Last week I had the pleasure of speaking at RMOUG Training Days 2017 in beautiful (and surprisingly warm) Denver, CO. As this conference means a lot to me personally, I went on my own dime and my own time. As expected, it was totally worth it.
RMOUG Training Days impresses me every year. This was the 28th year for Training Days and yet it continues to feel like a growing grassroots community. This is a kind, giving, and welcoming group of like-minded folks.
Some of the main reasons why I continue to support this conference:
- They have a strong professional empowerment track. This is where I focus my abstracts and hope to speak each year.
- I also make professional empowerment my primary track for attendance. The speakers are great and they are clearly passionate and experienced professionals. There is always much to learn about the soft skills side of consulting.
- RMOUG partners with Pine Creek High School to create educational opportunities for students. The Computer Science teacher there, Denise Gardiner, travels over 80 miles each way with a different group of students on Wednesday and Thursday. They attend many of the professional empowerment sessions. She does this to broaden their minds and show them what the future could hold for them. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime to directly interact with this next generation and give them real-life perspectives on the Information Technology world. I think about them a lot as I create my professional empowerment sessions and I’m motivated to put as much creativity as I can muster into the final result.
- RMOUG provides multiple scholarships. The Stan Yellott quarterly scholarship and Women in Technology annual scholarship are offered to successful academic student applicants seeking higher education. As a speaker, I have the ability to donate my speaker gift cost to these scholarships.
- Networking opportunities. Located in the heart of downtown Denver, RMOUG Training Days is in a perfect location for social interaction. They provide multiple opportunities to network and there are dozens of hot spots within walking distance of the convention center to meet and eat.
In the professional empowerment track, I saw a number of great sessions. Although I forgot to take pictures of everyone, some of the awesome speakers in this track for 2017 included: Laura Ramsey, Karen Cannell, Kellyn Pot’Vin-Gorman, Rene Artunez, Komal Goyal, and Cary Millsap.
In addition, I put some fun tricks into my own session on PowerPoint. I was excited to debut this session at RMOUG Training Days and look forward to reading the attendee feedback to improve it for Collaborate 2017.
There were quite a few fantastic networking opportunities that I got to be part of. Below is one picture from the Monday night catch-up with my buddies Rob Lockard, Helen & Joe Sanders, Sarah Zumbrum, Tim German, Stewart Bryson, Karen Cannell, Pete Scott, Mia Urman, and team YCC at the VIP Reception. Jill, Angelina, Alicia, and Karen from YCC really put on a great show and went above and beyond to support the speakers and attendees.
In addition, on Tuesday night after the Welcome Reception, I joined my ODTUG Board member buddies Tim German and Karen Cannell and 20+ of our ODTUG friends at the ODTUG meetup:
Then the Oracle ACE’s ran over to the ACE dinner to mingle:
There is always the opportunity to meet new friends, too. I finally got to meet some of my Twitter friends, Edelweiss Kammermann, David Fitzgerald, Sam Hetchler, and Blaine Carter.
There were also some late night adventures each night. It’s always fun to hang out with friends and just cut loose.
My buddy Mia Urman and her booth buddy, Pilar, kept me company throughout the conference. When Mia and I get together, things get a little crazy.
On Thursday morning my new buddy, Sam Hetchler (a.k.a. “trouble maker” and maker savant), and I sat down to discuss his thoughts on the maker community at ODTUG and Kscope. He also showed me a new car maker project that he’s working on.
In the afternoon, a group of us got together in the open area and proceeded to participate in “puppy therapy” with Esme, Kellyn’s new service dog. It started with Esme coming up to each of us and coyly showing us some love. This naturally led to all of us dog lovers showing each other pictures of our fur babies. We then progressed into deep conversations about personal interests and Oracle user groups.
I ended the conference with dinner at the airport with new buddy Blaine Carter and local Dallasite friend, Biju Thomas. We had some excellent discussions about: the future role of the Oracle DBA given the strong hold by Cloud computing, the importance of open source software, and the privacy issues of today. I swear that Blaine is my brother from another mother. We are both obsessed with protecting our privacy.
I feel very fortunate and privileged to be surrounded by such a brilliant and giving Oracle community. Many of these folks I call my personal friends and I highly cherish the time we spend together.
Hope to see you at RMOUG Training Days 2018!