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2014 PASS Summit 2014 Board Q&A Notes

As has occurred in previous years at the PASS Summit the PASS Board of Directors held an open Q&A session on the final day. I was able to attend most of the session but had to leave a few minutes early for my scheduled presentation. I didn't count but estimate around 30 people attended - about average for the Q&A (I wish it were more!). PASS will publish meeting minutes but in the meantime here's my notes sans commentary.

Review of Board Commitments From Last Year (Denise)

  • Evals of chapter leader meetings, done, adjusted schedule is year, will do the same again
  • SQLRally - Nodic continuing to hold events, interest in LATAM. (No US still)
  • Hotel rates for 2014 summit - complaints that tableau conference had lower rates. Denise said PASS was unable to renegotiate rates this year due to existing agreement.
  • Committing to publish budget summary for 2015
  • Find out sharing summit reg details with chapters (e.g. attendees near a chapter), followed up with legal, found out PASS cannot share

Intros

  • JRJ sharing that global growth focus moving from EMEA to LATAM, goal is to create a regional board seat for LATAM. Expecting to bring on a LATAM board advisor in the near future.
  • Wendy highlighting new chapter agreement, hiring Carmen internally at HQ as CE focusing on chapters.
  • Sri mentioned new volunteer portal launched this week
  • Tim focused on SQLSaturday website rewrite, first round of changes feature complete by end of year. 86 events in Last FY, 113,000 hours of training delivered. Goal is 100 events in current FY
  • Amy says number of abstracts , speakers, sessions grew over previous year, spent time on improving schedule builder and using analytics to place sessions in right-sized rooms.
  • Jen Stirrup - 8,000 training hours so far this FY for VCs, goal for FY is 16,000. business analytics VC revamped, new excel VC.
  • Jennifer Moser - MS continuing to support SQLSaturday financially outside of the US and logistically within the US

Open Floor

  • Comment that 50% of world's population within 5 hours of China, question - what's the business plan for holding a summit like event in that area of the world?
    • JRJ says LATAM has more demand (based on activity and growth potential), that's why LATAM is where the bod Is focused. Complexity of holding an event in APAC region is more difficult than LATAM. PASS is better off supporting existing communities in the area for now.
  • Andy Leonard - Thanks for hard work & responding to the community, happy about decision made to extend voting. Commented that regional mentor program is underutilized. Would like to know what the thinking is around moving summit to over locations.
    • Wendy says RM program grew from a good idea into something that lacks framework, struggling with RMs understanding what's expected of them, expecting to see changes to the program.
    • Adam says summit needs to be booked years in advance, Seattle is the best location for Microsoft support, travel in, accommodating growth. "In Seattle for the next few years"
    • JRJ commenting that moving to a new venue is hard due to cost & logistics, continuing to hold summit in Seattle allows HQ to fine tune, reduce costs yearly
    • Jennifer Moser says moving summit is a risk to sponsors because it was not an optimal experience for them.
    • Andy reiterates that moving is a good idea, allows us to reach an audience that can't make it to Seattle.
  • Another comment that lots of conferences in Vegas these days, why not there?
    • Denise says data shows "program, program, program" is what drives attendance, location secondary
  • JK Wood asking about PASSWatch pointing out lack of communication from BoD, if PASS will establish guidelines around blogging, etc. by non-exec members
    • Denise says board members always authorized to speak on their own behalf and portfolios, bylaws stipulate exec are the only ones that can speak for the org
  • Kendal asked about PASS rebranding, why, what feedback did the board solicit, etc.
    • Denise reiterated why the name change took place, conceded that it wasn't handled well, communicated poorly. Yes, we (PASS) rebranded, similar to how IBM is just IBM
  • Allen Kinsel asked for commitment by board to quarterly Q&A meetings with board members, board agreed
  • Karen Lopez asking if it's time for pass to have a "chief data officer" to look at policies, procedures, etc, around managing pass data.
    • Adam says data is a first class citizen within pass, yes we are focusing more on it
  • JK Wood expressing concern about IT issues (de-duping, security, etc.) and lack of community partnership in improving/correcting. Happy to see Dev Nambi project, wants to know if we can do more.
    • Adam: yes, data is important, upcoming projects across portfolios will engage community experts
  • Carlos (?) asked about dedicated LATAM board member, when?
    • JRJ reiterated focus on LATAM & working through RMs to help grow the region, bringing on board advisor from LATAM next year if all goes according to plan
  • Ryan Adams asks what happens if no one runs for a regional LATAM board seat
    • JRJ says seat not created for LATAM yet, board has to vote for it, provisions already in place for filling seat if no one runs
  • Ryan Adams asked Jennifer Moser about Microsoft marketing efforts in SQLSaturday, how to make it easier for subsidiaries to fund SQLSaturday in their areas
    • Jennifer working on moving funding through PASS rather than through district offices, improving relations between local MS offices and RMs/CLs to help with logistical support

Left @ 2:15 PM, refer to forthcoming PASS minutes for what happened at the remainder of the meeting.

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