Interview with Heather VanCura

Heather VancuraThe JCP Chair

We are truly happy to have the chair of JCP Heather VanCura here in Sofia in less then a month! Just before her awesome session about the JCP we have made a small interview with her:

Hi Heather! Can you please introduce yourself?
I am Director of the Java Community Process (JCP) program. I have been involved with the JCP program for the past sixteen years and am currently serving as the JCP Chair. In this role I chair the Executive Committee (EC) and the JCP program office. I drive the efforts to evolve the JCP program and broaden participation and diversity in the community, serving as an international speaker and community organizer of developer hack days around the world. I am also a leader of the global Java User Group Adoption programs - Adopt-a-JSR and Adopt OpenJDK.

You are the chair of Java Community Process. This organization has made a huge impact on the evolution of Java and JVM. How do you see the future of JCP?
It became clear to me some time ago that communities, even very technical communities, are fundamentally about people. Keeping that tenet in mind, we will continue expanding participation in the JCP program from the community, and build on the success of membership drive we had last year - over three hundred new members joined the JCP program in 2016. We started expanding our membership following the completion the latest version of the JCP program, JCP 2.10, with a goal of broadening JCP membership from corporations, individual developers and Java User Groups (JUGs). We will also continue recognizing leadership within the community through the annual JCP Awards, Star Spec Lead recognition and the global Adoption programs - Adopt-a-JSR and Adopt OpenJDK. The heavy lifting of the JCP program happens through the community development of Java Specification Requests (JSRs). JSRs to evolve the Java platforms and the work happening in the JSR Expert Groups to complete the latest versions of the platforms, Java Standard Edition (Java SE) 9 and Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE) 8 will continue throughout this year. In addition, after discussion with the JCP EC during the London face to face meeting, there are areas we identified where the JCP EC can make some improvements in the JCP program to evolve it even further to meet the needs of the Java developer community - improving coordination with OpenJDK, revitalizing Java ME efforts in the embedded and IoT related space, and enhancements around collaborative development happening in the community.

You are also a great supporter of Women in Tech. You definitely have inspired a lot of women to talk. Is there still a lot to be done in this field?
I hope I have inspired some women to become more involved and speak at conferences - we need them! I do spend some time mentoring other women and serving as a role model, which is essential for younger women. I do believe there is still much to be done here, and that this is a societal issue, not a women’s or minority issue. Technology does reflect the people who make it and currently the people making technology are primarily men. There is good amount of discussion around improving diversity in technology, but in order to actually change the representation, we need men to take action — actively ally, support, sponsor, mentor and champion women. When men take these actions, we will see start to see change. It can start today with each action, small or large. There is an article link if you want to read more from me on this topic, https://jaxenter.com/careers-interview-heather-vancura-132286.html or a slide link to a talk I give if you want to link to it: "https://www.slideshare.net/heathervc/top-10-ways-to-ally-for-women-in-technology"

You travel a lot, but this will be your first time in Bulgaria. What are your expectations about the country and the jPrime conference?
I am always impressed with the generosity and kindness of the Java community members in every country I visit. This is my first visit to Bulgaria and I am looking forward to meeting with members of the community and learning about their perspectives within the Java community. I would like to try some Bulgarian cuisine, enjoy some live music and dance performances, take in some of the architecture of the older buildings, and perhaps get a closer look at some of the nearby mountains.

Is there something you like to do beside the IT?
Yes, many things! I love to travel and meet new people around the world, learning about their culture, including trying their cuisine and hearing local live music or seeing some arts. I also enjoy trying new sports/fitness activities, and being outdoors whenever I have some free time. I like to be quire active!

Thank you very much, Heather! Looking forward to seeing you in Sofia!