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

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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.


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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.


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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.


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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!


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May 24, 2021 Women in Digital

Gender diversity. Two words you generally see plastered across a company’s Corporate Social Responsibility documentation or ‘Why Work With Us’ Careers page. Interestingly, it is not often you see the words ‘gender diversity’ in companies’ strategic business plans.

Women in Digital Community Manager, Carly Shearman recently published an article on gender diversity in the workplace and her findings might surprise you. Though profitability, performance and productivity increase under female leadership, Carly only recalls two times hearing business decision-makers acknowledge the power of diversity for their financial bottom line.

“When I ask the question ‘why is gender diversity important to you?’, I am met with similar responses. But what I rarely, and I mean rarely, hear are the words ‘It makes commercial sense’. Which really does surprise me when we know that in Australia… ” – Carly Shearman

Read the full article here and be sure to follow Carly on LinkedIn.


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May 24, 2021 Women in Digital

Our work with Women in Digital has always been about connecting, educating and empowering our way to gender diversity in digital. This includes talking to business’s key stakeholders, tech founder and executives on why we need to stop viewing gender diversity as just altruisitc and confining it to Corporate Social Responsibility pages, and seeing it more as part of growing a strategic and robust workforce.

Presented with an opportunity to interview Patrick FitzGerald, an accomplished Consultant and Director with 30+ years of experience in industry, our very own Women in Digital Community Manager, Carly Shearman published an article on the business case for gender diversity.

“Diversity of thought is the goal, not just ticking a box to say you have ‘achieved diversity” – Patrick FitzGerald

You can read the full article here and be sure to follow Carly on LinkedIn.

 

 


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January 20, 2021 Women in Digital

At Women in Digital, we are fierce advocates for connecting, educating, and empowering women to give them the skills and support they need to thrive in the tech industry. We are very lucky to not be alone in this mission and another great organisation trying to build up women (and software) is She Codes. We were beyond ecstatic to be able to attend their She Codes Plus Brisbane Showcase last month. Keep reading to learn a little more about She Codes and some of our key takeaways from the night. 

Facts are facts. Despite national conversations about diversity in tech, women are still largely misrepresented in the tech industry. According to ARN, only a fifth of Australia’s IT graduates are women! While yes, diversity statistics are slowly improving, clearly, there is still a long way to go and this is why we love to support organisations such as She Codes.

In late 2020, we had the incredible opportunity to attend the She Codes Plus Showcase at Lightspace in Brisbane. If you haven’t heard of She Codes, you’re missing out! She Codes is on a mission to teach women coding skills, get women into technical careers, and build communities of like-minded women. Their vision is to increase diversity in tech by inspiring 100,000 women across Australia by 2025 and this is absolutely something we at Women in Digital can get behind.

Run in partnership with BHP, the She Codes Plus program is a six-month part-time course that focuses on supercharging the tech careers of women. This showcase was an opportunity to celebrate their achievement, share their portfolios and connect them with other professionals in tech including recruiters, hiring managers and potential industry mentors.

We were thrilled to attend this fantastic event and celebrate the 2020 graduating class. We were equaly excited to listen to a range of fabulous panellists including Sammy Herbert, Peta Ellis, Emily Taylor, Rene Chappel and Sorcha Abel (who was also the 2020 Women in Digital Awards Technical Leader of the Year – go Sorcha! See all our winners here). These women are five powerhouse leaders with an accumulative 78 years in the industry (woah!). They are also key role models for young women in tech. If there’s anything we’ve learned at Women in Digital, it’s that ‘you can’t be what you can see’ which is why showcasing these role models in this industry are so important.

Here are our key takeaways from the SheCodes panel discussion…

Connect with your network around you

You might have heard the saying that ‘your network is your net worth’ and it’s true! Although it may not be your all-time favourite activity, I think we can all agree that networking is a key skill for any professional. Building a network filled with strong, quality relationships is just as important. So if you find yourself wanting to level-up your networking game, start small and try ‘nudging’ one person a day. Watch over time as good things happen!

Be okay with not knowing all the answers

As much as we wish we could be experts in everything, that is never going to be a realistic goal. But that’s okay. This is your opportunity to ask questions, collaborate with others and build connections with other professionals in areas you may be unfamiliar with. However, if this is not your vibe, another way you can learn is by simply throwing yourself in the deep-end! What better way to learn than through experience?

Value your experience

Your experience is unique to you and to be honest, it is more than a lot of people have! Though many people follow similar career paths, it is highly unlikely your pathway is identical to any other individual and you, therefore, you have different (and meaningful) insights to bring to the table. So make your experience and career journey be your unique point of difference and flaunt it!

