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November 13, 2023 Women in Digital

To coincide with this year’s SXSW conference in Sydney, Women in Digital partnered with tech powerhouse Canva to bring together an interactive event for our Sydney community. Embracing the SXSW spirit of innovation, this event centred on the theme: “The Future of Work: How to leverage technology for your career & company” discussing ground-breaking technologies, managing the new normal of modern collaboration, building a culture of innovation and powering forward towards a brighter more technologically empowered future. The conversation also expanded beyond tech to soft skills, professional identities, the value of backing yourself and how to assess company cultures. We would love to share some of our attendee’s favourite takeaways with you!

The WID x Canva Sydney Community Catchup was a morning filled with ‘magic moments’ including bottomless breakfast snacks, virgin mary mocktails, bingo networking, a DJ, a Yo-Chi bar and of course, a wow-worthy panel sharing so many nuggets of insights that our notes were overflowing thanks to:

Here are some of the audience’s top takeaways from this event:

Find your tribe:

Build yourself a community of inspiring individuals who will lift you up, share knowledge, and help you thrive in your career. You’ve heard it before and we’ll say it again: your network is your net worth. Find your support crew who will support you and your career!

Assessing your work culture:

A quick litmus test on company culture Stevie shared is to ask your people how they feel on a Sunday night about going to work on Monday. Don’t get us wrong, it’s always a little bit sad when the weekend comes to an end but if you or your team are waking up on Monday dreading the workday, well maybe it’s time to reflect on that a bit more and investigate further.

Self-nominate:

Don’t wait for someone else to recognise your talents and achievements. Advocate for yourself and own your worth! Take the initiative to nominate yourself for opportunities, awards, projects, and promotions and never allow your insecurities (or other people’s insecurities for that matter) to stop you from just going for something you want. As Emily said, “nominate yourself more, otherwise no one knows what you do well”.

Contribute to a culture of innovation:

Whether you are in a remote or hybrid work situation (or somewhere in between), make sure your meetings and engagements at work are deliberate, intentional and accessible. This is where tech comes in handy! Contribute to a culture of innovation, encouraging inclusivity and knowledge accessibility by using digital channels at work that can reach everyone. Information shared in person doesn’t always trickle down organically.

Be brave and speak up:

As Jet pointed out, you should never shy away from sharing your insights, ideas, and concerns. Your perspective is unique and valuable, and by speaking up, you contribute to the collective growth of our industry. The same rules apply if you see injustice or patronising behaviour in the workplace: Be brave. Speak up. Call it out. Find your voice and use it.

Nervous? Do it anyway:

Sometimes people need to be reminded to just go for it (and we are happy to be that support community)! Don’t hold back when opportunity knocks. Often the biggest advancements in your career come when you take that leap of faith. Trust in your abilities and embrace new challenges. As Vida encouraged, “Don’t wait for confidence, do it anyway”. We also love this comment from Ivy who said, “The only race you can’t win is the one you didn’t enter”.

Embrace a risk mindset:

To achieve successful innovation, don’t get attached to what you have achieved in the past. Look forward to a future of possibilities and opportunities in which a risk mindset is crucial to innovation. A particular quote we love by American leadership author John C. Maxwell is, “Fall early, fail often, but always fail forward” and we think it wraps up this idea of risking failure to achieve success perfectly.

Click here to check out our upcoming events.


 

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August 23, 2023 Women in Digital

“Once people are aware of their biases, are open about how those were formed and, how damaging they can be to those who they are directed towards, the path to changing that mindset can begin.”

In August, Women in Digital hosted our annual long lunch, powered by Cisco, on the topic, “The Path to Progress: How we can be better allies on the road to gender diversity”. For this conversation, we pulled together a panel of some of Australia’s top leaders in the Australian digital industry to share share, learn, and discuss how their organisations work to improve gender diversity and how together we can all worth together to create gender parity. The panel included Chio Verastegui (Head of Strategy & Growth, LeapFrog Investments), Michael Reid (Chief Executive Officer, Megaport), Shaden Mohamed (Chief Customer & Marketing Officer, ex SilverChef, Google, Expedia), Antony Stinziani (Chief Information Officer, the City of Gold Coast) and was moderated by Kate Jones (Executive Director, Tech Council of Australia and Advisor, Soda).

