Let me start off with a disclaimer that these thoughts on the January PASS board meeting are my own as I do not speak on behalf of PASS.
I have been on the PASS Board of Directors for about 4 months now and we had our first in person board meeting in late January. You can go here to read the January meeting minutes.
Since then, it has been a blur of quick changes as we had a few unexpected ones. Thomas LaRock chose not to run in the PASS Executive elections in 2015 (blog) and therefore became the Immediate Past President. Adam Jorgensen was elected to the President role. James Rowland-Jones (JRJ) was elected to fill the EVP seat, which would begin in January 2016; however, he later had to resign when he accepted a position with Microsoft. JRJ’s resignation left the remainder of JRJ’s two-year term as a PASS Board Director vacant immediately. To fill that spot, the board needed to appoint someone to finish out the Director-at-Large term. Argenis Fernandez was appointed and voted in by the board last December.
Things appeared to be settled and Adam had assigned portfolios. I was assigned the Programs portfolio, which largely consists of our annual Summit conference. As for the EVP vacancy in the ExecCo, Grant Fritchey was voted in as the replacement, which he assumed January 1. This left the remainder of his seat open, meaning the board had to appoint another person and voted on Allen White during the January Board meeting. It’s extremely unusual to have this much change in such a short amount of time.
Adam took this opportunity to make some portfolio changes that worked out extremely well because it put all of us in portfolios that we were suited to best. Argenis was moved to the SQLSaturday portfolio, which was an excellent fit for someone that knows these events well from multiple viewpoints. I was moved to the Chapters portfolio. I’ve been on the board of the North Texas SQL Server User Group for the last five years and a regional mentor for the last four, so this was a perfect fit for me, especially since this area is my passion. Lastly, Allen was assigned the Programs portfolio. I personally couldn’t be more excited to have him in this role and his experience in PASS and the industry will most certainly give this portfolio great guidance. I know some of the things he is thinking about and I can say that Programs has a bright future.
So what is coming up in the future and what plans are being made? Normally in the past every portfolio owner would present their goals and plans for the coming year at the January board meeting. Adam, since taking on the role as President, is taking the time to look strategically at PASS’s priorities and setting a long term vision. Each portfolio director will work with the Exec to ensure that our goals frame the organization’s strategic priorities. As a newly elected Director, this gave me a time advantage which is helpful since a couple of my goals are a little lofty. It gives me time to do the research and discover the probability of success with those goals. My hope was to share those with you in this post, but since they are still a little fluid you’ll have to remain in suspense. I will say that the goals are in support of increasing communication and resources, marketing, and enhancing the Regional Mentor (RM) program.
There are a lot of exciting things coming and tons of amazing ideas from the board and that just energizes me more. One of the biggest takeaways I had from the meeting was the passion of the folks currently on the board. Every idea and every decision is poured over painstakingly and that has never been more clear to me than after these board meetings. No one is perfect and we might not get it right every time, but I can assure you that these folks always do their due diligence. Being on the board is not easy, and I have more respect for that and the folks in that room now than I already had.
I have 2 things I would like to ask of the community.
1.) Every year at the PASS Summit I make it a point to thank every single person serving on the board for their time, commitment, and willingness to make difficult decisions that support the best interest of PASS. My first challenge for you is to do the same and thank those that have had an impact on you or the community. We are a completely volunteer-run organization and surprisingly, we don’t do this nearly enough. A simple “Thank You!” goes a long way and encourages us all.
2.) My second request is that if you have suggestions or changes you would like to see for Chapters or the Regional Mentor program, please send me an email. I might not be able to fix everything or accommodate every request, but I can certainly try or at the very least set the path in motion. I was invited to an RM call recently for the North Central region and I walked away with a bunch of notes, so know that my door is always open.