As the ICT industry enters a new year, it’s important to continue thinking about the achievements of women in the industry and to acknowledge and reward female excellence.
The positive reception and follow up response to ARN’s inaugural Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA), held in Sydney in late November, highlights the fact the industry is keen to celebrate and acknowledge females working in and contributing to the success of our industry.
And there’s never been a better time to get involved. The acceptance of the WIICTA awards proves there’s a need to stand up and recognise female excellence in the ICT industry – an industry that is still considered male dominated and sees a lack of females in senior management positions, and a lack of female role models and sponsors.
But there are positive changes afoot thanks to industry awards like WIICTA and the ongoing efforts of women in the ICT community as well as male managers and counterparts who are keen to foster diversity and reward professional achievements.
Reflecting on last year, the WIICTA awards – which drew more than 120 attendees to a lavish luncheon at the Ivy Ballroom in Sydney – saw inaugural master of ceremonies, Geraldine Doogue, noted Australian journalist and radio and television host, kick off proceedings with a recognition of the importance of such awards, the challenges women face, and a personalised commentary on the state of the industry.
Doogue recognised there’s growing sentiment and demand for the WIICTA program. ARN initially heard the call for the roll out of an awards program while hosting an exclusive Roundtable lunch, where a talented group of female executives came together to share their extensive knowledge and opinions on the ongoing issues and opportunities for women in the channel.
The Roundtable lunch, along with the ongoing chatter in the IT community about fostering such a program, marked the beginning of the WIICTA journey for ARN.
And while ARN expected a relatively small number of nominations for the inaugural year, we saw a steady flow of nominations. The 2012 awards recognised talented women in six categories including: Achievement; Rising Star; Entrepreneur; Innovation; Technical; and Community.
To recap, the Achievement award went to Sara Adams of Cisco Systems Australia. Adams won the award for her proven leadership skills and outstanding commitment to the Australian reseller channel.
The Rising Star award was presented to VMware’s Rhody Burton who won the award for her dedication and passion to career advancement and her tireless commitment to the Australian reseller channel.
The Entrepreneur award was won by Dawn Edmonds of NewLease. Edmonds was recognised for her proven leadership skills, entrepreneurial successes and in-depth IT knowledge.
The Innovation award was taken out by Express Data’s Emma Scott who won the award for her creative and innovative work on various projects and in various positions in product management, licencing and marketing over her 13-year career at the company.
The Technical award went to Vanessa Sulikowski of Cisco Systems Australia. Sulikowski won the award for her ability to take complex business requirements and design and then architect solutions and strategy that improve the overall direction of the business.
The Community award was won by Symantec’s Amy Christopher for her ongoing dedication and commitment to promoting the environment, ensuring corporate responsibility and developing opportunities for women in IT.
In 2013, the WIICTA awards will have a similar nomination process, whereby the nominee can either self-nominate or be nominated by a coworker, colleague or manager. Once the 2013 awards go live, the nominations page will be listed under the WIICTA button on the website, and will prompt nominees to meet the two or three criteria listed for each award.
Again this year, we will invite an esteemed panel of judges to cast their votes. In 2012, there were 10 female ICT leaders on the judging panel including: Sara Adams, Cisco, managing director, Partner Business Group; Stacey Beer, Alphawest Services, General manager, marketing; Michelle Curry; Carolyn Darke, Microsoft Australia SMB and distribution lead; Deborah Harrigan, Dell, consumer, small and medium business ANZ; Mona Lolas, McAfee, senior manager, channel and alliance marketing Asia-Pacific; Maree Lowe, ASI Solutions, director; Alison McQuarrie, Express Data, director of operations, people and culture; Wendy O’Keeffe, Westcon Group, executive vice-president; and Clare Wharrier, Autodesk, volume channel sales manager, APAC.
With the 2013 WIICTA awards around the corner, ARN wants to build momentum by encouraging women and men in the ICT community to step up to the plate and start thinking about nominating and rewarding female excellence.
There’s no doubt women need to take advantage of the power of networking, put their best foot forward, and stand up and be recognised.
Here’s to an even bigger and better WIICTA awards in 2013.