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Leading the Way – Women in IT

Leading the Way – Women in IT

How will automation affect jobs in the future? What major security threats will Australian businesses face? How do we engage millennials? Is there really a glass ceiling?

These are just some of the questions discussed at Kinetic IT’s recent ‘Lead the Way’ Women in IT event in Victoria.

Aimed at promoting diversity, we were thrilled to host a successful event attended by a cross-section of crew from Kinetic IT’s operational, corporate and executive teams.  In addition to our crew, we had the pleasure of hosting a panel of guest speakers which included Brendan Smith, CSIO of Tabcorp, Sue Hogg as a representative of both Australia Post and Vic ICT for Women, as well as attendees from Victoria Police, DXC and the Australian Computer Society.

Over the course of the event, our audience listened to an engaging panel discussion covering a range of topics, from leadership and personal experiences to cyber security, and of course, diversity in the workplace.  Brendan spoke candidly about his observations on gender equality and his passion for championing diversity.  He shared how Tabcorp has undergone a significant cultural shift, appointing more female leaders and fostering an environment which values diversity, equal opportunity and inclusion.  As CSIO, Brendan also shared his thoughts on the future of IT, the current and potential cyber security risks impacting Australian businesses, and how businesses can retain millennials in today’s workforce.

Sue, who is an Iteration Manager and Agile Coach at Australia Post and active volunteer with Vic ICT for Women, focused on attracting millennials and promoting STEM.  She is a passionate advocate for STEM and diversity, having led the program design for Vic ICT for Women’s 2016 Go Girl, Go for IT event.  Sue spoke about the need to better support and enable Australian teachers to have a positive impact on the future STEM pipeline, and shared lessons from her leadership experience.  She believes leadership is an honour and a privilege, not a right, and how leaders have an obligation to serve and support the people in their teams.

Kinetic IT’s very own Sharmila Packiarraja rounded out the panel, joining us all the way from Darwin where she works as an Information Security Manager, supporting our Northern Territory customer.  Sharmila shared her own experiences of working in male-dominated environments, often as the only female in a large team.  In discussing the challenges she faced, Sharmila’s message focused on the value of perseverance and resilience in shaping who you are today, and who you become in the future.

The feedback from our event has been outstanding, with attendees praising the open and honest approach by our panel in answering audience questions (even the tough ones!), and how willing they were to discuss their personal experiences and lessons learned throughout their careers.  Sue and Sharmila showed how hard work and dedication shaped their careers, but more importantly, how they have enriched their lives through pursuing volunteer opportunities which serve their fellow female colleagues and the next-gen of STEM superstars.  Finally, Brendan left us with an important message:

“We all have a voice and a role in the diversity conversation, and by committing to championing change, we can have a real and lasting impact.”

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