Showing posts with label NomCom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NomCom. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Nothing Changes If You Don't Volunteer


Hello Dear Reader, last time on Day's of Our Lives there was an election, some people resigned, and other's were appointed.  Let's join this already in progress.  So it appears that the 2011 PASS Board Elections did not go quite as smooth and un-controversial as this old friendly neighborhood DBA would have liked.

"So Balls," you say, "What's going on?"

Good Question Dear Reader, I'm glad you asked.  Brent Ozar(@BrentO | Blog) has already done a good job of cataloguing not only his comments but just about everyone else's so far, read here PASS Board Brouhaha BS Bulletin.  Now this election season I tossed my hat in the ring to participate in the NomCom, I'm on the NomCom What's a NomCom, so I feel a little more personally vested this time around.


Going into the job I had read about the previous year's controversy.  I wanted to know what I was getting into, I also wanted to make sure that the Community first and foremost got a fair shake.  I've had the opportunity to do some very cool things this past year.  And hopefully I'll get some more chances to do even more.  But I'm not so inundated into the PASS nomenklatura that I consider myself an insider.  Most the time I feel like Tim Drake that just tricked Batman into letting me into the Bat Cave.

Two Years Ago if you had asked me who ran the PASS board, that was responsible for the PASS Summit, I would have told you that it was in some Super Secret fort up in Redmond where Paul Randal, Andy Warren, Steve Jones, Brent Ozar, and Kimberly Tripp sat around with secret decoder rings solving the world's problems with the help of Microsoft's finest. 

So when I submitted to be on the NomCom I did not expect to get on.  People were supposed to submit, and then there would be an election to fill the 3 Community slots to give the Community-at-Large the majority seats on the Committie.  Instead of that, only 3 people submitted and we were appointed to the slots.

I want that to sink in for a moment, ONLY 3 PEOPLE SUBMITTED.  Not in a bad way, but in a OMG I COULD HAVE DONE THIS, kind of way.  If you had any opinion on this election, you could have participated.  Seriously.  The time commitments were there, but they were not nearly what I was expecting.

Very early in the NomCom process Thomas Larock (@SQLRockStar | Blog) said something that stuck with me the entire time.  "We are not here to eliminate anyone.  Our job is to put forward the best slate of candidates for the community to decide upon."  I knew we were there to trim the slate if needed.  I wasn't sure how this would be achieved yet, but I never forgot that.  We were not there to decide but to make sure that the community could decide. 

When it came to the candidates we were told that at most we could present a slate of 12.  6 applied.  Once again I would like that to sink in.  ONLY 6 APPLIED.  There was no secondary International Candidates to choose from, there was no one eliminated.  As a matter of fact we could have accepted more candidates if anyone had applied.

At that point our job consisted of vetting the candidates to see that each would be able to fulfill the duties of a PASS Board Member, and to rank them and present them to the Board.  The Board approved the slate and our job was done.


Just to clear a couple things up, I like Brent.  I think he's swell.  As do I Tom Larock, Sri Sridharan, Kendal Van Dyke, Geoff Hiten, Bill Graziano, and I would probably like JRJ even though I haven't' met him.

Brent reminds me of  one part Stephen Colbert another part Intrepid reporter.  He would probably win an election in a LANDSLIDE, (in South Carolina), but his schtick isn't something that lends itself to stuffy board rooms.  

I could be wrong, I'd love to see Brent on the Board.  But let's face it, the man knows what he wants to do in the SQL world.  Sitting on the PASS Board isn't one of those things, or Brent would already be on it.  But just like Stephen Colbert we need to know when we look like @$$holes, and he is the guy that is willing to call us on it. 

I feel for Sri.  Sri I think that you campaigned just as hard as, and harder than most people out there.  The effort you put into your campaign really impressed me.  You have done a lot of amazing things down in the great Republic of Texas, and SQL Rally is going to be an amazing event.  I hope you do not lose heart in the community. 

In the days before personal computers when we just had telephones to talk over I remember my Dad once telling me that people were a lot braver over the Phone than they were in person.  When I asked what he meant by that he told me that, "People would say things over the phone that in person would get them punched, and if they were brave they wouldn't bother with the phone call." 

I think that as adults we have to recognize that Sometimes we have arguments,  Sometimes we shout when we should listen, Sometimes we say things that we regret, and Sometimes we wish that no one was around to see the whole sordid mess.  Sometimes you let these things pass because nobody wins, if you just keep tossing mud.  I know I'm guilty of that, and I would bet I'm not alone.

We had 6 fabulous candidates.  3 won.  1 was appointed.  Everybody said if any of these 6 get elected we are all winners.  Well congratulations, we got 4 out of 6.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.


