Susan Slaughter

Archive for the ‘Sacramento Valley SAS Users Group’ Category

Three Things I Learned As a SAS LUG Leader

In Everything, Sacramento Valley SAS Users Group, SAS, SAS Global Forum, Western Users of SAS Software on April 24, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Three Things I Learned As a SAS Local User Group LeaderI recently had the privilege of speaking at a meeting of the Toronto Area SAS Society.  It was a great meeting, and, honestly, I’m not saying this just because I was one of the speakers.  TASS is the best run local user group I have seen.  They have found the right balance of SAS Institute and user involvement so that they can all pull together without getting in each other’s way.  I was impressed by the high level of enthusiasm and professionalism displayed, especially by Art Tabachneck and Matt Malczewski.

Attending TASS brought back memories for me, memories of the eight years that I led the Sacramento Valley SAS Users Group.  I’m proud of my record.  My goal was to have three meetings a year, and, with the help of many local SAS users, I met that goal.  We had a perfect record, in fact.  Under my leadership we held 25 successful meetings in a row.

It was fun, I worked with some great people, and, of course, I learned some things.  However, some of the things I learned surprised me.  So for all LUG leaders and for everyone who is thinking about becoming a LUG leader, I present

Three Things I Learned As a SAS Local User Group Leader

1) There is a vacuum of leadership in the world. 
Lots of people want to be followers; few want to lead.  If you have any interest in being a leader, you will find abundant opportunities.  And you don’t have to start a group (although that is not a bad idea).  There are lots of organizations (PTAs, clubs, RUGs, LUGs) just waiting for you to step into a leadership role.  Don’t make them beg.  Go ahead, volunteer!

2) You should never start anything without having an exit plan.
I hope this doesn’t sound negative because, honestly, it’s not.  It’s just a fact. The default exit plan is “I will do this for the rest of my life.”  That’s not a bad exit plan.  In fact, it’s an excellent exit plan if the thing you are starting is a marriage or, say, parenthood.  However, most people don’t want to be LUG leaders for the rest of their life.  Therefore, it behooves you to have a plan in place for passing the reins to the next leader of your LUG before you take charge.

3) You need to give yourself credit because other people might not.
For some people this comes naturally; for others it doesn’t.  If you are a modest person, then it’s time to learn how to toot your own horn.  You’re working hard. Let everyone know it!  I understand now why the governor has his picture splashed all over the state website. He’s good at giving himself credit.  You can be too.

SAS has an amazing network of users groups–international, regional, local and in-house–all of which provide great opportunities for networking and learning.  SAS Global Forum is, of course, the ultimate SAS users group, but if you can’t attend SGF, there are lots of others.  The SAS Support site lists many groups.  Why not get involved?

The Truth About What Motivates Us

In Detritus, Everything, Sacramento Valley SAS Users Group, SAS, SAS Global Forum, Western Users of SAS Software on June 2, 2010 at 8:40 am

What motivates you? When I was a kid, I used to play a board game called Careers.  In this game players moved around the board collecting points in three areas: fame , $ fortune, and happiness. The first player to achieve his chosen combination of points won the game.  It was a fun game, but I used to scratch my head at the idea that success in life could be reduced to a linear formula consisting of fame, fortune, and happiness.  (Yes, even as a ten-year-old, this seemed to me a pretty vacant idea of what life was about.)

When I was in graduate school, I heard about research showing that money can have a seemingly paradoxical effect on people.  Paying people lots of money can actually reduce their motivation rather than increase it.  What I didn’t know is that research on this topic has been ongoing.  Then my son (Elliott Slaughter, Computer Sci. and Eng. major at UCSD and open source developer) sent me the link to a fascinating talk by writer Dan Pink.  His talk is cleverly illustrated by RSA Animate.

So what does this have to do with SAS? Have you ever thought how amazing it is that we have local, regional, and international SAS user group meetings organized and executed primarily by volunteers?  Why are so many people willing to work hundreds of hours without being paid a cent year after year after year?  Pink explains why money is such a poor motivator, and what people really want.  He uses open source software as his example, but you could easily substitute SAS users groups.

