Winners of the 2021 WID Awards

The Women in Digital Awards were founded based on the idea ‘you can’t be what you can’t see.’ The awards are a celebration of incredible women and non-binary folk within the digital industries and the organisations that support them.

Last year we received over 300 nominations, 200 submissions and a record-setting 700 guests at the Women in Digital Awards Gala. It was not an easy job for our panel of industry expert judges but we are so very excited to announce the WINNERS for the 2021 Women in Digital Awards.

Learn more about the WID Awards

See the 2021 WID Awards Finalists

Meet the 2021 WID Award Winners
Founder of the Year

Hannah Spilva
Executive Leader of the Year

Professor Mary Foley AM
Executive Leader of the Year

Tracy Whitelaw
Digital Marketer of the Year

Bec Ney
Champion of Change

Nikita Fernandes
Rising Star of the Year

Aishwarya Kansakar
Software Engineer of the Year

Alexis Tyler
Innovator of the Year

Monica Zarafu
Digital Experience Leader of the Year

Davina Adisusila
Indigenous of the Year

Mikaela Jade
Data Leader of the Year

Michelle Teis MAICD
UX Leader of the Year

Vida Asrina
Diversity Employer of the Year

Australian Spatial Analytics
Digital Workforce: Skills for the Future


Get to know the 2021 WID Award Winners

The 2021 Founder of the Year, powered by AWS, is… Hannah Spilva

Hannah Spilva
Co-Founder & CEO

Hannah Spilva is the co-founder of LVLY; an online flower and gift delivery service.

The commercial success of LVLY is a tribute to Hannah’s acumen and commitment to constant improvement in her business.

Hannah has overcome a significant number of both human and technical challenges to deliver on their market-leading delivery with the inclusion of personalisation and speed, all of which has resulted in exponential growth at over 100% year on year. What’s extra impressive is LVLY is highly profitable, debt-free and remains 100% owned by its founders.

Whilst the other finalists entries were incredibly compelling, Hannah’s leadership and vision ultimately set her apart as the 2021 Women in Digital Founder of the Year.

The 2021 Executive Leader of the Year, powered by Avanade, is… Professor Mary Foley AM and Tracy Whitelaw

Professor Mary Foley AM
Managing Director
Telstra Health

Professor Mary Foley AM is the Managing Director of Telstra Health, leading a 1,400 strong workforce to deliver digital health solutions. Under Mary’s leadership Telstra Health has acquired a range of businesses and contracts across the health ecosystem, which has seen Telstra Health’s revenue grow by more than 60% over the past four years whilst also delivering health care solutions to millions of Australians.

The judges were particularly impressed with the scale of results achieved through a personable, authentic and caring leadership style which found her admired by her team. According to one employee, it is not uncommon to encounter a professional challenge and think, ‘What would Mary Foley do’?

Here’s what the judges had to say:

“Prof Mary Foley is an incredibly accomplished leader who is clearly admired by her team… There is no doubt the contribution she is making to her organisation, the wider community and her team is significant and she deserves to be congratulated.”

Tracy Whitelaw
Chief Digital Officer

Tracy Whitelaw is the Chief Digital Officer at Local Government Association of Queensland, leading the digital transformation and data maturity of 77 Queensland councils to help the councils better serve their communities. Under her leadership, they have also set up LGAQ Innovation Lab, in partnership with Google, Telstra, Facebook, local startups and universities.

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

Here’s what the judges had to say:

“Tracy, congratulations on a remarkable journey and being such a respected leader. One of the best signs of a great leader is who follows them and clearly you have a strong following which is both admirable and something you should be very proud of.”

“You balance between outcomes, taking people on the journey and the importance of leading and learning from reflection is evident in your responses! What stands out for me however is your realisation that diverse teams are essential – this is so true and we need many more of them! Huge congrats!”

The 2021 Digital Marketer of the Year, powered by Salesforce, is… Bec Ney

Bec Ney
Partner Marketing Manager

Bec Ney is the former Head of Marketing at The Missing Link, an IT solutions and service consultancy in Sydney.

With a $35,000 budget, Bec and her team generated 18 times that in revenue, and 11 times that in profit for a newly launched service product at The Missing Link; a feat the judges were absolutely blown away by.

The judges were also impressed with Bec’s incredible career growth and progression within the company from Receptionist to Head of Marketing, something she has achieved through constant professional development, mentoring support and saying ‘yes’ to new challenges. She is committed to giving back to the community in return, volunteering with organisations such as Tech Girls Movement and the Women in ICT Awards.

Here’s what the judges had to say…

 “I loved reading about your journey from Receptionist to Head Of Marketing, this is really inspiring and will serve as a good reminder to the next generation that a career in tech/IT is absolutely achievable. What outstanding results you led your team to achieve on this particular campaign – well done!”

The 2021 Rising Star of the Year, powered by Entain, is… Aishwarya Kansakar

Aishwarya Kansakar
Business Optimisation Analyst
Asahi Beverages

Aishwarya Kansakar is a Business Optimisation Analyst at Asahi Beverages, and Founder of startup Krillin Robotics and Technologies. She has also completed tertiary education across the globe with 1 x Bachelor, 2 x Masters and she also recently completed studies in AI and Computer Science at none other than MIT.

