This is a blog post that I’ve been wanting to write, but didn’t quite know how to say all that I wanted to say. Then, on my run tonight, it came together.
Let me first say that I am blessed. I am blessed with a group of strong women surrounding me. I am blessed with a group of profoundly supportive men surrounding me. I am blessed with an incredibly supportive husband. I am blessed by the passion of those around me. Let me tell you why.
Although it was technically May 31st, I finished my first Half Ironman and couldn’t believe the support I had of my Oracle community when I posted that I had finished. Many people supported me in the training process, and few to mention are Jennifer Anderson, Debbie Gollnick, Opal Alapat, Tanya Shringarpure, Bjoern Rost and Alex Gorbachev. Often times the support and encouragement was via text or private message, out of the sight of the public. This is me telling you publicly – thank you. Your little comments, playful jabs and outright encouragement carried me many miles. Thank you. I am blessed with a supportive Oracle community that understands my craziness. This craziness keeps me sane.
Next up on the calendar was Kscope. This is truly one of my favorite times of the year. I get to see all the people I’ve been talking to online in person. Before Kscope could really start, we had the Board of Directors semi-annual face to face meeting. I went into more detail about it here, but I got to see the passion – live – that your ODTUG BoD has for YOU, the Oracle user. I realized how blessed I am to be surrounded by leaders with a similar passion.
Kscope was phenomenal. It really excites me to see ODTUG‘s Kscope Conference Committee pull off a fantastic conference that rivals the previous year…each and every year. I got goosebumps more than once at the quality and magnitude that was Kscope this year. Kscope 11 was my first conference that I spoke at and attended, so it holds a special place in my heart. Hard to believe that it has been 5 years since I first started speaking and participated in Kscope! How blessed we all are to have a group of dedicated volunteers that are committed to quality at every Kscope turn.
The Oracle ACE Director award was very unexpected…and I wouldn’t have wanted it to happen any other way than it did. Let me tell you the full back story, especially if you are considering going for Oracle ACE. I first decided that I wanted to go for ACE arounnd 2011. I started learning what it was and also learned how much time and effort went into earning the status. I was speaking a few times a year but couldn’t figure out how to really break into the cycle. In 2013, I was selected for ODTUG’s Leadership Program and one of the presentations was Kellyn Pot’vin-Gorman’s on Women in Technology. It really stood out to me, so when I saw her at Kscope 13, I went out of my introvert comfort zone to introduce myself to her. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but she was very approachable and took time to talk. That had not always been my experience with other ACE Directors up to that point, so I was encouraged. She sent me an email about a week later asking to mentor me, of which I excitedly agreed to. One of the first things she asked me was what were my goals? I told her ACE then ACE Director (Associate was not out at that time). So, she told me what I needed to do more of, and I did them. When the ACE Associate option came out, Tim Gorman put me in and I was accepted. I remember I was going through my morning emails in bed and, honestly, leaped out and ran to tell my husband. I also realized, rather immediately, that I had to step up the community involvement, which was fine in my book. I am a champion of communities. So I took a few more risks and they paid off. Fast forward to early this past spring. Some people had been talking to me about going up for ACE…and I told them I was consdering it. A friend who reviwed my participations, presentations, podcasts, etc encouraged me to go for ACED. I politely declined as I didn’t think that would or could happen. Without provocation, 2 days later, Debra Lilley contacted me about wanting to put me in for ACED. I was stunned, but sent her my ACE resume, if you will. She refused to put me in for ACE, only ACED. I thought while it would be amazing, it wouldn’t happen. I knew that you were supposed to hear back within a certain amount of time, so when that timeframe came and went, I assumed the worst. I was gearing up for Kscope with presentations, busy on a new project and doing the last bits of training for my marathon and half Ironman so I refused to ask about the status because I was sure that the bad news would just break me. In my mind, no news is good news! I would follow up with her at Kscope and figure out where I needed to strengthen my community involvement. Well, we all know how this story ends. I was surprised by Monty on stage at Kscope. The reality is that I thought I was being called up to talk about the Leadership Program so I was thinking on my feet what I would say. …Then I heard “newest Oracle ACE Director” and I was floored. The shock on my face was real. I found out afterwards that around 100 people knew for over a month and had kept it a secret. Kudos to you! All, I am surrounded by people who bless me with their support, enncouragement and gentle/harsh nudgings. I am still in shock and hope that I can live up to the standards of the ACE Director level. My passion is community…not just the EPM community…but the Oracle community as a whole. We are an amazing group of people with different strengths and passions which makes us awesome, all around. I think back to a very candid and frank conversation in November with someone who has become a close friend over the past year. I remember telling her (okay, I just ruled out 70% of the people in the Oracle community) that I was tired and running out of steam. I knew what I wanted, but was getting burned out. She gave me the best advice – “I know you’re tired, but don’t stop. You need to keep going.” When I would get frustrated because I couldn’t think of a good blog post, felt I was being spread too thin or felt like I had nothing left to give, I thought of her words and kept pushing. And she was right. I now have so much energy, so much excitement and so many ideas that I’m having problems keeping myself contained. My “idea notebook” is filled right now. My goal is to get through all of them in the coming year. Wise words came from that woman who is just a few years older than me. You never know when your well will be refilled. I am blessed to have selfless, honest, encouraging and stubborn women in my life. Each one listed in this blog post is one (among many!) and I hope you can have the same in your professional and personal lives. And the men – they sometimes get a bad rap in technology, but I can tell you that I have seen the diamonds and gems. Thank you!
All, I’m so excited for the next year. Let’s do this. Let’s build our community and make it even stronger.