“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.” ~Safra Catz
Born in Israel and raised in Massachusettes, Safra Catz is a lively and efficient leader of Oracle Systems. She shares her president position with Mark Hurd and they both serve under charismatic CEO Lawrence (Larry) Ellison. Catz says that growing up she considered law school, but ended up working on Wall Street, which was the best decision she could have made. Catz says she learned an immense amount and it brought her to her position today as one of the most important women in business.
After attending law school, Safra Catz became a part of Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette, an investment banking firm. Her extensive experience in mergers and acquisition helped land her a position in executive finance at Oracle in 1999. She acted as the chief financial officer for several years before becoming president of the company. She now holds both positions. At Oracle, Safra Catz has overseen major acquisitions such as the $10.3 billion takeover of Sun Systems, a major competitor.
Catz is a fast-talking, slightly sarcastic and savvy executive. She is not a fan of public speaking and does not do it often, although she has been asked. Since 2009, she’s been Forbes’ List of 50 Power Women, and is also among the top paid female executives. When asked about the recent criticism of Oracle’s slowness to keep up with the changing industry, she shrugs it off. Rather than rushing to keep up, Oracle spends $5 billion a year on research and development, which makes their products superior. The company is still the largest holder of databased information in the world.
Catz is married with two children, and with a dose of whimsy says her worst mistake was wearing bright yellow while she was nine months pregnant. She says the biggest barriers for women in executive roles is the actual lack of them. She says that women should take all opportunities given to them without fear, and if they do not see growth opportunity within their company it is important to go out on their own.