Kscope18: Work Hard, Play Hard, Dance Harder!

Before you get all the fun details of Kscope18 make sure to check out my other blog post on the conference focusing on Kscope18 Sessions, Kscope19 Abstract Submissions, GE Finance IT team’s experience, presentations and awards, ODTUG Leadership Program, Women in Technology event, Social Media Oracle Experts’ Interviews, Volunteering & Networking after Kscope.

The General Electric Experience at ODTUG Kscope18: The Premier Oracle Developer Conference

Work Hard! Community Service Day

A day before the start of the conference, Kscope participants volunteer their time towards a worthy cause in the local community where the conference takes place. This year, ODTUG partnered with UP Orlando, a non profit that provides crisis care, case management, transformative education, food and household subsidy, employment training and placement, personal empowerment training and active referrals to other collaborative social service providers to all people living in poverty and seeking to improve their situation. UP Orlando uses all these tools to provide a hand UP to the 180,000 people dealing with hunger in Orange County, Florida.

Kscope volunteers worked in the Member Grocery Center, where UP Orlandoโ€™s members can shop for 60-70% off regular grocery store prices. Their membership is free and is open to low-income households. Some of us unpacked in the warehouse, broke down boxes, stocked and cleaned shelves, and helped with computer updates. The GE Finance team engages in community service events especially at year end. Last year we helped out in a soup kitchen in Connecticut, gathered toys for children in Ohio, volunteered in Monterrey, Mexico, planted trees in Bangalore, India etc. The Kscope experience was just as rewarding!



Run 4 Fun! Health & Fitness Activities

The GE HealthAhead team once organized a Steps Challenge across all our locations where most of us committed to go over 10,000 steps per day. It seemed like ODTUG was also dedicated to keeping its members fit and healthy. I have the data to prove it!

My favorite health & fitness activity at Kscope is the morning Chi Gung with Master Graziano who has been practicing martial arts for 30+ years and Chi Gung for 20+ years. He has volunteered his time for many years now to lead this everyday session at the conference, among many other activities he’s involved with. He can be found blogging about data, technology, and fitness at Oracle Data Warrior and on Twitter @KentGraziano.

Chi Gung Instructions by Kent Graziano

This year I set a new fitness goal, to complete my first 5k! For those who know me, what I just acknowledged might seem hard to believe, since I’m always a very active person. I’ve never liked running though (in all senses of the word), but on the other hand I’ve wanted to see if I could stick to it for at least 30 min.

I committed to participate in the Kscope5k and also to finish in less than 1 hr. I started running in the GE Norwalk gym 2-3 times a week for about 2 months. At first, it took me 45 min to run 3 miles, then I managed to get it down to 32 min. There was this day where my Fitbit went haywire and it gave me false hopes in signing up for the Olympics… I was so encouraged by my false running record that I ended up signing up for the full 20km Boston Tough Mudder with the GE HealthAhead team… The dangers of dirty data!!


And so it happened that on a beautiful June Floridian morning, I did manage to finish my first 5k in less than 35 min! The secret to keeping up the pace was to tag along a running mate: Joe Nasal from the GE team and myself started and finished together. We did set some new fitness goals with some other ODTUGers for the Kscope19 5k… you know who you are and you’re on the hook to start working out this year!

As for my Olympic goals… I did manage to complete the 20km, 20+ obstacle Boston Tough Mudder within 4 hrs and without any injuries only 1 week after returning from Kscope18! Tagging along with a buddy always helps when the going gets tough, wet and muddy! Getting everyone to the finish line was a team effort for sure! I’m done running this year!

Play Hard! Special Event & Other Fun Activities

The tagline at Kscope has always been “Work Hard & Play Hard”. Everyone has to follow the rules since the conference committee goes above and beyond to create a range of creative and fun networking opportunities! The GE team is always in on everything!

We were at Disney and it made sense to dress up in our favorite characters for the Kscope18 Welcome Reception! Jennifer Bladow from the GE team won a Best Costume Award as well! Her Pocahontas costume was spot on! Rakesh and myself went for Jasmine and Genie to match with the Aladdin theme of our DRM presentation. Joe and Pete rocked the long haired pirate look. Becky (newly minted ACE Associate) and Wendy randomly coordinated as Lilo & Stitch. Balaji and Venkat were the Disney fairies of the night. Ricardo probably didn’t need more than his Brazilian long beard. The ODTUG Board members always look great!


I’m not sure how I ended up at the yearly Kscope Fine Liquor Tasting party since the only liquids I ever drink are water and at most 2oz of wine, but I did accomplish to get a memorable photo of these amazing bunch of ODTUGers. Thanks Opal for hosting us!

At Kscope you don’t sleep, everyone knows that. There’s just too much to do!!!

At this year’s Special Event we went to Andretti’s where we all got our NE-ON! High speed electric karts, rope courses, 3D racing simulations, XD thrill rides, arcade games, black light bowling! It does seem too techy, that’s why everyone was hooked! Natalie, our ODTUG President and myself mostly stuck to the dance floor swaying with a robot and the coolest violinist DJ EM V!

ย GE Team.jpg

Dance Harder!ย  EPM Community Speed Networking Event & Lip Sync Battle

At Kscope18 I was also tasked to help the EPM Community organize their EPM Community Night event. We decided to create a Speed Networking event where newcomers could get to know ODTUG members through various rotations during the speed networking rounds. The ice breakers would be an EPM punny word and a technical geeky joke, ended with a selfie to be posted on Twitter with the hashtags #Kscope18 and #KscopePuns. In the second part of the event we would host the first ever Kscope Lip Sync Battle!

