#TechDiversity – amplifying the voice for change

Chris-Skipper-Conway

Vic ICT for Women are a proud and active contributor to the #TechDiversity initiative and the Awards that will be recognised on 4th August.

I urge you to get involved and gain recognition for the efforts you, as an individual, or as a company, are making to the IT industry in Victoria. You play a role in making the number of women in IT count by promoting Gender Diversity in IT, so turn the dial up – nominate and be noticed!

The words “maybe”, “second best”, and “too hard” don’t feature in my vocabulary…

– Written by Chris Skipper-Conway I come from a small town in South Africa, a place with amazing diversity but with an unacceptable racial divide.  I learnt at an early age to aspire to change what I thought was wrong – and if roadblocks appeared, find a way to go around. My parents were English Catholic migrants desperate to fit in. I was always different.  I made my decision to leave family, friends and a cushy job as Assistant Accountant for Mercedes Benz in Johannesburg before I let myself conform to fit in! I travelled, did a range of jobs overseas that would never have fitted the mould back home and met an Aussie, came to Australia and became the mother of 2 amazing children who brought a new dimension to my life – gave up the rebel and settled down – but only for a while. I looked for roles where I could bring my 3 passions together – Business Success, IT, and People. If you underpin companies, and the drive for profitability and improvement, with the right people, that’s when you see success . And that’s what inspires me – the right people delivering success and loving and striving to be part of it! I’ve been lucky enough to work in the Private and Government sectors and take on local, national and international roles. The opportunities I have had have fuelled my drive.  However it’s been part of that striving to do more, wanting to do more for others, and never accepting the words – maybe, second best, and too hard – that makes my DNA. I worked in Finance here and in South Africa, taking on what organisations classed as Too Hard, failed IT and business projects and pushed them to succeed – by recognising it’s the combination of people and IT that are central to the catalyst for success. My striving to do more stopped me hesitating at Maybe about taking my career in new directions  and led me from Finance to IT, running large projects and working with teams to gain success. I moved into IT Consulting organisations where I managed teams of IT people both employees and contractors on various IT engagements.  Having gained both IT Consulting Management responsibilities and a strong understanding of IT Recruitment my joy of jumping in led my family and I to a ticket to the West Coast of America where we lived for 3 years. I lost my heart to San Francisco and working on workforce planning re-ignited my passion for diversity in the workplace and the opportunities it provides. I returned to Australia and rebuilt an IT Service Management company supplying services to both Government and the Private Sector then sold the business for the owners. I decided to return to Recruitment to focus on the people part of my “success in IT vision”. At the same time I desperately wanted to give back to the industry and to the people – past, present and in the future …

How I turned my back on crime

– Written by Judy Horman I am by nature a competitive being, not sure if it was something instilled in me, or just something I felt growing up. It was simply that I had to do well, excel and be better than others. This was not in a bad way, but rather I measured my success on where others were at. This was to also play a part during my career. I often felt that women had to go above and beyond what men did or over achieve to be seen as successful. I started my IT journey in the 90s – it was a time of high interest rates, high unemployment rates – the recession hits hard, families start to lose jobs and their homes. One morning I began the process of looking for work. Failing to find a role suitable to my qualifications (BA (Hons), Post Grad in Criminology, ) I became a bit despondent. I held two degrees but no role to be found, yet there was water everywhere (in a vast pond called Information Technology), but not a drop to drink for me. I am by nature a competitive being, not sure if it was something instilled in me, or just something I felt growing up. It was simply that I had to do well, excel and be better than others. This was not in a bad way, but rather I measured my success on where others were at. This was to also play a part during my career. I often felt that women had to go above and beyond what men did or over achieve to be seen as successful. I started my IT journey in the 90s – it was a time of high interest rates, high unemployment rates – the recession hits hard, families start to lose jobs and their homes. One morning I began the process of looking for work. Failing to find a role suitable to my qualifications (BA (Hons), Post Grad in Criminology, ) I became a bit despondent. I held two degrees but no role to be found, yet there was water everywhere (in a vast pond called Information Technology), but not a drop to drink for me. So I decided to complete a Post Graduate in IT. I remember my first few weeks in front of a computer, I cried, not understanding the machine in front of me and I questioned whether I was ever going to conquer it, what was I thinking, how was I ever going to  get this computer to do what I wanted it to do- run the program I just created. So did I over come my fear of computers, well conquer it I did.   As the passion for IT grew, I was excited, I was on the cusp of the IT revolution, I was in the forefront of something big and I couldn’t wait to learn more. I could write programs in a structured technique and it would work, I could use the …