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Honestly, my memory is a bit fuzzy as to exactly when I first became aware of SDN, but I suspect it must have been at my first teched, in 2005 in Boston.In previous years, ASUG had its own fall meeting for the technology groups (as we were known back in the day), but in 2005, ASUG volunteers held forth and led networking sessions in our first ASUG lounge at TechEd. That lounge was way, waaay up in the sky-high nosebleed section of the convention center in Boston, while below us swirled a sea of humanity who all seemed to know one another from somewhere else. That somewhere else was SDN, but to be honest, it didn’t seem to offer much to me, as I was a security analyst, not a developer, and I was a customer, whereas the majority seemed to be consultants.

 

Still, I was intrigued enough with it all to submit an abstract via ASUG the next year, and TechEd 2006 was my first time to speak at a TechEd. What a nightmare it was! There were several hecklers in my audience who were unexpectedly (in comparison to my years of speaking as ASUG events) rude and disruptive; I shook it off over some tall, cold beverages but swore off speaking at TechEds ever again. Who needed that stress? – certainly not me, as I had plenty keeping me busy holding multiple volunteer roles within ASUG on top of my day job.

 

Being invited to be in the charter class of SAP Mentors brought me into the fold of SDN, and I soon made friends outside my circle of ASUG colleagues.  It still seemed very developer-centric to me, but I started taking notice of people and activities in the larger community and slowly started to participate.

When I became aware of the fledgling BPX Community was when I first felt like there was a home for me. The mural created at SAP TechEd 2007, which was used to illustrate the cover of Process First: the evolution of the Business Process Expert,

showed the larger SAP ecosystem, including SDN, BPX, ASUG, and more, all interconnected, and it made a powerful statement.

20130829_SCN mementos comp.jpg

 

Another important memory was the Process Design Slam event at #TechEd2009 in Phoenix. I had written it off as too far out of my areas of expertise, but Marilyn Pratt  encouraged me to attend, and I surprised myself at having something to contribute to the conversations. As far as I am concerned, Marilyn is the living, breathing embodiment of inclusiveness, and she is one of the key drivers of any successes I have had on SCN. It was she who encouraged me to start blogging on SCN; I had my doubts that anyone would be interested in anything I had to say, but she and my longtime ASUG volunteer colleague and almost-twin friend Jim Spath mentored me, and before long I found my voice on SCN.

 

Eventually I got past that first awful experience, and I have been speaking again at TechEd yearly since 2010 to report progress on our (still ongoing) Security Influence Council. SCN has given me a platform to share my personal views on SAP security and GRC, my looks forward to and reports from TechEd and ASUG/SAPPHIRE, and topics of more general business interest.  The SAP Mentors has been a wonderful experience for me; I have met people from the around the world and in all corners of the SAP ecosystem, with expertise of all kinds. While it still seems to me that the developers and consultants are the strongest voices in SCN, there are customers, partners, analysts, and SAP employees who share their own unique and interesting perspectives. What I have found is that, like so many other things in life, SCN is what you make of it; there are opportunities for everyone to participate in discussions, comment on blogs, and share your own ideas as a blogger. The new gamification elements encourage me to step out of my comfort zone and try new activities, and I invite all SCN members to give something new a try and add to the tapestry of SCN history of the next 10 years and beyond.

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  1. Tammy Powlas

    Very nice blog, Gretchen.

    My experience is similar, with help from Jim Spath and great feedback from Marilyn Pratt to continue blogging. 

    Thank you for sharing.

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  2. Marilyn Pratt

    Thank you for your kind mention, Gretchen.  It was a privledge and honor to help jump start a most powerful voice that became a welcome fixture in this SCN community.Many of us enjoyed getting our “Gretchen fix” with your almost realtime summaries of the events you participated in.

    You’ve been courageous in voicing your opinions and giving support to others, be they ASUG members or members of the wider SAP Community.  I’m so glad you took the plunge and made yourself heard here.

    Funny, I hadn’t realized how much of a home BPX was to you because I think of your Security Domain Expertise as being technical….but yourself and other ASUG colleagues were certainly movers and shakers when it came to expanding community engagement.

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    1. Gretchen Lindquist Post author

      That is funny to me that you think of security as technical; security is one of those things that falls into the cracks between the geeks and the suits. Developing security roles is more like system configuration than like programming; good security developers gain at least some understanding the business processes we support, plus we have our own processes to support the end users. When we are deploying new systems such as migrating to GRC 10, we do get more technical, but at least to me, being not a programmer feels like something of lesser geek. I really liked the mural showing all of us in the flowing stream together. That was an important image. Didn’t you invite Nancy to create that mural? 🙂 Thank you again!

      Gretchen

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  3. Fred Verheul

    Hi Gretchen,

    Thanks for sharing your personal journey through SCN. It’s nice to get some historical perspective on people who I would have thought have always been active on the platform and in the community.

    Kudos for getting over your first awful speaking experience at SAPTechEd. Personally I’m not a natural speaker (at all), so I have been very nervous at times when I had (chosen) to do a presentation, and thankfully I never had to experience something like that. I’m not sure what it would’ve done to me.

    Keep up your good work on security and GRC!

    Cheers, Fred

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  4. Tom Cenens

    Hi Gretchen

    Great post and very interesting to see how Marilyn jump started many of us. I also really like how you discuss that negative experience of presenting the first time and how you have conquered it.

    I also love the “SCN is what you make of it”. That is so true and it is also valid for many other aspects of SAP: Going to SAP TechED for example. It can be a huge experience but it depends on what you make of it.

    You are completely right on the new SCN gamification elements. Without it, I probably wouldn’t have discovered SAP Lumira to the extent I did now.

    Best regards

    Tom

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  5. Marcia Walker

    Gretchen:  Very nice blog, and so nice to learn more about your history on SCN, since I’ve been following you for so long.  You also helped me reconcile something when you said, “The new gamification elements encourage me to step out of my comfort zone and try new activities”.  I confess that at first I was a but put off with the gamification – I didn’t want this to become a place where people were “ranked” based on “points”; I was concerned that it might detract from the community and inclusion that I find so valuable.  However, your comment helped me see that I can instead view gamification as a way to encourage people to be adventurous, and that is indeed a very worthy goal!

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