So many incredible insights were brought to the surface, particularly from our audience Q&A at the end of the panel. But with so many questions flooding in, we unfortunately ran out of time to answer them all! So we reached out to the wonderful Shaden Mohamed to get her thoughts on some of the top questions from the afternoon.

Here are Shaden’s truly pithy and must-read insights:

What can people do to address people’s misogynistic biases? Are there are any biases you have had to personally overcome?

Recognise they exist, including by those who are well intended. You can’t undo generations of conditioning in one training session. It must be an ongoing dialogue and learning process.

Are there any biases I’ve had to overcome? That, my friend, could be a book series.

What would you say is the first step to increase diversity when hiring?

Ensure the recruitment team have a clear mandate and goal to bridge the gap. What is measured is done.

Secondly, ensure they are trained to identify transferable skill sets for the role, as not all candidates will follow a traditional career path. Especially women who are more likely to take career breaks to be caregivers.

Strong women are often told they’re ‘intimidating’. Are there any quick ways to scale this down?

No. Haha… language or statements like this are another way to punish women who do not conform to the norms attached to gender. Just like the perception that men who do not display strength are considered weak. There is no quick way because these norms are deep rotted into our culture from a young age. Our little boys are told not to cry, or not to ‘act like a girl’. It’s time we stare into these damaging stereotypes head on and find ways to break the cycle.

How can allyship effectively address intersections of gender with other identities e.g. race, ethnicity, sexuality, ability?

Once people are aware of their biases, are open about how those were formed and, how damaging they can be to those who they are directed towards, the path to changing that mindset can begin.

Confidence vs. capability: Do you think hiring managers are truly in tune to the confidence gap in women? How can we work towards bringing men on that journey?

Yes I believe they are. I just don’t think they make allowances for it. How do you tell a hiring manager to hire someone who isn’t confident? Or who presents as less confident? Managers (both men and women) need to help their female team members build that confidence, and there are various ways to do that in the work place, in preparation for that opportunity when it does arise.

What are the top three skills needed for someone wanting to get into the digital space in the next 3 years?

The technical skills (practical and/or theoretical) are critical for digital generally speaking. However in the next 3 years, a focus on AI, analytics and 1st party data management would be the ones I’d foresee becoming even more important. In addition, project management and BA skills will be more important as vendors play an increasingly larger role in transformation.

About the speaker:

Shaden Mohamed is the former Chief Customer Officer at SilverChef who led their Global CX team in Product, Marketing and Customer Success. Recognised by iMedia as one of the world’s top 25 marketing innovators of 2015, Shaden has over 15 years’ consulting and corporate experience in sales, operations, strategy, marketing and ecommerce across APAC, North America and the Middle East.

Prior to her role at SilverChef, Shaden worked at Google, Expedia and the Wotif Group, Backcountry.com, Auto & General and The Travel Corporation over which time she has consulted for a number of Fortune 500 companies across several industry verticals including travel, tech, telco, retail, FMCG, media, finance and automotive. As a business leader, a first-generation Australian and a woman of colour, Shaden has built a formidable career as a woman in digital and is now paving the way for future women in digital while being an incredibly strong advocate for DEI.


 

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June 16, 2023 Women in Digital

We know that self-promotion is an essential element of career progression, Harvard told us so! And yet, we also know that the confidence gap and imposter syndrome disproportionately affects women, who are most likely to downplay their achievements in the workplace. But how do we bring about the change we seek? It starts with exercising your self-promotion muscle and championing the people around us to do the same.

Despite their remarkable achievements and valuable contributions, we see women play down their successes time and time again. Whether it’s fear of failure, imposter syndrome, a concern of appearing ‘boastful’ or taking credit for team efforts, we want to highlight why taking note of your achievements is not merely a chance to receive well-deserved recognition, it’s about unlocking person growth, business growth and much more.

