SQL Speakers–Will You Accept The Chapter Challenge?

Most SQLSaturday’s do ok when it comes to finding speakers, the results of an incredible speaker mailing list and a lot of reasons for speakers to participate – I’d say a combination of a chance to learn in addition to presenting, the chance to spend time with other speakers, and the sheer fun of going to a new/different city. Chapters struggle. It’s a much harder sell to convince a speaker to drive/fly any distance to do an hour presentation. Online presentations are slowly growing in popularity, but even then we don’t have an effective way for chapters to reach out to speakers, at least compared to how we do it for SQLSaturday.

Someday the “speaker bureau” will fix that problem. Someday.

I was thinking about all of that as I was contemplating goals again. How could we reverse the polarity and have speakers beating down the doors of chapters? What about setting a goal of speaking to every PASS Chapter? With more than 200 chapters that is a task of years, but what a journey! Nothing to stop you (or me) from embarking on that journey, but how I wish it was one that PASS would chart and publicize. How about doing even more, how about incenting it, at a couple levels? Imagine that:

  • Anyone who completes an hour long presentation to a dozen or more different chapters in a single year gets a PASS leather jacket to commemorate? Or a substantial discount off of PASS Summit attendance? Both!
  • Anyone who completes an hour long presentation to more than 200 different chapters gets free life time admission to the PASS Summit?

I can think of a lot of fun having competitions for who can do the most presentations in a year, the most in-person, the most online, maybe the most states or countries. Earning a “state” badge for presenting to all the chapters in that state (that has a chapter!) A light hearted competition, but think of the scoreboard and the blog posts. Would that a be a change for the good? Would it change the problem of getting speakers for chapters? I think it might.

I’m going to lobby for something along those lines, but incentives aside, there’s no reason you and I can’t get started now. My goal is to speak at all the Florida groups this year. Not as ambitious as “all chapters”, but given that I’m starting in mid July it’s ambitious enough. Will you set a chapter goal and what will it be?

7 thoughts on “SQL Speakers–Will You Accept The Chapter Challenge?

  1. I love this idea Andy! I have presented at several out of town user groups–I would do more but I do find it very challenging to drive several hours in the middle of the work week. Thank you for calling out this issue and offering some fun ideas for incentives.


  2. Sounds good. In addition to that, what about some kind of incentive to new local speakers as well? Something to get people interested, along with a little mentoring from experienced speakers. This way, not only do we increase the number of sessions offered to chapters by accomplished speakers, we increase the number of speakers as well. – Further tipping the ratio in favor of the chapters.

    What do you think?


    1. Absolutely. I think PASS is missing a huge opportunity to call out new speakers (and to keep them speaking). It is SO HARD to get someone new going, I wish we’d give the learning resources and recognition and feedback.


  3. Sounds like a plan! Make it happen!

    This would help chapters like the Memphis PASS Chapter that has a limited number of available speakers within a short travel distance.


  4. I think incentives would be nice.
    I think it would be helpful also to have a speaker bureau.
    Another thing that could be helpful is to have a master list of when the chapters meet. A speaker that is traveling could more easily coordinate several chapter meetings that are relatively close and essentially reduce the cost per presentation when travelling.

    One last thing would be if chapters could incentivize speakers for presenting.


  5. Andy, I like the idea. PASS could make a pin/sticker/patch for states and the leather jacket / anything for speaking at 12 events. The only way to get the prize is to put in the time and miles.


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