Here are upcoming events organised by FITT and others that may be of interest to our members. These events are themed around topics that provide education in the ICT industry, how to effectively manage career and support women to thrive in all workplaces.
The 2017 International Women’s Day Luncheon
‘Be Bold for Change’
We had close to 600 people at each event in Sydney and Melbourne, which was a fantastic turnout. We were lucky enough to hear from Kelly Ferguson, Origin CIO and Solange Cunin, CEO Founder and of Cuberider, and students from the Cuberider programme in Sydney. Both Kelly and Solange are amazing women with a stellar career trajectory and much ahead of them, and it was amazing to hear their personal stories of their journeys.
Solange is a country girl from Grafton whose childhood living off the grid left her fascinated with the brilliant stars. Her journey to the stars started with harassing her parents for a telescope and – whilst it is far from over, has her payloads being loaded onto the International space station. She’s liaised with 16 foreign governments, NASA and the ISS – whilst successfully running her company which trains high school students to code. She’s just turned 24.
Kelly is really not that much older and spoke eloquently about the women who have made her successful. She’s managed to grow her gender diversity to 60% from 0 in just 12 months. I get the feeling she doesn’t really understand the meaning of 'can’t'. She reminded us that we all rest on the shoulders of the women who lift us up, who support us, who send us on our way to be a little more confident, informed, and connected than we were before. She’s never forgotten them and she takes her responsibility to pay it forward seriously. Watching her reflexively support the young students on stage and engage and support them at lunch was heartening and gives me great hope going forward.
The Cuberider students from East Hill Technical College that joined us were no less impressive, and so when I asked who wanted to hire them at the end of the lunch the whole room raised their hands. They have bright futures and, thanks to Solange, a head start in technical careers. I can’t wait to hear from them a few years from now.
An inspiring panel of women featured at FITT’s IWD Luncheon
In Melbourne we were joined by graduate programme staff from our Platinum sponsor, Telstra. I was struck by their stories – again, so articulate, amazing and so young – of the lack of female role models and the characterisation of engineering as unfeminine and unsexy. It’s so important we change this story for these girls and young women.
So to that end I’d like to flag the programme we are embarking on for next year’s International Women’s Day. This year, women went on strike from paid and unpaid work, and whilst that sent an important message, there’s another, more critical one. Young women and girls need to see female role models in tech, in business, everywhere. The amazing women we heard from need to tell their stories and we need to give the young women from schools like East Hills Technical a way forward. Someone from the audience asked what their biggest challenges were and their answers were saddening – having their options limited by the roles their families deemed “acceptable” for women, and just being girls. We need to show them a different way.
So this year, let’s not strike. We need to be visible. We need to be seen. We need to run business, government and tech to show the world we can do it. So next year, let’s send the boys home. Please get in touch with FITT around your desire to participate – we’d like as many corporates as possible to promote their most senior women into the next job up, on March 8th 2018. We may not have our events actually on IWD next year – we’re all going to be too busy running the country. So see you next year on March 8th in the boardroom, in the office, and sometime later for lunch, where we can share our experiences. #sendtheboyshome
I hope you will all, like me, be looking forward to the release of the corporate diversity report, stay tuned for details on the events in Melbourne and Sydney.
- Jacqui McNamara, FITT Chair