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In the Field

Learning Circle, Part 2

OAUG President Alyssa Johnson talks about women in technology and technology trends.

By Carol Hildebrand

September/October 2014

Oracle Magazine sat down with Alyssa Johnson, the newly elected president of Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG), to talk about her history with Oracle technology, the mission of OAUG, and collaboration. In Part 2 of the interview, Johnson delves into the importance of attracting women to technology careers, as well as how OAUG helps its members take the lead on technology trends.

Oracle Magazine: You mentioned earlier (see “Learning Circle, Part 1” in Oracle Magazine, July/August 2014) that OAUG will have a woman in the presidency for three years in a row. What is your perspective on women in technology today?

Johnson: Well, I am pleased with the focus OAUG has on women in technology, which is directly supported by OAUG members electing women to serve on the OAUG board of directors. Members are really looking at the capabilities that the elected women bring to the board. [The OAUG board of directors elects the OAUG president.]

I think the participation of women in technology is also reflected in our events. I ran across an interesting number for early registration for COLLABORATE 14: almost half of those registrants were women. I think that is very exciting.

One of the highlights of COLLABORATE 14 was the Women in Technology panel, and we had some excellent panelists this year. They sparked a lively and thought-provoking discussion, which carried over to the Women in Technology luncheon where we had the opportunity to listen to Jhone Ebert, chief innovation and productivity officer at Clark County, Nevada.

Oracle Magazine: How do young women get interested in technology?

Johnson: For me, it certainly helped that my family was very scientifically focused. My dad was a calibrations engineer, and there was never a thought in our household that girls can’t do math or science. In fact, my ninth grade science fair project was on computer programming, and that was many years ago. When you have that kind of mind-set and support when you’re growing up, it helps overcome barriers that you see in the workforce because it just doesn’t come into your mind that women can’t do this kind of job.

I think it’s important to make sure that younger people, especially women, are aware of both educational and career opportunities in the technology field.

Oracle Magazine: Do you have suggestions for women looking at—or already in—technology careers?

Johnson: Finding a mentor is very important. When I first started my career, there was a woman that I worked with who was very active and really helped me. When I saw other women’s achievements, it helped give me the confidence to continue to move forward. It’s equally important to give back by looking for opportunities to mentor others. As women, we need to provide that guidance.

Oracle Magazine: Moving on to the technology itself, how does OAUG address hot technology topics?

Johnson: One thing that we do very well with OAUG is to stay tuned to industry trends and find information to reflect what our membership cares about. Technology is such a fast-changing field that it’s important to touch base with our membership frequently—that’s why we’re active throughout the year, providing both content and networking opportunities.

For example, we ran an excellent article in Insight magazine about where cloud is heading, penned by one of our members. A strength of OAUG is that we can look to industry experts who are also members for perspective.

Oracle Magazine: Are you using social media in conversations about technology trends?

Johnson: Absolutely. I’ve recently gotten more involved in Twitter, which has given me valuable perspective on social media usage. I’m a little bit behind—my daughters are much more Twitter-savvy than I am.

I’ve found that it’s an efficient way to find what the technology trends are. And at the end of the day, that’s what we are here for—to provide opportunities for our members to talk with others, especially about trending technologies. That way, you get to hear from somebody who is actually using those technologies, which ultimately helps you make a better decision for your whole organization.

Next Steps

 READ “Learning Circle, Part 1

 JOIN OAUG

 

Photography byJonas Jacobsson,Unsplash