Open Letter to DOUG

First, I wanted to express my gratitude to the membership. I am honored to take on the role of President and hope to bring some enthusiasm and passion to the position.

I remember sneaking away from work early to drive from Plano and attend those Thursday DOUG meetings at Oracle’s Irving office. Back in 2007, I was a programmer / analyst, eager to learn everything that I could about Oracle. I remember being in awe at the people who attended and presented at those sessions. I was also eager to volunteer and be an active member of DOUG.

That was back in 2007. Fast-forward twelve years to today.

I still believe in Oracle. In my day job, I provide students a variety of ways to deepen their understanding. However, working in a university, I can see Oracle faces an enthusiasm gap. Students who would have previously been engaged with Oracle are now pursuing certifications with Salesforce or Microsoft.

A personal goal for this term is to grow the Dallas Oracle User Group community by developing its value as an organization. To remain relevant, we need to tackle new challenges – both demographically and geographically. At the first board meeting, all the officers re-dedicated themselves to this.

Our Member-at-Large, Keith Holmes, is working with our forums and brainstorming ways to improve attendance.

Our Secretary, Jessica Sharp, is putting the final touches on our first comprehensive survey of the membership since 2011. She has also been contributing lots of innovative ideas to the Executive team.

Our Treasurer, Dennise Wagner, transitioned responsibilities from Susan Behn. With her help, we are preparing our Spring Membership Drive.

Our returning Vice President, Mahesh Bhagavatula, stepped down in January. Over the past couple of terms, he contributed as both Vice President and as chair of the Event Sponsorship committee. Mahesh worked with me on the website and the mixers, so I know him to be a devoted member. Recently, at the Fall mixer, Mahesh stayed to the end – even though he had just returned from India and had not slept in days.

Recruiting efforts were important to Mahesh. He pushed for us to engage with new companies popping up in Frisco and north Plano.

After the election, Mahesh recognized that he would not be able to devote the time and energy needed for the board this term. While his knowledgeable presence will be missed on a daily basis, Mahesh promised to advise the board and provide help as needed.

After Mahesh stepped down, the Board approached Christoph Ruepprich to take on his responsibilities. Christoph ran in the latest election and is a well-known face to the DOUG community. He accepted the position and will be working with the Board on a couple of new initiatives.

For myself, I have been working with the DOUG website – trying to make it more dynamic and responsive. The goal is to move more content creation from the webmaster to the forum chairs. This will allow them to create postings and events without the current back-and-forth of emails. It will allow the individual members to renew their own memberships online, while allowing the corporate accounts to maintain their own members.

While we are working with the forum chairs on a calendar full of interesting events, the board is throwing around some new ideas. We will be sharing these, along with the survey results, in the weeks to come.

We also continue to search for members interested in giving back to the membership. DOUG is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization, so we depend on the participation of our membership. If you’d like to volunteer, seek us out at the end of the meetings. Or you can drop us a line at