Find out what we have been up to in the community.

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April 3, 2022 Women in Digital

Award-winning hairdresser turned Business Executive, Ashlynne Sharma has proven that you can have more than one successful career. With experience across business development, sales and even corporate recruiting, Ashlynne is a keen problem-solver and enjoys tackling any challenge her clients throw her way.

We were delighted to chat with her about her career journey and role as an Account Executive at Vmation, a video content marketing agency in Brisbane.

These are incredible professional accolades, but tell us, who is Ashlynne the person?

Ashlynne the person is a loving mother who really enjoys spending time with her family outside of work hours. You’ll find us either at the beach or in the country.

What is something that not many people know about you? 

A fun fact about me is that I am extremely talented at using claw machines!

What are you currently watching/reading/listening to?

Ted Talks everyday. I have attended two Ted Talk events here in Brisbane in the last couple of years and find them endlessly inspiring.

It is commonly recognised that there are fewer female leaders in digital and technology. How did you end up working in this industry?

I do agree with this statement. It was a role I just sort of fell into however I loved it and was so glad it worked out that way. I definitely encourage women to pursue a career path in this industry as it’s certainly very rewarding.

What’s on repeat with your work playlist right now?

Andra Day – ‘Rise Up’

What do you think can be done to improve diversity in the digital industry, particularly in more technical positions?

I think more awareness around the issue would certainly help to ensure more diversity throughout the industry.

What technology development is most exciting you at the moment? (e.g. AI and why)

Autonomous driving- because I dislike driving.

What’s your most recommended Business/Marketing resource?

Pre Covid-19, attending Interactive Minds was my favourite way to learn about the ever growing, fascinating world of Marketing.

How do you maintain work-life balance as a successful BD/Sales professional?

I’m lucky enough to work for a great company that understands the importance of work-life balance. I’m very grateful for this.

What is next for you?

I don’t have a specific title or role selected for my 5/10 year plan. What’s important to me is continuing to learn new things, get better at what I know and progress in my career at a reasonable pace. Working with sophisticated professionals is also crucial – as I feel like I’m at my best when working with other high quality people. Which is what I have at Vmation.

A huge thank you to Ashlynne for chatting with us and don’t forget to connect with her on LinkedIn. If you want to read more Q&A’s with the top women in business head over to our blog! We will also be sharing further female success stories on our socials so stay updated with our Facebook and Instagram.


December 3, 2021 Women in Digital

Introducing the 2021 Executive Leader of the Year, powered by Avanade, Tracy Whitelaw!

Tracy Whitelaw won this award alongside Professor Mary Foley AM.

Tracy Whitelaw is the Chief Digital Officer at Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ), leading the digital transformation and data maturity of 77 Queensland councils to help the councils better serve their communities. Under her leadership, LGAQ are setting up the LGAQ Innovation Lab, powered by Telstra, and in conjunction with Google, Facebook, local startups and universities.

The judges were particularly impressed with Tracy’s use of technology to serve the community and drive innovation across local government.

We were thrilled to talk to our 2021 Executive of the Year about her winning entry, career and thoughts on diversity in digital.

Congratulations Tracy! You have no doubt had an impressive career so far, but tell us, who is Tracy the person?

Oh this is a great question! I am not sure I’m that much different from anyone else. I’m a wife, mother, nonna, daughter, self-professed geek, nerd, gamer, lover of learning and gadget fan to name but a few parts of me. I’m also a Scozzie – Scottish Australian – having come here in 2007 and proudly calling QLD home.

What is something that not many people know about you?

A lot of people don’t realise I’ve been with my wife for 23 years, married for 3 of those and that I’m a nonna to an 8 year old and a 6 year old, Jaxon and Aria who are the absolute light of my life. When people find out they usually say “you’re way too young to be a nonna!”! But I am, and that’s a story for another time!

Welcome to WID Awards Alumni! We want to know… what does winning this award mean to you?

I am so honoured to have won this award, it was completely unexpected for me. It means a lot because I’ve seen the ripple effect that it’s had on my friends, family and professional network. My family have been so proud and so excited to celebrate the win with me and my friends and team at work have gone all out to congratulate me and continue to remind me of the great achievement. Similarly, I have had so many people in my network reach out and I hope that they can see that it’s possible for them to win something so amazing too.

