By Bobbie Hartman
The Oracle Women’s Leadership (OWL) program started in 2006 within the customer services organization and quickly grew into a corporatewide program, with 42 communities around the globe and more than 1,550 members. Today, OWL offers women employees the opportunity to enhance their skills and develop their leadership potential through a variety of programs, including workshops, conferences, self-directed mentoring, networking events, Webinars, a Website, and a quarterly newsletter. “We have some amazing women in management roles at Oracle,” explains Lise Edwards, OWL managing director.
In the spirit of inclusion, OWL strives to include both men and women in the program. “Traditionally, these programs just focused on women,” says Edwards. “But for OWL, men are an important part of the equation. We created a forum for our men and women to cultivate a community of learning, where they can engage, network, and connect. It enhances our skills. It empowers all of us.
“The challenge is always going to be to ensure that there’s an inclusive environment where we all have a voice,” Edwards continues. An inclusive corporate culture fosters a more productive, dynamic global workforce and attracts the brightest talent in the marketplace, she adds. “There’s tremendous value for Oracle in raising awareness of the differences in how men and women operate. It leads to greater understanding and helps all of us work better together.”
OWL has continued to expand its scope and grow its numbers in 2010, welcoming new members from Oracle’s acquisition of Sun. The group launched “Leading the Change at Oracle,” a four-part Webinar series for Oracle employees, in April and has sponsored women’s leadership conferences in Southern California; Reston, Virginia; and Bangalore, India. Another leadership summit is scheduled to be held early next year, in Barcelona, Spain.
At Oracle OpenWorld 2010, OWL took its message outside of Oracle’s employee community to its customers and partners. OWL sponsored a leadership summit to give senior-level women an opportunity to engage, network, and share career experiences. “This was a great opportunity for women outside of our company to step out and learn from some very accomplished women from all lines of business and industries, public and private,” explains Edwards.
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