Thoughts on PASS Board Nomination Process: #passvotes

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Having very recently gone through the nomination process for the PASS Board, I thought I would share a few things about it. Overall, it was a great experience. I feel that I really had to stretch to meet everything required of me. It was quite difficult to put together all the campaign material. Deciding on who to ask to give you recommendations was also very difficult. All, very much, as it should be. We’re talking about stepping up to run for the board of, essentially, a multi-million dollar corporation. It should be hard to do that. The interview process with the Nomination Committee was also no picnic. Most of these people had already served on the board, so they knew exactly what you, the nominee, was going to get into, so they asked about it. Heck, at the end of the interview process I was seriously questioning whether or not I should have run at all. Again, I think, as it should be. In all, I’m extremely impressed with the entire process, how the communications were done, the documentation, the nomination committee, all of it.

Well done PASS. And, special thank you to the Nomination Committee for all your hard work.

Now, i have a question, why didn’t more people do it?

It’s just me and three current members of the board running for reelection who have applied for the slate. Four people for three slots. Why not more? Are people just not aware of this? Or, are people intimidated by this process (not necessarily a bad thing)? Or, do people just not care? Maybe people think things are running swimmingly so don’t feel a need to rock the boat? I’m actually curious. Win or lose, I thought it was a great experience from which I think I learned a few things about myself. But I expected even more competition from a wider variety of people. I think there are a lot more of you that should be considering this. Next time, you need to run. Yes, you.


Check your email for your ballot which will be emailed at 20:00 GMT.

For more information about me, why I’m running, etc., please check here. For more information about the PASS election, please go here.


  • Andy "SQLBek" Yun

    Okay, I’ll bite & share my thoughts.

    For me, I still view myself as a hopeful up & comer, within the community as a whole. I’ve only been involved for a few years. As such, I think it’d foolish and arrogant to try and apply for a leadership position in an organization as a relative rookie.

    Second, though I’ve only been here a “short” while, everything I’ve observed in the past few years is that the process is anything but clean. I treasure this community, yet I feel like the moment nominees were announced, the mud-slinging began. My perception is that respect & professionalism are discarded, under the guise of “asking questions.” Questioning certainly has its place (I wish the BoD was more transparent), but trying to form lynch mobs & divide the community definitely does not. And I don’t feel like I have the time or tolerance for that kind of disrespectful treatment.

    • But, you went through the process of considering the option. That’s a win right there. I think too many people aren’t even considering it.

      I wish I could have recorded the conversation I had with JRJ that convinced me to run. Everyone would have benefited if I could have shared that.

  • Anders Pedersen

    Frankly, too busy keeping the servers running. I’d absolutely love to be more active both locally and in the org as a whole, but time is just not there.

    Not all work in companies that encourage participation in the community.

  • Grant, it’s great to hear that you found the process to be sound – we certainly tried, and we built on lessons learned from previous years, and we still see places where we think we can improve going into next year.

    You’re asking a very good question, I’m hoping you uncover a lot of good answers.


  • You pose a good question here especially considering the only requirements are working with a MS data product, volunteering (in any capacity), and being fluent in written and spoken English.

    This means someone’s kid (no age restriction) that helps setup for a UG meeting and works with MS Access as a part time job after school can run for the board.

    Of course one would hope if that happened the NomCom would remove them from the candidate pool, but they can’t. They can only remove “candidates that prove to be clearly unqualified or whose applications were falsified.” If that kid didn’t lie and is qualified because he met those three minimum criteria then it’s fair game.

    Something I had hoped to change if I had made the NomCom this year, but alas no changes.

    So yeah it makes the question even that more glaring, but the real answer is that you have to ask individuals to figure it out. Everyone will have a different reason. I don’t think there is one single thing we can point the finger at and fix.

  • That’s an excellent point though Ryan. Wouldn’t the person being underage and underinvolved with the community qualify as “clearly unqualified”. That seems vague enough that it could easily be used to get rid of people.

    Heck, that’s why I didn’t tell people I was applying until after I was on the ballot.

  • That’s the problem. “Clearly unqualified” is not defined. If you are on the NomCom how can you justify removing such a person when they met the minimum criteria? The only way to show that someone is unqualified is to prove they don’t meet those three qualifications. The entrance for being qualified is a really wide one that I could drive a tank through.

    Let’s hope there is not a 16 year old out there working a part time job with MS Access.

  • Did I hear someone say “drive a tank”? I’m in!