Find a mentor to support you through the journey

This all goes back to the importance of your network. Finding a mentor to guide you or simply offer advice throughout your career plays a key role in your network. Whether that’s a former teacher, past employer, or maybe someone you have looked up to in your industry, it’s always worth reaching out. Most people are more than happy to provide some form of mentorship and share their experiences with you.

Appreciate it’s not going to be amazing immediately – it’s a journey

The idea of a linear career is long gone. Hey, we’re not saying that you won’t thrive immediately at the beginning of your career journey (some people do!). But in the 21st century, most people will find that their career pathways become ‘squiggly’ rather than straightforward. This means it is important to accept and embrace that there is more than one way to achieve what you want in your career. You can read our insights from the Women in Digital Squiggly Careers Panel here.

Imposter syndrome is something we hear a lot of women in digital struggle with and a narrative we desperately want to change! Here are the She Codes Showcase panel’s top tips on beating imposter syndrome:

Go to meetups – once you’re there, doors will open

Can you tell we love networking? Guilty as charged! But we can’t stress this enough and neither could the SheCodes panel… whatever your experience or background, it is so important for women in digital to take opportunities to connect with others in your industry. If a door opens, assume inclusion, (don’t talk yourself out of it) and walk right through. You never know what might happen! Especially in the tech space, there are more and more networking and professional development events popping up for you to enjoy. We recommend challenging yourself to attend at least one event a month and bringing a friend to back you up if you’re nervous.

Personify your negative persona and tell it to go away

No one likes a ‘negative Nancy’. If you take anything away from this blog, let it be this! A lot of people have a nagging voice in their head that feeds on and metastases any feelings of inadequacy and failure. Does this sound like you? Go ahead and visualise this voice as a personification of your negativity. Name it, picture it, and every time you catch [insert name of inner critique here] being a voice of irrational negativity, just tell it to bug off! Don’t be your own worst enemy!

Go to your crew to gas you up

We are all social creatures. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, we naturally crave communication in some capacity (some more than others, of course). This is why finding your work crew may very well be the secret to both personal and collective success. If you need a boost after a rough day or just need some general motivation, connect with your crew and have them refuel your drive – sometimes you just need to let someone else be your cheerleader (we all know you are always being a cheerleader for someone!)

Verbalising the issue

If you’re a ‘fake it til you make it’ type of person and this works for you, then go for it. But truthfully, a lot of people struggle with nerves and it’s 100% okay to 1. Feel that way and 2. Verbalise that you feel that way. Remember, your coworkers, employers, and employees are human too. Most likely, they will appreciate your honesty and be able to sympathise. Plus, sometimes it can be a great ice breaker to verbalise your nerves.

Stop looking up at the things to do, look back at all the things you have done

My guess is that a lot of people reading this are looking forward to opportunities to level-up in their career. That’s great! You’re probably ambitious and hungry to succeed and we can’t fault that. But every now and again, it’s important to also look back at things you have done, take time to reflect and appreciate your accomplishments along the way. You earned it!

You should only be comparing yourself to you

Too many people fall into the trap of comparing themselves to others. It’s an easy thing to do and we have all done it at least once (or more 😂) in our lives but as soon as you stop that, the better off you will be and likely happier in general. There’s always someone who you think knows better when reality is, someone is thinking that about you in the same way! So next time, keep that in mind. Your career journey is YOUR journey. Keep doing you and go after what YOU want!

Final Top Tips:

  • Keep learning – It’s okay not to know everything. Google is your friend and so are industry workshops!
  • Find your tribe – Who are those special people in your life that will support you and your career no matter what?
  • Go and pitch yourself to someone else – Take a chance and put yourself out there! If nothing else, it will become a fantastic opportunity for feedback and confidence building.
  • Stay mainstream and don’t specialise too early – ‘Early specialisers’ may find themselves disadvantaged because they have boxed themselves into a corner in the ever-changing modern tech world. Broad experience is key for long-term success so learn as much as you can before deep diving into one specialisation.

A huge thank you to BHP, Amazon Web Services and BDO for sponsoring these amazing community events/ initiatives. Make sure you follow She Codes on LinkedIn to stay up to date on any upcoming events and workshops!

If you yourself are looking to hire some tech superstars, seeking your next opportunity, or wanting to partner with us to support diversity in digital, get in touch! We would love to connect with you. Follow us Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin!


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November 24, 2020 Women in Digital

A career as a Board Member can be hugely rewarding but it isn’t something you can make happen overnight.

