Membership Matters: Q&A with Davida Johnson

Apr 10, 2017

Meet Davida Johnson, Managing Director of UCLA’s Office of Information Technology, Community Partnerships, & Practices. She has been in the industry for over 20 years.

1. What was your first job in telecom/IT?

My first job in IT was as a Research Assistant at Clark Atlanta University.  I developed software programs for physicists to enable image recognition by detection of patterns through algorithms.

My second job was in telecom as a consultant for Accenture. I was deployed as a software/web developer for our client Bellsouth, now AT&T. I developed it for one of their wholesale systems.

2. Given the headlines are about women’s exodus from tech, what made you stay?

I love tech! I never thought about leaving because of the passion I have for it. The culture is not that welcoming to women and sometimes I’ve had to make changes to reinvigorate my passion.

3. In talking about how women need to be united. What does that mean to you?

This means that we pay attention to the needs of women; to mentor one another, to spend time reaching out around you. Put in the effort to get to know other women in your field and keep at the top of your mind how you can help them. We naturally become united rather than this being just lip servic

4. What are you doing to help empower other women in tech to advance in their careers?

I mentor for a program called STEM Advantage, and I chair the UCLA Women in Tech program which provides networking and educational opportunities for women in tech in all industries to close the gender gap.

5. Not all women are technically in leadership roles (nor do some want to be), but they are eager to support gender equality in our industry. Do you have recommendations on things they can do every day?

Yes! Maximize your potential wherever you are. Be a leader and example in your current role as a female. You will be a light in your environment. Help those around you by welcoming all women.

About Davida Johnson

Davida Johnson currently oversees community programs within UCLA that focus on promoting digital citizenship across the campus, which is having (1) the knowledge and skills to use IT to do the best possible research, scholarship, teaching, learning, service, and administration and (2) the understanding that each has not only individual but also institutional responsibilities for the management, protection, and or availability of digital information. In addition to UCLA Women in Technology, Davida currently has oversight over OIT functions including:

  • Departmental Practices, oversight of the development and execution of policies and practices governing the management team of OIT and the execution of collaborative projects and programs across our seven units delivering services to the campus and broader technology community
  • BruinTech, development of programs that promote technical knowledge sharing, innovation, and foster community and professional development amongst technologist across UCLA
  • Digital Citizenship programs, roundtable educational events that introduce researchers and staff who support researchers to tech tools and resources to enable research and productivity
  • UCLA IS Associates, a UCLA-sponsored community of senior IT executives from over 40 companies who share and collaborate on technology challenges and solutions through educational forums
  • IT Strike Teams, collaborative subcommittees focused on resolving or promoting specific IT topics or issues at UCLA
  • OIT Communications, synthesizing and communication of information related to OIT programs, services, and offerings to the campus research community and throughout the OIT organization
  • Women in Tech, development of educational and awareness programs and materials to educate the tech community in order to help bridge the gap in tech fields for women and minorities

Having earned a joint B.S. degree from M.I.T. in Humanities (Creative Writing) and Computer Science Engineering, Davida’s diverse background helps to bridge the gap between technical and non-technical people, a necessary attribute in her current role as Managing Director of Community Partnership Programs in UCLA’s Office of Information Technology.