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FITT Newsletter October 2016

Dear Members,

Welcome to our October issue!

Our inaugural FITT Executive Forum is just around the corner. This special lunch event features a keynote address from David Thodey, on “Why we need to encourage Australia’s future STEAM leaders.” I hope you can join us to network with your peers and be part of this important conversation on Australia’s STEAM future.

This month we profile one of the industry’s rising stars, Tiffany Wright, Director Commercial Business of Cisco who shares her experiences on building a career, work life balance and more.

Also, we welcome a new FITT Gold Sponsor – Isentia – and congratulate our existing sponsors for being recognized in the Global 100 for Diversity and Inclusion.

FITT volunteer Cate Furniss is a Diversity champion and has just launched her blog – it's full of valuable experiences and insights and well worth bookmarking. She also shares her experience at the Victorian Engineering and IT Expo recently.

We also have some job postings and media updates. I hope you enjoy this month’s issue

Michaeli Gotley
On Behalf of the FITT Management Committee



Tiffany Wright

Director Commercial Business, Cisco Australia

What is your current role and what is your scope?

Director Commercial Business, Cisco Australia. My role is setting the strategy and direction of the Commercial Sales Division for Cisco in Australia in order to increase Cisco’s revenue and market-share across product, software and services portfolios.

The Commercial segment at Cisco covers an extensive and diverse territory encompassing customers of all sizes, industries and go-to-market models. Digitisation is a key enabler and disruptor to all businesses and my team is focused on helping companies digitise their businesses by leveraging technology to achieve business outcomes

2. What attracted you to a career in ICT?

I wanted to work in an industry that is fast paced, constantly changing, and provides the opportunity for continuous learning and development. When I started out in my career, I wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted to do, but I believed that the ICT industry had a great many different roles and options on offer.

3. What has kept you in the ICT industry?

I have stayed in the industry as it has offered me the fast-paced, ever-changing environment I was seeking.

Every day I learn something new and I am passionate about what technology can do to change lives for the better. The people are also a reason I stay – we work with some amazing talent.

4. Have you had any high-points and low-points of your career? If so, can you please share?

I don’t recall any ‘low points’ as such, but plenty of high points. Many high points for me centre around the success of individuals in my team – helping people grow, develop and succeed is very satisfying.

Of course, other highlights include my own successes such as each time I have gained promotions and so on.

On reflection, a less positive phase was when employed by an organisation where I felt my personal values were not completely aligned with the business I was working for; either morally or professionally. This has really driven my belief and passion around the importance of values based hiring practices.

5. What does work life balance mean to you?

Work life balance to me means finding the balance where I do the best I can in my work life, but not at the expense of my home life.

It’s about loving what I do and my work being a positive influence on my personal life.

At Cisco we have great technology and corporate culture to aid work-life balance and flexibility where needed, but it also requires discipline to ‘turn-off’ from work at times.

6. What ambitions, either personal or professional do you still want to achieve?

I am a mother of 3 children aged 4 and under and I have found that having children has made me more ambitious.

I want to be a positive role-model for my kids. I want my daughters and my son to know that women can ‘have it all’ if they want to – they can have a career and be a devoted parent and spouse. Professionally, I want to continue to be in positions that challenge me so I can continue to learn and develop.

7. If you were just starting out in your career, what’s the one piece of advice you'd give to yourself that’s taken from lessons learnt? Why this advice in particular?

My advice would be: never be afraid to ask questions and to ask for the things you need to be more successful.

FITT 2016 Executive Forum Luncheon


Why we need to encourage Australia’s Future STEAM Leaders

Tuesday 29 November, 2016

FITT is delighted to announce that our inaugural FITT 2016 Executive Forum featuring a special keynote from David Thodey, Chair of the Commonwealth Science, Industry and Research Organisation, Chair of Jobs NSW.

A fundamental issue facing Australia’s IT industry is the lack of students taking on IT studies and pursuing careers in the IT and digital spaces… and in doing so, keeping Australia at the forefront of innovation nationally and internationally.

Join your industry peers at this special Luncheon event to start the conversation about how we can encourage today’s students and graduates to become the future STEAM leaders of our nation – and the world.

Tickets are selling quickly so book your ticket or table now to avoid disappointment. 

Date: Tuesday 29 November, 2016
Time: 12.00pm – 12.30pm – Registrations & networking
12.30pm – 2.30pm – Lunch and keynote presentation by David Thodey
2.30pm – Close

Doltone House, Hyde Park - Level 3, 181 Elizabeth Street, Sydney


Kerryn Nelson, Big Mouth Marketing Communications & Events
P: 03 9785 3050


Inspiring Australia’s next STEAM leaders


Cate Furniss

Recently I was lucky enough to represent FITT alongside our Corporate sponsor Cisco at the Victorian Engineering & IT Expo at the State Library in Melbourne.

Not only was it a fun filled day with smiles all around and lots and lots of talking, it was so exciting to see so many intelligent and driven women with PhD's and Masters’ degrees in IT & Engineering wanting to enter the industry.

