Women in Technology Month:
Roxanne Shows the Way
(or IT Hero)
This story is an extension of an article published in Brainstorm in June 2008.
Many women leaders in technology are unsung heroes. Roxanne Buchanan is one of those. She’s worked for the City of Seattle for 31 years, helping to keep the city technology systems running while also encouraging young people to develop information technology (IT) skills through her work with the Seattle chapter of Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA), being active in her church and in the Blacks in Government organization. Roxanne has just retired from the City, but not before she shared a few of her experiences and tips for success.
Roxanne got her start in the technology field when the City started leasing computers to departments who couldn’t afford to buy them. Email and graphic design programs are her favorite technologies. Below are the interview questions and answers from our interview with Roxanne - enjoy!
- What jobs did you have at the city?
Office Assistant, Administrative Specialist I, Administrative Specialist II, Leasing Coordinator and IT Specialist.
- How did you get your start working in the technology sector?
I started in IT through the leasing program working with Dan Paquette when the City of Seattle first started leasing IT equipment to departments without budget to purchase computers.
- What’s your favorite technology?
Graphic Design and Email!
- What's been your greatest success?
Receiving the IT Award for moving our department (Department of Administrative Services) from the Alaska Building to the Dexter Horton Building.
Learning Metaframe (City's remote desktop software).
- Why should other women and people of color pursue a career in Information Technology?
People of Color must pursue a career in IT due to the trend of our Global Society; to communicate with the youth and for yourself.
- Are there opportunities in the field?
The world of IT has a new frontier available to you even if IT is not the major focus; but it is a way to get you in the door.
- What’s the best preparation?
Self motivation, training and an interest to succeed.
- How have you balanced career, home and community life?
Multitasking worked throughout my career. I always had a purpose, mission and a plan to offer my skills, talents and abilities where they would make a difference.
- What changes have you seen that younger folks should know about?
Hard work, your word is your bond and being professional is most important to compete in this society.
- What would you tell someone who is skeptical of working for government?
Try It! If you do not succeed, try again or some place where you are successful, motivated and fit.
- Any tips for getting ahead?
Have a plan, do not waver and do not let negative spirits interfere with your plan.
Be prepared and trained so that the little things won't turn into big things that will cause you to stumble.
- Any other comments on problem solving or how to be successful?
Network, Know what you Know and Keep Moving Forward!
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