FITT May Newsletter 2014

FITT newsletter 2014 – May

Dear Members,

Welcome to the May issue of the FITT newsletter!

This month we are excited to have our most recent partner Cisco feature one of their female executives Tara Ridley in our exec profile. Tara shares with us her enthusiasm for the industry and her professional journey, and we learn Tara is also about to achieve one of her personal aspirations, to be a mother!

For those with other life changing aspirations, check out our webinar hosted by FITT treasurer and Financial adviser Helen Shao on Thursday, 19 June. Helen will coach us on how to plan your finances as strategically for life successes, your career or any other area, more details below.

This month also sees the long awaited release of the FITT corporate diversity report, you may remember back in December, FITT surveyed our 4,000 members nationally to get their view on how it feels to be a woman in ICT today, read a snapshot of the results below and keep an eye out for the full report on our website shortly.

Do you remember what it’s like to be a new graduate in the workforce starting her career in a male dominated environment? It can be pretty intimidating, so FITT has taken the formula from our successful mentoring program and is launching the FITT Mentoring Lite Program for NSW only. Find out more in the article below.

As well as mentoring, we all need good role models to look up to in our industry, so if you know a brilliant business woman, nominate them from the Telstra women in business awards so that their efforts can be recognised at these prestigious awards. Find out more below on how to nominate someone in the categories 

Until next month!

The FITT Management Committee

FITT – Executive Profile: Tara Ridley 

  Tara Ridley, Director of Enterprise Sales and Operations for Cisco

What is your current role and what is your scope?
I’m the Director of Enterprise Sales and Operations for Cisco in Australia.  In this role, I’m responsible for identifying and leading growth and development for the top-100 companies on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) as well as managing the sales force that drives Cisco’s engagement and business in this area. I lead a team that spans across multiple industry verticals (e.g., Finance, Banking and Insurance, Retail, Manufacturing, Transport, Mining and Utilities). In this role now for 16 months, I’ve focused the team on helping to ensure these top private sector companies are able to navigate critical industry inflection points such as cloud, mobility and video to achieve business outcomes such as increased productivity, competitive advantage and sustainable growth.

What attracted you to a career in ICT?
While ICT wasn’t my original career plan, through positive experiences and being open to trying new things, my career has evolved to ICT. Originally from the UK, I studied marketing at University and had grand plans of getting into brand management or PR. As part of my BA (Hons) degree, the 3rd year was spent working in industry and a number of companies came to campus to promote themselves. HP was one of those companies and I was really impressed with their comprehensive graduate programme. I did my 12 months at HP supporting the sales team and absolutely loved it! Upon completing my degree, HP offered me 1 of 5 graduate places available and I’ve never looked back!

Tell us about the high points and low points of your career?
Of the numerous highlights in my career, the common theme is the talented people I’ve had the privilege of working with at the three companies I’ve worked for in the UK and Australia. With the mindset that every role has provided me with new opportunities to learn and be challenged, I’ve never had what would generally be termed ‘low points’.

What does work life balance mean to you?
While ‘work-life balance’ might sound like an unachievable aspiration, particularly in the fast-paced, ever changing ICT industry, I feel very privileged to work for Cisco. Cisco provides great flexibility in the way we work and enables us through technology to be able to collaborate effectively wherever we are ¬ at home, on the move or at work.

What attracted and kept you in the ICT industry throughout your career?
There is only one constant in the IT industry and that is change. Some people resist change, but I embrace change and view it as an opportunity to try something new and/or different every day- it also keeps me on my toes! I thrive under pressure and constant change, so pursuing a career in sales for an IT company suits this drive and passion!

What ambitions personal or professional do you still want to achieve?
Personally, my desire has been to become a mum which I’m shortly about to do and I’m so excited about it! Professionally my goal is to always be in a role that challenges me and in an environment where I can learn. It has served me well so far and I’m sure it will continue to do so when I get back from maternity leave.

What's the one piece of advice you'd give to yourself starting out on your career?
Embrace every opportunity that comes your way. It may not seem to be the obvious or a desired next step but you never know what door(s) it may open.

FITT Webinar

Planning For Life Change?