Self-promotion is time well spent and we’re here to remind you why:

Self-reflection and recognition

You’d be amazed by the number of times we hear, “I didn’t realise how well I was doing! I feel like a winner just for entering.” The nomination process encourages you to pause and think about your achievements and then articulate them. In fact, in 2022 over 88% of nominees said that they had more career confidence after completing a Women in Digital Awards nomination form. We guarantee the results are similar across other awards programs.

We know that in some cases, women may avoid applying for awards programs due to the perception that they might come across as boastful or self-centred. To that, we counter that sharing your achievements is not synonymous with arrogance. It’s about showcasing your hard work, inspiring others, and breaking barriers. Your achievements are not just about you; they pave the way for future generations.

We also acknowledge that many projects or campaigns and their delivery require a team. To the leaders of those projects that fear nominating for an individual award takes away from their team’s efforts, we say: just like when Nicole Kidman wins an Oscar, she is winning it for herself and the entire team that worked to bring the film to life! Be the Nicole Kidman! Encourage other women and your team by leading the way and sharing your successes.

But recognition aside, merely applying for awards or seeking to be nominated also brings a multitude of career benefits.

Career visibility

When we say ‘it’s not all about winning’, we really mean it. If you know the value of good marketing, you’ll know that it’s not just reserved for products and services. That principle also applies to careers!

While there is no doubt that winning is a personal and professional feat, sometimes not winning is just as valuable as taking home the trophy. Simply the process of applying is an incredibly valuable exercise and an opportunity for personal branding. Self-promotion is a skill you can take throughout your career as you navigate salary negotiations, job interviews, building your career presence and climbing the ladder.

Get your work out there, and let the success speak volumes about you.

Business exposure

This is an easy win! By entering awards programs, you’ll often have some of the industry’s finest judges and leaders review your entry and learn more about the work you do. If you become a finalist or winner, you’ll have even more of the industry’s best and brightest learning about the incredible work you do! This is business gold (hello free PR!) for Founders in particular.

Elevate your organisation

Have you ever thought of just applying for an awards program to be your company’s chance for a viral moment? You do now!

Taking part in an awards process, particularly if your organisation is shortlisted or wins presents a fantastic opportunity beyond exposure to build some excellent social proof for the business. Depending on the awards program, it can be an opportunity to align your business with an important cause or a reputable industry body, or both. It also makes for some great content for social media, your company website or PR.

Connections

The chance to make some incredible connections by just being involved in an awards program is extremely underestimated. Whether you’re interested in connecting with award partners, award sponsors, fellow nominees or judges who are often made up of knowledgeable and well-connected industry experts, you are likely to meet some great people along the way. You can also use your involvement as your golden ticket to spark a new conversation or connection with someone you admire in person or even on LinkedIn. You never know where your next opportunity might come from.

Just consider this quote from 2023 Women in Digital Awards Digital Transformation & Data Leader of the Year, Tamara Mirkovic:

“Following the awards I’ve had many people reach out to me on LinkedIn and other professional networking organisations for mentoring support, keynote speaking events and I was even interviewed on a podcast! These opportunities would have been out of reach if it had not been for the recognition associated with these awards and connections that I made through WiD.”

Inspiring others

If you’re familiar with the Women in Digital Awards, you’re probably familiar with the phrase ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’.

By sharing your achievements and participating in awards programs, you become a role model for others in your field and especially young people. When they see you succeeding and being recognised, it inspires them to believe in their abilities and strive for their goals. Your journey can ignite a fire within others, encouraging them to pursue their dreams and break through barriers.

New opportunities

Being involved in awards programs can open doors to some new and exciting opportunities. As a nominee, finalist, or winner, you may be invited to speak at industry events or conferences, join a judging panel, or even share your thoughts on a podcast. These platforms allow you to showcase your expertise, share your insights, and expand your reach and professional network. Such opportunities could also lead to further career advancements and collaborations.

When asked how the Women in Digital Awards impacted her career, Aishwarya Kansakar, 2021 Rising Star of the Year, responded:

“The Women in Digital Awards has driven awareness about my career and endeavours! I have received a number of speaking invitations to multiple national conferences and have spoken in front of hundreds of industry leaders. I’ve had the opportunity to increase my reach which has strengthened my position in the Australian technology community.” 