It is commonly recognised that there are fewer female leaders in digital and technology. How did you end up working in this industry?

I feel like I accidently got into it! I had a keen interest in digital communications in my undergrad degree and I’ve always been a bit of a digi-nerd since I was a kid, where I always had the latest computer or gaming device. When I moved to Australia I took a job as a content writer for a startup company who created AI chat bots (back in 2007!). In that role I quickly evolved into their Chief Knowledge Engineer and we created chatbots for companies like NASA, AMP, NAB and more. From there I was all in on digital solutions and digital communications and I combined both working as one of the first Social Media Specialists in local government for Brisbane City Council in 2010. After that, my career really just continued to evolve across the digital ecosystem and I’ve been focused on getting to a Chief Digital Officer role which I achieved in 2020.

We were inspired by your remarkable journey and evident admiration you have from your team. In a bite-sized summary, what does leadership mean to you?

Leadership is an honour, not a right. For me it’s about trusting your team to do the job they were hired to do. My role is really setting the vision and helping us get where we’re going. It’s about supporting them when they need it and getting the heck out of their way to let them shine. I think alongside trust, the biggest part of leadership is listening. I learn as much if not more from my team than they learn from me I’m sure. The trick is to hear them and action things where you can, it’s important to show you’re supporting them and always be there to get in the ring with them when they need you to. Roll up your sleeves and show up for them like they do for you.

The pandemic has been a challenging time for many leaders. How have you managed to keep your team engaged through COVID?

I am a big fan of ongoing communication with my teams whether that’s face to face or online. I have regular one on ones, team meetings and daily chats. We continued this through COVID, by ensuring that we stayed engaged online by having regular meetings, social events like trivia, coffees and more. We are a team that talks a lot, so staying engaged during COVID was an extension of what we’d normally do, but with a little more check-in time to ensure people weren’t feeling isolated or struggling.

What is one thing you wish someone told you about what a career in leadership is like?

I wish someone had told me that it’s okay to not always know what you’re doing or whether the decision you’re making is going to turn out positively. It’s hard, but being in a leadership role means people need you to sometimes make the hard calls and you can only do what you believe is right, with the knowledge you have available to you at the time.

What do you believe is the importance of industry awards such as the Women in Digital Awards?

It is important to continue to showcase the amazing work women are doing in this space because it does continue to be dominated by men. I think that seeing so many amazing women being nominated or winning is inspirational to other women who work in the digital field. Also, I think having the opportunity to showcase the work you’re doing on a national stage is wonderful. I’ve had so many people across Australia (and the US) reach out to me to congratulate me, so getting to put the work that local government in QLD are doing in digital under the limelight like it has, has been extremely important.

Who is your professional inspiration?

I’m a big fan of Gloria Steinem because I love that she led the way for the feminist movement and still continues to passionately advocate for that. I like that she carved a path for women to have a seat at the table, to fight for equality and that she embraced diversity at a time when many didn’t. She fought to have women of colour and lesbians considered as a key part of the women’s equality movement. I am inspired that she recognised diversity brings strength and is something that should be the minimum we’re willing to accept when it comes to our professional environment.

What’s your most recommended business or leadership resource?

I love reading academic journals and books. I’m a big fan of Brene Brown when it comes to leadership because I feel like I can connect with her empathetic and vulnerable leadership style. I like academic journals because I’m a bit of a learning nerd and like to study, so they work well for me. Also, I really cannot underestimate the power of Linkedin which I’ve become a massive fan of over the last few years. It is great for connecting and learning more about what’s happening in your field.

In what ways do you think diversity is important to someone in a leadership role?

It is critical. Diversity in your team will bring diversity of ideas. You can’t expect to deliver a good product or service to your customers if you have people lacking diversity making the decisions. We are all different and we should embrace that. As a woman in digital and as an out lesbian for many years, I have always felt I’ve been in the ‘diverse’ category, so I always strive to ensure I bring a wide range of diversity to every team I have with the people I employ. We all deserve a seat at the table.

What do you think can be done to improve diversity in the digital industry, particularly in more leadership positions?

