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Interview: Clarisa Maman Orfali

Why did you decide to start your own company?

After working so many years as an Air Force employee in Argentina and having moved to another country in which I wanted to be at home with my children accompanying them in the transition of living in a new country with a different culture from ours, I found enough reasons that encouraged me to do what I always wanted to do, entrepreneurship! With the support of my husband, I was able to initiate new paths which led me to decide to open my own company back in 2013. It has not been easy, but I can certainly say that it has been the best decision I’ve ever made to reach my professional dreams.

Have you ever felt in the wrong place as a woman in IT?

Sometimes our feelings make us see situations differently. Today, after many years working in IT, I do not feel any significant work differences in respect to men.
But many years ago, I did feel it. I had to face situations where I had to show much more of what I knew than any of my co-workers. The truth is, however, that I appreciate having passed those situations because today I feel much stronger and more secure of the place I occupy in my profession, or maybe it is maturity, I do not know, but I know that I enjoy having my time available to spend it with my family which would not be the case if I had not made the decisions I’ve made years ago.


How did you start developing with Oracle APEX?

This is anecdotal for me 😊. I had been working since 2009 with the Oracle database as a DBA, a world which my best friend from the University and colleague Gisela Velazco introduced me to, because previously, in Argentina, I was developing desktop applications with Visual Basic 6.0 and Web applications with ASP.NET. When I arrived in the USA, I realized that VB6 was very obsolete and needed to advance in other directions and learn new technologies.
While trying to study and generate different scenarios for the administration of the database, there were moments when I did not feel fully satisfied with what I was doing.
Some years later, my friend told me that there was a free tool in the database that she had heard of called APEX and if I liked to develop more than working on what I had been doing, that I should try to test it in order to determine if it kept me more motivated than working as a DBA. Well, I did it and thus began taking my first steps with the tool.
The truth is that the transition from VB6 to APEX was very difficult. I did not understand how it could be developed declaratively with practically no code. I must say that it was a challenge at that time and in a moment, I even thought that this was not the tool with which I wanted to specialize.
But 2012 came, I became co-founder of the Oracle Users Group of Argentina and helped organize several events including the first "Oracle APEX Tour 2012 Latin America" ​​event with several Oracle Users Groups in Latin America. At the event, I met Dan McGhan and many other APEX speakers who presented their topics with great passion, and that is when the desire in me arose for the tool to be known in Latin America and in my own language, Spanish. After a lot of work, I managed to write the first APEX book and later two more for the Spanish speaking community among other tasks of evangelizing the product in Spanish.

Do you think your career would have been significantly different if APEX had never existed?

In a way, I do not think that it would have so different if I had not chosen APEX as a development tool. I believe that no matter what you use to develop, today it can be one tool, tomorrow it can be another tool. That does not mean that it will change your whole world. If you work with passion in what you do, your day to day will be full of satisfactions and, I do not doubt it, full of challenges; but it is in one to know how to face them.

What would be your advice to someone who wants to start her/his own consulting business?

First, never give up!
Second, surround yourself with positive people who add value to your company.
Third, continue training and be a person of values and honor, that is what will allow you to excel over the rest.
You will have good days and you will have many bad days, but the important thing is to keep going and learn from the mistakes of others and your own. Do not ever stumble on the same stone.
And finally, if it makes you happy what you do, keep going! If you suffer and it makes you unhappy, take the reins of your life and decide on the path you truly want to follow!


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