Practice self-promotion

We mentioned it already but we really can’t stress enough the impact of practising self-promotion on your career and confidence.

Applying for an awards program will not only encourage you to take stock of your achievements and spread the word. But hopefully by virtue, it will empower you and the women around you to go for awards and other opportunities.

It’s also an opportunity to practice skills such as crafting cover letters or grant writing which can be hugely beneficial.

Challenge the status quo

Finally, for the programs like the Women in Digital Awards designed to help shine a light on the career pathways and possibilities that digital and technology provide to women and underrepresented groups, we believe that unless we have more visible role models in digital and technology, we won’t change the status quo. By entering the awards, you are making a contribution to the future of digital. And let us say… the future is looking bright!

If you too are passionate about contributing to a brighter future of possibilities for women, we encourage you to ‘get your search on’ and start nominating yourself, your organisation and deserving women in your network today!

Learn more about the Women in Digital Awards and how to nominate here.


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June 5, 2023 Women in Digital

Most of us have been there at some point, haven’t we? Sitting at the intersection of self-doubt and uncertainty, struggling with the ultimate confidence conundrum: imposter syndrome. Keep reading as we deconstruct your views on imposter syndrome and share the three key, very doable steps that will help you on your way to challenging imposter syndrome at all stages of your career, starting today.

We recently asked the search listening tool ‘Answer The Public’ what some of the top search queries were for the term ‘imposter syndrome’. The highest results were for queries such as:

  • What is imposter syndrome?
  • What is imposter syndrome not?
  • What does imposter syndrome feel like?
  • Is imposter syndrome real?
  • Is imposter syndrome more common in females?
  • Where does imposter syndrome come from?

We hope to answer all these questions and on top of that, provide you with real, tangible tips to one of the most important questions: how do you combat imposter syndrome?

So, let’s answer the question: what is imposter syndrome not?

It is not:

  • A mental illness
  • A sign of weakness, incompetence or inadequacy
  • An indication of your work ethic
  • Limited to a specific gender, profession or career level
  • A decider of your confidence level or assuredness

What actually is imposter syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is that uncomfortable feeling you experience when you think you might be incompetent, unqualified or do not legitimately deserve an achievement. Some people would describe imposter syndrome as feeling anxious or feeling like ‘a fraud’ or ‘a phony’ and doubting their abilities. Really it is just a fancy way of saying ‘self-doubt’. And to answer another very real and strangely common question above, yes it is real and for many, it can be an overwhelming and debilitating feeling.

So what are three things we know to be true?

  1. Everyone gets it or has experienced imposter syndrome at one stage or another in their career or personal life
  2. We know that it disproportionately affects women in their careers*
  3. It is internalised and self-talk based, meaning that it is within our circle of control (the power to change is within you)

*A recent 2023 poll conducted by OnePoll commissioned by Galaxy Chocolates for their video series launch, “How to Thrive” in partnership with the Young Women’s Trust of 4,000 adults found that over two-thirds of women (62%) had experienced imposter syndrome but 54% of men surveyed said they had never felt it.

What can you do about it?

Challenging imposter syndrome is all about not letting your inner saboteur hold you back. For many people that struggle with these feelings, this is how it manifests. The conflict between what you know and what you think other people know about you is often a negative (and false) projection when in actual fact, you know your experience and your skills and the people around you probably know that too.

So how do we change this narrative? This is where the hard work begins. It’s up to you to proactively work at changing the narrative you tell yourself and unleash the potential we already know you have.

Here are the three tangible steps you can take:

  1. Get data-driven
  2. Change your relationship with failure
  3. Get a second opinion

Action #1 | Get data-driven

We know that negative self-talk is an emotional response. But it’s hard to argue with cold hard data wouldn’t you agree?

Don’t make assumptions or guesses. Ask yourself, “What is the evidence telling me?” This removes emotion entirely, therefore quietening your emotional response and pulling your focus back to what you know to be true. What is the data actually saying?

Now, how do you apply that to your career? It starts with jotting down your wins. For marketers, maybe that’s an incredible campaign result. For leaders, that might be the number of positive interactions and outcomes. For a developer, that may be code reviews. Most data can be made quantitative as long as you start recording and building that database to reflect on.

