FITT March Newsletter 2015
 
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FITT newsletter 2015 - March 

Dear Members,

Welcome to the month we’ve all been waiting for…Here at FITT, we consider March International Women’s MONTH and as such have bookended the month with our events in Melbourne and Sydney celebrating the women in our industry. Sandwiched in between our flagship IWD events is the FITT Business Networking Series across Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne taking place on March 18th and 19th. These events will run quarterly from now on so keep an eye out for the next one in June.

For those who made it to IWD in Melbourne, what an event! We had over 300 people in only the second time FITT IWD rolled into Melbourne, the networking drinks area at the RACV club was standing room only as the room buzzed with guests greeting friends and colleagues and making new connections. Thanks to Big Mouth and our own Valeria Ignatieva for a seamless event.

I was personally fortunate to be seated next to two of our fantastic speakers in Melbourne, Cisco’s Ken Boal and Dell’s Angela Fox during the lunch. We also heard from PwC’s Hilda Clune and Microsoft’s Linda Hamill, each speaker brought their own unique perspective to the issue of ‘transforming the future for women in IT' and each gave the audience some advice and solutions to ponder on how to make the workplace more flexible for women and ensure the right person is in the job regardless of circumstance. The afternoon finished with an interesting panel discussion which left each of us in the room walking out with high spirits on what is possible for women in IT when given the opportunity or even just having the courage to ask for them.

One lucky winner went away with a copy of Sonja Bernhardt’s book “Women in IT in the new Social Era” and for those who would like to find out more about Sonja, check out this month’s Exec profile where Sonja gives us a frank account of her journey highs and lows in the world of IT, navigating menopause and the balancing of a very busy PoT ‘portfolio of things’.

For the lucky Sydney peeps you have all the fun ahead of you as FITT IWD swings into Sydney on the 25th March. The event has SOLD OUT so it will really be the biggest event on the IT calendar for women across Australia which is a milestone for FITT and one we are extremely proud of! The event hashtag is FITT_IWD so start your tweeting early and on the day to share your fun with the rest of us.

For those who can’t make it to one of our
events in person, why not tune in to the forthcoming FITT Webinar on 16th April brought to us courtesy of Mark Bramwell, The ‘Art of Effective Listening – Building Empathy and Rapport. Details on how to register are below.

Also on 16th April is a Cisco/FITT networking event in Sydney, details and how to RSVP are below.

Don’t forget to check out Facebook for the event pictures (don’t be shy in tagging yourself!) and make sure to like our page for regular updates from FITT.

We look forward to seeing you at one of our forthcoming events.


Regards
Catriona Walkerden
Newsletter Editor and FITT Marketing Lead
On Behalf of the FITT Management Committee

 












Exec Profile – Sonja Bernhardt

International Women's Day

FITT Webinars – Book now

FITT Business Exchange – Book now 

Mentoring – Update

New coding school established – FITT founder Ann Moffatt

Offer from a bronze partner – Cliftons

Cisco Event – Get involved

FITT – Executive Profile – Sonja Bernhardt, OAM


What is your current role and what is your scope? 

I’m the big kahuna.

No seriously - I am owner and CEO of a multi award winning software development house, ThoughtWare Australia.

We have developed i.on my software to help Aged Care, Community Care, Disability Care, Indigenous Care, Retirement Living and Hospitals with their Governance, Risk Management and Compliance needs (www.ionmycare.com).



Read More >

International Women's Day Lunch Melbourne – Review

REVIEW: FITT present the 2015 International Women’s Day Luncheon
Transforming the Future for Women in ICT


Thank you to the 300+ guests who joined us to celebrate International Women’s Day at the RACV Club in Melbourne on 4th March. It was the biggest and best event yet.


Read More >

FITT Webinars – Book now



The ‘Art of Effective Listening – Building Empathy and Rapport April 16th 2015 12-1pm

Read More >

FITT Business Exchange – March 2015


In conjunction with Origin Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne

Following on from a hugely successful and inspiring Business Exchange launch across VIC, QLD and NSW, Origin and FITT are hosting our next informal networking event on the 18th and 19th March 2015.