    Seriously though, I don’t disagree. The issue is, as an outsider, it seems as if the NomCom nuked a community favorite a few years ago when it had total control, so, now, they have little to no control which means, in theory anyway, they can’t nuke anyone. We may have over adjusted. Great points.

  • You hit it right on the head. The pendulum was swung all the way to the left so then it got swung all the way to the right. What should have been done was find a way to get it in the middle. It’s like starting to veer off onto the shoulder and then over correcting into the next lane.

    Good luck in the race and I look forward to seeing you at the PASS Summit!

  • Hi Grant,

    I had exactly the same thoughts about the Nom Comm. See

    The reality is from my understanding is that there are only 10000 active member in PASS. And within that pool there are a smaller number who would have performed roles that may be suitable for the prereqs for even getting on the Nom Comm, let alone the board.

    I remember looking at the results of the recent NomComm and feeling that if I had not applied, Mark Broadbent may have got in the Nom Comm. The results seem to show that there was still a minority of votes from outside the US.

    Then you have to consider who you may be going against. The reality is there is an element of a popularity contest that is involved here as well. I remember looking at the elections in the past and looking at other candidates.

    When the other candidates have 4 – 5 times more twitter followers than you, then you really do question if the law of averages would give you a chance.

    In my case, a lot of community work is spent supporting other community organisers, so I don’t spend the time writing as many blogs as I would like or presenting at events that are to bigger audiences, so from that perspective I don’t build up the support for an election campaign

    That being said, I take pride in giving the background support and seeing organisers develop into running large events. I would not have it any other way. People have strengths in different areas and the community may not necessarily see the work that goes on.

    In conclusion, I certainly don’t feel I would stand a chance in an election, despite many people stating I am qualified to go for it with my experience. The recent Nom Comm result confirmed that.

    Perhaps there needs to be a different way to engage the future leaders to create a diverse board from the far reaches of this fair planet.

    This is my 2c, I am not saying it is right or wrong, it is a point of view from someone who is engaged at various levels of this great community of ours.



  • Hey Chris,

    Excellent stuff. I absolutely acknowledge that elections are popularity contests. I pretty much hate that aspect of them actually. But, it’s not going to go away as long as humans are involved.

    The fact of the matter is, I don’t have a grand vision of where I want to take PASS. To my mind, that means I probably shouldn’t be involved in the leadership. But, I do fundamentally believe in the vision of PASS. Connect, Share, Learn. They have worked for me. That’s what I want, more of the same. Just so happens, the same is pretty awesome. But, if we could get away from the beauty pageant aspect of the election process, we’d get better people than me. People with real vision, people who will build on the foundation provided for them. In the meantime, I’ll strengthen the foundation in preparation for them, if I get in.

    Maybe we need to promote the people behind the scenes more. I know how much you contribute (and it’s more than me). You’d be an awesome board member.

    Thanks for sharing. This is seriously awesome stuff.

  • Grant
    Stepping up for a leadership role in communities such as PASS and similar is not everyone’s cup of tea, but for some like yourself who continuously GIFT their time, energies and experience for others is an inspiration to us all
    I wish you luck in your BoD campaign and I’m glad your on this years slate
    I thank folks such as Chris Testa-O’Neill & Tony Rogerson for initially getting me involved in our UK SQL community,and yourself for also encouraging me to do more


  • Hi Grant,

    Thank you

    The reason I voted for you was because of your belief in the core mission statement of PASS. It is the goal that should be the driver for this organisation. As I stated in my blog in June, this goal should be used to drive tactical objectives for the Chapter Leaders VC Leaders and Regional Mentors to become more engaged in the leadership aspect of PASS.notwithstanding the fact that the goal should also drive the objectives for our members too.

    Microsoft do this with their rising stars. Any employee that has the potential of being a future leader at MS are put on a leadership mentoring program.

    So, you ARE worthy of going for the board, you want more of the same goals for PASS, and if you do get in, once you are allocated your program, I look forward to the objective you set to meet that goal.

    My point is, the grand vision has already been set, you don’t need a grand vision. That’s not necessarily a leaders job, that’s the job of a visionary. But that was done before PASS started and was an idea in someone head.

    So please do not think you don’t have the attributes, you do. And good luck, you will make a great BoD member.


    Its been awesome watching you grow in the community. I remember the days you had to beg, steal or borrow a venue just to keep the London Chapter alive back in the day. That’s dedication and I applaud you sir.


OK, fine, but what do you think?