If you’re in a position of leadership, make the difference. Help others into the same position. The excuse ‘we couldn’t find any females/indigenous/people of colour’ during the recruitment phase is one that needs to die. Change your recruitment process. Alter your adverts. Amend your targeting. Make the commitment to actively seek diversity and every chance you get, look to create a space for someone who is different from you. That’s where the magic happens. I’m a little tired of seeing the bro club in so many digital organisations and of seeing the ‘male, pale and stale’ on executive teams or boards. Not to say they don’t have a space, but just not ALL the spaces.

What tips do you have for early-in-career professionals aspiring to achieve leadership positions one day?

I never thought I’d be a leader as I was painfully shy during University. I couldn’t even show up for group work as it would make me so anxious. I also hated public speaking. So my advice would be, don’t count yourself out. Surround yourself with people who support you and who you can learn from. Don’t see them as competition, look at what you can learn from them and offer your own skills and expertise to them. There is always something you can bring to the table, find what it is and work on improving it. Also, don’t take critique personally (which is really hard!), use it to get better.

What technology development is most exciting you at the moment?

I am the founder of a VR/AR company called HavenXR and I’m extremely excited about the potential for the metaverse in its many forms, not just the Facebook element! We’re working on pushing the limits of technology to create a fully immersive VR/AR location-based entertainment. HavenXR will entirely immerse participants in a new sensory experience where technology and content are developed from the ground up to create an exciting experience and that’s just the beginning. This is what’s really exciting to me at the moment in terms of technology development and I’m so keen to see where this goes.

Once again, congratulations Tracy Whitelaw on this accomplishment and thank you for taking the time to chat with us!

Want to get involved with the 2022 Women in Digital Awards? Register your interest here so you never miss an update!

To read more Q&A blogs from our line-up of Women in Digital Award Winners, head over to our blog and keep an eye out for more success stories on our Facebook and Instagram. You can also see our full list of winners here.


June 30, 2021 Women in Digital

We are thrilled to announce the launch of the Women, Children & Community Program in partnership with Women in Digital. Congratulations to Women in Digital friend and Managing Director of, Marie Mortimer [centre]!

Through her involvement with Women in Digital as a Corporate Sponsor, continues to be a strong employer brand that advocates for diversity and inclusion. Read the full article here.

“We are thrilled to be a part of the Women, Children & Community Program. Together we will work towards the Women in Digital mission of ensuring girls and women are digitally literate by providing resources and career opportunities to build the digital leaders of tomorrow.” – Holly Hunt, Founder & CEO, Women in Digital

Read the full article here and if you haven’t already, follow Women in Digital on LinkedIn!


June 30, 2021 Women in Digital

At Women in Digital, we love celebrating incredible women in digital and listening to the fascinating career stories they have to tell us Rachael Dagge has anything but cookie-cutter career. A former yacht stewardess, medical receptionist, private chef and product development scientist, Rachael has an impressively diverse resume that simply cannot be condensed into one short sentence.

She has not only co-founded a food wastage AI startup and studied a Bachelor of Health Science, but Rachael has also worked closely with UQ Ventures as the Chief Student Entrepreneur in 2020 and embarked on a fully funded scholarship for the SheCodes Plus program 2021 cohort. Currently a Consultant at KPMG Australia for the Health, Ageing and Human Services division and about to start her Masters in Biotechnology, we think there might be nothing Rachael can’t do.

Involved in several initiatives supporting women in tech, we were thrilled to talk with her about her career and insights into diversity in tech. Before we dive in, go and follow Rachael on LinkedIn to see her amazing journey for yourself!

These are incredible professional accolades, but tell us, who is Rachael the person?

I was born in Hong Kong because my parents lived there for 10 years and we then moved to Brisbane when I was 2.

I would probably describe myself as a high-energy, focussed people person. I am naturally very curious and I love learning anything new about the science/ technology space.

What is something that not many people know about you?

Hmm, that I used to be in circus school when I was younger!

What’s the most useless talent you have?

I’m really good at doing impersonations of people and characters from movies, particularly Dory from Finding Nemo.

What are you currently watching/reading/listening to?

I’m reading Atomic Habits by James Clear and I listen to the Fear and Greed podcast every morning before work for a news update – I would highly recommend both.