Aishwarya’s entry was compelling – her passion for the digital industry, dedication to continuous professional development and wisdom beyond her years made her a stand out finalist.

Here’s what the judges had to say:

“Love your work so much and what you have achieved… look forward to following your journey and all of your inevitable successes.”
“Amazing startup and experience, demonstrated strong resilience in the face of hardships.”

The 2021 Software Engineer of the Year, powered by TechnologyOne, is… Alexis Tyler

Alexis Tyler
VP of Engineering

Alexis Tyler is the Vice President of Engineering at CitrusAd, an adtech company providing large scale retailers the ability to connect with their customers online as well as they do in store.

To achieve a VP level role with 6 years commercial experience is incredibly impressive – and after reading Alexis’s application, the judges could understand why.

Alexis comes from a non-traditional background starting with a Bachelor in Applied Mathematics and pivoted into Software Engineering from there. Alexis demonstrates real leadership and a focus on growth in every area including technical strategy, process improvement, reducing technical debt, communicating the technical vision to all stakeholders and remaining focussed on delivering customers’ needs.

The judges were impressed by her incredible foresight and customer-centric approach to software engineering. They also noted that Alexis was amazing in all areas; technical application, mentorship and leadership and community giveback.

Here’s what the judges had to say:

“This is an outstanding entry from all aspects, the dev plan ticks all the boxes including the implementation and testing. The seamless integration considering the huge tech overhaul is amazing. Also Alexis’s contribution to the community and her dedication in empowering her own team make this entry one of the strongest.”

The 2021 Innovator of the Year, powered by Auto & General, is… Monica Zarafu

Monica Zarafu
Founder & CEO

Monica Zarafu is the founder of BYKKO, a bike sharing company powering sustainable and eco-friendly transport in cities across Australia.

Monica is passionate about preserving the planet for future generations, and sees bike sharing as key to developing smart cities. Originally launched in Newcastle, BYKKO bike usage has increased by 5,000% since launching in 2018. Since then, Monica has secured bike sharing programs with key organisations across Australia including NSW Government and Transport for NSW.

Her ambition to solve real world problems using technology, alongside exceptional user growth is what impressed the judges and saw Monica take out the 2021 Innovator of the Year Award.

Here’s what the judges had to say:

“Monica appears to have a deep understanding of the electric bike industry and she has applied her knowledge effectively in the creation of BYKKO. With mobility tech set to race ahead Monica’s persistence in identifying shortcomings in the industry and developing an innovative technology-driven solution is sure to make her a winner now and in the future.”

The 2021 Digital Experience Leader of the Year, powered by Integral Technology (OTM), is… Davina Adisusila

Davina Adisusila
Head of Engineering
Eucalyptus (Kin Fertility)

Davina Adisusila won this award for her work on Kin Fertility – Australia’s first subscription pill service.

Kin Fertility was launched before COVID – an extra impressive feat as digital healthcare was yet to become as commonly used and accepted by the Australian market.

Navigating anything to do with e-health or telehealth is challenging, but Davina’s work in creating an elegant and seamless end-to-end experience to create life improvements for women’s needs made it look simple. But don’t take our word for it, take a look here. The work undertaken by Davina and the team not only increased business revenue but also laid the foundations for future products to reuse and leverage the capability.

Here’s what the judges had to say…

“This is an important digital solution for women’s health achieved with an elegant simple, digital platform. Navigating anything to do with e-health or telehealth is challenging; congratulations for seeing this project to fruition and creating life improvements for women’s needs.”

The 2021 Indigenous Leader of the Year, powered by Women in Digital, is… Mikaela Jade

Mikaela Jade
Founder & CEO

Mikaela Jade, a Cabrogal Woman, is truly inspirational. Her resume is so impressive that we weren’t sure how to sum it all up in one neat soundbite but here are a few of her current roles:

In partnership with Telstra Purple and Microsoft, Indigital is teaching Indigenous and non-Indigenous kids alike to connect and learn about culture, history and language from Indigenous elders, all whilst acquiring digital skills across augmented reality, animation, audio recording, coding and more.

Whilst the finalists were all impressive in their own right, the judges were particularly wowed by Indigitals’ impact, evidenced by the 7,000 students who have experienced the program.

Here’s what the judges had to say…

Mikaela is truly inspirational. This company was born out of her enthusiasm to create culture that would be transparent for all to see the stories in their place. She has gone onto to lead this conversation nationally and internationally. She is bringing others along with her through education which will create the change through generations.”

The 2021 Data Leader of the Year, powered by Shell Energy, is… Michelle Teis MAICD

Michelle Teis MAICD

Michelle Teis is a Partner at GWI – a consultancy specialising in solving complex business problems through data and technology.

Her award submission was specifically about a project she led for an enterprise-wide data governance and enablement program for an ASX-listed corporation employing approximately 28,000 people. GWI were coming in to help overhaul the company’s data practices after seventeen (yes, you read that right) previously failed attempts at implementing data governance over a number of years.

