COLLABORATE Session Preview: Getting ‘Un-Stuck’ with Help from Mentors

    By: Karen Cannell on Mar 12, 2019

    Getting Unstuck with a Mentor_SELECT.png

    A Q&A with Karen Cannell, COLLABORATE 19 Presenter 

    Karen Cannell is the president of TH Technology, a consulting firm providing Oracle technology services, focused on Application Express and web technology upgrades. A mechanical engineer by degree, she has analyzed, designed, developed, converted, upgraded and enhanced legacy and commercial database applications for over 30 years, concentrating on Oracle technologies since 1994.

    Cannell first got into IT via her mechanical engineer degree and discovered she thrived in the environment. Her career progression led her to CAD/CAM, then to Oracle-based positions. She began joining user groups to learn. While volunteering her time to give back to such organizations, Cannell found she only learned more. 

    This April, Cannell will present at COLLABORATE, in San Antonio, Texas. We spoke with her about her upcoming session, “Mentors and Mentoring: Steps to Take When You’re Stuck.”

    Why are you presenting on this topic and what is its importance in the field? 

    This particular topic, mentoring, is a bit different from the usual tech talk at COLLABORATE. Why give it? To share experiences and lessons learned from my history being mentored and in helping others. The road is not always obvious, not always smooth or uphill, and, it takes a lot of dedication and investment to yield positive results. And those results may not always be hat one had expected. The end goal is to be happy and thriving in your position, or have a plan to get there. It takes work. 

    Why does mentoring matter? Because an unhappy worker is not productive. Our moods project around us like a prism – they reflect at work, at home, in everything we do. Plus it is a shame to spend a significant portion of your life doing something you are not psyched about. The presentation talks about some simple steps to get unstuck. Simple, but not necessarily easy!

    What are three takeaways you hope attendees get from this session? 
    I hope attendees get the following from my session:

    • Discover attributes and considerations to help choose a mentor and progress to the next level. Choosing a mentor is not always obvious – you want someone who can be direct and candid, has the time and desire to help, and knows enough about your situation to help you make a difference.
    • Learn how to solicit and absorb difficult feedback, then act on it for positive change. Getting un-stuck means taking (often uncomfortable) action. Mentorship and change take hard work, and often hearing some hard news about yourself. Learn how to ask for and gracefully accept news about yourself you may not even be aware of – sometimes traits that are blocking you from moving forward.
    • Identify how to effectively use a mentor to proceed on your career path. Having a mentor is a commitment to action on your part. You do the work. Simple things like setting a schedule, setting goals, guidelines can help maximize both parties' time and results.

     Why are events like COLLABORATE important to the profession?

    User group events offer practical advice and how-to’s based on the real life learning experiences of others, and gives a super network of like-minded persons in similar areas of interest. I have learned more via user group events than other avenues.

    COLLABORATE takes place April 7-11, 2019, in San Antonio, Texas. Visit IOUG’s COLLABORATE website to register, take a quiz to find the sessions that best meet your needs, and more.

    Released: March 12, 2019, 1:23 pm | Updated: April 3, 2019, 1:10 pm
    Keywords: Feature | SELECT Journal | COLLABORATE 19 | mentoring | Professional Development | SELECT | SELECT Journal

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