Action #2 | Change your relationship with failure

Every time we deem something a ‘failure’, we are giving our brain the evidence (and permission) to solidify that negative self-talk and self-doubt. By changing your relationship with failure, you’re changing your relationship with yourself including your inner critic. This is the best self-care you can give to yourself and can carry throughout your career.

So how do you apply to your day-to-day?

  • Replace the word ‘failure’ with ‘experimenting’ – if you start seeing everything you do as experimenting, failure doesn’t exist!
  • Surround yourself with content where experimenting is celebrated. A great example of this is listening to podcasts about US startups where they have developed a very healthy mentality around experimentation and ‘failures’ as learning opportunities
  • Celebrate experimenting – as an extension of the above point, work towards enjoying the fact that things don’t work out all the time. Each time you do this, you are changing your relationship with yourself and replacing the idea of failure with the idea of a growth opportunity

Action #3 | Get a second opinion

If you are engaging in negative self-talk and really doubting yourself, one of the quickest ways to get around this is by gathering external sources of data. That could look like this:

  • Asking your team/colleagues/manager to get their feedback /insights into your strengths
  • Completing a Strengths Finder test online
  • Sending out a survey to the team

This will help you 1) quiet the mind and 2) pull it back to a data-driven approach: what is the evidence telling me?

3 actions you can implement right now:

  1. Ask three people “What would you say is my special sauce or core skills.”
  2. Read or listen to Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries by Peter Sims to grow your relationship with failure
  3. Check out Google’s #IAmRemarkable program to learn how to combat imposter syndrome using data insights

That’s a wrap! Imposter syndrome may try to make a cameo appearance from time to time, but we know that with these steps, you have the power to recognise it for what it is (an illusion) and create opportunities to celebrate your achievements and expertise. Now… go forth and conquer your career story!


 

Ready to unlock exclusive insights, tips and opportunities to level up your career? Join the Women in Digital Membership and be part of our thriving community of career-driven individuals! Click here to learn more.


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April 27, 2023 Women in Digital

With the EOFY quickly approaching, we have one question to ask you… Are you ready to crack the code to a higher paycheck? Say hello to the CASHUP Framework – your secret weapon for nailing that pay rise. We know that asking for a raise can be daunting, but with this simple acronym as your guide, you’ll be equipped with a structured approach to confidently navigate the salary negotiation process. 

There are a lot of acronyms in our industry. This is one you’ll want to keep in your back pocket. Here are the six letters you need to remember:

C is for… Checking market rates!

The key to success in salary negotiations is knowing your worth and being able to back yourself. The best starting point to do so is to do your research and arm yourself with the numbers you need to know. We recommend downloading Hunt & Co.’s 2023 Digital Salary Guide to use as a benchmark for your salary (plus it has some pretty neat industry insights).

A is for… Assessing your performance

Time to ask yourself some big questions that your employer inevitably will. These are questions like: Are you meeting objectives set by the business? Have you exceeded expectations? Do you know the ROI of your contributions to the business?

This is an opportunity to evaluate your skills, achievements, growth and overall contributions to the company to help build your case. One way to assist with answering these questions would be documenting these factors over the course of your employment, including quantifiable evidence of success and data where possible.

S is for… Strategic timing

Yes, timing matters. Before booking a meeting to pitch your case, consider the company’s financial situation or external factors that could impact the outcome of your salary negotiations. At the end of the day, a good manager or employer wants to help you achieve your growth goals. At the same time, they also have budgets, market factors and possibly other stakeholders to contend with that will all have an impact in some way. It is worth considering if your organisation has the means and ability to act on your request.

Given the green light on these factors, we recommend booking a meeting with your employer at least two weeks prior so they can also have a chance to gather any notes and talk to any other stakeholders required as part of the approval process. Choose a quieter time of the week such as a Thursday or Friday afternoon, in person if possible.

H is for… Having a plan B

This is a huge opportunity a lot of people miss! If money isn’t on the table, consider other opportunities of non-monetary value that could be beneficial to your role or career growth. For example, a title change, access to skills training, mentorship opportunities or the ability to work on a new project. It is also worth considering, are you open to exploring external opportunities? Perhaps there is another opportunity within the company you would be interested in exploring?