I spent the day educating many of the over 2,000 strong flow of expo participants on our yearly events, mentoring program and on the importance of supporting and encouraging Females in Tech.

Two amazing employees of Cisco - David Lombardi & Ghazi Pour Sadrollah - joined me on the day to discuss their graduate program and internships and supporting the work we do here at FITT. Looking forward to next year's event!


Three lessons I’ve learned during my career in IT


Cate Furniss


Before my time at Telstra, I learned some important career lessons that helped me to succeed in the IT industry. Working in the industry for more than 11 years has been an experience, to say the least.

I have held positions in the past where the only other female in my team was in a supporting role. It’s no secret that gender equality has many benefits and while things have changed during my career, we still have a way to go. If you’re a female considering a career in IT or telecommunications, here are three lessons I can share from my personal experiences so far:

Lesson #1: Mind wins over matter
I draw a lot of inspiration from my mother, who independently brought up four children. She balanced a career as a nurse, helped others daily and even when it was excusable for her not to keep it together, she did her best and just soldiered on. She had no other choice. This is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned and applied it to my own career. Her perseverance inspired me, forming the basis of my first career mantra: “I can and will achieve anything I put my mind to.”

Lesson #2: You are your own biggest supporter
The challenging thing with having so few females in senior management roles was that I had no one to aspire to be like. If there weren’t women up there already, whose career path would I follow to get there?

I pondered why this may be the case. I was working hard and thought that surely big effort equalled big outcome. I realised I was about to hit the glass ceiling in my previous organisation and I just couldn’t seem to grasp that next opportunity, no matter how hard I tried. I was stuck. I was frustrated. I thought, surely there’s a way to get through this if I just push on?

And so I did. It’s important to find and be supported by people who can sponsor you help you reach your goals, but before you can do that you have to champion yourself first.

Which led me to where I am today and taught me my second biggest career lesson: “I will continue to back myself in any circumstance.”

Lesson #3: Your career is your responsibility
I decided I needed to take control of my own career. I began looking for a mentor in an executive role in another company. When I found a chief financial officer who was prepared to coach me, I committed to regular meetings with her.

That led me find more opportunities to meet other people in my industry. I went along to a networking night for women in IT set up by a not-for-profit organisation and met other like-minded women, creating more industry contacts. I knew my next step would be to take my passion and do something positive with it, so I joined that not-for-profit as an account manager and even started speaking at its networking events.

This led to my third biggest career realisation: I am responsible for my own career – no one else is.

Since then I have grown more personally and professionally. I have nurtured my career even further and look forward to writing about my time at my not-for-profit and how Telstra became my employer of choice for my career change in my next blog.

Until then,

Cate Furniss is a Network Transformation Sales Specialist at Telstra. Outside of work, she volunteers at FITT – Females in Information Technology and Telecommunications (of which Telstra is a Platinum sponsor) – to empower and inspire women in the industry.

You can follow her new blog Clicking Here


Congratulations to our Corporate Diversity Leaders


FITT would like to congratulate four of our corporate sponsors who have each been recognised in the top 100 global companies in Diversity & Inclusion.

Over 5,500 companies globally were assessed as part of the Thomas Reuters 2016 report on Diversity and Inclusion, with Cisco, Accenture (Avanade parent company), Telstra and Canon all placing within the top 100.

To find out more about other organisations that are leading the way with Diversity and Inclusion, you can read the report here:



FITT Sponsor

Isentia new GOLD Sponsor


The FITT Management Committee warmly welcomes our newest Gold Sponsor Isentia, which has joined our growing community of Corporate Sponsors to support the promotion of diversity in the IT&T industry. 

About Isentia
Isentia is Asia-Pacific’s leading media intelligence company, providing over 5,000 clients with information, analysis, content and advice 24/7/365. Isentia has over 1,200 employees across 15 countries filtering information from over 250 million online conversations, 5,500 print, radio and television media outlets per month, along with creative content makers providing best practice digital marketing solutions.

Our talented people, innovative search technology, comprehensive coverage, expert research and creative content provides the tools and insight to allow our clients to manage media relationships effectively, track and analyse issues of interest across all media, discover and share valuable insights that drive smarter decisions and build content and social strategies that add real brand value.


FITT Volunteer Role

IT Manager
Volunteer Position
Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane


Industry Job Posting


Network Engineer
Web Developer
Systems Development Manager

Please contact Recruitment Manger, Emma Mahoney for further assistance.



FITT Media

A summary of the month’s social media posts


FITT’s social media guru, Louisa Partridge has found that the top 3 ‘FITT Friendly’ posts from Facebook in August were:

1. Computers Are For Girls, Too

2. Louise Langridge posted an article on our LinkedIn page highlighting the outcomes of the 3rd annual Women in Leadership panel, ‘Equity – not Equality‘ - When Gender Balance Pays Off

3. We recently got a shout out from Fiona Slaven - Board member of Vic ICT for Women. “Thanks @FITT_AU for acknowledging the great work done by @VICT4W for @GoGirlGo4IT. It demonstrates the similarities in our goals #AnyGirl4IT

Copyright © 2016 Females in IT and Telecommunications, All rights reserved.

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