Women in Technology WA (WiTWA) believe – “If you can see her you can be her, so let’s see her!”
To celebrate women in technology, WiTWA is hosting its 2021 WiTWA Tech [+] Awards on Friday 5 November at Crown Towers. These awards will shine a light on a diverse representation of Western Australia’s talented female leaders spanning local and national industries.
This year, we’re proud to have six nominees representing Kinetic IT and PROTECT+ in the Tech [+} Awards, each showcasing their inspiring stories and unique pathways into the career they have today. We sat down with each nominee to break down the conversation around being a woman in what has traditionally been a male dominated ICT industry. We’re excited to celebrate and elevate these women, who have pushed through the challenges, led by example, and continue to make an impact in the ICT community.
Leading with heart is who Erin Magee is. Welcoming more women, LGBTIQA+ and underrepresented people into the world of IT is, as Erin says, how she ensures no-one battles feelings of not being good enough. It’s still a daily battle with her own inner saboteur but giving yourself credit – and a break – is really important, she says.
“The biggest challenge in my career has been myself. We are so often our own worst enemy,” the 23-year-old, says. “I’m still learning to get out of my own way. “Imposter syndrome is so real and not spoken about nearly enough in my opinion. I have always struggled with celebrating my own successes and will always fall into the trap of over examining everything to see what I could have done better.” “Surrounding myself with amazing people that uplift me has set me on my journey to believing in myself. I very recently realised that giving myself credit for my hard work is not ‘self-indulgence’; its self-care.”
After emigrating from England at age 9, Erin had to learn to adapt to her new home of Australia. She says she always found it easy to make friends but struggled with a feeling of not truly belonging. Erin continued to feel this way throughout her high school years and, with little exposure to any female role models, found it difficult to identify and pursue her strengths. After graduating without an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) and feeling disheartened, she embarked on a creative endeavour to learn more about herself. It was during this journey of exploration that a friend suggested she give technology a go.
Thanks to her great customer service skills and passion for learning, Erin was successful in securing her first job which was with Kinetic IT on the service desk for an education provider. She soon found herself immersed in the exciting world of technology and for the first time felt the stirrings of a sense of belonging. “The STEM Industries need more than just technicians, engineers and mathematicians. Technologies and machines are fantastic, but they are only as valuable as the human experience that they deliver. STEM needs more problem solvers, creatives, and empaths to articulate and design the human centric side of technology.”
MAKING YOUR OWN PATH IN LIFE
Erin is not your typical businessperson, and she’s also not your typical IT specialist. Erin’s technical strengths also happen to be the most memorable things about her: it’s her communication and engagement which then fosters inspiring conversations and calls to action. Erin had also not considered herself to be a leader in the making until a few months ago. She says she held the perception that leaders must have years of experience behind them and have an impressive academic and business career. What Erin didn’t realise, is that her bravery, willingness to step up, set an example, or ask hard questions is what makes her a motivating leader.
Pushing boundaries and challenging traditional ways of thinking is where Erin says she feels most comfortable. Paving the way for the workforce of the future by challenging leadership to become more forward-thinking and values-based, so more people like her make the choice to train, is critical. “It’s about making space for the kids who, like me, can be successful when we’re celebrated for who we are and what we bring to the job,” she says. Erin has worked hard to set up initiatives that capture and inspire young people like herself who may have “fallen through the cracks”.
An achievement she is most proud of is her work designing a traineeship that aims to remove barriers of entry into STEM careers and provides a safe space for young people to explore their talents. “The traineeship offers education and curriculum-aligned employment to those who may not have had the financial security or support to study or reskill,” she says.
Erin’s work also includes being a member on both the Women in Technology committee and the Rainbow at KIT committee which represents LGBTIQA+ employees. “The culture around diversity at Kinetic IT is one of the reasons I love working here. The sense of community is uplifting, and I feel truly supported and able to bring my authentic self to work,” she says.
Erin has personally reached out to many women and other underrepresented groups in the business to foster a supportive community; in her latest role she says she considers herself to be lucky enough to be managed and mentored by a trailblazing woman in leadership. Erin uses her influential and infectious style of engagement to bring people along on a journey of social change. “It’s also about ensuring our business is ready for newer generations who, like me, vote with their heart and go where they feel a strong connection to their personal values.
“I hope the diversity culture continues to grow, I want all people at Kinetic IT to find people who they can relate to and share their lived experiences with. Community is key, not just in our business but everywhere a sense of belonging is imperative to a person’s wellbeing.”
SAGE ADVICE FROM ERIN
Erin is learning now, more than ever, that she brings an interesting perspective to the workplace and, with support from her manager, will continue to empower those around her.
She wants those considering a career in IT to do the same. “Speak up, be proud and be involved,” Erin says. “Our industry is better for having you in it.”
WITWA TECH [+] AWARDS
People’s Choice is now open! Cast your vote and support the amazing women making a difference in the ICT community. Register your vote here
For more information on the WiTWA Tech [+] Awards or to find out more about this year’s nominees, check out https://www.witwa.org.au/initiatives/tech-award/