Journey to Conference Chair: My Story


Are you interested in a leadership role with ODTUG? After my first Kscope in 2012, I was hooked. How can I be a part of ODTUG and the best technical conference there is? First and foremost, one should not go into this light-heartedly. It is a lot of work and some long hours. In the end, however, you get to work with some of the brightest people in the Oracle community, and you get to do some really cool stuff. After taking inventory of how I moved “up the ranks,” if you will, from initially winning a free pass to Kscope12 to being elected to the ODTUG Board of Directors and 2016/2017 Conference Chair, a few things came to mind. Therefore, if you are interested in taking that next step in your ODTUG experience, here are some tips:

Take a Chance
How did all this start? Well, back in 2011, I met then-Board Member Barbara Morris at an APEX meetup event. After speaking with Barbara, she suggested I come by the ODTUG booth to learn more about the organization. Here is where the luck comes in. Barbara convinced me I should enter the drawing for a free Kscope12 pass. A month or so later, I got a message in my inbox that I had won! Take a chance; you might win something that will change your life.

Get Involved
It sounds like a cliché, but it's the truth. One of the best ways to get involved is to volunteer. ODTUG is a huge organization, and we need all the help we can get. Take a look at the committee and the communities; they are both exciting ways to get involved with the operational side of ODTUG. Fast forward to June in San Antonio and Kscope12. My first objective was to volunteer to do something. I mean, I did win a pass to the conference, and the Ambassador program was the perfect way to contribute. Through the process of volunteering, I met several OTDUG leadership members and a number of Kscope speakers, and attended some great sessions. This is where community comes in. The ODTUG family welcomed me with open arms. Everyone I met was eager to introduce me to someone new. From Monty Latiolais, that tall guy from Texas wearing the cowboy hat, to two APEX guys from Brazil, everyone was open and willing to share. I enjoyed the volunteer experience so much that I jumped on the Marketing Committee and joined a Content Review Team for Kscope.

Don't Be Shy
The next time you are at Kscope, find that guy they call Oraclenerd (Chet Justice) and buy a T-shirt. The story behind the Oraclenerd gear is awesome. So get one! If you are lucky, maybe he'll invite you to a party. Look for some people getting up crazy early after hanging out super late to do some Chi Gung with martial arts guru The Data Warrior (Kent Graziano). This is a great time to network and start your day off right. Find a Board Member and ask him or her how you can get involved. Each Board Member is responsible for a specific area: marketing, conference, finance, and leadership. Take your pick.

Most of all, have FUN!

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