Reaping the Rewards from Actively Volunteering

    By: Michelle Malcher on Sep 22, 2017

    Michelle Malcher, security architect and SELECT executive editor, shares the benefits and rewards of being an active volunteer within the IOUG community and the database community at large.

    It may seem difficult to believe the rewards outnumber the time and effort put into volunteering. When you give a little, you will always be surprised by how much more you get back.

    Still doubtful that there are rewards for volunteering in the IOUG community? Let me tell you a few stories.

    I’ve enjoy working in the technical field, even more so in the security space. I do this as a hobby, too. In previous positions, the database work was interesting, but I still expected to be able to do more and wanted additional responsibilities. My 9-5 job didn’t provide this. I looked to the community, and unsurprisingly, there are opportunities to help support in several areas. I had an opportunity to provide leadership for a special interest group, which not only provided me information for a project I was working on, but also allowed me to direct additional programs, develop ideas to benefit the community, and gain leadership and growth opportunities for my professional career.

    As my career progresses, I continue to grow into leadership roles, and I continue to volunteer because I learn more from the community than I can learn on my own. Everyone’s experiences will differ from mine, but the sharing of information and ideas continues to provide growth opportunities. Is that now three and four for volunteering?


    Being able to network with users and other companies has provided new job opportunities, as well as an understanding of different products that may or may not be in use. As a volunteer, you may have access to product managers, senior leaders and experts that might not be available to everyone in the community. I hope you are starting to see the benefits of volunteering.


    My favorite part of volunteering is hearing concerns, issues and questions from others and offering ways to help. I’m always surprised by the similar issues people have. I’m either able to provide some direction or point to another person I know who may be able to help, creating new connections. You know you are in the right group when, even at social events, the conversation centers on solving security issues or dealing with complicated environments that we have to make work together securely and for the benefit of the company.

    Even if you feel that all you have are issues and questions, or only seeking support from the community, I can find a place for you to help out and volunteer. Maybe you can help select a speaker for a webinar or event. Perhaps you can introduce that same speaker for a webinar that addresses the questions that you have. Amazingly, you meet a new resource and receive new information for your questions by volunteering for less than hour.


    How about looking for tips in white papers or posting a question IOUGenius? These are all areas to volunteer and support the community. Submitting or reviewing questions does not require much time and talking with the experts and getting answers is well worth that time. You might see people leading the community with the conference or special interest groups, but we also need people to provide ideas about Select topics, webinars and IOUGenius content. Contribute ideas on how you would like to receive information and communication as a community member. Simple enough, right?

    Start by just asking a question or finding out we’re providing a webinar about a specific topic of interest. Maybe you have a knowledgeable colleague who is interested in getting involved, or perhaps you heard a speaker talk at another event that would be a great fit for an article or blog post.  Volunteer with a friend or coworker that you worked on a difficult problem with and present your findings. There is strength in numbers.

    If you are still looking for easy ways to get involved, let me know: We want to hear from you to make this community stronger and reap the rewards together.

    Released: September 22, 2017, 1:03 pm | Updated: September 22, 2017, 1:06 pm
    Keywords: Department

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