Finding a SQL Saturday Board of Directors

I wrote recently about looking for candidates and the criteria that I initially considered. I am happy to say quite a few people expressed interest, and my list of people grew quite a bit. I wanted to disclose a bit about the process that I am following and take any feedback on my direction.

As a disclosure, no one else at Redgate is under consideration for the items below, though I am talking with a few others that can give me advice and thoughts on the process. It’s a good check for my thoughts, while respecting the privacy of people involved.

BTW, if you are one of the people I’ve contacted, make sure you reply to my email.

Advisors

The first thing I started to think about as I went through the list is that this is really, really, really hard. There are amazing people already out there helping the community, with tremendous passion. They are also diverse, in many ways.

Trying to decide on a list of 8 is very hard. I also am self-aware enough to know that I have my own internal biases and thoughts. I might not see something others will.

As a result, I decided to put together a list of advisors that can glance at my short list and let me know if they see anything wrong. I am not asking them for votes, but really to point out where they think I might not be adhering to my own guidelines, aware enough of diversity, or making a mistake based on my own ignorance.

As with other parts of this process, I am not disclosing names, as these individuals have a right to privacy, and I do not wish to expose them to any trolling or harsh judgment on the Internet. I know, this might not be perfect, but this is a semi-messy process at this point.

At this point, I have 4 people that have agreed to help and a few other requests outstanding.

I will also make final decisions, so mistakes are my fault.

Previous Pass Leadership

One of the things I am not doing here is replacing PASS. This is an effort to restart SQL Saturdays, learning from the last few years. There are also legal considerations with the insolvency of PASS and NDAs.

I am not looking to include anyone on this board that served on the board of PASS in the last 3 years. Many of those people may look to be a part of this effort in the future, and I would welcome their interest, but for now this is an attempt to make a clean break with the recent past, and return to something more like the aims and goals of SQL Saturday during its origins.

Candidates

My initial list of 24 got cut down to about 18 at first, with several people declining because of personal reasons. My post also generated a dozen more, and I got recommendations from some people I contacted.

I sent out 33 initial interest notes. As of now, I have 12 people that are on the super short list that expressed interest. A few dropped out, and a few are busy at the moment. A few gave me more names.

My initial outreach was pointing them to my previous post. A follow-up in email contained this message:

“Thanks for your interest in the SQL Saturday foundation. For lack of a better name right now, I’ll stick with SSF.

This is my initial view of what I want candidates to think about and commit to.

My vision is a BoD that meets a few times a year, has legal and fiduciary obligations to the non profit (though no personal, legal, or financial liability). The meetings initially are likely to be more email and debate/discussion. I hope to have close to 100% of the discussion publicly published, except where legalities might cause an issue. So you’d have to express thoughts and opinions strongly.

I am not looking for someone to agree with me or think like me, but for diverse thoughts on how to improve/grow/advance the SQL Saturday brand and franchise. My thought is that we will aim for an initial term of 1 year, but I would prefer not everyone leave at the same time, so the board will have to decide to potentially extend some people to 18-24 months so there is some continuity from board to board.

If you are still interested, let me know. I’m not publicly disclosing candidates right now for their own privacy. At some point, I will need to make a decision and reduce the list to 8 people and announce their names. I also don’t intend to disclose those I haven’t chosen, unless they wish to.

Steve”

To those that replied positively, I’m adding them to the super short list. Those that haven’t, need to do so or they will be dropped.

I expect that I will get more responses in the coming days, and maybe this post will get a few people to think or respond.

Decisions

While I to need to work with people, I do not want them to defer to me or agree with me just because it is me or I’m leading this effort. In fact, I am thinking a little more heavily about those people that have disagreed with me in the past. We need debate and discourse, in a civil manner, but we need people that think differently and come to rough consensus, not unanimous agreement. I think unanimity often leads to some blind spots.

I am thinking about diversity, about geography and gender and ethnicity, as well as how people have struck me as thoughtful, with some insight and consideration.

I am going to give people a week to respond. I know some might be on vacation, might need to think for a day or two, and I would still like more names outside the US/UK/ANZ world. Not that I need more choices, or want them, but because I think I should get more, and this should be a hard decision.

Timeline

I have no set timeline right now. I am waiting on some legal things to finalize, and really cannot move too far forward for now. However, I know that having a board ready is important, so that we can get events moving up and running.

I am hoping to start cutting down the list next week (22 Mar) and trying to get to 12-15. I have had to make personnel decisions before, and I have found it helpful to do this in stages, rather than all at once, so that is what I’m doing.

I welcome thoughts, comments, and criticisms of this process. It will help me ensure I am not making too many mistakes.

About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.