Who is your professional inspiration?

Albert Einstein – to be that deeply intelligent in both science and people is remarkable. He has one of the best quotes I know, “if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

It is commonly recognised that there are fewer female leaders in digital and technology. How did you end up working in this industry?

I just found it an interesting industry and liked the speed of it, it’s always moving, changing and you’re never going to know everything about it.

Having been involved in a variety of initiatives supporting women in tech, tell us what does diversity mean to you and why is it so important?

At the core of it, I’ve always really valued fairness and I think that’s why I’ve been really drawn to this area. There are major ongoing and snowball effects to lack of diversity. For example, if you don’t hire diverse people for a team, you create a product that only comes from the lived experiences of those people. I’ve heard of image recognition software that’s been built to recognise only white skin or HR AI software that’s sexist when choosing candidates.

What technology development is most exciting you at the moment?

The biotechnology space is super interesting, I still can’t get past this start-up I saw in San Francisco called Membio who are manufacturing artificial Red Blood Cells to eliminate donor recruitment.

There are also some really interesting advancements in the food/ agriculture biotech space, such as redesigning fruit and vegetables to grow yielding a higher amount of vitamins and minerals and counteract our degrading soil quality. I’ve also met the founders of a startup called AgriSea which are designing crops to grow and absorb nutrients in ocean water.

What is next for you?

Continuing in my role as a graduate at KPMG and starting my Masters in Biotechnology.

Thank you to Rachael for taking the time to chat with us about her incredible career journey so far. If you haven’t already, go ahead and follow Rachael on LinkedIn here. We look forward to seeing where her career takes her next!

Want to see more career spotlights on incredible women in digital? Head over to our socials and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.


June 28, 2021 Women in Digital

Are you looking for more meaningful work? Want to monetise a passion project? Or simply curious about starting your own business?

At the recent ‘Starting a Side Hustle’ UQ Young Alumni workshop, Women in Digital Founder and CEO Holly Hunt (née Tattersall) joined Pablo Farias Navarro (Founder of Zenva) and Dr Josh Case (Doctor, MedTech SME & Software Dev) to discuss how they turned their side hustles into successful, commercial businesses. Read the full article here.

“My passion for my side hustle completely distracted me from my full-time job. For me, it wasn’t if I took the leap, it was when and how. Surround yourself with likeminded people who have made that leap before.” – Holly Hunt (née Tattersall)


Watch the video recording here.

Read the full article here and if you haven’t already, follow Women in Digital on LinkedIn!


June 22, 2021 Women in Digital

One of major (and largest) hurdles that startup founders face is finding funding. For women, that uphill battle can be even steeper even with the rise of the number of women founders in Australia. There’s no better time than now to have a discussion on how we can help more women make the leap and get funding.

This is why our sister company, Hunt & Co. was so excited to get involved in the ‘Investing in Startup Women’ event. Hunt & Co. partnered with Amazon Web ServicesCake EquityTractor VenturesAustralian Computer Society and River City Labs to find out more from three very successful professionals who firsthand know the fundraising and capital raising space. Read the full article here.

“It’s been shown that men are historically better at overstating their potential success. In turn, they are offered great funding opportunities. So it goes without saying that we should encourage women to do the same. The key advice here? Dream bigger and aim high. Ask yourself, ‘if I had $100 million in the bank right now, what would I build and what is my ambition?'”

Read the full article here and if you haven’t already, follow Women in Digital on LinkedIn! While your there, follow Hunt & Co. too!


June 21, 2021 Women in Digital

Camille Socquet-Clerc is the quintessential woman in digital. Originally from France, Camille has always been passionate about marketing and has extensive experience working as a Marketing, Communications and eCommerce Manager within global brands including Michael Hill, Alpha Digital, Mountain Designs and L’Occitane to name a few. We can’t help but be in awe of her career!

In 2019, Camille founded Bloom – an impact investing platform that helps people invest in cleantech and clean energy projects. And just last year, she did that thing that all founders dream (and fear) doing… Taking the leap and leaving full-time employee life behind her to focus all her time on Bloom.

Camille holds a very dear place in our heart at Women in Digital HQ for her passion for diversity in tech and being a long time Women in Digital community member. We were thrilled to chat to her about her career journey from Marketing Queen to impact entrepreneur and diversity ambassador.

