PASS Elections: Why I’m leaving the board

September 25, 2013

It’s PASS Election time, and this year, there are no serving board members on the ballot.

Two years ago, Adam Jorgensen, Denise McInerney and I were elected to the PASS board, serving two-year terms. Since then, Adam and Denise have both been elected as Vice-Presidents of PASS, and will remain on the board in that role. Of the previous VPs, Douglas McDowell is stepping off the board, while Tom LaRock has become President (the current President, Bill Graziano, becoming Immediate-Past President and the current IPP, Rushabh Mehta, stepping off the board).

So instead of the vote being to replace or re-elect Adam, Denise and me, we see Douglas and Rushabh leaving the board.

This leaves the question of me. I could run again this year, but instead have decided to take a break from the board.

Being on the PASS board is a great way to serve the SQL community, and I’m all about serving – it’s a large part of what drives me. In fact, I often think I’m better at serving than pursuing my own vision. Sometimes I think I’d make a great case study for psychologists. Other times, I think I’d they’d just roll their eyes and say “No, we see people like you all the time, you’re a classic <insert term here>.”

I was asked to be on the board just over two years ago, when PASS gathered people from the UK, Nordic and Australian regions to discuss the globalisation of PASS. Greg Low and I were there from Australia, and when JRJ, Raoul Ilyes and I were asked to be on the board, I accepted. All three of us did. Because Raoul was ineligible to become a director (he’d recently taken a job with SolidQ, and PASS has rules about having more than two board members from the same company), we were put in as board advisors. As I was already involved, I ran for election to be a director at the end of the year (two years ago). JRJ was chosen by the board to take over Andy Warren’s position when he left the board mid-term. And so the story of PASS globalisation continued with JRJ and me as directors.

Being a board member from Australia has been tough, but if it was that alone, I’d make it work. I’ve got up plenty of early mornings to be in meetings. But there’s more. I run a business (LobsterPot Solutions) out of Adelaide, which is a tough market. We also have staff in Melbourne and now Canberra (Julie’s moved there) too, and take on clients all around Australia and overseas. That doesn’t mean I travel a lot, but it does take time and emotional investment.

I should travel more than I do. In fact, that’s one of the reasons why I’m leaving the board – my old back injury. It doesn’t normally affect me much, but this year, it has done more than I would’ve liked. I trained for and completed a marathon earlier in the year. I ran because I could. I’d had nine years of not being able to run, and then after working with my physiotherapist to get it back, wanted to see how far I could push it. It was hard, but I ran a marathon. I have a medal to prove it. It was hard though, and it took a lot out of me. Every injury during training was exacerbated by my back condition, and I ended up not being able to fly to the other board meetings this year. I missed the first one because it was the first week of the school year and I chose to be here for my family, but the other two were because my back simply wasn’t up to it. I attended via Skype instead, but it wasn’t the same.

Essentially, I don’t feel that I’ve been able to be as effective this year on the board as what I’d like. I see my role on the board being to stand up for what is right for the community, and being an enabler. My portfolio this year has been SQLSaturday, and the focus I’ve taken has been in enabling Karla and Niko to do what they do more effectively, and to try to make life easier for the SQLSaturday organisers, attendees and sponsors. It’s been a year of change at PASS in many ways though, and with my energy levels being lower this year than I’d’ve liked, I don’t know how well I’ve done that. I have high standards, of course.

I would happily remain on the board as an advisor, or take on a different role within PASS (although Australia already has two Regional Mentors), but I’m also really thrilled that the people that are running for the board this year are such high quality. There are a few PASSion award winners in there, and almost everyone on the list has been involved in growing the SQL community in significant ways. I would love to see Allen get back on the board, and all the others will have a positive effect too. I could happily write recommendations for every one of them! I’m pleased I’m not running against these people, because I feel PASS deserves to have these people on the board more than it deserves to have me continue. I might run again in the future, but am also happy to serve behind the scenes too.

So instead, the PASS membership gets to vote three new people onto the board! Exciting times.


This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Pat Wright

    Thank you Rob for your time and dedication to the SQL Community and to the PASS organization.  You have done a wonderful job while on the board and look forward to you helping the community in the future.  

  2. Allen Kinsel

    Thanks for all you’ve done for PASS Rob, including the great keynote song in 2011.  I also appreciate your personal support for my returning to the Board.

  3. Rafael Salas

    Thanks for your service Rob. I am sure it was not an easy decision to step down. I hope you get better from your back issues.

  4. Rob Farley

    🙂 Thanks everyone. I should make it clear that I’m not ending my term early – I’m serving out my time, but just not re-running. Douglas and Rushabh should also be celebrated for their time on the board, both having put in a lot more years than me.

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