SQLPass Summit 2012 Interview with PASS Board

As part of the informal ‘Bloggers Pack’ for the SQLPass Summit 2012, I was privileged to get some time with PASS Board Members Bill Graziano and Douglas McDowell.

I’d like to start by thanking them both for their time. We had an early breakfast start, and it is testament to their commitment to PASS that they took time to speak with us. As you can imagine, Summit is a mad busy time for them both! However, this is demonstrative of their enthusiasm for the community, and I really hope that they both managed to squeeze in some breakfast.

My interest was about the global growth of PASS. This particular portfolio is spearheaded by James Rowland-Jones, and James’ vision for a global growth of PASS is well-documented here. I was interested in the opinions of the other Board members, and asked them about their priorities and focus regarding Europe in particular.

Global Vision – Describing the global growth of the community, the team described as a ‘dream’, and then talked about turning the global dream into a reality. As you may have noticed, PASS have put significant effort and investment into their website recently, and there is more work to come in order to support the nascent SQL Server community.  Specifically, there are plans in place to deliver better tools to support SQL Server community people to organise events. It is also anticipated that there will be a higher proportion of SQL Saturday events outside the US next year, and that the proportion of SQLSaturday events outside the US will increase over time. We can also see this happening with language-specific Virtual Chapters.

I was particularly impressed by the enthusiasm that they held for a global PASS. Bill discussed a PASS event which was held in London a few years back, and I remembered a PASS event which was held at Bank of America in London (IIRC). 

Global Action – Not stopping for a rest after Summit, PASS is rounding out 2012 with two 24 Hours of PASS virtual events, extending its reach to the Portuguese and Spanish SQL Server communities. Both events will feature 24 free, live, back-to-back technical webcasts. The Portuguese event takes place Nov. 26-27, with the Spanish edition on Dec. 5-6. For details, see http://www.sqlpass.org/Events/24HoursofPASS.aspx.

Global Execution – As the global vision moves towards execution, it is possible that the structure of the Board might change in order to cater for the new requirements. There are many different options, but this is something that the team could consider so that they can best help the SQLFamily community that they serve. There is no easy answer, and I suspect that these are the issues faced by many organisations as they expand into different regions. With the global events growing at a fast rate, it’s great to see the enthusiasm of the Board team as they discuss these issues, and these difficult issues are in good hands.

Women in Technology session – how the PASS team can help enthusiastic members of the SQL Server community to transition from active attendee to volunteer. The team recommended that the website is the best resource for information, since it isn’t just written by the PASS teams but also by the volunteers who have made achievements in contributing to the community. The team also recommended that people wishing to set up a SQLSaturday event get in touch with Karla and Nico, and this happens when you register your interest over at the SQLSaturday website.

To summarise, there has been a great deal going on in 2012, with more international events in 2013 to support the growing international SQLFamily within the US, as well as outside it. On a personal note, I’d urge you to read the emails that PASS send out. There are a ton of valuable resources on there, and it’s worthwhile keeping up with the news from PASS. If you need to sign up, here is the URL: www.sqlpass.org

I’d like to conclude by thanking Bill Graziano and Douglas McDowell again for their time and support in making themselves freely available for bloggers like me!

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