PASS Board March Meeting Minutes Review

Thanks to Andy Warren (Blog | Twitter) for keeping the community abreast of these things by blogging about their availability. That being said since the community clamored about transparency during the last elections I think it’s time we took advantage of that fact. My plan, and I propose if you write a SQL-centric blog you try it out yourself as well, is to read over the meeting minutes every month and give my take on what I’m seeing come out of them. I’d like to warn you that I may say some things that may or may not make friends but that’s what transparency is all about, right? PASS is for the people, by the people and we really should have a hand in how the organization is run. So that being said, let’s get to the fun part. Now while I do go over points I still highly recommend you read the minutes for yourself as I don’t want your views skewed simply from my points. Again, read the minutes and make your own judgements:

Discussion of European Director Participation

Well this is interesting, the meeting minutes open up with what looks like a script out of political thriller. Apparently one board member from Europe was asked not to attend the meeting in Seattle citing budgetary restrictions. This decision was apparently never run by the Board and so (to me) it looks like the Executive Committee made behind closed doors. From reading the minutes this looks like it created some tension between the board and Executive as they feel they were left out of a major board decision without consultation. It’s interesting to see that the community has cited lack of communication as being something that has bothered us and this lack of communication problem exists within the organizations higher-ranks as well. Perhaps a trickle-down issue? Key phrase I took out of this part is this:

Brian Moran – This seems to be systematic of a bigger issue that the junior members of the Board feel the Executive Committee needs to start brining the Board into more decisions.

Hopefully that all gets squared away soon.

Transparency

Well this was an interesting read considering what we just went over! Looks like the Board is now invited to all Executive Committee (EC) calls, the Board will get copied on Executive Committee communications, and if EC sends a decision out, and a Board member has an issue then Rushabh will attempt to engage the entire Board. Now I might be splitting hairs here but that last line struck me a little strange. What I’m reading is that EC can still make a decision that affects the Board but only if a Board member has a problem with it then maybe the Board will be talked to about it. I put the word maybe in there because of the phrasing “attempt to engage”. Again, might be splitting hairs with the way its written, who knows. Again, this is just my take on things as I read them. Moving on…

NDA vs Disclosure

Oooh me like this discussion. Again going back to transparency issue they talk about what should be made public. Here they discuss blogger participation in the Board processes and some good points were made. Key line I took from this was:

Jeremiah Peschka – We need to show our community that we are a strong organization. That is how we will build and strengthen our brand. If this Board goes out to the community as a fractured entity, we look weak and lose a lot of our organization strength.

Bless you, oh tattooed one. I thought this point hit it right on the head. From the top of the organization to the bottom we need to do as our Summit theme says and UNITE!

Discussion of PASS’s 2011 Fiscal Goals

Had to read this one a couple of times as its kind of interesting. How do you define PASS’s success other than “how many attendees did we get to the Summit this year?”. What’ s more important to focus on: Membership or Community? What defines membership? How do we grow PASS on an international level? All good points to ponder. I think the international community is coming into its own as far as PASS growth and development. We have folks like Pinal Dave (Blog | Twitter) doing great community work in India and Dave Dustin (Blog | Twitter), new SQL MVP by the way, making things happen down under like the first SQLSaturday in New Zealand. Hopefully PASS can continue to support them and others as the SQL love spreads worldwide. Wait that sounded…nevermind. Anywho, looks like there’s some planning going on for an event between SQLSaturday and Summit. Do I smell an East coast event a-brewin’? I hope so, me and many others can’t make the Summit for many reasons and travel I think is a huge part of that. We’ll see what comes out of this, hopefully something everyone can benefit from and get behind.

Two-way Communication methods for the Community

Long story short, possibility of adding forums to PASS website. Could be interesting. I’m a fan of using Twitter but that’s blocked for many businesses. Forums seem to be the old comfortable setting for many folks. What do you think?

Business Plan

Interesting review of Board Accountability Plan and how things are handled. Highly recommend you read this as it shows that at least discussion is being had about this.

SQLSaturday

Basically Andy discusses the possible tax ramifications and gotchas that such an organization brings. I was fortunate enough to sit down and discuss this at length with Andy at the recent #SQLR2 tweetup and it’s really amazing all of the thought that goes into this that I never even thought about. What I mean by that is that up until now SQLSaturday held an account with all the money and distributed to events as needed. This requires certain tax measures and protections to be put in place and it gets a little dicey when handing over something like this to a larger non-profit entity. Should be interesting to see how this plays out as well.

