I am very passionate about the Oracle ACE program and have been very open about the opportunities it has opened for me. This is not a one way street, Oracle get a lot back, not just from unscripted advocacy but also from expert input through beta programs, initiatives and working with product management.
I also believe that membership of the ACE program should not be easy, it has to be valued by both sides. I often write about the program. When I am asked what the ACE program is about my standard answer is:
"Having the Oracle Knowledge and Sharing it back to the Community"
Recently my dear friend Tim Hall released this video with his thoughts on the program.
|Tim Hall on Video|
I agree with everything Tim says about community participation but I want to talk about the difference between knowledge sharing in the community over community leadership.
I am a user group leader, when I was President of UKOUG and through all my time on the board (12 of the last 14 years), it has taken up a lot of my time. I know that has been appreciated by the members and by the staff, and it is a difficult balance with the day job. If you are a presenter as well it is even more difficult because you can't always be a presenter and a leader at the same time. I also know I have given up my own slots on an agenda, selected by judges to allow another great presenter a slot. This is juggling at its hardest.
Knowledge sharing isn't just about presenting, some people excel at forum participation, blogs, articles or book writing, but many do contribute via public speaking.
There are lots of great user group leaders in the ACE program, even at the ACE Director level, but there are even more great leaders who have the knowledge to make great ACE Directors but don't have the time to share enough. They are supreme enablers to the sharing the program needs to be a success and perhaps there should be an ACE Supporter recognition.
When these wonderful people step back a little bit from their leader role, I encourage them to use the network they have built up to redirect their passion into the knowledge sharing and be recognised for those skills.