Board Achievements 2014-2015

Jen is probably best known for spearheading the PASS Business Analytics Conference in San Jose in May 2015.

Were we successful?  Yes!
We succeeded in positioning BAC for the data consumer – it wasn’t just a rebranded Microsoft BI Conference. We got the right people, content, speakers and audience.
We engaged influencers and leaders outside of the core community and they are continue to join with us on this journey.

The feedback from the event was awesome and I am honoured to have been part of this event.

In other news, here is a list of the achievements that Jen has produced on the Board since 2014, along with her goals:

Goal 1: Form a cohesive community for the BA community

Goal 2: Form a platform for people to understand cloud and Big Data technologies better 

Goal 1: Form a cohesive community for the BA community


Initially, I held the PASS Virtual Chapters Portfolio, and I drove that forward to that there is a subset of BA PASS Virtual Chapters. These are grouped together as follows:

* Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing

* Business Analytics

* Excel BI Virtual Chapter

* Data Science

To achieve this consolidation, I took a number of strategic decisions:

* I closed the Master Data Management VC, and folded it into the Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing VC

* I re-energised the BI VC by adding a third volunteer, and then a fourth. I then stepped down as the co-leader, in order to give the new volunteers an opportunity to lead the VC. This would help grow leadership within the bigger PASS community.

* I set up the Excel BI VC in order to provide Excel users with a ‘home’ for high quality, online content

* I set up the Data Science VC in order to provide intensive analytics education for those who wanted to go in that direction.

* In order to refocus the Virtual Chapters more generally, I re-pointed PASS HQ’s effort towards bolstering VCs that were not successful in order to give them a fresh life. This included changing leadership for some VCs, such as the Professional Development VC, Cloud VC and the Spanish VC.

* I refocused efforts by closing VCs that were unsuccessful, after continued salvage efforts failed.

* I refocused volunteers by awarding the Leader and co-Leader role to the volunteers who were doing the majority of the work, and deserved the recognition for their efforts.

* In order to assist the growth of PASS throughout the world, I set up foreign language VCs such as French and Hebrew.

* I also made training available, and increased efforts to help global language VCs such as French and Chinese. I changed the Spanish VC leadership to reflect the energy of the volunteers.

Goal 2: Form a platform for people to understand cloud and Big Data technologies better 

SQL Server is diversifying into cloud and ‘Big Data’ technologies, and this necessarily involves a huge shift in the required skill set for SQL Server professionals who embrace the change. PASS are well-placed to support the community of traditional on-premise SQL Server specialists who need to extend or transition their knowledge to cloud technologies. Further, as PASS have the opportunities to reach out globally to new cloud and Big Data technologists who interact with SQL Server but for whom, SQL Server may not be their core skill – the ‘Accidental DBA’

So, how did I do?

As holder of the Virtual Chapter Portfolio for 2014, I spearheaded a number of initiatives:

* I rebranded the Azure Virtual Chapter to the Cloud Virtual Chapter, in order to widen its remit to cover topics such as hybrid architectures.

* I refreshed and expanded the Azure Virtual Chapter leadership to bring in some fresh ideas and renew efforts to make this Virtual Chapter at the forefront of PASS strategy on cloud and big data technologies.

* I made efforts to find a sponsor for the Cloud Virtual Chapter.

* I supported the Cloud Virtual Chapter and the Big Data Virtual Chapter by recruiting speakers

* I supported the Big Data Virtual Chapter as they embraced Hortonworks as a key sponsor.

* I set up the Data Science Virtual Chapter, and I held a series of introductory Virtual Chapter sessions which were focused on R. In doing so, I wanted to start a community conversation about analytics in the cloud, using big data as a source.

Goal 3: Support the PASS community globally via embracing diversity


PASS can continue the efforts that have taken place in Europe, which have focused on reaching out to minority groups in technology, mainly Women in Technology. Whilst I am a supporter of the Women in Technology movement, it would be within the ethos of PASS as an organisation if this remit would be broadened to include Diversity; thereby being an organisation which is inclusive to people from different backgrounds, cultures, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. 

I regard this activity as a long-term goal, and it should not interfere with the existing great work that has taken place for WIT across the globe. Instead, it would be good if we could add a ‘light touch’ so that the PASS community are aware that WIT is for everybody, not just women. By extension, visible diversity and WIT programs help to evangelise PASS is for everybody. 

Ultimately, leadership members in organisations have to be sensitive to diversity and WIT issues in their organisation, in order to lead effectively. I see the WIT movement as a good thing in itself, and I also see it as tied closely to leadership and career development since evidence shows that diverse teams perform better, troubleshoot faster, and ultimately can affect a company’s bottom line. Leaders need to be aware of these issues in order to manage their teams effectively, whilst also ensuring that the team ‘asset’ is mined properly in order to progress the organisation financially.

So, how did I do?

As holder of the Virtual Chapter Portfolio, I spearheaded a number of initiatives:

  • I worked with the PASS Marketing team, led by Denise McInerney, to secure Kimberley Bryant for the WIT keynote at PASS Summit in 2014.
  • I made efforts to bolster the WIT Virtual Chapter leadership by obtaining new volunteers; unfortunately I was unsuccessful.
  • With PASS BAC, I prioritised Professional Development as a key pillar of PASS education. This pillar can be seen in the ‘Communicate and Lead’ track which is a key part of PASS Business Analytics Conference in 2015.
  • I refreshed the leadership for the Professional Development Virtual Chapter, and it has been particularly rewarding to see it flourish under the leadership of Neil Hambly and Matan Yungtan.


Goal 4: Continued efforts to enable PASS as a whole to deliver Goal 1, 2, 3 and 4.

As holder of the Virtual Chapters Portfolio, I created an online Program which taught Virtual Chapter leaders some very practical skills on running a Virtual Chapter, such as setting up the website and using .Net Nuke, using GoToWebinar, and social media skills. Brent Ozar very kindly supported my efforts by publicising it on my blog.

I wrote a blog post on the topic here:

I have occasionally held Twitter ‘surgery hours’, with varying degrees of success in terms of engagement.

I have attempted to grow transparency by blogging my PASS journey on the Board. I have sought advice from key community members and PASS HQ in order to reach the maximum audience possible.