These are incredible professional accolades, but tell us, who is Camille the person?

I was born in the French Alps and spent my childhood skiing and being out in nature. As a result, I love being outdoors! I spend as much time as possible hiking, surfing, swimming… But I also love learning and problem solving, which means my work has always had a lot of meaning to me. I am passionate about my work. And as a person, I guess I am a very sensitive person, who loves to connect with people on a deeper level.

What is something that not many people know about you?

I absolutely love dancing. I am that person that will dance until the music stops.

What’s the most useless talent you have?

I used to be a ski teacher, not very useful when you live in Brisbane!

You have recently founded Bloom. Looking back, when did you decide to ‘take the leap’ and put this idea into action?

I decided to go full time when we got accepted into the University of Queensland’s iLab program. It is a competitive and quite prestigious startup accelerator program, which gave me confidence that it was the right time to go all in. At the same time, our community was growing really fast, which also gave me extra validation that I was on the right track and needed to take the plunge. I have to admit as well that my partner has been pivotal, he encouraged me to go all in and accepted the financial risk – I owe him a large part of the courage it took to leave my full time job.

What has been your biggest career challenge and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge was to create my own company in a field (financial services) that was new to me. I did overcome my impostor syndrome and doubt by doubling down on work, and making sure that I methodically ticked all the steps to head into the right direction. Surrounding myself with mentors and advisors has been key to giving me confidence and accountability.

What are you currently watching/reading/listening to?

I am passionate about impact investing so one of my favourite podcasts is ‘Good Future‘. I am also a fan of Guy Raz (NPR journalist) so I highly recommend ‘How I Built This‘ or ‘Ted Radio Hour’. I purposefully don’t have Netflix to make sure I spend as little time as possible watching TV, but my guilty pleasure is “Adventure Time” – An American fantasy animated series. It’s incredibly witty and cute and only last 10min per episode – perfect after a long day of work.

Who is your professional inspiration?

I admire other female founders who have done really well in the green-tech field such as Katherine McConnell, Founder & CEO of Brighte. In general, my inspiration comes from entrepreneurs who have been bold in their vision and who are driven by making a positive impact.

What’s on repeat with your work playlist right now?

I don’t work with music – I need deep focus to do my work. In the past I actually suffered in noisy open-plan office environments! However I listen to music everyday when I run in the morning – I love the ‘Discover Weekly’ playlist on Spotify, always new things to discover and energising music to raise my energy levels and motivation.

What’s your most recommended Business/Marketing resource?

I love everything Harvard Business Review (podcast, magazine, website) – because it is nuanced and backed by research most of the time.

I recommend the book ‘Talking to Humans‘ (a practical guide to the qualitative side of customer development) by Frank Rimalovski and Giff Constable. This is one of the best resources I have come across to build my startup. Talking to your customers is so simple YET so few people truly do it. To me this is a skill and resource that should underpins any other business or marketing strategy.

From global brand names to Australia’s largest cleantech startup accelerator, how did this transition evolve?

My career took a turn in 2018, when I started learning more about Climate Change. I could no longer reconcile working for an industry that did not actively provide solutions to the climate crisis. As soon as I made the decision to be aligned with my value, a Communication Manager role at EnergyLab was advertised and I knew it was my chance to do the work I was meant to be doing.

What do you think can be done to improve diversity in the digital industry?

We need leaders and people in position to hire to develop progressive HR and diversity policies. We need leaders to educate themselves on the many benefits of diversity (Women in Digital activities and events are a great place to start!) – there is now overwhelming research linking diversity and performance for businesses, there is no excuse for any leader in business to be passive on this matter.

What technology development is most exciting to you at the moment?

I am excited by blockchain for its potential to create more transparency in supply chains and revolutionise the way people consume energy across the world.

What is next for you?

Launching our App later this year! For now people can sign up to our waitlist here.

A big thank you to Camille for taking the time to chat with us. If you haven’t already, go ahead and follow Camille on LinkedIn and learn more about starting your climate impact investment journey with Bloom here.

Want to see more career spotlights on incredible women in digital? Head over to our socials and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.


