ODTUG Board of Directors: Behind the Scenes

Before we get into the behind the scenes part, let’s start with a quick overview. ODTUG is an independent, not-for-profit, global organization of 39,000+ members, whose sole purpose is to keep the user community on the cutting-edge of the constantly changing Oracle technology landscape. For its dedicated members, ODTUG is a community of close friends who love to share their technical knowledge and volunteer their personal time to create one of the most engaging user groups in the world!

The ODTUG Board of Directors is a group of volunteers elected by ODTUG members to serve the community at large. What board members all have in common is a genuine dedication to offering our members the best technical content, access to a large network of well acclaimed industry experts, exposure to Oracle product management, and countless professional growth opportunities. All ODTUG board members also share a sincere appreciation for how the ODTUG network has played a critical role in setting the course of their technical and leadership professional paths. That’s the message that we would like to spread the most:

The ODTUG community deeply cares about helping its members rise to a whole new professional level!

Although it feels like I’ve been part of this organization for a long time, I have embraced its community, its knowledge, its philanthropy, and its fun. The ODTUGers who know me have seen the drive, passion, energy, and love that I give to our organization. Adam Grant writes in his book Originals, “If you want to forecast whether the originators of a novel idea will make it successful, look beyond the enthusiasm they express about their ideas & focus on the enthusiasm for execution that they reveal through their actions.” That is why I am looking forward to the next two years. I am excited to be part of a great group of Oracle technical experts and ODTUG enthusiasts!

Behind the Scenes

Even though I’ve interacted often with many board members over the past two years, it was exciting to see a high-performing team in action—discussing, planning, and brainstorming initiatives that will benefit ODTUG members. Apart from the main mission statement that unites all board members, it was encouraging to relate to everyone through the focus areas that I care most about.

I’ve always been impressed by Natalie’s (ODTUG president) character, patience, knowledge of the EPM technology, her continuous efforts to promote and mentor women in tech, and most notably her passion and perseverance to serve and strengthen the ODTUG community. Natalie was the first woman and the second person I met at my very first ODTUG Kscope. She always aims to support the next generation of ODTUG leaders. I’m honored to help her and other board members instill the ODTUG values in others and expand the vision for the organization.

Tim (ODTUG vice president) is my board mentor and is one of the most relatable and brightest people you’ll ever have the chance to meet. He has an innate ability to bring an air of collaboration to any group setting. At my first ODTUG Kscope, he encouraged me to speak and gave me guidance on how to write a good abstract. I’m positive his advice paid off, and I’m now glad to pay it forward to other ODTUG members who would like to share their knowledge at one of the best technical conferences in the world!

Gary (ODTUG treasurer) plays a critical role in overseeing the organization’s finances. I partner with Gary to manage the Financial Reporting Systems Corporate team’s budget at General Electric, and I am now looking forward to learning and helping on the ODTUG Finance Subcommittee. Gary was recently featured in the Jan/Feb issue of Oracle Magazine, where he discussed how the ODTUG board embraced Oracle EPM Cloud to transform and digitize their own financial management processes.

Karen (ODTUG secretary) is one of the board members who has volunteered countless hours to the organization. Out of her many contributions, I particularly love her idea to create the ODTUG Innovation Award with the goal of honoring excellence in creative, effective, and innovative use of Oracle development tools within ODTUG’s supported communities (APEX, BI, Database, and EPM) or emerging technologies (Blockchain, AI, or IoT). She has been a mentor, and I consider myself lucky to have gotten to know her this past year.

Danny is such a great advocate for the database community. I can relate to his goals of growing and adapting this community to the current evolving landscape. He is always willing to teach and mentor the younger generation of technologists, while devoting his time to empower minorities in tech by sharing his story and his experience. I loved hearing all about his recent involvement with /dev/color, a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower Black software engineers to help one another grow into industry leaders.

I got to know Teal when she coordinated my ODTUG Leadership Program class. I love her enthusiasm and dedication to reinvigorating the BI community. I’m a big fan and a frequent user of Oracle DV. However, that is only one of the many reasons why I am very much looking forward to seeing how Teal and the BI community lead, Becky Wagner, add a new spark to this important part of ODTUG!

I can very much relate to Eric‘s goal of ensuring “ODTUG continually evolves and innovates for the next generation of users, creating easily searchable and immediately available content aside from just recorded webinars.” This is an idea I’m committed to strongly advocating for as well. Hopefully we can make good progress on it in 2019.

I found in Roel a big supporter of a cause I care a lot about: cross-community collaboration. It would be beneficial for ODTUG members to be exposed to more cross-community technical knowledge sharing sessions and activities focused on content that offers a familiar medium (e.g., Excel, Database Principles, or Data Visualization). Familiarity is important to ensure that community knowledge is not siloed but is instead open for everyone.

Jake has been an invaluable member of the ODTUG board; that is why his service was unanimously extended as a director emeritus. I am looking forward to supporting Jake’s drive for emerging technology initiatives. I believe that ODTUG will be successful as an organization if it continues to focus on adding value to current members. It’s a fine balance—structuring content to give insights into cloud and emerging technologies is very important as long as ODTUG members get the most up to date training on how to add value to their customers by using their existing solutions.

I appreciate that all board members are always very supportive of ideas that aim to increase ODTUG member engagement, while also finding new ways to highlight ODTUG volunteers, and promote their efforts before and during the ODTUG Kscope conference.

Lastly, I can’t leave out Veronica and Haleigh, the YCC team members who keep the organization and all its volunteers perfectly in sync! Veronica is ODTUG’s executive director, a very important role that few ODTUG members and volunteers know about. She is someone who all board members look to for guidance and support for all critical ODTUG related matters.

As for Haleigh, she has always been my partner in meetups, starting with all the EPM Meetups I’ve organized in the NY, NJ, CT region, the EPM Community Night event, the EPM Quarterly Newsletters, EPM Social Media engagements, the Leadership Program, etc. I’m looking forward to partnering even more closely with her and the rest of the YCC team to make ODTUG even more amazing!

ODTUG has taught me the value of technical knowledge sharing, deep personal networks, and especially the power of community. I have learned a lot through the peer-to-peer education framework that ODTUG supports. I have connected with colleagues and friends across the globe, and I have seen the positive impact ODTUG has on all of us.  I am grateful and in short, I am ODTUG’s biggest fan!


That and More is ODTUG to Me! 

Joining the ODTUG board hadn’t crossed my mind when I took this photo at #Kscope18 (we’re missing Teal, Roel, and Karen in it). I am now looking forward to meeting old friends and getting to spread the ODTUG goodness with new attendees at #Kscope19!

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

You enter ODTUG Kscope with the goal 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 friends and mentors for years to come!

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

Have you registered for #Kscope19 yet?


Neviana Zhgaba

Sr. Technical Product Manager

Finance EPM at General Electric

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