Corporate partnership success

Oracle - Employee Engagement and Empowerment

"You're never too young to know what goes on in a company boardroom - it's in the boardroom that the company's strategy is decided."
Fiona Hathorn
CEO, Women on Boards UK

Oracle internal event - 2019

Inspiring employees

Gemma Sanders had never thought about board positions until she heard Fiona Hathorn speak on an in-house webinar. She was 26 at the time working in HR at Oracle, concentrating on learning management and doing a CIPD HR course externally. What particularly resonated with Gemma was hearing Fiona talk about starting your board career at an early age and how “You’re never too young – you just need to find the right board”. In one of the CIPD newsletters they asked people to let them know if they were interested in board roles and what she’d heard in the webinar gave her the confidence and impetus to tick the box.  By doing this, only a couple of months later Gemma heard that Featherstone Primary School was seeking a governor with HR experience – it seemed like she could add value not only with her HR experience but also because she is passionate about education and young people.

Rosi Petrova attended one of our in-house leadership workshops, when she was about to turn 30. Hearing that most successful female leaders globally were normally on a board before the age of 30 fired her into action! “I thought right, you are 29, you have a year if you want to be a leader, if you want to be successful!” She registered with the Women on Boards network and applied for several roles within weeks. Many did not reply (not unusual!) but one did, and Rosi got that trustee role at King Henry’s Walk Garden charity, an award-winning green space in Islington needing board members with marketing and PR skills. She was so proactive that the charity also offered her a committee member role and asked her to oversee their digital marketing and PR.

Internally, Oracle wrote an article about Rosi to profile their corporate partnership and this was noticed by others within the company – so always remember to champion your achievements, something that Rosi learned the importance of when she attended our “On Track for Success workshop”. With an 1 year old child now, she is not currently looking for another board position in the short term but has engaged with another charity which supports vulnerable women globally.  “It keeps my hand in and may provide a board opportunity at some stage. I’m also still passionate about leadership development and I hope Oracle and Women on Boards will help me get more positions on more boards.

The strategic perspective

Ana Perez is Oracle’s Senior Director Sponsor for the WOB / Oracle relationship and, not surprisingly, is a big fan of empowering women of all ages. Anna believes you are never too young to know and understanding the boardroom, and further, she believes it is vital ‘knowledge’ for ambitious women and minorities.

With our support Ana and Oracle have empowered hundreds of women to think long term about their careers, understand the boardroom and crucially take ownership of the career choices they make whilst considering their path to the top at Oracle. Adding a board or committee appointment to your CV is a sure way of drawing attention and validating your capabilities whilst catapulting your career up the ladder of success.

Women and minorities at Oracle now know that individuals that join boards, even of very small organisations, are able to use their experience & skills to influence an organisation whilst at the same time gaining exposure to a wide range of issues and building confidence, expertise and networks. Being on a board helps individuals broaden their outlook and business network whilst at the same time helping the company through community outreach and engagement.

In 2015, with our help and advice, Ana joined the board of Smartwork’s, Berkshire. Smartwork’s is a superb charity that is focused on helping out-of-work women on low incomes get back into the workforce. They provide interview coaching, high quality interview clothes and styling advice. The charity aims to help women to feel confident, look fabulous, succeed at their job interview and move on with their life.

About our Corporate Partnership

Oracle is one of our Corporate Partners and over the last 4 years we’ve run 4 workshops plus several webinars and talks for their employees, who really appreciate not only our career planning advice, but also the access to the wider WOB network, influence and external events.  The younger women particularly relate to our popular talk: “7 reasons why being on a board is good for your career”.  We have run three different workshops for Oracle;

•    Managing your Career  – career planning & resilience, networking and influence (25 to 35 age range normally)
•    On Track for Success – managing your career and how board roles can accelerate success (35 to 45 age range normally)
•    Getting Started – Realising your board potential – the why, the what and how of the boardroom (40+ age range)

Over the years we have helped a number of Oracle women get onto boards and we are particularly proud to have helped two women under 30. Their stories are fantastic and the difference we have made has resulted in them achieving more internally at Oracle in their executive careers, too.