Sure I think that JRJ would have made a great 7th candidate, sure I wish that as part of the NomCom we would have had a chance to examine him as we did the other candidates.  But I know from what I'm reading he is like so many others in the SQL Community.  Great.  Passionate.  Dedicated.

So next year I'll volunteer.  And if I ever feel I'm up for serving on the PASS Board I'll run.  In the meantime I'll work with my local chapter.  I'll help with the next SQL Saturday Orlando.  I'll speak at any event and User Group that will have me.

But more importantly you should too Dear Reader!  Because the only thing that we the SQL community love more than a little Brouhaha is Volunteers. And you will be welcomed with open arms. And who knows maybe next year I'll read about you on the NomCom, or vote for you when your running for the PASS Board.  A journey of 1,000 miles begins with just one step.

Thanks Again,


Friday, October 7, 2011

I’m On The NomCom! What’s a NomCom?

This is a blog I’ve been wanting to write for a while, I’ve been a little backed up and with the 2011 PASS Summit starting next week, now seemed like the perfect time.
  Back in August PASS, the Professional Association of SQL Server, announced that they were seeking applications for the NomCom.  I like to participate in things so I started reading up on it.

I wasn’t as active at this time last year with PASS, I was on the ramp up to becoming more active, but I was still a couple weeks away from attending my first SQL Saturday.   So if you are not familiar with it there was a bit of controversy last year with the PASS elections and the NomCom.   I’m not going to go into it, but I researched it before I submitted my application and it is pretty easy for you to find on the IntraWebs if you are interested.

My participation on the NomCom is a direct result from last year.   In order to put more transparency into the process that is the NomCom, it was decided that PASS membership should have the majority of the seats.  So I’m a community representative as well as Roy Ernest (@RumblingDBA | Blog ) and ½ of my Future Law Firm of Bigun’s and Balls Newly Minted SQL MVP Jack Corbett(@unclebiguns | Blog).

After reading over what the commitment would entail and speaking with my family to make sure they were okay with it I put in an application.  

“So Balls”, you say, “What in the name of SQL Server does a NomCom Do?”

Great question Dear Reader.


PASS has announced that there will be a Board of Elections meeting this year, to learn more visit the PASS 2011 Election Website.  As part of the process people will fill out an application and submit to be considered for the election.  There are some pre-qualifications that they have to meet, you have to be working with SQL Server (Sorry Larry Ellison).... you get the idea.
After all the applications that do not meet the pre-qualifications are taken out of the mix, the applications are then handed over to the NomCom.  We review them weigh  (fancy word for score) each based on a set of criteria that we received from the current Board of Directors.   We will interview the references  and eventually we will interview the applicants and weigh those interviews as well.

We will use these scores to form a rank, and then we will pass these candidates along to the Board, passing along the top number that the Board Requests to be considered as the slate for elections.   The board will review everything we have given to them.  If they are not satisfied with the slate of candidates we put forward.  They will push it back to us and give us new instructions.

So to make a long answer short, What does a NomCom do?  We are nothing more than a Nominating Committee, that ranks the applicants as best we can and hands that over to the current Board of Directors.   We will be doing a lot of heavy lifting.

Just a quick clarification about the criteria used to rank candidates.  We have been meeting for weeks reviewing what the Board has given us and asking for clarification where needed, and disagreeing with criteria where needed.   It has been a very civil and easy process.  Everybody wants the community to vote and decide who is best to serve on the PASS Board, and we are doing our absolute best to make sure that who the community wants they will get.

So basically, I have no power, and if people are unhappy with the results I will probably get a lot of people talking to me through the IntraWebs USING CAPS!!!!


Well I do enjoy a good roller coaster.  And to be quite honest it felt like the right thing to do.  I’m not running for the Board of Directors.  Personally I don’t feel like I have the experience yet to where that would be a good fit for PASS or for me.  The election process though is a very important one, and it is one I believe deeply in for better or for worse.

America doesn’t ask much of you, but it does ask that you vote.  (okay it wants those pesky taxes too, but nobody likes them.)   You have a chance to shape the world around you every four years.  And for PASS you get that option a little more often.   I’ve gotten to meet a lot of the Board of Directors.   I like them, they are nice people, and they are very knowledgeable in SQL Server which gives us a common bond immediately.

But when I look at the SQL World around us I want to get more involved and help change things for the better.  We've done a lot of good work, but there is always more that needs some doing.

I’m not a deep insider.  I still grin like a kid with a backstage pass when I look around at the places and people that I’m going to work with.   Getting to hang out with guys like Jack and Roy still makes me grin ear to ear.  As if that isn’t enough rounding out the NomCom is Thomas Larock(@SQLRockstar | Blog) and the Immediate Past President of PASS Wayne Snyder (@SQLWayne ).

I’ll be writing more as the process moves along.  I’ve seen several people on Twitter announcing their intention to run for the board and I’m looking forward to this.