And the winners are ...

The winners of the 2015 Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) were announced at a glittering luncheon at the Ivy Ballroom in Sydney on November 20 in front of a 350-strong crowd.

The award winners and highly commended were revealed at these, the fourth annual WIICTA awards, in seven hotly-contested categories: Achievement, Rising Star, Shining Star, Entrepreneur, Innovation, Technical, and Community. A Lifetime Achievement award - not open to nomination, but chosen by ARN president and Publisher, Susan Searle, ARN Associate Editor, Jennifer O'Brien, and IT veteran and ARN Hall of Fame Ross Cochrane - was also revealed.

This year, there was a 143 per cent increase in applicants from last year’s awards (200 nominations compared to 82 in 2014), which is a real testament to the value of a program such as this one.

The crowd also enjoyed keynote addresses from ARN president and publisher, Susan Searle, Dell managing director A/NZ, Angela Fox, and ASI Solutions founder and director, Maree Lowe.

The awards recognise the very best in the channel, celebrating the achievements of a talented crop of female front runners who have made it through to become influential figures in Australia’s ICT industry. The awards also recognise the ‘rising stars’ in the industry, women who are quickly growing in importance in the ICT industry.

The Winners and Highly Commended are:


Sue Armstrong of Fujitsu won the Community award for her commitment to supporting women in ICT. She has coached and mentored 50 women across IBM, Capgemini, Fujitsu and externally to help them progress in their careers and support their development. She is the epitome of a goodwill ambassador, a true champion for promoting gender diversity.

This year’s highly commended is Vikki Morris of Cisco.


Shanna Daly of FireEye won the Technical award for her string of achievements since 2001 in her IT security specialist role. A noted technical contribution to the ICT industry was working with Australian federal law enforcement on a string of cyber data breaches linked to international incidents.

This year’s highly commended is Taran Cunningham of Veeam Software.


Gandhi Sivakumar of IBM won the Innovation award for her stellar journey in the ICT industry, from graduate engineer to becoming a chief architect. Working in multiple technologies, industries and clients, she has become a thought-leader and developed successful implementations of very complex first-of-a-kind solutions.

This year’s highly commendeds are Nada Alterisio of HP and Esther Mosad of Microsoft.


Nicki Bowers of Kloud Solutions won the Entrepreneur award for her vision and achievements in starting a specialised local Cloud systems integrator, providing one-stop-shop service to large corporations, at a time when there was no comparable service on the market. From a young age, she knew she wanted to run her own business, and her decisions throughout her early career were based on working towards that goal.

This year’s highly commended is Angie Keeler of Zellabox.


There is a tie in this category. Simran Kaur of Webroot and Sandhya Vaishnav of rhipe both won the Rising Star category.

Simran Kaur of Webroot has advanced her career very quickly, having stepped up to guide the sales team at Webroot through a management transition. She has proven people management and business skills and is on track to lead Webroot’s marketing efforts through the wider APAC region.

Sandhya Vaishnav of rhipe has demonstrated proven results at the distribution level, working for Express Data, as well as working as a channel sales manager for PIVOD Technologies and for Synnex Australia. Over the last 12 months at rhipe, she has signed 50 net new partners and delivered 40-50 per cent growth in cross-selling solutions to partners.

This year’s highly commended is Tamika Sercombe of Dicker Data.


Kellie Hackney of Kaseya won the Shining Star award for her proven depth of experience in leading change, influencing business outcomes, leading teams and helping organisations succeed. In the ICT industry over 18 years, she started at the ground level as a receptionist and has progressed to running APJ for Kaseya. She has a particular interest in encouraging young women, who are still in school, into an ICT orientated career.

This year’s highly commended is Emma Harris of Ingram Micro.


Karen Drewitt of The Missing Link won the Achievement award for her leadership and long list of achievements as part owner and general manager of The Missing Link. Under her guidance, the company has grown staff by 700 per cent and revenue by 1200 per cent. She mentors staff, is a voice in the wider ICT community and an advocate for all women in the industry.

This year’s highly commended is Belinda Jurisic of Citrix.


The 2015 WIICTA Lifetime Achievement winner is Maree Lowe.

ASI Solutions founder and director, Maree Lowe, won the Lifetime Achievement Award for her longstanding success in the ICT industry. As an astute business owner, she has demonstrated a remarkable entrepreneurial spirit over 30 years by continually staying ahead of the curve and reinventing her business.

Maree, along with her husband Ken, started Anabelle Bits in 1985 and grew the company to 170 staff with offices throughout Australia.

Not only has Maree established successful businesses and shaped a remarkable personal career, she has also mentored staff, worked as a Women’s Business Mentor, and enabled a flexible working environment at ASI while promoting gender diversity.

Women in ICT Awards Sponsors

  • APC by Schneider Electric
  • Autodesk
  • Citrix
  • Dell
  • Dicker Data
  • Exclusive Networks
  • Fujitsu
  • HP
  • IBM
  • Rhipe
  • Staples
  • Toshiba
  • Westcon