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.
MICHELLE MAJOR-GOLDSMITH – HER STORY SO FAR
Michelle Major-Goldsmith is the Manager of Service Management Capability at Kinetic IT. Having been a part of Kinetic IT for over 9 years and approaching 30-years’ experience in the ICT Industry, Michelle is an expert of her craft. Her insights and expertise span across a range of activities, including implementing ICT training, mentoring and consulting. With a focus on evolving the IT industry, it’s systems and people she has been the chief architect of several industry publications in ITIL®, SIAM™ and VeriSM™, including the MAIDE for SIAM and Customer Success: Instrumental to SIAM Success whitepapers, and is involved in international standards.
Michelle is a Service Management guru, taking home multiple awards from the ICT industry over the years. In 2017, Michelle was awarded the ‘Service Management Champion’ Award by the IT Service Management Forum of Australia for her outstanding personal and professional skills in advancing the service management industry through leadership, practical experience, and public advocacy. In 2018, she was jointly awarded the Australian award of ‘IT Thought Leader of the Year’ for her significant contribution to thought leadership within the service management community. Most recently, Michelle was acknowledged by the Global Help Desk Institute (HDI) in 2020 as one of the Global Top 25 Thought Leaders in Technical Support and Service Management.
Self-proclaimed as a creative soul and knowledge absorber, Michelle is always working on ways of improving herself both professionally and personally. Although she had reservations around not having a tech focused background, her wider knowledge in psychology have been a major influence in her successes today. Her authentic leadership style embodies empathy, active listening, pragmatism, and a calm approach. Michelle feels it’s her responsibility as a leader to find opportunities to nurture people and improve the practises they apply. She is passionate about a harmony between people and machine, stating “to be a good tech company you need to create environments which focus on employee satisfaction, ethics, safety culture and heuristic decision making.”
HER BIG LESSONS
Don’t be them, be you! In Michelle’s early career years, being a woman in the IT industry was considered uncommon. Throughout her career she has realised it’s important to recognise your own worth. Instead of trying to fill the mould expected of her, Michelle created a new one – one only she could provide. When she was expected to have the loudest voice and toughest exterior to standout, she found being an active listener, having empathy, great social skills, and keen self-awareness was far more powerful.
Don’t limit yourself, always seek wise council. As humans we are driven by what we understand and what feels comfortable, causing us to shy away from conflicting ways of thinking. Speaking from her experience with seeking council Michelle mentions “no matter how smart you are, there is always more intelligence outside than within”. Stressing the importance of surrounding yourself with colleagues, friends or family members that can provide new perspectives and develop critical thinking patterns.
Don’t underestimate emotional intelligence. To have the ability to read a situation or engage with people appropriately can be incredibly powerful. Relying on just your technical skills will only get you so far, it’s important to foster relationships and building trust.
FEMALE CULTURE IN ICT
Over time, Michelle has seen more access, promotion and support for women in IT than ever before but believes it shouldn’t stop there. Speaking about the opportunities seen for women in IT, Michelle agrees young women have a duty to both leverage the support and enable it. “We have obligations to create a better future for those following in our footsteps.” Michelle highlights the importance of creating opportunities to identify and nurture talent, strongly believing the best opportunities for young women will come through coalition and partnership. “As women we need to be resilient. Many of us are not just juggling demanding careers, we are wives, mothers, daughters, community members and staying rounded and grounded brings out the best in us all.”
When asked about female culture in ICT, Michelle highlighted the struggles around female leaders. She said “Often the journey for a woman into a higher position has required them to become driven and visionary. We need to ensure women are empowered to rise in the ranks without struggle. We have a duty to create women-empowered workplaces that provide opportunities for women to succeed; this can be done by creating flexible working patterns and environments, accessibility of learning and development opportunities, mentorship and encouragement for women who seek to achieve positions of authority.”
WORDS OF ADVICE
Michelle understands the ICT industry can be a competitive environment which some women may find daunting to make waves in. Her biggest form of advice is to know your stuff and recognise your own worth. “If you want to work on a project, speak up. If you want to lead a team, say so. No one will appreciate your contributions until you appreciate them yourself.”
When asked what advice she has for women currently navigating the ICT Industry, Michelle highlighted the importance around transparency, “there is no benefit in keeping things to yourself. Share what you know and give others the leg up where you can. Experience tells me that women who are already working in technology can have a positive impact on what the future environment will look like for women in their field. Advocate and guide others and you’ll experience the benefits too.”
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/