PASS Board of Directors – Call for Nominations

Well I feel a little strange making an announcement about this since I’m not running. A number of people have asked me to run, and I considered it, but I can’t this year. Or at least I’m not willing to right now. I’ll give you a few thoughts on the position and then give you my reasons.

The Call for Nominations

It’s open now, and if you want to run, or know someone, you can nominate them here. The page lists a bunch of qualifications and benefits that board members have to deal with or get.  The deadline is Sept 3, so just a week left.

If you have been working with the community, and enjoy it, then think about running. It’s the chance to help the community and make a difference in how our professional organization runs. You can get some good experience and have a nice resume bullet. It won’t hurt if you are looking for an MVP award as well.

My feelings are that a board member should be:

Employed as an FTE at a company – Nothing against consultants, but I think they have a hard conflict in dealing with clients when PASS calls. We’ve had a lot of consultants over the years on the board, and I don’t always think it has worked out well.

However you should be in a stable situation with your company, and your boss needs to support 3-4 3 day trips a year. I’d ask if your boss is OK with it, and ask them to treat this as an educational experience, just like tuition reimbursement. Only instead of $$, you need some time off.

Have Volunteer Experience – It doesn’t have to be with PASS, but you should have some nice long term volunteer experience. It can be with your church, Scouts, or some other group, but it’s hard to understand what type of commitment this can be if you haven’t been through it. I don’t think a board of directors is the place to start.

Have Completed Projects as the PM – This can be a development project, a deployment, but something where you had to manage or direct other people to get things done. As a board member you’ll need to manage volunteers, keep them on task, and be aware of what they’re doing. Again, if you haven’t done it, this isn’t the place to learn.

Enjoy the community – You can’t just be a great DBA. You have to enjoy meeting new people, working with them, and have a passion for helping the community. If you don’t like speaking, attending user group meetings, or working with groups, this isn’t the position for you. You don’t have to be a super-go-getter that’s at every event, but if you don’t enjoy getting out and networking with other DBAs, this isn’t the place to start. You could be a great volunteer for PASS, but not a director.

Again, if you think you might fit this profile, apply. If you want another look at what’s involved, check out Andy Warren’s blog.

My Situation

I really thought about this last year, and was prepared to apply. I ended up missing the deadline for no good reason, and then decided not to do it. Andy Warren did run, and has been keeping me up to date on what it has required from him. We’re business partners and talk a couple times a week, and the subject of PASS commitments comes up often.

This year I have a wife that travels a lot, often on short notice. She’s gone about 24,000 miles on airlines so far this year, and that can make it hard for me to travel at times. I also have 3 kids in 3 different schools, and managing all their events is a bit of a juggling trick each week. Add to that my son and I are both closing in our black belts in karate and I do a fair amount of scout volunteering with one son and my daughter, so I’m limited in the time I have available for PASS.

Red Gate was supportive of my running last year, and I’m sure they would be again this year, but I’m a little worried about the distraction of work for the PASS board. I have a mixed schedule already of short and medium length work that makes it hard to context switch some times. I’m also a little worried about the conflict of interest if both Andy and I are on the board at the same time.

Next year things should be different. One son leaves for college, karate will slow down, and Andy may not run for a second term. I’m not committing to run, but I’ll be in a better situation to handle the load.

In any case, I’d like to see some new directors on the board. I think PASS has had too many people run for multiple terms in the past and I’d like to have a few new faces to congratulate in November.

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