Denise McInerney Blog

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Looking Both Ways: PASS Board Year 2, Q4

This marks the end of my two-year term as a PASS Director-at-Large. January 1 I started my term as Vice President of Marketing for PASS. This last three months has been a period of transition, making sure my projects and portfolios are in ready for the next owner and learning my new job.

These quarterly blog posts usually just focus on the past three months. Since this month marks the end of one job and the start of another I will use this post to look back at my 2-year term and ahead to the new year.

Looking Back

Everyone who runs for the Board has an idea of what she wants to accomplish during her term. Candidates campaign on these ideas and the changes they want to make.

I was no different. In my campaign platform I talked about making decisions based on long-term vision and strategy and empowering our volunteers. I also called out two specific goals for my term: establishing a code of conduct for PASS and doing more outreach to students.

In my first year I was given responsibility for the Virtual Chapter portfolio, and in my second year I added the 24 Hours of PASS portfolio.

So, did I reach my goals?

Long Term Strategy

Setting long term strategy and goals is something the Board does together. Once the strategy has been established it is up to the individual directors to ensure we are implementing that strategy through our portfolios.

Business Analytics

PASS has started our “next big thing”:  the PASS Business Analytics conference. In order to do this we have had to make decisions about priorities and resource allocation that have not always been easy. But I strongly believe that engaging with the growing ranks of data professionals in a variety of job functions is crucial to our continued success. We also have a responsibility to our membership to expose them to the changes in our industry.

Besides the conference itself, we have launched a Business Analytics Virtual Chapter and a BA Edition of 24 Hours of PASS.

Global Growth

The journey to reach out to data professionals around the world began before I was elected to the Board. Over the past two years we have solidified the global growth strategy and engaged with the SQL community in many countries in a variety of ways. This year we added a Board seat specifically for a Director from the EMEA region.

Implementing the global growth strategy touches all of PASS’ portfolios. The Virtual Chapters play an important role; VCs organized around a specific language can serve members in different parts of the world who share that language. We now have five language-based VCs: Chinese, Hebrew, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Our topic-based VCs have also stepped up to have webinars at times that are convenient to different time zones. And with all the webinars recorded, members can access the content any time.

24 Hours of PASS is also well-suited to supporting our global growth work. For the past two years editions of 24HOP have been held in Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Many volunteers have played a part in the work of the VCs and 24HOP. As Director my job was to help drive implementation of the long-term objectives through  my portfolios and empower the volunteers.

Empowering Volunteers

PASS members are incredibly dedicated and creative. They need the elected leadership to give them the tools required to be successful. When it came to the Virtual Chapters I sought to enable the work of the VCs.

After speaker & content, the thing that can most affect the success of a webinar is the hosting platform. The platform we had been using had reached its end-of-life and needed to be replaced.  With great support from PASS HQ I drove a project to select, fund  and adopt a new webinar platform.

I partnered with PASS marketing to improve the promotion of the VCs. Over the past two years we have had regular profiles of the VCs in the Connector, provided VC with a specific logo and a refreshed web site and gotten a lot of promotion via social media channels.

There has been a project underway to provide improved tools for PASS chapters. I made sure the VCs' needs were also considered as we made decisions about priorities and resources.

The webinar platform, related tools and established processes also enabled 24 Hours of PASS. They supported the efforts of our Portuguese- Russian- and Spanish-speaking volunteers to put on these language-based events.

Throughout my 2 years as Director I always sought to enable the volunteers do their work and to evangelize that work. I tried to avoid getting into implementation and tactical details; that can easily lead to interference and micro-management, not empowerment.

Code of Conduct

I began discussions on adopting a Code of Conduct with other board members early in my first year on the Board. After several drafts and much discussion we adopted an Anti-Harassment Policy and accompanying process.

I blogged about the thinking behind the policy here, here, here and here and got feedback from the community. This opened a sometimes difficult, but important discussion among our members.

Adoption of this policy was an important step for PASS and one that I am proud to have led.

Outreach to Students

This is the one goal that I did not achieve in my first two years on the Board. I still think it is an important avenue for PASS to pursue. As VP of Marketing I will have the opportunity to make some progress here.

Communication to Members

While not specifically mentioned in my platform, during the campaign I did commit to communicating regularly with the members. I used these quarterly blog posts as a sort of status report and update to my customers, the PASS membership. I communicated with the VC leaders regularly through email and occasional conference calls. And I maintained a presence on Twitter; you can find me at @denisemc06.

I got no complaints and a reasonable number of hits on my blog, so at least some members found this useful. I will continue this practice over the next two years.

Looking Ahead

Learning New Ropes

In my new job I am accountable to the Board and membership for PASS marketing. Marketing touches virtually everything PASS does--everything from demand generation for PASS Summit to our social media presence to the look-and-feel of our web site. Our great staff at PASS HQ executes in all these areas. The VP of Marketing is responsible for setting strategy & working with the team to ensure we we do is in service to our overall goals.

The second piece of the new job is being part of the Executive Committee along with President Thomas LaRock, Executive Vice President Adam Jorgensen and Immediate Past President Bill Graziano.

Goals, Board Meeting

The new Board will have it’s first in-person meeting later this month. This meeting will be important for setting the vision and tone for the year. In preparation for that meeting the new Exec Co is leading a discussion on our overall goals for the year. At the meeting each Director will present goals for their portfolios.

Business Analytics Conference

The second PASS Business Analytics Conference will be held May 7-9 in San Jose, CA. As with PASS Summit, Marketing has a lot to do for the BA Conference. I worked closely with Marketing and the Program Committee leading up to the announcement of the speakers and sessions. I am excited by the strong content we will be offering at this event. Marketing has a solid plan for advertising and promoting the conference and now will focus on executing on that plan.

Working With Our Partners

PASS has many partners who support our large conferences, as well as our regional, local and virtual events. 2014 will see a renewed focus on relationships with these partners. We are working on the details, but this will be an important part of marketing’s work this year.