Are you thinking about a life change? Is it something you have planned for or is it something that has hit out of the blue? In the mature stages of life we can be planning for our marriage, new born and retirement or be hit suddenly with other major life change. These can be times of great opportunity and new starts. These can also be times of great uncertainty and worry.
    How satisfied are you on a scale of 1:10 that your current financial strategy will achieve your goals?
    Will your strategy cover your children’s education through high school and university?
    Will your strategy enable you to retire comfortably?

Major life change has implications for ongoing wellbeing, peace of mind and future security, whether planned or unplanned. Change can have a big knock on effect for your finances, your investments, and your future income. Change can affect those close to you, your family, your partner and dependents. This can often make things complex.

This webinar will provide you with some tips and strategies to plan for the change.

Helen Shao

Helen is an experienced financial planner, financial coach and financial analyst with nearly 20 years’ experience in the industry. She is the owner and principle of MLC Advice Lane Cove. Helen holds a Bachelor and Master’s degree in Applied Mathematics, PhD studies in Applied Finance, an MBA and a Diploma in Advanced Financial Planning.

Helen’s passion is helping people to design and build the life they want, she has had a fascinating life journey from leaving China in the 1980’s to overcoming the challenges of new starts in Australia, to a successful business owner today. It is a story of strength, resilience and trust, heartache and hope through life’s continual change.

Two decades down the track, Helen uses her own life experience setting up a successful business venture ‘Renovate You’ to helping people to transform themselves to, ‘Look the part, Feel the part, Own the part, Live the part’.

With thanks to Forum Group Events for hosting the webinar

FITT – Corporate Diversity Report highlights

A snapshot from the FITT Annual Corporate Diversity Report 2013/2014

Each year, FITT conducts detailed research through its 4,000 members in order to capture the sentiment of women in ICT in Australia today and publishes these findings in the FITT Annual corporate diversity report.

This report, which is shared in detail with FITT’s sponsors and partners, helps to shape their gender diversity programs both internally and how they partner with FITT to meet the needs of women in their organisations.

FITT as a committee also looks carefully at the feedback and women’s needs and designs their programs around the key needs of women as called out in the report.

Here are some of the highlights from the 2013/2014 report:

Respondent demographic:

There is significant representation for each age group, the majority (22%) fall into the 41-45 age range, closely followed by 20% in the next bracket down (36-40). Almost 70% of the responses came from the combined age segments covering 31-50 years old.

Salary range:
The majority of responses (37%) are in the range is $150k+, this is up from 29.6% last year in this bracket. Almost 70% of the 221 respondents earn over $100k per annum.

Years in industry:
Over 40% of those surveyed in 2013/14 have worked in the IT industry from 10-20 years; our respondents are a solid mix of entry level, mid level and senior.

Job function
84% of women taking the survey in 2013/14 were employed. The most common job role within our respondents is ICT Project Manager (same as last year), followed by ICT Sales/Account Manager (29%) and ICT Consultant

Top challenges experienced by women in ICT
We asked our members to give us their top three challenges in their career or personal life and how FITT can support their goals in 2014. In our annual planning meeting, the FITT Management Committee carefully reviews the input from our surveys to determine our own program offerings and opportunities we can provide to our corporate sponsors. The three top answers in 2013/14 survey were:
1. Career advancement
2. Guidance on work life balance
3. Access to networking opportunities

Perception on best organisations for women:

The top three mentioned were Telstra, IBM and Westpac. But there were a number of others mentioned. Many of the respondents (21%) did not know a good employer for women in the industry.

Career progression:
What are the top motivations for women when changing roles?

The most important reason was the role itself (69%) followed by company culture (60%) and flexible work practices (46%). These numbers have been static over our recent member surveys.

What programs enable women to senior ICT positions?

Increased mentoring (64%), high profile projects (64%), leadership training (57%) and flexible work options (56%) are all seen as very effective programmes to enable women to progress towards more senior positions.

We asked our members if they are planning to stay in the ICT industry or their IT role within the next 5 years; to which 89% said yes and 11% said no, the main reason (60%) women gave for not wanting to stay in ICT is that it is too male dominated, while 56% cited there weren’t enough female mentors and role models to help their progression.

We also asked our members to share ideas on what FITT could do to encourage and support women in the ICT industry generally, almost 60% cited networking opportunities with other women and 42% requested more guidance on how to balance life and work.