Read More >

Mentoring – Update


We have had a huge response to the mentoring program with 51 confirmed mentees in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. This includes a Circle in Sydney and Melbourne for women with 20+ years experience.

We look forward to meeting these wonderful new women and thank our wonderful mentors.


Read More >

New coding school established – FITT founder Ann Moffatt


Silicon Coast Extracurricular Code School (SCXCS) has been established to teach young people how to develop computer programs.

Although there are code schools in major Australian cities, people in regional, rural and remote Australia have few opportunities to learn to code. There are many on-line tutorials but it is not easy to learn to code without professional assistance. 


Read More >

Bronze Sponsor Offer – Cliftons


Cliftons venues are located in city centres around Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore. Over the last 18 years,

Cliftons has hosted countless meetings, training sessions, conferences and other corporate events, making us the experts in the business events venue hire industry and renowned for our exemplary customer service.


Read More >

Cisco Events – Get involved


Event Title: Embracing Flexibility in the Workplace

Event Description: Discover more about the technology that helps enable flexible working and join in the discussion around the positive impact flexible working can have.
 

Read More >

FITT - Executive Profile - Sonja Bernhardt, OAM
 

What is your current role and what is your scope?  
I’m the big kahuna.

No seriously - I am owner and CEO of a multi award winning software development house, ThoughtWare Australia.

We have developed i.on my software to help Aged Care, Community Care, Disability Care, Indigenous Care, Retirement Living and Hospitals with their Governance, Risk Management and Compliance needs (www.ionmycare.com).

Like the majority of firms in the IT industry we are an SME, which means even though I do work on the business strategies and financials I still spend time working in it – assisting consultants, project managers, testers and the development team.

We’re highly agile, in fact extreme, in how we operate, meaning people are in a variety of locations (Fiji, NZ, Australia (East and West Coast), Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines and India) and almost everything we need is available to us from anywhere. It’s my job to ensure we have the right team mix and right tools to be efficient and productive.

 
What attracted you to a career in ICT? 
Happenstance! The two key trigger events were both circumstantial:

• I was a single parent of 2 small children, and on completion of my postgraduate studies I applied for a job I thought was in HR. It turned out to be for a HR software development company (Mincom, now Ventrix). Within a day IT bit me and I knew I LOVED IT!

• Roll forward a number of years and I (oops, my position) was made redundant at that firm. I knew I was good at what I did and I didn’t understand what had occurred and why. Naturally at the time I was extremely shocked, I was depressed and I cried for one and a half days. I decided that I never wanted to be ‘sacked’ again and that I’d prefer to understand business ebbs and flows, so I took the reins and started ThoughtWare, first consulting and later developing our own software in the up and coming GRMC area.

 
Tell us about the highpoints and lowpoints of your career? 
Any career has its highs and its lows, but running your own company really intensifies both. There have been many many high points, and many low (being human with optimistic tendencies I tend to shrug off and not dwell on the low points). Some high points are:

In 2014 my company was named the ICT Company of the Year for the Aged Care industry. I had been chasing that accolade for 5 years so it absolutely hit a highlight. We’ve had clients being awarded Best Implementations of the Year (for projects implementing our software) and I have always rejoiced with them, but to win our own recognition was a joy (and lots of champagne flowed) – in truth we started drinking champagne beforehand hoping we would win, so it just kept flowing!

Experiencing the company growth and being in a position to offer meaningful jobs to people who genuinely seek flexibility in their lives, always hits highlights for me. Agility and flexibility are core to operations in ThoughtWare and ideally suit people who have busy lives and are responsible adults willing to manage their work deliverables, times and locations.

Naturally my personal honour of being awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) on Australia day in 2011 for my volunteer work encouraging women in IT was a major highlight. I’m grinning like a cheshire cat in the photos of the award ceremony. I felt and still feel very proud of that recognition and the work that led to it.

