“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:
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