The 2013/14 FITT Corporate Diversity report is being shared with our partners and sponsors and a condensed version will be available on our website

Awards – Telstra Women in Business awards

Nominate a brilliant business woman

Nominations are now open for the 20th Telstra Business Women’s Awards.

As the longest-running state, territory and national awards program for business women, the Awards celebrate the leadership, determination and innovation of successful business women in our community. They also inspire other women to walk in their footsteps and reach their own goals.

Twenty years ago the Telstra Business Women’s Awards encouraged women to break through the glass ceiling; today they play an important role in encouraging diversity in business across Australia.

The Awards are open to business owners, women in the private and corporate sector and in the government and community sectors, with two specialist categories for business innovation and young business women. For finalists and winners across Australia, they also offer a share in $650,000 in cash and prizes.

The 2012 Telstra Business Women Awards National Innovation winner Maureen Clifford, CEO of Ndevr said: “The awards are a significant way of celebrating the great achievements of women in many industries. For me personally moving through the various stages of the State and then the National Finals, the highlight was meeting so many amazing women, all with their own remarkable stories on their personal journeys to achievement. On reflection I believe there could be a lot more nominations of women in the IT industry. It’s an opportunity to highlight role models that could encourage other women to look at the extensive options available in the IT sector for an interesting and successful career.”

Nominations can be made at or by calling 1800 817 536. Entries can be submitted from 26 May until 14 July. For more information head to

Nominate a brilliant business woman

FITT Mentoring Lite Program launches in NSW - Open for applications now until 11 June.

Do you remember what it’s like to be a new graduate in the workforce starting her career in a male dominated environment? It can be pretty intimidating, so FITT has taken the formula from our successful mentoring program and is launching the FITT Mentoring Lite Program for NSW only. This offers recent grads and those with up to 1 years work experience to receive mentoring and guidance for those first critical years in their career.

Mentees should be women with between 3 months and 1 years’ experience in ICT. They should be personally motivated to commit to the programme and be able to manage work, family and study commitments.

How it works:
    Mentees get matched with a mentor from outside of their own company enabling them to get a different perspective on their situation
    Mentees have the opportunity to build a network with other mentees
    Mentees work with a mentor to set and manage against realistic goals

If you or someone you know could benefit from having this invaluable career kick start, check out the FITT website Mentoring Lite page for more details and to download an application form.

FITT Webinar – ‘How to Communicate Like a Pro’ Pat Skalsky, 15 July 

In this webinar, Pat will share with you some of her practical coaching skills designed to help you take these back with you to your office and put in place straight away, these tools will include:
    Context/content: giving meaning to your communication
    Think feel know: Understanding the preferred processing style
    Five Communication Skills: When am I ‘asking’ vs when am I ‘telling’
    Conflict and Negotiation: Judgment vs understanding

Central to Pat’s coaching is her ability to be able to build trust and rapport with her clients through inspirational and meaningful conversation. She is all too familiar with the challenges that face us all on a day-to-day basis which include ensuring our messages are heard the way they were meant, the need to ensure favourable outcomes from our negotiations and having difficult conversations.

Pat Skalsky
Pat is an Executive Coach with AltusQ, an international expert coaching firm.

Registration details to follow


Chance to participate in Harvey Nash Australia, Women in Technology Survey:

We would like to invite you to take part in the first Harvey Nash Australia Women in Technology Survey. The survey takes only 5 minutes to complete and all participants will receive a full copy of the report.

Harvey Nash are passionate about diversity and the careers of women. From the most recent Harvey Nash CIO and Technology Surveys the statistics concern us, only 8% of respondents to our 2013 CIO Survey and 13% of respondents to our 2014 Technology Survey were female. Therefore we have devised a short survey which we believe will allow us to gather useful information in our quest to helping more women pursue careers or remain in technology. The questions cover your education choices, career path and feedback on the benefits of working in technology.

To take part, please click here.

With the information gathered, we aim to:

   Increase awareness about the importance of STEM subjects in secondary/tertiary level education
    Increase awareness about the breadth of roles within IT
    Organise role models and career guidance talks in schools and colleges/universities around the country
    Publish our first Women in Technology report

Thanks in advance for your participation.


FITT – Corporate Diversity Report highlights



Sent by Forum Group Events on behalf of FITT