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Collaborate 13 “Women in Technology” – Reflections From a 30 Year Veteran

Collaborate 13 “Women in Technology” – Reflections From a 30 Year Veteran
Anne Ristau, an instructor at IT Convergence Education Services, has worked in the IT industry for over 30 years, and was an early member of the Oracle Applications Users Group.

The role of Women in Technology is of course a big focus of Collaborate 13, and we asked Anne to reflect on her experiences as a woman who has worked for over three decades in what was once a male dominated profession.

Anne Ristau, Former OAUG Board of Directors Member on Women in Technology

My first job I was an Entry Level Programmer; I remember the interview going something like:

“Well we thought you are a really good girl, but we were hoping to get someone with more experience. And also, you will probably get married and have babies so we would rather have a man.“ 

I needed this job, if I did not get a job before my college graduation I would have to move home to Wyoming. So I swallowed and TOLD the owner that I would make him a deal, the job was posted as $18k per year I would work for $300 per month for 3 months, and then after that 3 month period he would like me so much he would hire me but then he would pay $25k per year! I got the job right then and there! The day I started there were 30 male programmers and me! I had to travel, the boss wanted to call my father to make sure it was okay!

They gave me all of the grunt jobs, and while that was not pleasant, it did have one unexpected spinoff benefit. One of the things involved this new product from Relational Software, Inc. called “Oracle.” All the men were COBOL or Basic programmers and they had had a free copy of this Oracle Database but couldn’t be bothered to look into it. It fell to me to investigate it! I still thank all of them today!

My second job was working in a large investment firm for credit unions. There were actually more women than men, and we were required to go to brown bag lunches that discussed the stress of being a woman working. My only take away was it was okay to buy Oreo cookies instead of making them homemade! I wanted to do a really large project in Philadelphia, but because I was a female my boss felt I would be safer in Kansas City then out on my own in the City of Brotherly Love. So it was Kansas City, even though I had more experience then the man they sent to Pennsylvania.

I remember that women with children received special treatment over singles…because they had to get home, pick up the kids and make supper. I argued that one too. My argument was that their husband could do that, yet when I left work my little dog had crossed his legs all day in the apartment, and I had to fix dinner too. It took until 1990 until I saw change and all employees were treated the same.

Now I was at the very tail end of discrimination, the women just a few years before me had it tough – and all of us need to thank them for their fight for equal pay and work conditions.

Today I see no difference if you are a man or woman in the work place. If you can do the job, then the job is yours for the taking. As for pay, I don’t ask. My take is I agreed on my salary so why should I complain or even ask what others receive. I travel, and see just about as many business women as I do men on the planes. I notice that men and women both struggle to find balance with work, home, and play.

I am looking forward to going to the Women and Technology talk at Collaborate 13 because it will give me a chance to take stock of how far we’ve come while getting to know the next generation of women leaders in the ERP space.

See a Female ERP Pioneer in Action

Fortunately, Collaborate 13 doesn’t simply give you the opportunity to share in the reflections of one of the ERP community’s female pioneers, you also get to see her in action. This year at the Collaborate Denver conference, Anne will be presenting two sessions “Accounting Methods Builder (AMB) – Beyond the Basics” (Session ID: 11590) on Monday April 9th in room 501 at 8:00 am. Here second session is “Setup and Use the R12 AP/AR Netting Feature ” (Session ID: 502) on Wednesday April 10th at 9:30 am in room 502.

If you’re in Denver for Collaborate 13, plan to attend. If you can’t make it but want to meet Anne in person, pass by booth #1423 to meet with Anne in person.

If you’re one those who was not lucky enough to travel to Denver for Collaborate 13 you’re still in luck! You can click here to visit our Collaborate 13 Resources page to download Anne’s presentations and white papers as well as those of our other Collaborate presenters.

Follow Collaborate 13 as it happens. Click here to access the full stream of this blog’s Collaborate 13 conversation.