I never attended a Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) meeting until I went to my first nation-wide summit in Denver in 2007. I lived in an area (South Florida) that didn’t have a PASS presence, and I was just going to the PASS Summit for the SQL Server training.
I thought the PASS Board of Directors was something that didn’t really matter to me. When I got to the summit, I saw the election, and I thought, “What do these people do? I’ve never heard of most of these candidates.” I scanned over their bios, cast an uninformed vote for some folks who appeared well-qualified but that I’d never heard of.
I thought I was stupid for not knowing these candidates. I was wrong.
See, I dunno about you, but I want a professional organization that is actively building a sense of community, that is actively getting out there shaking hands and kissing babies, and that makes me feel like I’m wanted. I want PASS to be out there in the face of every single DBA, asking them, “How can I make your job easier? How can I make it easier for you to find your next job? How can I help improve your skills?”
Steve Jones wrote a great blog entry about who should run for PASS Board of Directors, and I’d only add one thing:
If you haven’t heard of somebody, it’s not your fault – it’s theirs.
When I write up my list of endorsed candidates, that’s going to be my first qualification. Somebody might be the greatest organizer on the planet, but if they can’t get their own personal name out there, how the hell are they going to get PASS’s name out there? And yes, I know that PASS requires a lot of different skillsets, but in volunteer organizations these days, everybody has to be an evangelist.
SQL Server skills don’t matter for Board of Directors members. I haven’t sat in the BoD meetings, but my guess is that Tom LaRock isn’t busting out SSMS to optimize stored procedures. I’m pretty sure Andy Warren isn’t debating the merits of cursors versus set-based operations. When choosing Board of Directors candidates, we need to focus on people who can market themselves and market their projects.
If you know somebody who’s a great evangelist, somebody who can convince people to band together and contribute to a common goal, then talk to them about running for the Board of Directors. Here’s Steve’s article about what it takes, and here’s how to apply.
(And no, I’m not running, and I echo Grant Fritchey’s thoughts on the matter when he says, “My current position is completely in line with William Tecumseh Sherman; I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected. Not yet anyway.” I’d love to help the community, but my spare time’s spoken for this year.)