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ARN unveils record-breaking number of finalists for new-look Women in ICT Awards

ARN unveils record-breaking number of finalists for new-look Women in ICT Awards

Representing the entire Australian ecosystem, 205 finalists make the shortlist from a pool of more than 120 organisations and over 340 nominations, spanning partner, telco, vendor and distributor businesses #WIICTA

Credit: ARN / IDG

ARN is proud to announce the finalists of the new-look Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA), housing a record-breaking number of submissions in what will be the largest celebration of female excellence within the technology channel across Australia.

Representing the entire Australian ecosystem, 205 finalists (185 individuals and 20 companies) make the shortlist from a pool of 120 organisations and more than 340 nominations, spanning partner, telco, vendor and distributor businesses.

This marks a significant expansion in reach, support and market appeal, doubling a best effort of over 100 finalists in 2020 to position WIICTA as the leading technology awards program for gender diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the Australian channel.

Reflective of a diverse technology network - and a thriving channel community - over 70 partner companies are in the spotlight, in addition to more than 40 vendors and over five distributors.

Specific to partners, candidates range from large-scale consultancy giants and global system integrators (GSIs) to emerging start-ups in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney, alongside leading managed service providers, born-in-the-cloud players, specialist solution consultants and boutique digital agencies.

Aligned to the ARN approach of representing established and emerging partners in equal measure, this was the year that WIICTA went mainstream in the local channel.

Within this standout group of finalists, female leaders are located across the entire country spanning multiple states and territories, including New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.

All career stages are in the spotlight from graduate-level entrants to well-established CEOs, in addition to inspiring entrepreneurs, creative thinkers and technical experts, as well as talent rising through the ranks and consistent high-performing individuals. This is also supported by both individual and company champions of D&I initiatives.

Collectively, WIICTA in 2021 stands tall as the leading forum for setting the industry benchmark for female achievement across Australia.

“This year WIICTA has generated a volume and calibre of nominees never been seen nor conceivable before,” said Cherry Yumul, vice president of Strategic Partnerships and Innovation at IDG. “This is an encouraging sign of a positive trend that gender diversity is high on the corporate agenda of more and more businesses in Australia.

“Not to tick a box or meet a quota but evidently to bring in alternative viewpoints for problem-solving and different leadership styles for competitive advantage, in turn delivering better returns.”

Shaped by the feedback of more than 50 leading female technology executives, WIICTA - now in its 10th year of running - will honour the channel across eight categories, spanning Innovation, Technical, Entrepreneur, Graduate, Rising Star, Shining Star, Achievement and D&I Champion (Company and Individual) awards.

The addition of a new Graduate category is designed to recognise standout candidates who have leveraged apprenticeship programs to start a career within the ICT industry, acknowledging the importance of encouraging young female talent to join the local technology sector.

Also new to the program is a D&I Champion category - spanning both Company and Individual awards - which represents a natural evolution of the long-standing Community honour. This is designed to recognise influential individuals who actively drive D&I initiatives outside of core day-to-day responsibilities, alongside pioneering organisations who have gone beyond surface-level commitments through the introduction of policies and programs to meet D&I goals.

“A decade ago, the industry never thought, let alone, spoke the words of 'diversity and inclusion’,” Yumul recalled. “Yet through our newly launched D&I Champion category we will - for the first time in our history - present a company award at WIICTA.

“We have been encouraged by the testimonials of how to sustain a business through formalised cultural shifts and are proud to chart the journey of technology companies meeting the diversity challenge head-on - there’s a movement underway in Australia which is fast gathering pace.

“And while it may be a common observation that women work more ‘around’ technology rather than ‘in’ technology, we are notably excited about the number of finalists in our Technical category, growing at a phenomenal 300 per cent.”

In response to a wealth of standout submissions, eight categories have been divided to best acknowledge and highlight the depth of female talent in the Australian market. Innovation, Graduate and D&I Champion (Company) will be segmented into two sub-categories spanning Partner and Vendor / Distributor awards. Meanwhile, Achievement and D&I Champion (Individual) will include two sub-categories of Partner and Vendor.