Last week, we were joined by accomplished Board Director and Executive, Suzanne Ardagh (Lester Blades), an accomplished Board Director and Executive, to discuss the steps and skills you need to carve out your own Board career. With over 30 years’ international experience as a management executive and business leader, Suzanne has an extensive background in a range of industries and knows exactly what it takes to have a successful career as a Board member.

Here are Suzanne’s top insights on how to land your first Board position:

  • Find a cause you’re passionate about
  • Be a passenger, not a driver
  • Refine your skill of forward-thinking
  • Get at least one Board role while you are working in a Director capacity
  • Look at the other Board members
  • Get a great induction
  • Don’t be a seat warmer
  • Get a Board Buddy
  • Embrace the battle scars

Your first Board role will most likely (*cough* definitely) be unpaid

If you didn’t know this already, well now you do! There are many opportunities in the pro bono space to do a lot of good. It’s up to you to figure out what organisations really speak to you and what causes you feel strongly about helping! Consider the following: What are you passionate about? What will drive you to get up early in the morning or work late at night? Where are your values aligned?

You are there to monitor, guide, and give advice

It is important to remember that as a NED (non-executive director), your role is to bring your intellect, experience and advice to the Board, NOT make changes. In other words, you are a ‘passenger’ and will provide strategic direction to the business but not actually ‘steer’ the wheel.

If you aren’t sure what you necessarily bring to the table, ask yourself these questions; What I have done in my career? What experiences have I got that will make me a good director? Maybe you have previously managed budgets, lead strategy days or have experience managing risk or M&As. Your answers to these questions are what make up your Board career toolkit. When preparing your application, bring a summary of your executive career and answers to how you would bring value to the Board.

But it’s not only your experience and technical skills that are important. Developing strong contemporary skills (also known as soft skills) has become more crucial than ever for a career as a Board member.

A contemporary member should:

  • Have the ability to identify trends in datasets
  • Be creative
  • Be a problem-solver
  • Understand nnovation & transformation (working in disruption)
  • Have a progressive mindset
  • Be an agile thinker
  • Have an ability to deal with uncertainty

You can also read the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) recommended skills here.

Refine your skill of forward-thinking

Boards are a future, forward-looking role that requires a strong forward-thinking mindset to put the Board’s best foot forward. You are essentially a crystal ball for the company. This calls for a combination of insights from your lagging and leading indicators. The best way to describe these terms is by thinking about the business as a car. That is when you look out the windshield, you are looking at what’s ahead of you (leading indicators) but when you turn your head to look through the rearview on where you have travelled, you are reviewing past performance.

As an example, financial results will give you a state of play but they won’t give you any insight into how the company will fare in the future. This is why a well-balanced system requires both. If your leading indicators aren’t aligned to put you on the right track to achieve your goals, it is up to you to help make adjustments to the strategy. Too often, companies will focus too much on lagging indicators and miss opportunities to influence important outcomes which is why a forward-thinking mindset is so important.

Get at least one Board role while you are working in a Director capacity

AICD courses and the like are great for theoretical understanding and foundations but nothing can ever match real-world, learned experience. Whether that’s for a non-for-profit or corporate enterprise, find opportunities to be involved in an organisation you are passionate about and be prepared to reap the benefits.

Look at the other Board members

Much like any other job, what makes a Board position great (or not-so-great) is the people you are surrounded by. So if you can, take a look at the other Board Members and identify as much information as possible about the role before you commit. Not every position will be perfect, but this due diligence can save you (and others) much time and effort.

Some great things to ask yourself include:

  • What experience will you learn from them?
  • Is it a board you want to be on?
  • Culture of the board?
  • What’s the attendance like?
  • What’s the time commitment?
  • Protocols of engaging with management?

Once you get there – get a great induction

Preparation is key. If not offered an induction, take the initiative and request a tour of the site, meet the management team and visit the ground staff.

Don’t be a seat warmer

A lot of people see boards as a stepping stone for their career. But there is really no-one worse than being THAT person. Not only is it annoying to be on a board with people who don’t pull their weight, but it will come back to haunt you in the wider community as word spreads.

Get a Board Buddy

For your first board position, it pays to have a Board Buddy. That is, someone that can show you the ropes and provide feedback for you. You can think of this person as a mentor in the building to help you find your feet and thrive in your first role.

While you are in leadership/Director roles, embrace the battle scars

Many leaders, Directors, and CEOs become uncomfortable in times of crisis or stress. But of course, this is where your greatest learnings happen and how you build business-resilience! This is something that will make you a terrific NED in the future. So when a storm comes (like leading a business through a pandemic), lean into it and learn!

