Board Is Not the Only Way to Volunteer

I recently spent a weekend in Florida with some good friends of mine. Has anyone else noticed that each day of missed work causes you to fall behind by about a week? Anyhow, as it turns out, the friends just happened to be members of the ODTUG Board of Directors, and the weekend consisted primarily of meetings.

I don't know about the rest of you, but meetings are not typically my favorite pastime. But when the meetings are with a lively group of intelligent people with ideas to take the world’s best Oracle user group into the future, and the meetings are being held at the location of 2015’s best Oracle users group conference, well, spending a weekend in meetings is OK with me. Not everything we discussed is ready for prime time, but I'd like to let you know about something that may be of interest.

As an organization, ODTUG is blessed with an abundance of volunteers willing to serve at all levels. This is a good thing because without a steady stream of new volunteers, a user group will wither and die. As a board, we are committed to assist all of those who wish to serve in getting the opportunities and recognition they deserve.

There are many opportunities to volunteer for ODTUG. As some of you may recall, in 2014 a record number of individuals expressed their willingness to serve on the ODTUG Board of Directors. After the results of the election were announced, this record number of candidates prompted some comments on the Interwebs regarding the number of current and former board members who ran for the board.

A few years ago, the rules governing board elections were changed to institute a six-year term limit. Upon reaching this limit, termed-out individuals needed to take one year off before again throwing their hats into the ring. When I first ran for the ODTUG board, this term-limit rule was not in place. I believe my current position on the board is in no small part due to the institution of these term limits.

However, even with assistance of the term limits, my election was never a sure thing. I understand better than anyone the frustration of those who ran for the board and were not elected. You see, I hold the dubious distinction of having more unsuccessful runs for the ODTUG board than anyone else. As I said, the first time I ran for the board was before term limits, but it was after I had been a member of ODTUG for nine years, speaking at the conference every year but one. I had been doing abstract review for four years, won the Editor’s Choice Award, and served on the conference committee. Yet despite that, for the next five years, I could not break through. Yes, I understand your frustration.

Due in some part to the large number of board candidates, and in an attempt to give more volunteers the chance to break through, the term-limit rules have now been modified to increase the time off after fulfilling a term limit to four years.

For those of you who ran unsuccessfully for the board, I have this to say: There is no one right way to get elected. While my path was long, others’ paths have been more direct. There is no foolproof mythology or formula. Stay involved, stay active, and remember: If at first, or second, or third…

Well, you get the idea.

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Board Is Not the Only Way to Volunteer