UK Oracle User Group

Kellyn Pot'Vin

Kellyn Pot'VinName: Kellyn Pot'Vin

Job Title: Consulting Member of Strategic Customer Program

Tell us about your role in a couple of sentences: 
As the Consulting Member of the Strategic Customer Program Team focused on Enterprise Manager, I offer my expertise to support customers and my team on implementations of special projects with the Enterprise Manager and OPsCenter products. I am an integral part of the driving force that makes Enterprise Manager the incredible product our customers utilize every day. I assist in the direction of future enhancements and features that benefit Oracle's vision of the future. I assist with sharing this knowledge at conferences, webinars, white papers and blog posts to the Oracle community, partners and customers.

Why did you first get into IT?
Due to a serious health issue, I was unable to perform the duties of my previous career. I had started selling computers and my managers found I had a "knack" for software. This built into a recommendation by Oracle and an offer for database administration training.

What advice would you give to people, especially women looking for a role in IT? 
There are so many opportunities and all young people, including young women should be aware of the great careers in IT.  For those that have embraced the career and are feeling hindered by the challenges to surround yourself with positive role models and remove as many of the negative ones as possible. Find mentors- both male and female- reach out, ask questions and never be scared to try something new. Never be scared to fail. The biggest successes in the world have failed more times than we can count - they just tried one more time - that is the key above all else.

Have you encountered any issues with being a woman in IT?
To be honest, just about every position I've held in IT has included at least one interaction with a male or female who has attempted to hinder my career growth. This hindrance is recognized as just a minor annoyance or at rare times, been a serious issue. These issues can be measured, as pros and cons. I've taken this measurement and decided if it was a minor challenge that could be overcome or if my energy could be spent more productively elsewhere. This resulted in me moving to a new opportunity sometimes and yet it never meant anything less than a 20% pay raise and more supportive environment. This is a very important lesson for women to understand - you are worthy and should be harnessed and allowed to contribute productively to any business. We internalise and blame ourselves so often and yet, if you are over-scrutinized and penalized due to unconscious bias and stereotypes, no one wins.

Any final comments?
I've spoken to so many men and women on the topic of women in technology. I am passionate about how we've successfully dealt with discrimination, but we are still hindered by complex stereotypes and unconscious bias issues. The younger generation is often more impeded than the older one due to the sheer onslaught of media and the current generation of fathers are some of the strongest supporters as their daughters come to an age where they are stifled in their growth. We could be satisfied with how far we've come, but to stop growing is so often an easy path to reverting back. I'm about moving forward, always moving forward.

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