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SIM Leadership Spotlight - January 2017

"Leadership Spotlight" includes interviews with Chapter Presidents, SIM Board members, Management Council members and other SIM leaders.  "Leadership Spotlight" will not only highlight SIM’s leadership and chapters,  but it will offer insight from our leaders on topics, treads and issues facing the Society, our chapters and the IT industry.


An archive of interviews will be found HERE.



January 2017
Name: Paul Farrall
SIM Role: SIM Seattle Chapter President


Question 1  |  Question 2  |  Question 3  |  Question 4  | Question 5

1. Please provide an overview of the SIM Seattle chapter.
Seattle SIM was formed in 1978. We currently have around 125 members.

Seattle SIM has a very active programs calendar. In 2017 our programs include eight monthly chapter meetings (dinner meetings with speakers held the third Wednesday of each month at the Seattle Yacht Club); our annual Seattle SIM Technology Leaders Summit on March 29th at the Washington Convention Center; our annual Seattle SIM Charity Golf Tournament on August 21st, our Seattle SIM Christmas party in December, and a boat cruise in early August where we will watch the Blue Angels fly around during Seattle’s Seafair festival.

2. What are your goals for your term as the President of the SIM Seattle chapter?
I focused on two core goals during my term as Seattle SIM president.

The first goal was to expand Seattle SIM programs, membership, and marketing efforts to be more inclusive of technology leaders at Internet/Cloud companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, etc. SIM is very good at articulating value to traditional IT leaders at traditional companies, but sometimes struggles to explain the SIM value proposition to technical leaders at Internet/Cloud companies.

Seattle is home to a large number of these technology companies. They are a core part of our local culture and we needed to figure out a way to include members from these companies in order to stay relevant and grow our chapter. We have had a significant amount of success at this over the past couple years, but still have more to do.

The second goal was to make community outreach a core mission for Seattle SIM. All of our Seattle SIM members are busy with competing demands on their time. Adding community outreach as a core Seattle SIM mission has allowed our members to combine their professional activities (education, networking, leadership development, etc) and their community outreach/charitable giving efforts in one organization. We have been reasonably successful with our efforts to date. We appointed our first Community Outreach board member, donated over $20,000 to charity in 2016, and have Seattle SIM members participating in community activities like mentoring students, speaking at schools, etc.

3. What are the hottest trends in the industry? 
Cloud computing is a trend that continues to grow. Seattle is also home to a large number of cloud computing companies so cloud computing is a big focus for many IT professionals here as many of us work for these companies.

DevOps is still popular, though I feel like the wave may have crested on this trend. The DevOps movement is handicapped by its lack of clear definitions and consistent theoretical framework. I suspect that DevOps ideas will eventually be absorbed back into traditional process improvement methodologies like Lean and Theory of Constraints.

Information security is increasingly on people’s minds. This is a white hot topic right now and our Seattle SIM programs with security topics are very popular.
4. What challenges is your chapter currently facing?
Like all SIM chapters, we face the perennial challenge of competing with other demands on our member’s limited free time. It is a continuing challenge to get members to attend events, volunteer for board positions, etc.

A new challenge that has emerged over the last couple year’s is the rise of commercially driven IT events. It seems like there is a new one of these events popping up every week in Seattle. We compete with these events for sponsorship dollars and attendees. The challenge for Seattle SIM is to explain the better value proposition of a non-profit membership-based organization like Seattle SIM over these commercial events.

5. What is the one piece of advice you will give the next President of the SIM Seattle chapter?  
People are initially drawn to SIM for professional reasons like expanding their network. They stay involved with SIM when they make friendships with other SIM members.

An archive of interviews will be found HERE.


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