I first wrote about the Women/Girls in Tech movement on International Women’s Day this year. In my research, I came across the GIT Catalyst Conference which was to be held in Melbourne in May. I was encouraged to attend, so I went along to the event - and I’m so glad I did.
Today’s blog post focuses on some of the standouts for me, and looks at the reasons that we all need to have a voice in promoting gender equality in today’s workforce.
Day 1 was packed full of high-quality industry professionals presenting their views on the current situation facing women in technology. Not wanting to miss a thing, I was frantically scribbling down notes all day (not very tech-y of me, I know).
A time of rapid change
An overall theme of the event was the need to recognise that we are in a time of rapid change, and that we need to collectively work together to achieve the best outcomes.
Keynote speaker and Founder of GIT Global, Adriana Gascoigne, revealed that her vision was to increase the GIT global presence and to establish a connection to underserved communities.
Adriana told us about her first book, 'Tech Boss Lady: How to Start-Up, Disrupt and Thrive as a Female Founder', which will be released in June this year, with advice on owning your actions and being headstrong in what you do, in a space that is overcrowded with men.
Image 1: Adriana Gascoigne, Founder of GIT Global with Jessica Box and Susan Brown, Co-Managing Directors of GIT Australia
Success through leadership
Rhys Hayes, Founder of IE Digital was the first male speaker of the day, who presented on the importance of educating male leaders to be advocates for women.
He explained that “women remain significantly underrepresented in leadership positions”, and suggested that it’s not a level playing field. Rhys reassured us that although he didn’t have all the answers, he was committed to the journey of advocating for women.
Image 2: Rhys Hayes, IE Digital on ‘Educating male leaders on being advocates for women’
Cherlyn Medina, who is now working as a Freelance Program Manager but previously held roles at Facebook, Visa and Mozilla, shared her secret to success, which is to be kind but confident in putting yourself out there.
She told a story about starting out as a junior in a demanding administrative position, when she was running across a busy intersection in San Francisco and she tripped. The papers she was carrying flew everywhere but luckily, a man gathered the papers and somehow managed to calm the traffic. Looking up to thank the stranger, Cherlyn was gobsmacked – it was late actor, Robin Williams. His kindness immediately inspired her and shaped her future decisions and she was quickly able to move on from this role to bigger and better things.
Image 3: Cherlyn Medina on ‘My journey, my way: How I paved my own path in tech’
The final speaker of the day was Dr Susan Entwistle, Vice President and Head of Digital Engineering at Cognizant APAC. Not wanting to dim the fire, she reminded us that “with passion and focus you can achieve your dreams”. Susan explained that we are on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution and that digital is rapidly transforming our lives, both on a personal level and at work.
Image 4: Dr Susan Entwistle on ‘Leadership for the fourth industrial revolution’
Day 2 was filled with workshops and opportunities to network with industry experts. We received advanced training on areas such as branding, analytics, design and team building and had a chance to interact with mentors.
As a member and advocate for Girls in Tech, I am excited to be involved in this space. Through events like Catalyst 2019 and by encouraging awareness, we are making progress.
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By Greta Adamo