After volunteering with the Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG) for many years, Maria Anderson stepped into the role of president in 2015. Oracle Magazine reached out to Anderson to talk about her experience in the technology industry, and her passion for leadership.
Oracle Magazine: How did you get started in technology?
Anderson: I got started in tech quite by accident. I came out of university with a psychology undergraduate degree and started working in healthcare analyzing a lot of research data. As a result, I discovered that I had this aptitude for technology and really enjoyed it. I managed to work my way into IT in the healthcare industry, was there for a few years, left to further enhance my education, and I have been in the energy sector ever since as an IT professional.
Leadership skills are something that IT professionals really need to consider as part of their core skill set. ”–Maria Anderson,
Oracle Magazine: How did you get started with IOUG?
Anderson: When I became a DBA around the mid-’90s, the internet was still quite new. The only place to go for good-quality DBA articles and information was IOUG. I joined as a member, and I was so impressed with the organization that I volunteered. I started on the conference committee, worked my way onto the board, and this year I stepped into the president’s role, which is very exciting.
Oracle Magazine: What is the mission of IOUG?
Anderson: We empower people to be more productive in their business and career by delivering really good-quality education and enabling users to share leading practices with one another. IOUG also gives its members the opportunity to provide feedback to Oracle and have a voice in product enhancement and strategy.
Oracle Magazine: What is your mission as president?
Anderson: My mission as president is to continue helping IOUG evolve, and to ensure that we build a strong board. We need to continue to think strategically and continue to build the good relationships we’ve had with Oracle and with other user groups. The technology industry changes quickly, and we need to remain very relevant to our members. So my job is to make sure that we keep thinking ahead in terms of technology, but also serve our members better and remain very relevant.
Oracle Magazine: How has the COLLABORATE conference evolved since you started attending?
Anderson: I’ve been to every COLLABORATE except one. Every time I attend COLLABORATE and I look at the list of speakers and the content of the sessions, I think, “We can’t do better than this.” And yet somehow we do. I believe the partnership that IOUG has with OAUG [Oracle Applications Users Group] and Quest [Quest International Users Group] is extremely valuable. We continue to deliver a fantastic conference every year, which I think says a lot in an age where content is delivered online. And I believe there really is no replacement for the face-to-face communication and networking that COLLABORATE delivers each year.
Oracle Magazine: What are the biggest challenges for IOUG and its members?
Anderson: We need to look ahead and try to understand the next big technology leap that our users are going to want to know about. In the past it’s been Oracle Exadata and Oracle engineered systems, and now we are talking a lot about cloud technologies. We are trying to look ahead for our members and deliver good content.
Oracle Magazine: What’s next?
Anderson: I think we are looking at the reinvention of the IT professional. It doesn’t matter if one is a DBA or an architect, systems analyst, or business analyst; leadership skills are something that IT professionals really need to consider as part of their core skill set. So much of what we do now depends on good communication and on understanding the business needs of our clients so that we can advise them about what technology is available to help them solve a business problem. I really see that we are on the cusp of a reinvention of the IT professional developing strong leadership skills.
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Photography by Bruce Mars, Unsplash