June 15, 2021 Women in Digital

Spotted! In June 2021, we were thrilled to see a fantastic spotlight on Emma Isaacs, Founder & Global CEO of Business Chicks, featuring Women in Digital in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Not only did it highlight the incredible achievements of Emma Isaacs and Business Chicks (billed as Australia’s largest networking organisation for women!), it also shone a light on other organisations bringing business-savvy and entrepreneurial women together including Future Women, Lady Startup, Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine (LMBDW) and Heads Over Heels (although the list goes on).

Shoutout to Emma, the Business Chicks team and all the organisations out there bringing women together at all rungs of the business ladder!

“Business Chicks is by no means alone in its field. Organisations that bring working women together have proliferated in this country in recent years. Future Women, Lady Startup, Like-Minded Bitches Drinking Wine (which is advertised as catering to “entrepreneurial-minded and business-savvy women who love their wine” and has more than 150,000 members in its Facebook group), Women in Digital, Heads Over Heels … the list goes on.” – Jane Cadzow

Read the full article here and if you haven’t already, follow Women in Digital on LinkedIn.


June 4, 2021 Women in Digital

Last week 10 years ago, one of our favourite Women in Digital Corporate Members, Managing Director of Marie Mortimer launched her company ​in Brisbane as a direct-to-retail business ​selling home loans for its parent company, Firstmac.

​We sat down with Marie Mortimer to find out exactly how she took a great domain name and an idea to grow it into a company with $6 billion of home and car loans under management, and a diverse team of more than 250 staff members.

“We owned the domain name and it started with myself with the help of one other person plus an external contractor built my website,” Mortimer said.

“It was a pretty basic site but it had a full home loan application on it that was connected to the backend credit system. We had an instant media coverage because we were offering something different to the banks and our interest rates have always been very low.”

“I remember the first week we started when people starting applying online. We’d just officially launched our website with a killer rate and there was an article in the AFR about us. We were sitting in the office on a Friday night having a beer, and were watching home loan applications come in.”

“It was after hours, when bank branches were closed and people were applying for finance online!”

“It was and exciting and memorable moment for us. Funny story – our first settled customer was a big bank branch manager. So we knew we were on the right track!”

“So this year as we celebrate 10 years in business, has approximately $6 billion in loans under management. Firstmac has more than $13 billion. So, it makes us bigger than some smaller banks and building societies and we are extremely proud of that,” Mortimer said.

Not only has Marie Mortimer led the business to commercial success, but she has also grown a strong culture for her employees, with her Brisbane-based team exceeding 250 staff in 2021.

​Fast diversity facts for

  • Worldwide, 58% of roles in the Firstmac Group are held by females
  • The Executive team is 50% female
  • Staff range in age from 19 to 74
  • More than 65% have service of between 3 and 20 years

Home Loan Sales Team Leader Sam Pendrey is proud of the diversity and family driven culture of

“It is unique in the industry as a place where we have a diverse range of staff and everyone gets equal opportunity and a chance to be heard, which I am extremely proud to be a part of,” Pendrey said.

“The long tenure of so many staff has helped to foster friendships, as well as an environment where people can comfortably bring their own ideas & opinions forward from all areas, which is a credit to Marie’s leadership and strong focus on inclusion.”

Marie Mortimer is Managing Director of, one of Australia’s largest online lenders. Marie is dedicated to improving financial literacy for all Australians, championing diversity in digital and is passionate about the FinTech industry in Australia. When she isn’t at work, she loves to spend time with her husband and two young children. is an online lender for home and car loans. For 10 years, Aussies have trusted the locally based team to support them with low home loan and car loan rates, approved quickly through the online app.


May 29, 2021 Women in Digital

Designed for today’s in-demand health professional, Clinic to Cloud is an award-winning medical practice management platform revolutionising the telehealth industry with their next-generation technology. Passionate about health innovation, they also recognise and are dedicated to diversity in tech as a means to fuel innovation!

As a proud Women in Digital Corporate Member and 2020 sponsor for the Women in Digital Awards Innovator of the Year category, Clinic to Cloud are committed to growing their best and brightest talent and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase their incredible female leaders.

