During her 17 years as an Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG) member, Melissa English has had many jobs, including volunteering on the education committee, chairing the marketing and communication committee, and serving on OAUG’s board of directors. So she was well prepared when, in January 2015, she began her term as OAUG president.
What first drew her to OAUG, the largest education, networking, and advocacy forum for Oracle Applications users? “I really loved that it was other people like me providing content and information,” remembers English, who is manager of instructional design at Amway.
Here, English talks to Oracle Magazine about why she stays committed to OAUG, her plans for growing the organization during its celebratory 25th-anniversary year, and how business leaders can better prepare their workers to evolve in swiftly changing times.
Oracle Magazine: What sparked your interest in technology?
We need to support our new users and offer them opportunities to advance their careers. ”–Melissa English,
English: In the mid-1990s, I was working in accounts payable at the Cincinnati Department of Human Services. When I started to train other workers on how to use Oracle applications, I knew that’s what I wanted my career path to be. I love being able to help people understand new technology, and I love knowing I was able to provide value to them. This passion is what keeps me going with OAUG, because OAUG is all about members supporting and learning from each other.
Oracle Magazine: What are you hoping to accomplish as OAUG president?
English: I want to continue to innovate and increase our user involvement, because the more our members share their experiences, the better the results for our community.
If that means we can get more end users to present at events or in our e-learning series, that’s terrific. But also we want to help people connect with each other through networking opportunities at our OAUG Connection Point events and at COLLABORATE conferences.
For example, we host a luncheon for women in technology each year at COLLABORATE, which is a great opportunity for women from all walks of life, in all points in their careers, and from all industries to talk to one another.
Oracle Magazine: How is OAUG growing its membership?
English: We need to support our new users and offer them opportunities to advance their careers. Through our user forums, we recently established a young professionals group that brings new workers together with our seasoned members, so they can start gaining an understanding of what it’s going to take for them to become leaders.
Also, extending our international reach is top of mind, and during the last few years our international committee has made great connections around the world through our affiliated user groups. We look at this as a “win, win, win,” because as we grow, so do the affiliate groups that partner with us—and their users win because they can get information from their local community as well as from international sources.
Oracle Magazine: You oversee global change management, communications, and training for Oracle E-Business Suite. What’s the secret to change management success?
English: The key is to have a really strong and clear vision to provide to the team. Then you have to engage stakeholders at all levels in order to make the change sustainable. A lot of business leaders think change management is about communication and trainings, and those are components of it. But it’s also about helping people understand what’s going to be different for them.
You need to eliminate their fear and anxiety, and that comes from providing information to people and then listening to them. It’s really about connecting with people and making sure that you are taking care of them.
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Photography by Bonnie Kittle, Unsplash