Thank you so much to Suzanne for sharing her valuable time with us! If you are interested in learning more about Suzanne and her career journey, be sure to follow her on LinkedIn. You can also ready about our terrific 2020 Women in Digital Advisory Board here.

For more information on our upcoming community events, click here and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.


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November 23, 2020 Women in Digital

At the 2020 Women in Digital (Virtual) Awards, we were thrilled to host the Director of International Emerging Tech Innovation at Walmart (yes, Walmart!) as our international keynote speaker. Her name is Fareena Contractor.

A former molecular geneticist, Fareena has experienced her fair share of surprising career pivots to get where she is today. After helping develop the H1N1 vaccine in India and researching brain cancer suppressors at the University of Alberta, she left the lab in 2011 to explore Design Thinking and Strategy. This is where she found her calling in business innovation. Over the past 3 years at Walmart, Fareena has built a grassroots innovation organisation which has disrupted the status quo and effected significant changes across functions, levels and countries. We were so inspired by her personal journey and story of resilience, we HAD to have her speak at the 2020 Women in Digital Awards.

2020 has been a tough year (to put it mildly). Whether you’ve been separated from family, lost your job or struggled throughout isolation, everyone has a unique story to tell. In the face of this global crisis, we believe the role of resilience has never been more relevant (or important) to our Women in Digital community. Fortunately, Fareena was eager to lend her insights on building resilience and now we are thrilled to share them with you!

You can watch her full speech from the Women in Digital Awards here:

 

Here’s a summary of Fareena’s top 8 tangible tips (backed by science of course) on building resilience:

1. Eat well, exercise, rest

It makes sense that boosting your overall health will give you the strength to take on stressful situations as they come along. This starts with eating right and exercising, releasing those ‘feel-good’ chemicals we call endorphins. For the average adult, 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week is recommended (Australian Government Department of Health, 2019). But believe it or not, sleep is just as important. Without sleep, your ability to learn, make decisions and cope with stress drastically decreases. For most adults, medical professionals recommend seven to eight hours of sleep per night (Harvard Health, 2017).

2. Connect with yourself & connect with others

Strong ties to family, friends, co-workers or any person or group of individuals are key to building resilience. They are your stress buffers, particularly your close family and friends. Together, these parties form your social network that you can lean on from time to time to help you bounce back from setbacks or offer support in return. But it’s important to also have regular check-ins with yourself as well to help assess your emotional, psychological or physical needs and deal with any issues you identify.

3. Meditate and reflect on the uncomfortable

Of course, nobody enjoys being comfortable. But it is something you should try and embrace. Next time you experience a situation that makes you feel any discomfort or stress, rather than avoiding it, sit in your discomfort, and clear your mind. Meditation can help counter the stress you’re experiencing by eliciting a relaxation response and help build resilience (Headspace, 2020).

4. Be creative

When we are creative, we automatically become resourceful and look to solve problems in new and interesting ways. It is so often overlooked as a great source to cultivate resilience. Think about what is your creative outlet? We all have elements of creativity – it doesn’t have to be a Michelangelo piece). Whatever it is, find time to be creative and create something!

5. Be generous and give back

You know the saying – the more you give, the more you get. Generosity fuels the soul, giving you a sense of purpose and wellbeing as well as that warm and fuzzy feeling. Who doesn’t love that?! Being generous doesn’t require anything drastic either. Simply buying a coworker a coffee, volunteering at a local event or putting a few dollars towards your favourite cause is enough to get those feel-good vibes flowing!

6. List things you are grateful for

We may not celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia but anyone can see the benefits of taking the time to be thankful for what we have in our lives. It not only increases positivity and self-esteem as you reflect on your achievements but also helps reduce stress and make you happier overall (Happify Daily, 2020). Fareena recommends that every day to sit down and write out three things you are grateful for. This can be anything – if your family is safe and healthy then that’s enough to be grateful for as not everyone has that.

7. Experience new things

Take opportunities to experience new things! Leaving your comfort zone to try new things can be undoubtedly daunting but what better way to build confidence and resilience? Now, we’re not pushing you to jump out of a plane or anything but you could travel somewhere new, give pilates a go or experience anything that energises you and will help you create new memories.

