Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010

Safra Catz

What is the best and worst decision you've ever made?
My best decision was to choose to go to Wall Street over law. I learned a lot and focused on the expanding software industry at a time when the independent software industry was just beginning. That ultimately brought me to Oracle. The worst decision, hands down, was wearing bright yellow when I was 9 months pregnant. I looked like a bumble bee. I have not worn yellow since.

What was your dream job as a kid and why?
My dream job was to work in an ice cream shop. Two weeks and five pounds later, I realized it wasn't for me. For many years I had planned to be a corporate lawyer. As luck would have it, other than a summer internship, I didn't end up doing that either.

What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
The most significant barrier to female leadership is the actual lack of females in leadership. The best advice I can give to women is to go out and start something, ideally their own businesses. If you can't see a path for leadership within your own company, go blaze a trail of your own.

What woman inspires you and why?
My greatest inspiration is my mother, the bravest person I ever knew. She overcame incredible odds, worked while raising two kids, and made it all look incredibly simple. Even in her final days succumbing to cancer, she fought like a champion.

What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
The biggest challenge for the next generation of women is to turn these generational expectations on their ear. Hopefully in the future generational challenges will be measured by achievement, not gender.