UK Oracle User Group

Sue Shaw

Name: Sue ShawSusan Shaw

Organisation: ERP Solutions

Job Title: Group Lead

Tell us about your role in a couple of sentences:
I am responsible for maintaining a multi-year vision (people, process and architecture) to support the ERP Solutions area at Cenovus Energy. ERP Solutions is responsible for operational support of Oracle's JDEdwards EnterpriseOne and IBM's Maximo and their related applications. I manage a variety of teams, over 50 people.

Why did you first get into IT?:  
I took Computer Science in University, thinking that I would be able to get a job when I graduated. I was right. Shell hired me straight from University and I stayed with their IT department for 20 years before joining Cenovus in 2010.

What advice would you give to people, especially women looking for a role in IT?:
1. Specialise. There are too many generalists. The trick is to determine what to specialise in. You have to monitor market conditions and be willing to change your focus if required.
2. Get involved, join user groups, network, do public speaking - anything to help build your 'personal brand'. IT is traditionally made up of introverts, so having the courage to speak up will give you a competitive advantage.
3. Always do what you say you will do. When this is not possible, speak up early. This helps build your credibility and reputation.
4. Admit mistakes quickly. It is far better to bring issues to light rather than to hide them.
5. Keep a customer focus. If you keep in mind doing what is right for the customer, whoever the customer is, it will keep you on the right track.

Have you encountered any issues with being a woman in IT?:
Never. I am fortunate to live in Canada where women are truly equal. A male friend of mine said that 'we have them properly trained now' :) Seriously, I have been fortunate to work for companies where one is recognised for the work that they do, not what gender they are.

Any final comments?:
Always treat everyone with respect. Never become the person who 'manages up' or adjusts their behaviour based on another's perceived 'status'. You never know who might be important to you in the future. The golden rule is to treat others as you would like to be treated. Not all people are alike so I like the platinum rule better - which is to treat others how they would like to be treated.

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