Friday, 9 September 2016

An ACE Tale of Teach, Motivate, Mentor & Achieve

I am often asked, “How long does it take to be an ACE?” and I’m sorry but the answer has to be “It depends”; it depends how far along the journey you are already are, and even then it depends on how big an impact you make.

But this isn’t a race, it is about being recognised for an on going community commitment. Even when you are awarded an ACE title we are all self reviewed each year. You have to maintain the commitment to keep the title.

I also often say that one of the roles of an ACE Director is to motivate and encourage the local community wherever we have the privilege to present.

Anyway, I want to tell you the story one such person on his own journey, and how that has been shaped by the people he has met.

Alexis Lopez is an ACE Associate based in Colombia. His skill set includes ADF & Java and he is an independent helping many partners and organizations within Colombia.

My first visit to Colombia was 2011, and it was great to be back again this year.

I had the pleasure of meeting Alexis on this years OTN Tour of North Latin America as he spoke in Panama, Guatemala and of course Colombia. I envy the user groups in Latin America, they have no problem attracting young professionals and I am always asking why they got involved?

Alexis comes from the city of Cali, and I knew that the Colombian User Group ASUOC is really active in Cali and my good friend Robin Castro Gil  who was once the President came from there, so I asked Alexis if he knew him.

Alexis laughed and told me that Robin was one of his lecturers when he was at university. Robin taught Project Management which was a module on Alexis’ computer degree at ICESI in 2005. Robin is now a professor at ICESI and currently completing his PhD in Montreal.

Robin (on right) at ASUOC 2011
When Alexis realised that Robin actually ran the user group he started to attend virtually from 2006 when he finished university and started working. The user group provided information on the many diverse technologies available within Oracle but what really hooked Alexis was the community interaction. He started to specialise in Oracle and went to work for an Oratech, an Oracle Partner as a developer.

Around 2010 Alexis met Mauricio Naranjo who at the time was the only local ACE Director and also specialized in SOA & Middleware. Mauricio blogged, spoke, was an author of a book and if you know Mauricio he is so passionate about what he does and this rubbed off on Alexis. Mauricio took Alexis under his wing and encouraged him to get involved more, to share his knowledge.

Mauricio & Alexis

This mentoring worked and Alexis started his own journey, after attending JavaOne LAD in December 2012 and watching the interaction and solidarity of the Brazilian community, he decided to create CLOJUG a Java User Group in Cali.

2016 has been an amazing year for Alexis, it has seen him gain ACE Associate, the first step on the ACE journey. He was also presented at Open World Latin America in Brazil earlier this year with a Duke Choice Award for Open Source Collaboration for this region. This was a joint award to Alexis and Cesar Hernandez another upcoming star and Java Champion from Guatemala. There is even a picture of this being awarded in the current OTN Latin America presentation video that Pablo Ciccarello, the community shares at each conference.

Alexis is a star of his community on the rise and will be encouraging others to join him at Java One this year with his presentation:  Worldwide JUG Collaboration: Think Global, Act Local [UGF7868].

There is nothing better for a teacher, than the success of former students, I know both Robin and Mauricio are proud of Alexis and all he has achieved at what is still the start of his community journey.

Alexis also got me to ride a horse, but that is another story 

So even if you have yet to start your journey, or want a little direction, reach out to your local ACE members and we will take the time to encourage you.

And keep an eye out for Alexis; he is going places!

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