International Women’s Day – Mia Urman Reflects on WIT, the Oracle ACE Program, and Beyond

In honor of Women’s International Day, we sat down with Mia Urman (Oracle ACE Director and CEO of AuraPlayer) to ask her thoughts about the evolution of women’s involvement and influence in the tech world. Having worked in the IT world for over 20 years, Mia has witnessed the shifts within the IT workforce, and specifically in the world of Oracle.  Read on to hear Mia’s reflections on the power of women, the changing face of IT, the role of the Oracle ACE program, and more. 

 

What do you feel that women bring to the tech world? 

I think one of the major problems today with the tech world is the lack of diversity. If IT is only being run by white males under the age of 45, you will see the challenges and the solutions only from a certain vantage point. And people of other demographics- whether they are people of color, women, or those of different ages – have plenty of out-of-the-box thinking to offer the tech world too. 

 

Women, in particular, are able to come at things from a very different perspective. And I think that diversity in the IT workforce is definitely one of the values we pride ourselves on at AuraPlayer. We have many women and developers over the age of 55. We have people from all different walks of life, different countries, nationalities, and are a team of almost 60% women – so diversity has definitely been a goal of ours.

 

What does it mean to you to be a female ACE Director? 

When I first heard about the ACE program, I was living in Israel. I had just finished my employment at Oracle, and I had tons of knowledge but I felt very alone as a young woman in IT. I’d go to conferences and find it to be 90% men. I’d actually do this funny thing where I would count how many women were in the audience when I was presenting, secretly rejoicing if there were more than 10% women in my sessions. But at the same time, it felt very isolating being a woman in this space– especially in the Oracle world, in the early 2000s. 

 

I was then encouraged to join the ACE program by two incredible mentors who were both part of the ACE program at the time. I saw my community grow exponentially. And since then, I found camaraderie among a small but amazing group of women who not only have incredible technological knowledge, but also are lifelong learners. They’re always seeking to learn and then educate others on the next big thing. They’re not content just sticking with their own knowledge, they strive to learn from others and to pass that knowledge onward. And that is really refreshing to see in such a competitive world. I’m honored to be among these incredible women.

Why should other women be encouraged to join the ACE program? 

I definitely think that being part of the ACE program is very important, both for professional development as well as for the community at large. The first real issue is that, unfortunately, there are not enough women who enter the tech world to even qualify for the ACE program. So it makes it’s doubly important for those who do qualify to join and make themselves heard and help teach others. 

But I also see that there is a huge difference in the confidence of potential candidates between men and women in this field. Men often see themselves as an expert and a clear candidate for being an ACE. While women, on the other hand, will often downplay their knowledge and think, “No, I have so much more to learn. I’m not there yet. I don’t think my resume is good enough.. I’m not at the ACE level yet, etc….”

 

I think a big part of this stems from that fact that women hold themselves to such a high standard that they don’t realize their own worth. And this tends to happen to women both in the workplace (such as asking promotions, etc) and also joining professional programs. But what’s amazing is that the ACE program has a very easy calculator for applying to the Oracle ACE program –you simply fill in your community contributions such as how many blog posts, published articles, presented sessions, conferences attended etc. It’s really built as an objective scale based on your professional contributions to the Oracle world and how much you are involved. This ends up being a great way to level the playing field and makes it very easy to see if you have qualified, or what you still need to do to move forward.

 

What can women gain from mentorship in the IT field? 

When I think about importance of mentorship, to me it is intrinsically linked with representation. Firstly, it so valuable to have women as role models who have reached the top levels of their tech careers. It is important as it provides tangible examples of what women can achieve so we can gain inspiration for our own success. This will also hopefully inspire and encourage the next generation of girls in STEM.

 

Secondly, I think having a mentor is critical for all those in the IT workforce, as a it offers guidance and support for young professionals as they travel along their career path. Having a mentor in my own journey has played a significant role in helping me become a WIT influencer and in helping me build and scale AuraPlayer. There were so many different occasions – whether with partners, vendors or customers – that mentors provided me advice to extend my knowledge and take my solution to the next level. With mentorship there is so much to gain, not only in terms of getting ideas on how to solve technical problems, but also on how to handle customer dynamics, co-worker relationships, and career growth. I love having that outlet to get feedback and opinions from people that I respect. 