U is for… Uncovering expectations

Whether your pay rise is successful or not successfully, this is an opportunity to clarify the expectations and criteria for a pay rise within your company. This includes understanding performance metrics, tenure requirements and other factors that may influence pay decisions. See how you can align your request for a pay rise with these expectations to strengthen your case! This may also shed some light on what is required from your role to grow and achieve higher salary tiers.

P is for… Preparation and practice

Last and perhaps most importantly, preparation and practice are key. Gather your evidence (including market research, evidence of success, performance indicators etc.), find a trusted friend or mentor and rehearse. Will it be uncomfortable? Most likely. Will you feel more prepared and confident on the day? Absolutely.

Practising your pitch beforehand can help you articulate your thoughts and refine your approach. This is your secret to success!

Now that you have the CASHUP Framework locked to memory, it’s time to go out and conquer your salary negotiations and ask for a pay rise. Go on! There’s no time like the present. Get planning!


 

Ready to unlock exclusive insights, tips and opportunities to level up your career? Join the Women in Digital Membership and be part of our thriving community of career-driven individuals! Click here to learn more.


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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 team 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! 


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September 12, 2020 Women in Digital

With such a wide array of new opportunities available in marketing, it isn’t surprising that many people struggle to see exactly where they fit in. Emma Wilkinson knows this first-hand.

A self-reported ‘digital unicorn’, Emma is an adventurous go-getter who has worked across a broad range of industries and specialisations, gaining a wealth of experience along the way. She has worked in Fortune 500 companies, including AVON, AECOM and Mitsubishi, as well as smaller boutique businesses throughout Australia. Currently, she is helping bridge the gap between traditional marketing communication and the burgeoning technology sector as the Digital Project Manager at The Distillery. Impressive right?

We were thrilled to have Emma share with us her impressive journey as a female tech lead and hear how she found her niche in the fascinating field of marketing, who although isn’t on the tools, is absolutely thriving.

The following words are by Emma Wilkinson

A year ago I walked away from being on the front line in digital because no matter how hard I tried I felt like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. Five months ago after trying on new career hats, a concerning number of “hope you are okay” gift baskets from my parents I came to the conclusion that maybe I was a mythical digital unicorn (cringe) as well a female tech lead who didn’t have the ambition to gain c-suite title or work on the tools.

Without a doubt, the industry requires more females on the tools however what I have found in my time is that some technical people are better suited to become Mary Poppins of digital. Someone who takes the project lead role and can using their technical know-how to proactively predict what a client is going to require, know how they will react (good and bad), and understand when to agree, disagree or suggest alternatives. They are also someone who understands the creative and technical functions and constraints of platforms and systems so that they can easily map out the next move and know when to react by changing direction needs or raising a red flag with their teams whilst be comforting, informative but firm in direction.

I am a project manager with a background in IT, strategy, system design and development, web development, UX and graphic design, digital marketing, account, and community management. Some skills and knowledge are more proficient than others but my technical knowledge has allowed me to become more of a ninja project lead whilst still being a role model to those who want to be on the tools and a mentor to those launching businesses who find the world of tech overwhelming.

I am often misunderstood because I don’t fit into the presumed roles of a software engineer, digital architect or digital marketing specialist. But I have over time learnt that my voice doesn’t need to be the loudest or in every conversation to be heard. I have led over a hundred websites in launching, I still wear my heart on sleeve and genuinely care about each project and supporting my team in their own career journey. I am breaking the mould of what a female tech lead is not because I think I should but because this is just who I am.

To those who want to thrive in tech, my message is simple. You don’t have to be at the top of the chain, an expert or be on the tools to thrive you just need to learn when it is appropriate to interject with your knowledge, actively listen and learn and respect the ecosystems you work in to predict the next move or recognise a red flag. You are not saving the world but you are building systems that keep the world afloat and provide tools to those who are saving the world.

Thank you so much Emma for sharing your insights. If you are interested in learning more about Emma, connect with her on LinkedIn.

Are you a woman in digital that wants to contribute an article. We would love to hear from you! Send us an email to [email protected].