Thoughts on the Nomination Committee and PASS Board Elections

The PASS Nomination Committee finished interviewing those who applied for the Board last Wednesday, August 28, 2013.  In the event that you’re not familiar with the NomCom and what it does, there’s a short paragraph on the Nomination Committee page.  After the interviews, the candidates were ranked based on their written applications and their interviews with the NomCom.  The candidates were informed of their final ranking, and have the opportunity to withdraw their name from consideration before the slate is publicly announced.

The Process

When I applied to be on the NomCom, I had an understanding of what it entailed, but I didn’t know all the details.  For a bit of NomCom history, I would encourage you to review the PASS archive about the Election Review Committee (ERC).  Within the archive there is a Documents page, and the two documents there outline the process for the NomCom to follow when reviewing applications and interviewing candidates.  The NomCom NDA limits what I can disclose about the events of this year, but I can tell you that it was extremely eye-opening, and worth every minute I spent working with the other members of the team.  I learned even more about PASS as a whole, what important qualities are needed for a Board member, and gained great insight into the applicants who applied.  And of course the whole process got me thinking…

Thoughts on the Candidates

The slate for the three open Board positions will be announced in the coming weeks, and voting will begin soon after.  The applications originally submitted by the candidates will be available on the PASS site, and candidates will have additional opportunities to answer questions and campaign.

During the NomCom process I was reminded that people communicate best in different ways.  Some write extremely well, others speak extremely well.  Some are fortunate to excel at both.

To the candidates: I encourage you to know your strengths, and then take advantage of them.  If you can articulate your thoughts, your vision, and your qualifications in writing so that your passion also shines through: do it.  Get your content published – on the PASS site, on your blog, by someone who supports you.  If you can explain your opinions and ideas better by speaking: do it.  Host a conference call, a Google hangout, something, to have your voice heard (literally).

Thoughts on Voting

To anyone who is not running, I encourage you to exercise your right as an active PASS member to vote.

But I more strongly encourage you to take the time to find out as much as you can about each candidate before you vote.  I say this because it’s possible that an election can become a popularity contest, and you may or may not know every candidate who is running.  You may know candidates personally, you may only know by them name.  You may have seen a candidate speak at an event.  You may recognize a candidate name because you’ve seen it in the PASS Connector.  You may not know anyone who’s on the slate (this was certainly the case for me the first year I voted in a PASS election).  Whether you know a candidate or not, before you vote you do need to know what they think about PASS, what they’ve done, where they see PASS going, and whether they will be a good leader.  Take advantage of the information the candidates share to learn as much you can about each individual.

Why You Should Vote

The easy answer, when someone asks, “Why should I vote?” is because you’re a member of the organization and it’s your right.  Some may argue it’s your duty.

I don’t know why you should vote.  But I’ll tell you why I’m voting.

Almost six years ago at a SQL Server conference – which was not the PASS Summit – I realized that I was not the only person who really loved working with SQL Server.  I discovered there were more like me.  Just over three years ago I finally realized there was a professional organization for all the people who loved working with SQL Server: PASS.  It took me over two years to find PASS.  Two.  And why does that matter?  Because in the three-plus years since I found PASS I have become a better professional.  Yes, I have found a lot more people like me and I have developed friendships that extend beyond the walls of an organization and the functions of an application.  And for that I’m eternally grateful.  But I am just as thankful for the opportunities I have encountered as a PASS member, and for the improvements I’ve made technically and professionally.

So for me, I vote to invest in my career, my future.  I can’t do it alone.  I cannot become better by just sitting in my corner of the world.  I need my co-workers, my colleagues, my user group, my fellow PASS members, my #sqlfamily.  And to keep that group moving forward, we need a strong and focused Board.  I’ll vote for that any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

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