A Graduate’s View of the Leadership Program

I grew up in a Jack Welch household. What does that mean? My father has worked at General Electric since a year after I was born and, therefore, he “grew up” in GE under Jack Welch. He admired and looked up to him. He was so impressed with the man that he also brought Jack’s methods home to his eldest child – me. I remember my dad teaching me PowerPoint and how to properly shake hands with someone before I was ten. The active study of leadership was a focal point that my dad impressed upon me from an early age and one of the things I still keep active in my own personal and professional life.

About fourteen months ago, I saw that ODTUG was going to be selecting people to join its inaugural Leadership Program. Having been a presenter at Kscope11 and been enlightened to the amazing educational opportunities afforded by the group, I was instantly attracted to the opportunity. I remember the program description being a bit short, but I knew I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself in my professional world. Fortunately, I was selected as one of the ODTUG members to be a part of this program. The new group consisted of traditional Oracle and Hyperion people, which told me from the start this was not about traditional “work” items, such as calc scripts, best practices, and data modeling. This was going to be about taking it to the next level: How do you lead people on a diverse team towards a common goal?

Our very first call set the tone and direction perfectly. It was not a “Rah! Rah!” session; it was a session that set expectations (because there are), and introduced the other participants and ODTUG Board leaders. This would be a program that would challenge our conventional thoughts on leadership, different types of leadership, and how to be a leader without necessarily being the defined leader. As one who has studied leadership in college, the Air Force, graduate school, and law enforcement, I still learned so much. I also learned, very importantly, to be OK having different leadership types and roles within my own organizations. The sessions still stick out in my mind – the history of ODTUG, types of leadership, women in technology issues, and being a leader by being a follower – and are still applied in my own professional and personal life.

Of the things we learned, perhaps what has been most valuable has been the knowledge that if you are in a truly supportive organization, that organization’s support can sometimes be exactly what you need to take your leadership skills to the next level. I had been interested in some type of ODTUG leadership since Kscope11 but did not have the confidence (or knowledge) to take my passions to the next level. After being in this program and meeting some amazing and talented mentors, I decided to run for the Hyperion SIG Board. It was a step that was a bit beyond my comfort zone, but I had the full support of my mentors from the Leadership Program to encourage me throughout the process. I have also met people whom I email and text on a regular basis for career mentoring. I never thought I would get that from a Leadership Program. I have two new Leadership Program friends I never thought I would have at the end of the program – one of which is a new marathon-running friend (those are hard to find!).

To conclude, I put my all into the Leadership Program and got even more out of it. I am still amazed and blessed by the people I have met in this program. These people encourage and push me when needed and give me a sounding board when I am thinking through a new idea. I worked hard during parts of the program, but I got an even greater reward. I’m positive Jack Welch would approve.

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