Financial Projections 2011

Good news, early registrations for Summit are up. Economy rebound FTW! Attendance may be up due to it being a launch year. Also of note this year the BI conference isn’t bundled in with Summit as it was last year, its with TechEd this year as per usual. They’re shooting for goal attendance of 2,400 attendees this year. LET’S MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Summit brainstorming

Few cool ideas being throw around. Quiz Bowl might get moved to last night (Thursday), Twitter handles on badges, more focus on networking. Check out their ideas and make sure to give them some of your own if you have them.

Leading up the Summit – Promotion

Again, some ideas thrown around, read the minutes to get them all.

Election Process Discussion

And here’s the sensitive topic that kicked off the transparency issue in the first place. Discussion about possibly moving Board elections away from Summit so it doesn’t get lost in marketing blitz/shuffle. I agree here, let it stand on its own. Apparently whole cycle takes (at a minimum) 3 1/2  months: application process, nomination committee, to announcement of results.

Transparency with election process

Jumped the gun, this section is what we’re waiting for. Damn, this section is long and rightfully so. Looks like a lot of dicussion on the ramifications on transparency versus how it might affect those in the process. They talk about publishing interviews for public scrutiny which may/may not be a bad thing but should names be scrubbed so you base your opinion on facts and not just “a name”? Good to see Rushabh say “If we do not make the Nomination Committee interviews public, then we will come into question” since I think that was the root of the issue the last go around. Another great quote, and one I highly agree with, came from Andy Warren:

When picking Board members, we need to think about who will be great serving in the future of PASS, not how it’s always been. The Immediate Past President needs to encourage Board members to suggest people to him.

Well said, Andy. If you’re reading this and think you have an interest in serving PASS at a higher level please reach out and talk to the Board or PASS HQ and let them know. There is a lot of guidance and wisdom out there we can tap into, we just need to take action.

Bylaw Changes

Proposal for no more than 3 employees from one company may serve on the Board and no more than 1 on the Executive Committee. This one I think has been hot-topic internal to board because there’s quite a few folks representing Solid Quality Mentors on there. No, I’m not saying SQM is up to anything malicious but it does create a conflict of interest if an executive board has too many representatives from the same source. Also becomes sticky point if you’re a consultant and happen to do work for a certain consulting firm, how much work until you’re considered part of that entity? Looks like sparks start flying a little into this conversation as proposal to remove the Officer Selection Committee  is suggested. Someone mentions PASS can’t be run by committee and I agree with that. It’s also brought up that we need people leaders to move the organization forward. It’s also pointed out there’s a large break between the Executive Committee and Board-at-Large. Again I’m seeing a schism here within our own management. Looks like a lot of changes need to be made. Many don’t realize but when you’re elected to EC it’s an almost 10 year committment due to the succession chain in place. How many people do you expect to stay with a volunteer position for that length of time? It’s tough. The fix proposed needs to address possible politicking of people who might run just for Presidency title. Again, need to take this one step at a time but changes definitely need to be made.

Project Reporting

Ah project managment, how you bite all our asses. Looks like they discuss some options of streamlining projects with 40 hours or less, as well as overall management of projects in general. *cough* *SharePoint* *cough*

Whew! Well that’s it for this month. Let me know what you think about this review and make sure you read the minutes yourself and give your take on matters as well!

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5 thoughts on “PASS Board March Meeting Minutes Review”

  1. Jorge, thanks for summing that up rather nicely. I read through them yesterday myself and have yet to comment (SQL Saturday this weekend!) but I appreciate your time and thoughtfulness.
    There do seem to be internal issues which need to be worked out. I humbly suggest starting at the Top and working their way down. If the foundation isn’t strong, you can’t build a community upon it and expect to be a success.

    1. Thanks and I wholeheartedly agree about a strong foundation. If we want this organization to grow and succeed we need a strong base and a strong leadership to help move us along. Hopefully with this new level of transparency it drives/motivates those in charge to “step their game up” so to speak.

  2. Jorge, thanks for taking time to read and comment on the minutes, it’s incredibly valuable to make sure our members know what is going on and get some different views on how we’re moving forward. Hope you’ll continue to do this!

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