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Executive corner

Taking my place at the technology table

By Karen Bollinger

Blog    Taking my place at the technology table

When I began my career, technology was a disrupter in the business world. This created a more even playing field for women like me pursuing careers as computer science professionals.

It was the late 1980s. If you could figure out a problem and fix it or create the needed solution, the likelihood of getting hired was strong. And if you could communicate with people who understood technology as well as those who were less knowledgeable, you were golden.

Times change. Today, certificates and degrees impose greater structure on the sprawling field of technology. With increased structure comes more established hierarchies within organizations, which can make pursuing one's career goals more challenging.

My role at NextGen Healthcare

I am responsible for the Business Applications Systems (BAS) group at NextGen Healthcare. Clients may not even be aware that our department exists, but we are vital to the company. 

We oversee internal software applications that support basic functions required for a public company—"glamorous" areas such as billing, general ledger, accounts payable, project/time entry, tax, sales management, support management, and quote configuration. 

The BAS Team maintains technical soundness for many applications used by NextGen Healthcare. Each application requires special skill for managing day-to-day operations, upgrades, and change requests from within the organization.

Directly or indirectly, each person on my team interacts with other NextGen Healthcare employees around the world. Team members hold a diversity of skill sets; our passion for technology is the thread that unites us. 

Formulating my perspective

My upbringing has a great influence on how I approached my career as a woman in technology. I am the third generation of working women in my family. Both of my grandmothers and my mother worked.

One grandmother owned her own business. Only my mother had a formal education. Their examples inspired me to pursue my own goals.

My perspective is not meant to detract from the stories of women who experienced more serious obstacles in pursuing their careers. Narrowmindedness creates hurdles for all of us in our work and in our personal lives.

The fact that equal pay for equal work remains a troublesome issue is sad. We still need to overcome the gender pay gap. 

My belief is that if we just followed the golden rule—treat others as you want to be treated—equal pay for equal work come into existence. We would naturally bring others up from the rear and guide them toward greater success.

A better result for all

Something as simple as offering a helping hand to all would allow a greater diversity of people to break into technology and other fields as well. This in turn would allow businesses and other organizations to come up with new, fresh solutions, thanks to the emergence of new perspectives.

For this to happen, each of us needs to actively make the golden rule part of our working lives—not just say the words and wait for others to put them into action. Treat others as you wish to be treated and more fairness and opportunity will come about in business and elsewhere. 

Greater fairness and opportunity would allow more people at the table: A greater diversity of parts would be included to make up the whole, which in turn would make a better whole for all. 


Karen Bollinger

Vice President of Enterprise Applications

Get in touch with Karen