Sara Akbar

Who or what motivates you?

I am the director of government affairs for Oracle, which provides leading-edge capabilities in software as a service, platform as a service, infrastructure as a service, and data as a service. When I think about what drives me, it is to challenge the status quo. I strongly support opportunity and diversity. In Washington, I have to advocate for myself, and have strong advocates around me, in order to be consistently “in the room” and “at the table”.   When I feel too comfortable in my job or life I know I’m not fully engaged I use that as an opportunity to make the change and improve myself.

How I do it isn’t always elegant. Disruption isn’t always elegant. One way to stop the status quo is to speak up when the status quo is speaking.


What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

Even when you have a bad day, that doesn’t translate to your entire life.  When a challenge comes along – you can handle it just look for the helpers.  There are always helpers or people to give you guidance.  Someone has been through what you have been before; someone knows where to find the knowledge, expert or the right life hack.


According to the Gallup BP10 Strengthsfinder, a tool to help leaders understand their strengths at work, what are your top 4 entrepreneurial strengths?

My Gallup BP10 Strengthsfinder is Relationship, Selling, Independence, and Confidence. I understand the importance of making coffee and lunch appointments to meet new people and build meaningful relationships throughout the work week. Additionally, digital relationship building (email, social media, text, etc.) is used for relationship building and allows me to leverage my time and better build a work-life balance while really never letting up on either one.


How do you believe you use your strengths in the context of your work?

Government Affairs and Public Affairs all about relationship-building and selling ideas; this is a skill which I put to work every day. I find that I excel at helping people find productive pathways towards solutions, mostly because I am willing to take the time to help and figure out what the problem is as well as building the relationship. For me, being good with people means being able to anticipate a person’s needs. There is a rule that if you say the same thing 7 times it will be remembered.  In Washington, I have given a certain public policy talking point so many times I have heard them said back to me by members (both sides of the aisle), Secretaries and even a President.

The Women in Tech campaign exists to help redefine what women in technology means in the 21st century. Started independently by a group of professional women who, after many impassioned discussions about women in tech knew we wanted to expand this definition beyond ‘traditional’ technology skills. To us, it includes most every current, emerging or evolving role within an organization. By featuring leaders and emerging leaders across industries who embody this we hope to collectively ‘stand up’, be proud of our place in the digital world and inspire young women or those new to the ‘tech space’ to get involved.

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