8. Smile 🙂

This is the most simple step to building resilience that you can apply immediately! According to recent research published in Experimental Psychology, when you smile, the emotional centre of your brain (called the amygdala) is stimulated and releases neurotransmitters that moves you into a more positive space (Marmolejo-Ramos et al., 2020). Also, you’ve probably heard this before but smiling really is contagious (Wood et al., 2016). So we recommend you start now! 🙂

Thank you to Fareena – we are so excited to see what this powerhouse is going to do next! If you are interested in learning more about Fareena, connect with her on LinkedIn.

Want more? To read our Q&A interviews with our line-up of Women in Digital Award Winners, head over to our blog and keep an eye out on our Facebook and Instagram. You can see the full list of 2020 Women in Digital Award winners here.


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November 23, 2020 Women in Digital

One of those key ‘adulting’ moments is when you start talking about money. These conversations are so important to have with all professionals. But particularly for early-in-career women as being able to confidently and successfully negotiate a higher salary is crucial (and necessary) for bridging the gender pay gap. The Women in Digital x Hunt & Co. team Holly Hunt (nee Holly Tattersall), Carly Shearman, and Kayla Wren were lucky enough to be invited to share their experience and advice on having those difficult conversations with the Assisterhood community. 

Watch our Q&A with Assisterhood now:

 

Prefer to read? Here are their key takeaways on how and when to ask for a raise, avoid self-sabotaging, and knowing your true worth:

But first, here’s a quick summary:

  • Just do it – stop avoiding the conversation
  • Be proactive and start the conversation early -it’s all about building a relationship
  • Find that sweet spot – talk about more than just money
  • Back yourself even when you’re not feeling confident & know your worth!
  • Remember, value isn’t just monetary
  • Avoid comparing your salary with others
  • Your employer is human too! (and chances are, they are nervous as well!)

Let’s get started…

Just do it!

It’s probably inevitable that conversations around money are going to make you nervous – we feel you. But if you don’t feel like you are getting what you are worth, you may start to build resentment towards your employers which could be totally avoided through one simple, uncomfortable conversation. At the very least, this process will help you build both resilience and confidence over time.

Be proactive and start the conversation early

Many people ask us, “but when is a good time to talk about pay rises?” The answer is sooner rather than later. And the best way to approach this conversation is by building a relationship with your employer. Whether that’s weekly or monthly check-ins, you and your manager can discuss your professional and performance goals and work towards them together. This will naturally open up to conversations about your pay goals and put you both on the same page!

But what do I say?

It’s all about finding that sweet spot. To start this conversation, we suggest discussing more than just money with your employer. Together you can talk about arrangements to provide you both the best value possible. That could be a flexible workspace, a shortened probation period, work-from-home environment or other lifestyle options. You can always include these terms in your contract as well including a pay review 6 months down the line.

Back yourself even when you’re not feeling confident & know your worth!

Facts, facts, facts! When it comes to finally having this dreaded conversation, be prepared! Think about the value you have contributed to the business whether that’s through sales, operational changes or equity. Unfortunately, effort does not translate into business results. You have to prove your worth. If you are in a larger organisation and don’t understand how you are contributing value, talk to your employer and start building your ‘court case’ around that value. Before your meeting, you can even ask your employer beforehand what information you should prepare to set yourself up for success. But keep in mind, calm confidence trumps over-confidence in this case.

If not a pay rise, what else?

Sometimes a salary increase just isn’t possible (think Covid-19!). But that doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate a different form of remuneration. Value isn’t just monetary. For example, what about a new and improved role title? This could set you in a better position long term or open you to better future opportunities.

More than just money

When searching for new opportunities, think beyond your pay and consider what else the organisation has to offer you. If they are a great employer and an ideal culture, this could benefit you long term more so than another opportunity. Remember, the right fit can also lead to internal growth in more ways than one. Sometimes it’s about getting your foot in the door first.

Stop comparing!

It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing your salary to your coworkers. But just like avocados, there are fluctuating market demands for jobs roles. Not to mention, many factors go into salary pricing. That could be someone’s professional network, experience, personal branding, skills and strengths, qualifications, agency vs. in-house and more. So before you start comparing salaries, consider talking to a recruiter who will have a better idea of overall demands within the job market.

Remember, your employer is human too!

Chances are your employer might be just as nervous about having these conversations as you! But they also can’t read your mind. Don’t wait and see if they give you a raise, take the initiative to ask for it! It can be as simple as sending an email to request a chat about your progress and current remuneration. Last but not least, when in doubt… break the tension with an ice-breaker!

A big thank you to Assisterhood for having us and putting on such a terrific event and to Alpha Digital for hosting.

Ready to take the next step in your career? Connect with the Women in Digital team here – they can help by providing strategic career advice and more!