Jen’s Diary, figuring it out this week

He started keeping a journal – had been, in fact, secretly doing so for some time: the furtive act of a deranged person (Philip Dick, Valis).
What  have I been up to this week? There’s lots of activity been happening at Jen Towers, as usual. That, plus I have a stinking, miserable cold so please feel free to send me a remote hug! I’m writing this in my dressing gown and drinking Lemsip.
As before, I don’t officially speak for PASS but I can see that people were reading the last installment, so I thought I’d write another. So it’s your fault really!
This Friday 22nd August, I will be doing a twitter ‘Ask Jen’ online session again, which is specifically aimed at European time zones and for the good SQL Server SQLFamily in Cape Town, Dubai and so on, for example. Check out the time zone here.  I got some good questions last time, and I thought I’d repeat the exercise. I cannot guarantee that I will be able to answer everything but I will try.

 Those of you who have read your Connector this week will have seen Adam Jorgensen’s discussion about the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget. Ever since I joined the Board last January, we have all been doing a lot of work on getting the budget right. My specific area is the Virtual Chapters, and I have spent a lot of time discussing it with my ever-patient HQ Counterpart (Thank you Lana!). The focus was on growth, and I’m really excited about the Virtual Chapters. For the purposes of transparency, you can see the actual budget for the Virtual Chapters here on page 13.   The VC focus was very much on growth; with the news recently that we gave over 21,000 hours of training material last year to the community – for free – I hope that this helps to see how worthwhile the Virtual Chapters are to SQLfamily around the world. If you haven’t signed up for one, why not join today? now, for the VCs, I am starting to think about how we can make the process easier for next time, and taking away points to help us to learn. I’m very grateful to the Finance team, Adam and the others who took time to explain the budgeting process.
From the Board perspective, I’ve spent a few hours on the phone this week but I’m not complaining. The PASS HQ and Board members and other volunteers always leave me with that feeling of ‘oh man, I wish I’d thought of that!’ They are truly a bunch of very smart people and I learn something every day. In fact, I’d go right into Imposter Syndrome only I’m not sure I’m smart enough for that.
What have we talked about for a few hours, I hear you ask? Well, it wasn’t one single call, fortunately! I had meetings to talk about exciting things for Summit and PASS BA Conference. I’m sorry for the teaser but everyone works really hard, so I won’t steal anyone’s thunder since it wouldn’t be fair. All I’ll just say that you need to keep reading your Connector emails for news.


I have had another week of trying to wrap my head around activities in 28 Virtual Chapters. This week, my focus has been on trying to see what I can do to help Virtual Chapters that need new volunteers since they are growing so fast. If anyone is interested in being part of the Virtual Chapter story, please do get in touch. Why volunteer for the VCs? Well, it means that you reach people globally by offering community education. I love holding my user groups since I love in-person events. However, virtual events mean that you help that person at their desk, working away, who isn’t able for any reason to attend virtual events. For example, I’m a mom, and I find it really hard to attend user groups unless I book a babysitter well in advance (and I do). However, I can be part of the virtual chapters at any point because I don’t need to leave my house. It is huge to be able to have hundreds of people online, participating in learning. I love that buzz!


I’ve also been working with the team, evaluating some new ideas for a couple of Virtual Chapters. I love people’s ideas and people in the community are so smart. If you have any ideas, please do get in touch. We have a very informal process. Firstly, we have to make sure that the new idea isn’t close to any existing, established Virtual Chapters. This would mean splitting the audience, and there is no need to do that. We don’t tend to split out technologies very much, but we did split out the Excel BI Virtual Chapter based on a need for Excel information. This particular VC isn’t aimed at people who have SQL Server backgrounds. Instead, it is aimed at people who use Excel in work every day, regardless of the data source. 

More locally, I’m working with community legend Neil Hambly on next week’s London PASS Chapter user group. We are trying out a new idea of having a ‘theme’, so we are having a Special Edition on Performance. Neil is a seasoned presenter, and he will be presenting on waits. After that, we will have Ash presenting on demystifying flash memory for the SQL Server DBA. I think that both sessions will help people who care about SQL Server performance, and I’ve always wanted to know more about the using flash as opposed to other technologies. It promises to be a good one.


Enjoy your day J



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