Michelle led the project to success resulting in:

  • Up to $3m in savings per year as a result of a reduction in data duplication and improved decision making across a customer billing process
  • Reduction in licensing and storage requirements of up to $5m per year.
  • Potential revenue assurance of up to $20m based on improved ability to align expenditure against vendor services

Michelle’s entry impressed the judges thanks to the incredible commercial impact her work has achieved. Her resilience and tenacity in the face of adversity was admirable, as was her contribution to the industry.

The 2021 UX Leader of the Year, powered by Symplicit, is… Vida Asrina

Vida Asrina
Head of Experience Design

Vida Asrina is the Head of Experience Design at EndeavourX where she undertook a service and UX design project for Dan Murphy’s ‘direct to boot’ service. You can see the experience in action in this video – click here.

Vida’s entry demonstrated an intimate understanding of customer needs and how design can be used to drive business results. The judges were particularly impressed with Vida’s stakeholder management skills, driving the importance of user-centred design as a disciple within the business which has seen her design team grow from 2 to 35 designers within 3 years.

Here’s what the judges had to say…

“What a woman! Day job aside this women is a loud and strong advocate for the power of design to drive positive impact – commercial and socially. She’s a superstar!”

The 2021 Champion of Change of the Year, powered by COSOL, is… Nikita Fernandes

Nikita Fernandes
Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer
Ally Assist

Nikita Fernandes is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at Ally Assist, an organisation connecting people with disabilities to allied health professionals. They exist to play a role in creating a world where every person and family living with disability can access the products and services they need to be the healthiest, most vibrant version of themselves. To get there, Ally Assist is on a mission to create a higher standard of disability care in Australia and beyond.

In just over 2 years, they’ve worked with over 500 people and their families, and have provided more than 30,000 hours of therapy assistance to participants. As a profit-for-purpose company, the organisation is sustainable – and has achieved an average 10% month on month revenue growth since starting the business, which now employs a team of 8 full-time staff.

Our judges were particularly impressed with Nikita’s drive and resilience – her personal experience means she approaches the business with true empathy and determination.

Here’s what our judges had to say…

“Nikita’s ‘Ally Assist’ is a perfect example of identifying a problem, and doing something about it with the tools and resources at your disposal.”
“I could literally feel her drive and resilience lifting off the page as I was reading her submission.”
“What’s most admirable is that Nikita isn’t just connecting two groups – one with the skills, and one that require the service, but its actually the education piece – Ally Assist provides a platform and space to provide real-world practical skills to the health industry.”

The 2021 Diversity Employer of the Year, powered by Urban Utilities is… Australian Spatial Analytics

Australian Spatial Analytics

Australian Spatial Analytics is a data-solutions company transforming geospatial data into insightful information, working with companies including Cibo Labs, QUT and Biarri Networks.

Australian Spatial Analytics is a unique organisation creating opportunities in technology and data with neurodiverse talent. What sets this finalist apart is that their commercial purpose to serve people with autism has far-reaching impacts. Not only by changing social perceptions of neurodiverse individuals but also by increasing organisational awareness of the importance of diversity.

ASA is an organisation that is truly living and breathing D&I across all areas of their organisation and the way in which they interact and support their employees. The judges also liked that ASA has been very deliberate in terms of their focus on neurodiversity while also supporting that with an intersectional lens.

Here’s what the judges had to say…

“ASA is an organisation that is truly living and breathing D&I across all areas of their organisation and the way in which they interact and support their employees. ASA has been very deliberate in terms of their focus on neurodiversity… truly impressed at the initiatives and thought that had been given in terms of ensuring that they were also approaching their D&I strategy and supporting with an intersectional lens. This was evident in their approach to external partnerships, community engagement and recruitment efforts.”

The 2021 Digital Workforce: Skills for the Future, powered by the Queensland Government – Department of Communities, Housing & Digital Economy, is… Avanade


Avanade is a joint venture between Microsoft Corporation and Accenture LLP providing innovative digital and cloud services, business solutions and design-led experiences delivered through the power of people and the Microsoft ecosystem.

Avanade has won due to their large scale organisational efforts to improve the national skills shortage by providing programs and initiatives to equip their workforce with skills for the future.

Some of their key achievements in the last financial year include:

  • Increasing the percentage of client-facing employees from 45% to 68.5% Microsoft-certified
  • Extending allocated training times by 1 extra day per month – an increase of 80 hours to 96 hours
  • Their new Business Applications Microsoft Academy has set diversity targets of 50/50 gender balance, and the inclusion of a 5% indigenous cohort
  • Their Australian Security Talent Community has embraced a ‘hire, train, deploy’ philosophy
  • They also engaged with external partners such as MEGT and Goanna to integrate more reskilled/upskilled new hires

The judges were very impressed with Avanade’s submission. Avanade have articulated a clear strategy and range of programs to ensure their current workforce consistently develop their technical skills whilst also future proofing in their talent pipeline – something that not only benefits the business, but also benefits the broader technical community. From a program for technical leaders, to their limitless learning program, the Avanade University, through to the MS Academy, their dedication to continuous improvement is truly outstanding.