 

How can more women break into the tech field?

I feel like the world of IT is really open to anybody, once you can really identify your transferable skills. I’ll give you a funny example. We were interviewing somebody who applied for a position of Customer Success Management. And we get this resume from someone who had been very active in customer relations about a decade ago, and then for 10 years she took a break to be a stay-at-home mom. Her resume was amazing! In it she had outlined her role in “family management” where she listed all the many operational tasks she had been performing a wife and mother of 5.

 

I was so impressed and blown away by this resume. Here you have this woman who could have been very senior level manager if she hadn’t taken this time off. And now as she was about to get back into the workforce, she was not afraid to say, “I took time off as building a family was important to me, but the same way that I perfectly managed all these people and dynamics, I could also use those skills in the IT workforce.” These are personalities that I look for in terms of potential and mentorship.

 

This is also reflected in how I have built my own team at AuraPlayer. I try to look at the potential of the person before me and then empower them with the training and mentoring to help them grow. Not everyone on my team got their degrees in IT – one of my employees is a trained social worker and she grew into the head of IT marketing, while another had trained to be an English teacher and is now doing presales demos.

 

Everybody has their own journey. No two paths are the same from point A to point B, but success in IT can look many different ways – so long as people are given the opportunity, mentorship, and tools to grow and thrive.

Connect with Mia on Twitter at @miaurman and on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/miaurman/

International Women’s Day – Mia Urman Reflects on WIT, the Oracle ACE Program, and Beyond
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International Women’s Day – Mia Urman Reflects on WIT, the Oracle ACE Program, and Beyond
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In honor of Women’s International Day, we sat down with Mia Urman (Oracle ACE Director and CEO of AuraPlayer) to ask her thoughts about the evolution of women’s involvement and influence in the tech world. Having

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David Buch
Senior Products Manager

David, our Senior Products Manager, is a highly experienced professional specializing in product definition, innovations, and development, with broad customer understanding, and skillful people management. He has over 20 years of R&D work experience, and continues to excel in his expertise. When he is not working, David enjoys spending his time as a professional tuba player joining symphony orchestras and chamber ensembles.

Elizabeth Pearl
Relationship Manager

Before joining AuraPlayer, Elizabeth completed a Masters degree in Education and worked as a teacher. Elizabeth’s role as Customer Relationship Manager combines both her passion for technology and her deep desire to educate  others. On a daily basis, Elizabeth takes the valuable insights she gained as a teacher and uses them to rise within the world of tech. She uses her skills of active listening, organization, preparation, and clear communication to enhance the wonderful relationships she has with both coworkers and customers.

 

Elizabeth is originally from the United States but currently resides in England. In her spare time, she loves exercising, spending time with her family and friends, and playing volleyball.

Nathalie Wasserman
CFO & Operations Manager

Natalie is proud to be AuraPlayer’s Operations and Chief Financial Officer. She takes pride in her work, and loves being a part of the AuraPlayer family. Prior to working at AuraPlayer, Nathalie worked at various companies as an accountant. She attended the University College London (UCL), where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in economics and business. She then went on to pursue a Master’s degree in Political Economies in Eastern Europe. 

Gwen Edwards
VP Business Development

An expert in helping businesses seize their potential and grow, Gwen is committed to take AuraPlayer to the next level. With over 30 years of experience in the high technology sector and working with Fortune 500 companies, she works as an advisor for growing businesses to help enhance their value and reach their business objectives. She’s a dynamic member of our team, leveraging her sales and marketing, and P&L experience to our current and future product suite.

Gwen also serves on a several private company boards in Silicon Valley, and is an active member of the angel investment network, Golden Seeds.

Yossi Nakash
CTO & Co-Founder

A true developer, Yossi has been developing and coding in Java / J2EE, C++, .Net, and C# for over 20 years, focusing mainly on the RD side of things. Entering the Oracle World about 10 years ago, Yossi immersed himself in the world of Oracle SOA, Weblogic, EBS and EBS Mobile, as well as the Java side of things.


Prior to joining Mia to found AuraPlayer, Yossi held the role of RD team leader at RadView and was a Java developer at Motorola.