Making a difference involves taking meaningful actions that contribute positively to society. Whether it's through volunteering, creating innovative solutions or advocating for important causes, each action advances change.

This is the third post in a new series highlighting women from diverse backgrounds as they share their experiences in the tech industry. We asked four women leaders at SAS to describe a time when they made a difference.

Barbara Deaton, Senior Manager, Software Development

Barbara Deaton graduated from Meredith College with a BS in Math and Computer Science. She has more than 20 years of industry experience in testing client and server-side software and more than four years in senior leadership. She currently leads the quality and enablement department. Deaton is a mother of four, and in her free time enjoys playing pickleball, spending time with her children and volunteering as a camping coordinator for her son’s Boy Scout troop.

Tell us about a time when you have made a difference?

Deaton: When we first started releasing SAS® Viya® 4 we struggled with getting our composite deployment units, SAS CAS server and SAS-programming environment through our promotion pipeline. I worked with Connie Dunbar in Analytics Research and Development to form a cross-divisional composite scrum team. This team brought together testers and developers from different divisions to understand changes going into these products and discuss how to triage issues and get them promoted quickly. This team has helped to create a new triage tool and documentation and changes to our product to improve the quality.



Psyche Tian, Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist

Psyche Tian currently works in a hybrid role as a regional recruiter and recruitment marketing lead in Asia Pacific (AP) and brings a decade of professional experience to the talent acquisition space. At the beginning of her career, Tian gained experience working at an award-winning advertising agency, Ogilvy & Mather. This has shaped her passion for marketing and talent attraction. Since coming to SAS, she has enjoyed placing diverse talent and delivering recruitment marketing campaigns into the AP region. Born and raised in Beijing, Tian has found a second home in Hong Kong after living in the city for over a decade. She thrives in a diverse and inclusive environment where creativity is often elevated. Outside of the office, she is a daughter, mother and wife, plus a kickboxer in the making.

Tell me about a time when you have made a difference?

Tian: In 2022, it came to our attention that candidates were increasingly concerned about job security, flexibility at work and the potential impact they could make when shifting into a new role under the pandemic. To address this challenge, I lead a virtual, multi-cultural team primarily across SAS Asia Pacific alongside our European partner to conceptualize, produce and launch a successful recruitment marketing campaign, aiming to give the “why” to our target audience.

During this six-month project, I guided the cross-functional team to overcome resource limitations, budget restraints, time differences and tight deadlines. Notably, this was done when every project member was in a full-time role outside of this initiative, constantly managing conflicting priorities. This organic campaign managed to gain a global reach and showed our target talent community what it feels like to live the SAS life as well as a reflection on SAS’ diversity and inclusion. Performance metrics showed that it considerably affected both employer branding and talent attraction.



Shizuka Oyu, Senior Human Resources Business Partner

Shizuka Oyu is a Sr HR Business Partner at SAS Japan and a country champion for local diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and the Women's Initiatives Network. She has more than 18 years of experience and fosters positive work cultures to drive organizational success. Her expertise extends to employee relations, compliance and HR policy development. When balancing work and life, Oyu finds joy in spending time with her loved ones and trying new things. She enjoys a good book, movie or song and loves traveling the world. Oyu also enjoys singing, dancing and kickboxing regularly.

Tell me about a time when you made a difference?

Oyu: Becoming the youngest female HR Director at my previous job was a defining moment in my career. It reflected my hard work, dedication and competence. The achievement defied societal expectations and proved that merit knows no boundaries. Being a role model for other female employees, I work tirelessly to challenge stereotypes and break barriers. I aim to create a dynamic, inclusive, forward-thinking workplace where gender and age are not limitations but assets that contribute to the organization's success. I'm very proud of myself, and this achievement still gives me the confidence to face difficult challenges and fuels my dedication to creating a more positive and thriving environment. My dedication to making a difference in the lives of my colleagues and contributing to a thriving and successful organization propels me to take on the day with passion and professionalism.



Katrina Wakefield, Principal Marketing Specialist

Katrina Wakefield works on the go-to-market team as a Principal Marketing Specialist. She is a result-driven B2B marketing professional with extensive experience marketing across the public sector. Wakefield is passionate about developing multi-channel marketing programs from strategy to execution and is a very reliable person to have around. Outside of work, she loves to seek out live music. She will be there whether it be stadium gigs or local bands at the pub.

Tell me about a time when you made a difference?

Wakefield: Usually, what I do does not directly make a difference. However, every day, I do my best to support those around me who can make a direct impact. I try to assist in making a change by working on the data for good and AI for good stories. They are, hands down, my favorite projects to work on. Al gets a lot of bad press, but there is so much good it is and can be used for. 

If you’re interested in reading more stories about women in tech and seeing a variety of questions answered, continue reading the SAS Women series

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About Author

Olivia Ojeda

Olivia Ojeda is an Associate Communications Specialist on the Thought Leadership, Editorial and Content team at SAS. In 2023, she graduated with a degree in Business Administration/Marketing from North Carolina State University. Day-to-day she helps write and edit collateral and enjoys creating colorful and creative blog posts.

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