Interested in reading more about Clinic to Cloud’s involvement in the 2020 Women in Digital Awards? They wrote an article about it here!

But back to the Q&A… let’s get into it! Introducing our two featured Clinic to Cloud leaders…

Sarah Larsen – State Lead (QLD/NT)

           Shoaleh Baktashi – Senior UX Designer

Welcome! So tell us, how would you personally describe Clinic to Cloud?

Sarah: Continually evolving. The platform is updated with a velocity that I’ve not witnessed in any other SAAS company. Our team is constantly growing as do our learnings and knowledge. Ideas for improvement and pushing the boundaries are not left in the realm of thinking for the small group of people in upper management. The team as a whole are encouraged to dedicate time to thinking about what we can do better, how can we make the patient experience better and the customer experience better?

Shoaleh: Clinic to Cloud (C2C) is a thriving environment where we constantly review our qualities as an organisation to ensure we are effective in the outcomes we produce. Our success derives from a collective mindset, which takes a lifetime to develop and it comes from individual life experiences.

We constantly think about how we can design a healthier future for our people internally as well as the people who use our software to solve their problems on a daily basis. Our purpose at Clinic to Cloud is about how we can become better human beings and how the human qualities we cultivate will improve healthcare and quality of life for the people who use Clinic to Cloud in their lives on a daily basis. It is our purpose and mindset that gives us as an organisation the competitive advantage we have which will also lead us into the future.

What is one thing not many people know about Clinic to Cloud?

Sarah: How diverse our customers are! We support the small, sole clinician practices and then the large multi-disciplinary practices as well. All on the same platform, all with their own experience. Each and every customer who chooses to join us is celebrated, regardless of how large or how small their clinic may be.

Shoaleh: Change is inevitable at all levels at Clinic to Cloud. There has not been a month that I didn’t feel part of a change. It’s very challenging to deliver on quality when happiness and experience are at the core of our mission whether for customers or employees.

Talk to us about your early days/onboarding with Clinic to Cloud. What is the one thing that still really sticks out for you?

Sarah: Our Founder and CEO, Rafic Habib, really cares about people. His attitude and behaviour with regard to the team and our customers has been adopted company-wide and is reflected daily in the way the teams work together, the way we work with our customers and the way that we plan our future roadmap – it’s all about improving the experience for the patient. It was, and still is, okay to put your hand up and say you don’t know the answer to something and this often leads to some fantastic opportunities to collaborate.

Shoaleh: Considering the business to be a start-up at the time, the employee on-boarding was not yet established and I didn’t come from a healthcare background. So I remember thinking to myself, how do I get my head around all this in such a fast paced environment? The impact and consequences of our products are high as it manages patient information.

I had this notion that surgeons or doctors, practitioners or practice managers are time poor (and they really are) but soon I learned that they are such generous individuals. I don’t recall ever being rejected for any interviews, or site-visits. These practitioners made themselves always available to the product team, and their passion was infectious. Even if they were unhappy, they still made the time for us to listen to their problems and it is because of them that Clinic to Cloud makes the changes needed to make a difference in their lives.

Obviously diversity in digital is important to Clinic to Cloud but what is your personal definition of diversity and why do you think it is important?

Sarah: Without diversity, life would be very boring. There are the obvious diversities – gender, culture etc. However, I find individual diversity the most exciting. What is it that makes people tick? We all have such diverse passions and pursuits and I love watching people light up when they speak about theirs. It’s a great opportunity to learn and share and you never know where those learnings will take you.

Shoaleh: Diversity to me is where people with all different skills, ages, idealism, opinions, backgrounds, and personalities can feel connected and at ease without any judgement. It is important for individuals who contribute to a bigger mission to feel they can be themselves, contribute respectfully and be included to the greater mission that as employees we have all signed up to achieve. I also think it’s important to have diversity because it is, to my opinion, the driver of innovation and human learning.

How would you describe your current thinking about diversity, and how has your thinking changed over time?

Sarah: I used to think that to be successful, you needed to fit in and mirror those around you- it was not a good thing to be different to the rest of the team. This thought pattern has changed significantly since I started my journey with Clinic to Cloud. Being a part of the team at Clinic to Cloud means that your individuality is not something to hide – it is recognised and celebrated. We are not expected to fit the same cookie-cutter mould and this enables us to be more authentic which builds a greater level of trust and loyalty.

