Denise McInerney Blog

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I'm Running for the PASS Board of Directors

My name is Denise McInerney, and I am running for the PASS Board of Directors in the upcoming election. In the coming weeks there will be a lot of discussion about the candidates, our qualifications and our points of view on various questions, and I'll participate in those conversations. I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself and tell you why I've decided to run.

Who I Am: DBA
I have been a SQL Server DBA since 1998. I currently work at Intuit, where I've been for seven years. Prior to that I worked at several start-ups and did a bit of independent consulting. Like many in this field I sort of stumbled into databases; my degree in Political Science from Boston University did not lead directly into working with SQL Server.

My introduction to databases was using Access generate reports for a call center where I was working as an administrator. I discovered that I liked databases so much I wanted to pursue working with data as a career, and that led to my first job as a junior DBA at a dot com start up. I've been a DBA ever since.

Who I Am: PASS Volunteer
I attended my first PASS event in 2002 (it was a regional conference in Las Vegas) and was so impressed with the content that I registered for the Summit. I paid for that first Summit out-of-pocket. I thought that the technical education and networking opportunities made it a worthwhile investment in my career, and I was right. Someone I had met at the regional conference introduced me to other people at the Summit and in no time I had a network of contacts. And of course the technical content was fantastic.

In 2003 one of the friends I had made through PASS suggested that we both volunteer for the Program Committee. The job of choosing sessions for the Summit seemed interesting so I signed up. That was the beginning of four years of service on the Program Committee, including one year as Program Committee Manager. Thanks to this volunteer work I have a good understanding of what it takes to put on PASS' flagship event.

The first Women in Technology panel was held at the 2003 Summit. In 2004 I volunteered to help with that event and in 2005 I became the event's chairperson. The growing interest in the WIT luncheon led the founding of the PASS Women in Tech Special Interest Group in 2006 (now the WIT Virtual Chapter.) I was proud to be the first chairperson of that group. I served as the WIT chair or co-chair for five years. In that time the WIT luncheon has grown from 65 attendees to almost 350 in 2010, and it promises to be even larger this year. The chapter has grown in membership and leadership, with a variety of members taking on organizational responsibility. And we've expanded our activities beyond the Summit. Many SQL Saturdays have included WIT panels and lots of good discussions on the issues facing women in our field have taken place.

I also participate in PASS as a speaker. I started speaking at user group meetings in Silicon Valley and San Francisco in 2007 and have presented several times at these groups. I have presented at the Summit twice and will be presenting this year as well. In 2011 I presented at three SQL Saturdays.

In 2010 I was asked to serve on the nominations committee for the Board of Directors election. I took that responsibility very seriously and served to the best of my ability.

I am proud of my PASS volunteerism; I've learned a lot, I've met some great colleagues and friends, and  I've contributed to the growth and progress of the organization. In 2007 I was honored to receive the PASSion award in recognition of my contributions.

Why I Am Running
I'm running for the Board because I think I have more to contribute to the organization.  I believe in PASS' mission. I have personally and professionally benefited from the educational and networking opportunities PASS provides. As a long-time volunteer I understand this organization, both its strengths and its challenges.

I understand that PASS is volunteer-driven; we are most successful when we draw on the talents and energy of our membership. My experience with the WIT VC bears this out. The Women in Tech Virtual Chapter has truly been a grass-roots effort from the beginning. Every step of the way we asked the members what they wanted the VC to be and do. We thought strategically about how to build and expand the chapter and its reach. The result is a WIT event that consistently ranks among the most popular sessions at the Summit. If elected I will draw on my experience leading a VC when working with other volunteers as a Director.

In recent years PASS has expanded its educational offerings to include 24 Hours of PASS, SQL Saturday, SQL Rally and  many more local and virtual chapter meetings. The amount of content made available through PASS-related events is remarkable. I would like to see the organization continue to build on this impressive set of offerings and grow in membership and influence.

One of the Board's main jobs is to set strategy and direction for the organization. As a director I would bring my ability to see the big picture. I know that good leaders listen; I will advocate for what I think is right, but I will also listen to what the membership is saying.

I will be at the Summit next week. I'll be happy to answer any questions you have about my candidacy. Feel free to stop me an introduce yourself. And you can follow me on Twitter: @denisemc06