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The Oracle mindset: How Bonnie achieves success as a mother, activist, and woman in tech

“Highlighting women’s accomplishments is so important. When young girls see female CEOs and board members, women engineers, and community leaders, their view of their own horizons opens up.”

Bonnie speaks passionately about the importance of occasions like International Women’s Day. It’s the same sort of infectious enthusiasm she brings to her work at Oracle, her incredible philanthropic efforts, and her beautiful family.


“Knowing that someone else has walked the path before them gives girls permission to dream big and clears the way for them to think anything is possible,” she declares. As a successful author, activist, mother, and woman in tech, you’d be right to think that Bonnie is a great role model for young women. Currently a Program Manager for the Global Executive Sponsorship PMO, Bonnie also sits on the Oracle Women’s Leadership (OWL) HQ Community Leadership Team.

“This year’s IWD celebration is based on the idea that an equal world is an enabled world. There is a big effort at Oracle to promote gender equality,” Bonnie emphasizes. “OWL is our global initiative which has a clear mission to develop and empower female leaders. The beauty of this organization is that we welcome and encourage men to take part. Great things happen on a level playing field when men and women work together and leverage each other’s strengths.”

Making a difference

Bringing people together to effect change is one of Bonnie’s many talents. As District Champion for the Bay Area Chapter of JDRF, she gives a voice to people with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). She’s recently been invited to Washington DC to advocate for issues like affordable insulin and funding for diabetes research. As mother of a daughter with Type 1 Diabetes, these are issues that are very close to Bonnie’s heart.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Bonnie’s philanthropy. In 2018, she and her family brought life-saving diabetes supplies to a paediatric endocrinology clinic in Ethiopia. But they still felt like they needed to do more: “Even though the supplies were worth thousands of dollars, we saw it was only a tiny band-aid compared to what the T1D children in Ethiopia really need,” she recalls.

Changing lives with coffee

That’s how Bonnie and her daughter Marina came to start their very own charity—The Kaffa Exchange. The nonprofit has a very memorable message: “Swap your java for some hope! If you could trade your daily cup of coffee to help make a child’s life better, would you?” It asks people to swap what they would spend on a cappuccino to give children in Ethiopia a chance at a better, healthier future.

The charity helps deliver critical medical supplies and translate much-needed diabetes education into Amharic, Ethiopia’s official language. Local paediatric endocrinologists are saying the availability of this information is “transformative and lifesaving.” Soon, The Kaffa Exchange will be funding the  printing of another 7,000 copies that will be distributed throughout the country.  Because “doing more” was her daughter’s brave idea, Marina was asked to write the dedication for the book translation.

If you would like to donate to this effort click here

Family, flexibility, and finding the time

You can’t help but feel awed by the extent of Bonnie’s impact. How does she do it all? That’s where she credits Oracle for being such a supportive employer. “One of the amazing benefits that Oracle offers employees is 40 hours of paid volunteer time each year. I’m very appreciative of how Oracle supports my charity work and my family life,” Bonnie shares.

“Having a flexible work schedule allows me to honor my work commitments, as well as my family and passion for social change. As a remote worker, I save about three hours a day not commuting. It means I have extra energy for things that are important to me and I can go to my kids sporting events, which fills my “mom bucket” too.”

Bonnie’s career advice

The person that I am today has been deeply influenced by Oracle. Over the course of my time here I have acquired what I like to call an “Oracle mindset.” It’s made up of four ideas that I now use in all areas of my life:

  1. You are enough. (Self-explanatory!)
  2. When you see a problem, ask how you can solve it. What are the root causes, where is the gap, why isn’t the gap being filled? Ask yourself if there is there anything within your power to help solve this problem. If you can only solve part of the problem, find people to partner with who can help you fill the gap.
  3. Believe that anything is possible. You can achieve anything if you ask the right questions, leverage the right resources, find the right people to partner with, and keep trying until you make it happen…and never give up. Persistence has always been one of my best friends.
  4. Be Fearless. When presented with a pressing situation that needs a solution don’t be afraid—take it on as a challenge. If you see a problem, and have an idea of how it could be solved, even though it’s not in your “job description”, what do you do? You do the right thing: Raise your hand, offer your idea, and try to solve it! Magical things happens when you raise your hand and say, “I will try!”

Want to join a company that supports your family life and passion for social change? Explore our career opportunities here.

Join the discussion

Comments ( 3 )
  • Bonnie Carlson Friday, March 13, 2020
    Thank you, Oracle, for this beautiful blog. I am honored and humbled.
  • Jag Brar Monday, March 16, 2020
    Way to go Bonnie! Keep up your great work.
  • Pamela Jacob Wednesday, August 19, 2020
    Amazing feature, Bonnie! Great work!!
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