Take 10 min. to watch Pink’s video Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.  I think you’ll be glad you did.

Guest Blog by Robert Springborn

In Enterprise Guide, Everything, Guest Blog, Little SAS Book Series, Robert Springborn, Sacramento Valley SAS Users Group, SAS on February 26, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Robert Springborn of the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development in Sacramento  explains why SAS programmers should learn Enterprise Guide.

My credentials and job experience are extensive.  For 28 years I have used SAS to complete job responsibilities at federal and state agencies, treaty Indian tribes, academic institutions, and private sector jobs.  I am therefore very much a SAS programmer who was very reluctant to use SAS Enterprise Guide.  I used SAS to analyze my dissertation data on a mainframe computer at University of Michigan where I stored my data on a circular reel-to-reel 2-foot diameter tape.  I still have the tape! I can still remember using SAS/GRAPH to create graphs for my dissertation.  It was a very laborious process where each line, mark, and letter was created using a line of SAS program code.   I remember planning the SAS program code in my mind as–pick up the blue pen (SAS code), go to a spot 1 inch down from the left corner and draw a 5 inch vertical line and stop (more SAS code), and so on and so on until the entire graph was created.

Thankfully, the Health Outcomes Center of OSHPD is providing SAS Enterprise Guide 4.2 to all staff.  Given my knowledge of SAS, I was asked to provide a motivational talk to encourage staffers to use SAS EG.  After spending about 3 weeks to take the tutorial Tutorial: Getting Started with SAS Enterprise Guide, and work through examples in the text SAS Enterprise Guide 1: Querying and Reporting Course Notes I, am very surprised with SAS EG.

I recently developed a short talk to motivate staff to use SAS EG.  It provides a simple tour of how to select specific options in SAS Enterprise Guide that will help staff run SAS programs previously created using SAS Display Manager.  These options include creating SAS libraries, selecting a server, loading a SAS program, changing program editor options and printing destination and file type options, etc.  My contribution is the “introduction” or “hook” which compares getting to know SAS EG as getting to know someone new on a “first date.”  The analogy is amazing and was well received here at OSHPD.  Below is a sample of the introduction material of that talk.

SAS and I have been long time devoted friends for 28 years.  “She” has supported me financially for 28 years working at various federal and state agencies, private sector, and academic institutions.  If it were possible I would have married her long ago.  Given all of this I was very reluctant to try something new such as SAS EG as not to offend my “lady.”  To my delight I have discovered that SAS EG is the “unexpected weekend retreats,” the “unexpected gifts at unexpected times,” the “jazz” or the “buzz” that keeps my relationship with my lady new and alive.

My talk was designed to help staff become familiar with SAS Enterprise Guide.  The objective was to give staff the tools they need to take SAS programs previously created in SAS Display Manager and continue to do their job duties by running these programs using SAS Enterprise Guide.  Most of us are very busy and have job tasks that need to be done without spending several days trying to figure out SAS Enterprise Guide.  This talk provides all the information you will need to run your SAS programs in SAS Enterprise Guide.

Consider you and SAS EG are on a “first date.”  Both of you are nervous and understandably you have questions about each other.  Will SAS EG appear devoted to me today and then leave me tomorrow?  Does SAS EG have any strange behaviors that I will not be able to deal with?  Will SAS EG bring any friends or family to this new relationship that will be difficult to deal with?  You and SAS EG have planned a simple afternoon of lunch and a movie.  Hopefully, you will have a great afternoon and enjoy each others’ company.  Hopefully, over time your relationship will grow and you will become best friends.  At the end of this talk you will receive resources which will counsel, nurture, and guide your new relationship.  The resources provided were references to material that further explain SAS EG collected from various SAS User Group conferences.

This “gentle approach” of getting to know a new friend was wonderfully received.

I now have two devoted ladies in my life.  My first date with SAS EG was a success, and SAS loves the excitement of having SAS EG in our life.  Also my first date with Barbara January 22, 2005 resulted in our marriage June 8, 2009 at Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park.  After much deliberation SAS and Barbara are now girlfriends.  SAS is my lady of the day when I am at work and Barbara will have my devotions at other times.  I am a very happy married man !!