It all started at Kscope17 during the Newcomer’s orientation. It was my first time attending Kscope and I happened to share with Natalie Delemar and Jessica Cordova a fun team building activity I was involved with in one of my GE Crotonville Leadership trainings.

In the training that I wrote the following blog post about “How General Electric Shapes Authentic Leaders: A Crotonville Chronicle“, I was also part of a lip sync battle organized at the Crotonville campus. Together with two GE Oil & Gas senior leaders from Italy, Vincenzo & Marco, we decided to lip sync “Cotton Eye Joe“. We clearly didn’t understand that we had to move more than our lips for that performance… Luckily, we found out that Carmencita from our class, a GE Power Plant General Manager from Romania, had been the Head of the Delegation for the Romanian National Aerobic Gymnastics team for many years… Yes please go back and read that again, it does sound unbelievable! The Romanian Aerobic Gymnastics team recently won 2 Silver and 2 Bronze awards at the Aerobic Gymnastics World Championship in Portugal and they’ve been world champions for years! Carmencita taught three amateurs how to nail down an Olympic level coordinated choreography within 3 hrs! She still says it was one of the best experiences of her life! Needless to say, out of the 12 Crotonville teams participating in the Lip Sync Battle, we did offer quite an unforgettable performance. It was time to share that world class training with my fellow ODTUGers and my GE team members…

All 14 GE team members can attest that their 1 hr Lip Sync training and 4 min performance was one of the most fun and unique team building activities they’d ever been a part of. We performed the FIFA World Cup 2014 Official Song “We are One” by Pitbull, JLo & Claudia Leitte. It’s a bit tricky to coordinate a 14 member team, especially when you have drums, flags, soccer balls and whistles involved in the choreography… it’s very hard to focus ๐Ÿ˜‰ Our 4 flag bearers, 4 drummers, 2 bold Pitbulls, 2 international Pitbulls, and two female lead performers managed to be very color coordinated, that’s for sure! As you’ll see in the video below, we did have some cheesy moves and an awesome colorful graphics show playing in the background as well!

Natalie and her team totally nailed DJ Khaled’s “All I do is Win”. They started their performance by pouring champagne for all the EPM community ladies and then they were throwing fake $100 bills up in the air! They got everyone pumped up! Nat had some awesome cornrows hair styling skills!

The Applied Olap team put a very EPM nerdy spin-off to the Monkees “I’m a Believer”. They did surprise us all when after their first flip backwards we all saw ESSBASE appearing on stage. Dodeca does love Essbase indeed, they even lip synced for it!

You can’t really get a feel of the Datavail team’s performance of “You’re the one that I want” from Grease just by seeing photos, but if you check out their dancing video you’d be wow-ed! They were our unplanned last minute performers.

Jessica and her team completely nailed the choreography and costumes for the song “Think” of Aretha Franklin and the Blues Brothers. If you want to see how the crowd moved when they were going for the “Freedom, Freedom” line, check out the video! Wendy, DeAndra, Katherine, Jessica, Richard, Kent, Julien deserved the long standing ovation at the end!

The final group to take the stage at the Kscope18 EPM Community Lip Sync Battle was also mine and everyone’s favorite! When Edward Roske confirmed that the interRel team was going to lip sync “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman, I expected a Universal Studios Hollywood worthy production and so it ended up being! The lights went off and these awesome performers started appearing with their impeccable “cut out of the movie” costumes. Now is the time to really spend a few minutes to look through the videos below. You don’t want to miss their amazing performance! Opal Alapat, Kscope18 Conference Chair and one of the interRel team members has a great video embedded in her Kscope18 Conference Chair Tails blog post as well.

Edward, You are the Greatest ODTUG Showman!!!

Did I mention that ODTUGers are also a very competitive group of people! I should also mention that ODTUGers work with data most of the time: cleaning up data, categorizing data, making sense of data, ensuring data quality, everything that has to do with data! We are all familiar with the expression: “If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything!” Those FIFA World Cup whistles did slightly torture the applause app that determined the Kscope18 Lip Sync Winner. It’s good that the FIFA World Cup only happens once in 4 years and also a big enough team is needed to pull off a soccer lip sync production. ๐Ÿ™‚

All teams went above & beyond to create an amazing EPM Community Night event! Everyone was a little bit nervous at the beginning, but they all made sure to practice, put in the effort to create some unforgettable performances! It was great to see that some of the best Oracle experts in the world, also have a fun and very artistic side to them!

ODTUGers Rock!

I started my Kscope18 trip at the NASA Kennedy Space Center, followed by a memorable tour of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I was well prepared for the Kscope week to be exhausting and awesome at the same time, but it exceeded all my expectations!

Every Kscope brings you higher up in terms of professional growth and expertise!

You enter Kscope with the purpose of learning as much as possible about Oracle technologies and how you can better leverage them in your workplace, however you end up leaving with so much more: great use cases to apply in your projects and also special friends and mentors for years to come!

Create, Develop, Innovate and most importantly Share the Knowledge!


Neviana Zhgaba

Sr. Technical Product Manager

Finance EPM at General Electric

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