Friday, November 30, 2007


The Last PASS at Last

I've been a board member of the Professional Association for SQL Server since the organization was founded in 1999. I was invited to join the board way back then in the capacity of VP of Marketing and, in fact, knew nothing about what I was supposed to do for the organization. As the years went by, I moved into the roles of EVP of Finance for 2 years and the President for the last 4 years.

All the work that we do for PASS is on a volunteer basis and, for me, it was taking between 10-20 hrs per week over and above the day job at Quest Software. With the way my day job and PASS were balanced, I was working way too much. Each of the board positions are set up as a 2-year term and at the end of my first term as President, I was feeling my years. On top of that, homelife was in a total tailspin. I truly at the end of my rope. However, PASS was also having a serious succession crisis and I was asked to stay on for one more term by almost all of the sitting board members.

I stuck it out. And I have to say that I wouldn't have been able to do it without the strong support of the board, especially the Executive Committee members - Joe Webb (my duck-shootin' buddy), Wayne Snyder, and Rushabh Mehta. Joe, in particular, I feel like went the 2nd and even 3rd mile to help cover for me because, frankly, I just didn't have the fire in my belly the same way I did during my first term. Joe also deserves a special pat on the back because he also chose not to return (as President this time), yet never once faltered in his commitment and work ethic for the organization.

Looking back on the years of my presidency, I'm proud that PASS has grown significantly to 25,000 members and 100 international chapters. I'm proud that we have strong local volunteers in cities all around the world and have grown not just in the US, but in places like Europe, Australia, and Asia. I'm proud that we now have two sitting members from outside the USA. And I'm proud that PASS has some degree of financial stability. I cannot say that I was responsible for these accomplishments. These were the accomplishments of the board itself. And we couldn't have done it without tremendous support from Microsoft and CA. But I can say that these things happened under my watch and I'm thrilled to have been there to see them happen.

In some ways, though, I feel like this last term was my most significant because it was during this term that we pried PASS out of the hands of our then management company and moved to an entirely new management company. (This was no small feat, let me assure you.) For many years, our old management company would simply say "That's not the way we do business" whenever we wanted to change things up. Our new management company is much more flexible and dynamic, and every bit as effective, if not more so. More than anything else, I feel like this is the most positive legacy of my presidency.

So now, I've reached the end of my 2nd term as President of PASS. It's not without some sadness. But I look upon the new team, sitting at our 4th quarter board meeting, and I'm filled with amazement and respect at such an incredibly talented and capable group of people. Not pictured are Wayne Snyder, Bill Graziano, Andrea Schneider, and Joel Shalaby. In the picture clockwise from left to right are: Joe Webb, Dr Greg Low (of Australia), Christoph Stotz (of Germany), Lesley Macdonald, Rushabh Mehta, Judy Christianson, Lynda Rab (of Canada), Rick Bolesta, Craig Ellis, Erin Welker (way in the back), Paul Nielsen, Rick Heigis, Chuck Heinzelman, and Pat Wright.

I'll still be engaged with PASS as much as our incoming President, Wayne Snyder, needs me. And I have a couple pet projects that I'm looking forward to working on. But at the end of the day, I'm very much looking forward to my retirement.




Hey Kev -

Thanks for the kind words! I've had a great time working with you over the past 6 years. It's been a blast.

And I've learned a lot of good things from you about leadership and governance, about setting goals and driving towards them.

The real pat on the back goes to you (for sticking around for another term as President when needed) and to Wayne, Rushabh, and Bill for carrying on.

I'm glad to count you as a friend.

Your duck-shootin' buddy,

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