Shoaleh: I would describe diversity as when we all can digest the five human senses in a way that would have a positive outcome. What we see, what we hear, what we say, what we touch, and what we smell are the DNA for how we perceive things and behave. If we can accept and manage all that in an environment, then we are truly diverse in how we are as humans. My thinking has changed over time as I used to think diversity was about being inclusive of different cultures, but now it’s about human interactions.

What does it mean to Clinic to Cloud to have a commitment to diversity?

Shoaleh: To be inclusive and create an environment where we can support people with different capabilities visible and invisible. Support our community, employees and customers and treat everyone equally. It also means cultivating a culture of transparency, wellbeing and great minds that can be the building blocks of diversity.

How do you think Clinic to Cloud is demonstrating that commitment?

Shoaleh: This is not a tick box exercise and it is something that needs to be created from the top to the bottom and it takes time. However, the changes we have done as a company in the last 12 months is creating the path for that commitment. Although we are taking barriers down, we have no hierarchical structure. No matter where you are positioned in the company or who you are and what you do, you can reach out to anyone, including the CEO for feedback and collaboration. The floor is open for all. We encourage transparency and collaboration to solve problems and that goes across the entire ecosystem. I feel like Clinic to Cloud is about inclusion and at the same time hiring the right people for the job.

What is Clinic to Cloud doing to help increase the number of women in the workplace?

Sarah: The Health Tech space is a small arena to be playing in. When searching for the next team member, Clinic to Cloud does not keep the search fields narrow to a small selection criteria. We have a number of staff with very non-traditional career pathways who work at Clinic to Cloud, myself included. Where a candidate has some great qualities but not necessarily a background in health or tech they are not overlooked. We have a fantastic, flexible working environment and families/children are celebrated, they are not something to be hidden for fear of being overlooked. This makes it much easier for women to take a role with Clinic to Cloud and feel secure in that position when life happens.

Something that really stands out about Clinic to Cloud is their approach to diversity. It isn’t just about building a diverse team but with patients being at the centre of everything you do, it is also about improving the experience and care for patients.

Is there an example or project that stands out to you that exemplifies this?

Sarah: This is true, and is also something that is not really known about Clinic to Cloud. It is wonderful to watch people sit back and think about that fact when we are speaking to them about our purpose and why we do what we do. Nobody chooses to be sick and if we can improve the patient experience by enabling a medical practice to focus more on their patient and not on their software, we are doing a good job.

Our Patient Portal is the perfect example of our commitment to improving the patient journey. One of my favourite patient stories to recount is that of Nicole Cooper, which you will find here.

Shoaleh: There are many projects that we are embarking on which will amplify and cover the D&I but one particular long-term project that I’m involved with is the Patient Portal. Patient Portal is a web portal designed specifically for patients’ needs. It will provide a broader range of access to all patients of all demographics. It makes patients medical information accessible to all communities.

To businesses or leaders that want to improve gender diversity within their team but don’t know where to start…. What advice do you have for them or what have you learned from Clinic To Cloud?

Shoaleh: Be genuine about inclusiveness of your employees and the balance of D&I. Have a good training program for senior leadership or the people who have the hiring power to make them understand what the requirements are, and why we need to do this specially when we are hiring new employees or dealing with customers. And start by supporting and enabling your people first.

From a small-startup to a thriving platform supporting over 7,200 medical professionals and over 3.6 million patients, Clinic to Cloud, is a leading example of a digital innovator disrupting the market, powered by strong, talented and clearly passionate women. Their insights into the value of creating a supportive and balanced workplace that encourages innovation and inclusivity really resonates with us and is why we champion the company as a Women in Digital Corporate Member.

Thank you so much to the women at Clinic to Cloud for chatting to us about these incredibly important topics. We support Clinic to Cloud’s clear commitment to diversity for innovation, diversity in tech and diversity in leadership, and we couldn’t be happier to have the wonderful Shoaleh Baktashi and Sarah Larsen share their insights and stories with us.

If you are interested in learning about Clinic to Cloud and their culture, click here. You can also learn more about Women in Digital’s Corporate Membership here!