booking an event like this is starting to get more difficult with convention centers booking 4-5 years out. The BA conference is booked for 2 years (I believe they said that was the original plan/commitment).

Mark’s Question – Talk about the Election problems and why it took awhile for a response

The board and HQ had to abide by PASS By-Laws and laws of the state of IL. After HQ talk will Legal and quorums (12 people needed) were available, then decisions could be made (By the way, I think the decision and action were on the mark). The quorum problem got me to follow up my question about the board structure and time needed to be active in the decisions).

There were many conversations before quorum about what was the right thing to do. Denise ave credit to HQ for the movement of the process.

Board Structure and Time Required

I was amazed when Denise said she spends sometimes 2 hours a day on average (most made up on weekends because of having a ‘job’) and sometimes up to 30 hours in a week a month before a conference. Director At-Large maybe 5 hours a week. It could be as low a 2 hours a week if not much is going on.

The By-laws have the details if you want to read them (that is what they told me), but they did an excellent job making it simple for me.

Each Executive Member (elected – EVP, President and VP-Marketing, and Past-President stands on committee) of Board servers 2 year terms (max 8 years). The other 2 are Microsoft appointed (CA vacated their appointees last year). I asked if they will be replaced and that is being looked at (for help on the Executive Board). The total Board of Directors votes on the 3 Executive Positions.

The opening for president has a requirement of serving at least one year on executive committee. This past election we voted on was for At-Large members of the board. There are something like 6-8 at-large members. Tim Ford was one of them that sat in on the Q&A. I am sure there is more, but I will stop there.

Bill G (Past President) is pushing the Exec Board to get more HQ staff to take load off.

Growth of DBA members of PASS

No growth, but about 1/3 are DBAs. I do not know what to think about this, so I might follow up after it sinks in a little more.


Please visit Mark’s site. I am sure he will have a blog on this session. -


Side Notes:

All agreed that HQ is doing a fantastic job!!!

The board believes the best way to communicate items to the masses is up to HQs to make that call. The Board is trying to let HQ do the business work of PASS, while the board works on strategy.

The BA stuff is becoming a portfolio with a director (from current At-large board members).

LaRock was all about growth, which is still happening.