KSCOPE 2013 Review

I returned home last night after a week in the great city of New Orleans for ODTUG’s KSCOPE 2013.  We arrived last Thursday, Tim is a director on the board, so were picked up from the airport in grand fashion and were delivered to our lovely suite at the hotel-  ODTUG making sure we were all well cared for.

This is one of three conferences that Enkitec has a booth at.  I am very fortunate to work for a supportive company that includes RMOUG in that list, but know that KSCOPE, a very developer oriented conference is one of those to support our great APEX team.  Doug Gault, Scott Spendolini, Jorge Rimblas and all the other fantastic guys at Enkitec spend a great amount of time speaking to everyone at the booth and in sessions/panels/deep dives-  it’s pretty intense for me as a DBA to see how development centric this conference is.

I had stumbled upon it two years ago through Chet Justice, who was then in charge of the database track and asked me if I’d be on the abstract committee.  I enjoyed it so much, that he put had me in charge of the database track this year, not realizing that I would be doing a bit of standard advertising that comes with me whenever I attend anything.  I was quick to announce when abstracts were open for the event and we found, although I only had 17 DBA track slots open, I was faced with 120 some DBA submission abstracts to choose from.  Thanks to the wonderful Patrick Barel, we were able to come up with almost double the slots to make KSCOPE more content packed for the DBA attending, (along with interesting topics for the developers who came to see us, as well!)

In the meantime, I had hosted the RMOUG WIT, (Women in Technology) panel in February and it had been so successful, monthly meetings and quarterly meetups had commenced.  I had talked to Team YCC and Monty about maybe hosting something at KSCOPE over dinner one time and was thrilled when they approached me later on and asked me if I would consider it and offered me a great line up in a panel, which included EPM folks Natalie Delemar and Tracy McMullen, two fantastic women I hadn’t had the opportunity to meet before.  ODTUG quickly recognized Maria Colgan and Gwen Shapira as two others they felt would be great panelists and then allowed me to recommend a male participant to the panel.  My first choice was Dominic Delmolino, as he had so much to offer at our RMOUG WIT panel in February, but due to a schedule conflict, I was lucky enough to have Tim Gorman assist us with the panel this conference.

As the conference date approached, we were informed that Gwen Shapira, due to a transition, would need to drop out from the conference and we had another slot open.  I had presented on the topic, “The Imposter Syndrome” and was really impressed with how it had not only hit home for the women at the RMOUG Quarterly Education Workshop, but had also driven many men to contribute to the session.  It had been such a lively, impressive response, I asked if I could add this at KSCOPE.  ODTUG was gracious enough to allow me this opportunity, so along with my tech sessions/panel, I now had a panel that was assigned to me and a WIT session to serve the women at the conference.

As the Imposter Session wasn’t highly known in the schedule, I had a small audience, which I was thankful for.  I won’t lie-  the message was powerful and yes, even one of the men in the audience was left in tears.  The idea that we, women, as caregivers, often leads us to holding back on our careers/goals/dreams until we feel that our children/husbands/lives are at a point that we then “allow” ourselves to re-assert our desires to the forefront of our lives again.  There is nothing wrong with this, but it is something we need to clearly recognize as a nature and nurture trait so many of us possess that will continue to hold us back from the higher epsilons of management and stardom of our chosen career fields.  The huge impact of this session, was what I referred to as the “Kristi slide”, which refers to a picture of my sister Kristi, who died from cancer this last month.  I discuss my conversations I had with her six months ago about where she wanted to take her life/career and how it was cut short, then, I pose a challenge-

“Find your passion and then use it to find your path.  Set that path ablaze, so fricken’ bright-  that people don’t just come to see the flames, but that they want to follow in your footsteps before they cool.”

As there were many breaks in this part of the session for me to tell everyone through tears, “OK, everybody-  cleansing breath!”  before I would proceed again, I wasn’t sure how well it went over.  I found out after the session as women approached me, emailed me and even came up to me on the street to tell me what it meant or that they had shared it with their friend they were introducing me to.  We as women are often not aware how much we put aside thinking we are doing what is best for everyone when we really short-change everyone in the world by sacrificing all that we could be offering it in our own potential.

I then received an email from one of the male participants telling me it was his favorite talk of the entire week and that meant so much to me.

My technical sessions were a mixed bag for me.  I went to do an updated version of my ASH/AWR performance data session and found myself completely “unhinged” by some missing AWR slides in the beginning of it.  I never did feel like I was able to right myself afterwards and was terribly disappointed.  My answers to questions were less than up to par and I think, as many speakers are, left surprised when you suddenly find yourself feeling like a “newbie” again… 🙂

The EMCLI talk went well and as I went over a lot of scripts and data throughout the session, the goal was to give attendees not just examples, but more so a feel for how enormous the potential for EMCLI capabilities are.

I had an incredible time on the Database and Developer Toolbox Panel with Steven Feuerstein, Cary Millsap and Tim Gorman.  As 12c had been announced earlier in the day, Steven’s response to the amount of PDB questions to the panel almost became an inside joke.  I know I was unprepared, considering the audience and panelists, we would be posed SQL optimization questions, here we were facing all 12c DBA questions, which often pointed towards me.  I answered as many as I could, but knew I’d had limited access to the 12c product at that point and appreciated Bobby Curtis, (the guy I recommended for ODTUG’s 12c beta since I was unavailable at the time… :)) and Tom Kyte’s valuable assistance.

This event also offered us many opportunities to network-  We had the great fortune of having dinner with Doc Hendley, of Wine to Water, who was the keynote speaker this year.  His story is incredibly inspirational and I know how much everyone appreciated his and his wife’s time with us that evening.

I also appreciate Jeff Erickson from Oracle magazine for taking me aside and first, interviewing me for ODTUG, then asking to interview me for Oracle Magazine.  I await my contact now from the photographer for my formal headshot, (how cool is that?? :))

The amount of time with your conference friends, is always great!  I got to spend time with my bud, Bobby Curtis, got to hang out with Leighton Nelson, Jeff Smith, Chet Justice, Galo Balda, Maria Colgan, The Kings, (John and Peggy), Danny Bryant, Amy Caldwell, (you go, girl!) TeamYCC, (Lauren, Crystal, Lori, Kathleen…) and so many, so many others…

If given the opportunity, I could go on for hours, so I will close this one for now and tell you to keep an eye out for RMOUG and KSCOPE 2014 planning/abstracts, etc. as it all starts over soon and I can tell you, there is already some incredible stuff in the works for next year!!