Specific to Rising Star and Shining Star, both will be divided into four sub-categories housing Partner (National), Partner (Multinational), Vendor and Distributor awards. National covers partners focused primarily on Australia - and New Zealand - markets while Multinational houses technology providers which also operate outside of the local industry at regional and global levels.

This is in addition to Technical which will be segmented into three sub-categories, spanning Partner (National), Partner (Multinational) and Vendor / Distributor.

This decision was made by the IDG shortlist panel consisting of Cherry Yumul (vice president of Strategic Partnerships and Innovation); James Henderson (Editorial Director) and Julia Talevski (Senior Journalist) with the aim of providing a foundation upon which a broader range of exceptional female candidates can be recognised.

In addition to honouring winners, ARN also holds wider responsibility for ensuring as many outstanding women are endorsed through this unique awards program, aligned to the collective goal of providing a platform upon which aspiring female talent can shine across Australia.

The winners will now be selected by an executive panel of more than 150 industry judges, acknowledging creativity, innovation and excellence.

Set for Friday 23 July, the winners will be announced at a celebration lunch at Hyatt Regency Sydney. IDG applies COVID-safe conditions of entry to in-person event formats. For more information - click here.

Advancing women in tech

ARN has celebrated gender diversity and recognised female excellence across the Australian channel since first launching WIICTA in 2012, acknowledging the achievements of a talented group of female front runners who have become influential figures across the local industry.

This has been further supported by State of Gender Diversity in the Tech Channel, a new research initiative designed to examine D&I progress across the technology channel.

Launched in May, this in-depth survey will focus on the three core pillars of D&I, spanning Tech Industry, Workplace and Personal Experience.

In an industry-first for the channel, research is open to female, male and other gender identities, welcoming submissions from CEO to graduate levels across all company sizes, industry segments and locations. Questions are designed to be fielded by participants across different age groups, cultural backgrounds and job functions - spanning management, sales, operations, technical and marketing roles - irrespective of industry tenure.

The aim is to independently and confidentially source a range of perspectives industry-wide, aligned to the collective goal of moving the conversation forward in relation to D&I within the channel.

Spearheaded by IDG’s leading channel brands across Asia Pacific - ARN (Australia), Reseller News (New Zealand) and Channel Asia (Southeast Asia) - data will be segmented based on location, company type and job function, covering the core issues of gender pay, career progression and company support among others.

The launch of State of Gender Diversity in the Tech Channel represents a landmark moment in the industry, with IDG - as the world’s leading tech media, data and marketing services company - becoming the first independent outlet to open such dedicated research in Australia. Findings will be presented during the upcoming WIICTA event in Sydney.

ARN congratulates all finalists and thanks all organisations and individuals for taking the time to submit nominations. Finalists are listed below by name and organisation.

INNOVATION

This award recognises a creative-thinking candidate who is a standout in bringing innovation to life through a big picture and out-of-the-box approach to business. This individual is unrivalled at converting embryonic ideas into viable working solutions through a unique thought process designed to continually push the envelope.

Partner:

  • Alexandra West - ASI Solutions
  • Amanda Stenson - Barhead Solutions
  • Adele Buchanan - CSO Group
  • Yasmine Mendoza - Data#3
  • Jodee Handley - Empired
  • Sara Hakami - First Focus IT
  • Jodie Korber - Lanrex
  • Sharon Melamed - Matchboard
  • Jane Nguyen - Pretzel Lab 
  • Cassandra Kelsall - Publicis Sapient
  • Elizabeth Salvage - Sourced Group

Vendor / Distributor:

  • Grace Walker - Access4
  • Minya Vasili - Arrow ECS ANZ
  • Sarah Chaseling - Commvault
  • Kassie Sheldon - Google Cloud
  • Natalie Fry - Hewlett Packard Enterprise
  • Christina Kernebone - IBM 
  • Maggie Wang - Lenovo
  • Tianji Dickens - Microsoft
  • Michelle Liao - N-able
  • Alexandra Fuller - Veeam Software
  • Kathryn Chia - VMware
  • Angela Bao - Vocus

Read more on the next page...


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