Being in 2005 the first, and I think still only Australian, inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame (Silicon Valley) was an earlier mega proud highlight.

As for low points, whenever you work hard but don’t get the results you hope for and feel you deserve it is hard. But it is harder when it’s your own company and its growth or even survival can be on the line. Plus I’m tough on myself when my expectations lead to disappointments. So over time when I set standards and expectations and they did not work out I tended to internalise the disappointment into anger at myself.

Then there is the effect of just getting older! Menopause was fascinating and mostly a low point – it’s rarely spoken about at work or in public but it REALLY REALLY can mess up your life. Even though fundamentally I was still me, I found myself both thinking and behaving differently and that impacted the quality of life of not only me but also others. And it impacted the quality of decisions I undertook - I should have started HRT sooner than I did.

It’s a semi low point now as I am getting older and I experience that I am not what I used to be in terms of mental and physical agility. I’ve always relied on myself, my efficiency and productivity – but as time progresses I’m learning that as women this is a change that is part of life and I need to not be so disappointed in my older self.

 
What does work life balance mean to you?
A lie.

I prefer to use a different analogy – I use ‘portfolio’. I don’t think or use the concept of balance as it implies a linear approach meaning when one side (work) is busy the other side (life) is low (out of balance) and vice versa. To me it’s much much more about me the individual and who I am: and that what I do in whatever ‘role’, whether it is volunteering, parenting, working etc. – everything I bring to that role and everything I learn from it contributes to me as a whole. It is me as a whole that I apply to whatever I do.

As a result the concept of balance is thrown out in my world and I consider I have a portfolio of ‘things’ (PoT little geek joke there) with me at the centre spanning across the portfolio but organically and dynamically contributing to all.

In fact I believe we ought to stop speaking about work life balance, as ultimately it is an impossible analogy to ever be in balance and it causes too much concern and potential stress thinking of it in that way. We have values in all areas of our life: we need to prioritise them, not lose sight of them – and then we can have it all.

 
What attracted and kept you in the ICT industry throughout your career? 
Personal interest and drive have kept me in the industry. You know that fire in your belly that ignites your energy and keeps your brain engaged.

Since the late 90’s I have spent a significant amount of my time, energy and $ on volunteer activities within the tech industry, e.g. associations, boards, committees etc. This includes being the founder of Women in Technology in Qld and co-founder of AWISE (Australian Women in IT, Science and Engineering). I’ve found that the extended reach comes with extra knowledge, skills and people to meet. And that always feeds my passion to continue.

Since swapping from corporate IT life in 1999 to owning and running a home based SME, I’ve found that the added flexibility and easy fit into my whole life has also been a driver to continue. It’s just easier.

And of course the entrepreneur in me says the drive to build a sustainable, profitable business leading to a successful exit and fabulously happy retirement keeps me going.

 
What ambitions personal or professional do you still want to achieve? 
My key professional ambition is to successfully exit my business, so that I could then become a (semi retired) angel investor and keep igniting my interest across a range of tech and science start-ups.

Personally I’d be delighted to be invited as a speaker for a TED conference!

To me happiness in what I do is key and my overall ambition (professional and personal) is to retain that happiness, to continue to feel I am making a difference.

 
What’s the one piece of advice you'd give to yourself starting out on your career?
Sonja stop, slow down, spend time to study yourself, understand who you are, why you think and act the way that you do. Don’t feel guilty about taking time to learn more about yourself. Understand your underlying philosophical approach and act consistently with that in all that you undertake.

The added value of that advice is that knowing yourself will help you understand others better and why people react to you the way that they do.

International Women’s Day Lunch Melbourne - Review



REVIEW: FITT present the 2015 International Women’s Day Luncheon
Transforming the Future for Women in ICT


Thank you to the 300+ guests who joined us to celebrate International Women’s Day at the RACV Club in Melbourne on 4th March. It was the biggest and best event yet. There was standing room only at the networking drinks before guests sat down to a delicious two course lunch to hear from an exciting panel of speakers. FITT’s Catriona Walkerden opened the event and welcomed the MC for the afternoon; Susan Sly. Susan’s quick wit had the audience entertained as she confessed she was terrible at ‘sticking to the script.’ Susan introduced our first speaker, Dell Managing Director Angela Fox, who advocated nurturing of women early in their IT career to have the most impact. Next was Hilda Clune of PwC who highlighted her own personal experiences when joining PwC with a 6 month old baby and telling them politely, “if you can let me do this job in the way I need to, I’m onboard, if not we can’t go ahead”, that message was extremely empowering for women in the audience to hear. Next up was Microsoft’s Linda Hamill who as Microsoft HR Director shared some practical examples on how we can support women in the workplace. The lone brave male on the panel Cisco’s ANZ Lead Ken Boal described himself as a ‘believer’ that creating opportunities for women equals a more powerful workforce and organisation, he also added later in the panel discussion women must not wait to be ‘tapped on the shoulder’ and to seek opportunities as well as responding to those in front of us.

Feedback from the event has been tremendous and our stellar line up of speakers received great applause for their open, frank and often deeply personal accounts of their own journey. Many of our speakers return to join us in Sydney on 25th March and the event is sold out!

If you need a reminder on our speakers and their bios check out the FITT website for more detailed event information. www.fitt.org.au/Events/CurrentEvents.


Click HERE to see great photos from the luncheon. Photos courtesy of CRN.

Our Sydney event is now SOLD OUT - see you there!

 

FITT Webinars – Book now



The ‘Art of Effective Listening – Building Empathy and Rapport April 16th 2015 12-1pm

In this 45min webinar, Mark will discuss habits, styles and listing strategies, followed by a 10 min Q&A session:

• Consideration of how we interact with, listen to and question others driven by preconceived ideas, stereotypes and biases
• Listening more effectively to what is actually being said not what we expect to be said
• Identify poor listening habits and considering strategies for improvement
• Questioning habits and styles – dealing with different styles of communication
• Building empathy through effective listening and questioning

About Mark
Mark Bramwell is a skilled coach, trainer, facilitator and performance feedback provider. Mark is the founder and principal consultant of Bramwell Solutions, and has more than 15 years experience in designing and delivering coaching and development programs across a diverse range of industries and organisations. He has extensive expertise in interpersonal communications, organisational dynamics, leadership, and employee engagement.

Mark has successfully trained and coached senior executives through to frontline managers. He has assisted individuals and organisations improve their communication and leadership capability, turn around poor team dynamics, improve individual and team productivity, and substantially enhance the capability of individuals to take the next step in their careers.

BOOK NOW

FITT Business Exchange – March 2015



In conjunction with Origin Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne

Following on from a hugely successful and inspiring Business Exchange launch across VIC, QLD and NSW, Origin and FITT are hosting our next informal networking event on the 18th and 19th March 2015.

The theme for the evening will be around ‘Planning for a successful 2015’, and we look forward to the sharing of ideas, practices and experience to elevate our collective success. We are delighted to facilitate this stimulating networking platform, and are hugely enthusiastic about continuing to build this collaborative community.

The event will be held across Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane 5.30-7.30pm. Please use the links below to book and for location details:

Sydney - March 19th
Melbourne - March 18th
Brisbane - March 18th

Numbers are strictly limited, so please book early.

Mentoring –Update
                                                                          

We have had a huge response to the mentoring program with 51 confirmed mentees in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. This includes a Circle in Sydney and Melbourne for women 20+ years experience.

We look forward to meeting these wonderful new women and thank our wonderful mentors.

New coding school established - FITT founder Ann Moffatt



Silicon Coast Extracurricular Code School (SCXCS) has been established to teach young people how to develop computer programs.

Although there are code schools in major Australian cities, people in regional, rural and remote Australia have few opportunities to learn to code. There are many on-line tutorials but it is not easy to learn to code without professional assistance. Over the past year, we have developed and trialled a methodology which is based on on-line learning plus assistance from professional tutors.

The new High School curriculum includes some very basic coding. SCXCS will teach students languages used commercially so that they may either use their skills to develop Apps or games or commercial systems used in major enterprises throughout the world. Using technology available now, skilled programmers can work anywhere in the world. There is no need for programmers to move to major cities to get work.

SCXCS is led by Ann Moffatt who has extensive experience in delivering computer education. Ann started in the Computer industry in 1959. She has worked as a programmer, analyst, designer and manager and has served on several Boards. Her experience in computer education includes 4 years as Director of the Institute of Information Technology at UNSW where she managed the delivery of IBM’s customer and internal Education throughout Australia and parts of SE Asia when IBM outsourced their education to UNSW. On establishing her own company in 1993, she managed the delivery of Digital’s Customer and Internal education throughout Australia, and later all Intel’s Education throughout Australia and NZ.

Other key members of SCXCS are graduates and 4th year undergraduates in ICT with expertise in both computing and education.

Starting in Hervey Bay in February, courses will be held at USQ’s Fraser Coast Campus. Each course will last 12 weeks with one hour a week guided training from 4-5pm. Students will be expected to continue on-line learning between formal classes.

Following the successful delivery of our first course in Hervey Bay, we intend to deliver courses throughout regional, rural and remote Australia.

For more information please contact Ann Moffatt at mofatt.as@bigpond.com  



Cliftons venues are located in city centres around Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore. Over the last 18 years, Cliftons has hosted countless meetings, training sessions, conferences and other corporate events, making us the experts in the business events venue hire industry and renowned for our exemplary customer service.

Simply hold your April event between 1-17 April 2015 at any Cliftons venue and you will receive 30% off the TOTAL room hire rate (for the first 2 days of your booking) PLUS free morning or afternoon tea (when you take lunch for your attendees).

All event bookings include a complimentary whiteboard, flipchart, instructor PC/laptop, notepads and pens, course material handling, breakout lounge access with free Wi-Fi, all-day refreshments and much more. Plus you will have one point of contact for your booking.

For more information and full terms and conditions, visit www.cliftons.com/april-2015-offer, email Cliftons at enquiries@cliftons.com or call 1800 629 088.

 
 

Cisco Events - Get involved



CISCO/FITT Networking Event
 
Event Title: Embracing Flexibility in the Workplace
Event Description: Discover more about the technology that helps enable flexible working and join in the discussion around the positive impact flexible working can have.
Date: Thursday April 16th 2015
Time: 5:30-7:30pm
Venue: Cisco, Level 10, 80 Pacific Highway, North Sydney
RSVP to Stephanie Norris: stenorri@cisco.com
Please note that there are a limited number of spots available to so be quick to respond






Find yourself in the future webinar AND Women Rock IT

On Wednesday 12 November 2014, the Social Innovation Group in Asia Pacific launched the first in a four part series of the Women Rock-IT Cisco TV Series with Chief Technology Officer, Monique Morrow. The series is designed to inspire the next generation of female IT talent to pursue careers in the industry.

A total of 1,989 students attended the event from 50 countries. 77 students attended over TelePresence units located in Australia, Hong Kong, Thailand and Vietnam. 970 students attended at Academies located in Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia and Philippines. 942 students attended the live Cisco TV broadcast with a further 223 downloads of the recording.

Monique's blog posted on Huffington post entitled
 'Why Our Future Depends on Women In Technology'.

Monique welcomed students by sharing some of the most influential women in technology history, a focus on her own personal journey and the exciting opportunities that exist in the Technology Industry.

During the sessions Monique introduced a speech by Vice President of the European Commission, Neelie Kroes, who is responsible for the Digital agenda that states; "Every woman should have the tools to take control of her life: and today, it's almost uniquely ICT skills that offer growing employment, innovation, and opportunity."


Vanessa Sulikowski and Shraddha Chaplot are scheduled to speak 23rd April and 2nd July 2015. Click through to see more details.