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FITT Newsletter December 2016

Dear Members,

As we come towards the end of 2016 it is a time to reflect on our achievements, and look ahead with anticipation at what is to come in the new year.  Hopefully throughout the year you have had the opportunity to experience FITT's programs first hand - whether it be our mentoring programs, networking sessions, or key events such as International Women's Day and our recent Executive Forum. We have had some fantastic events for our community recently, and we are now announcing our first events for 2017.

Feedback from our first Executive Forum Luncheon in November was overwhelmingly positive, with our guest speakers David Thodey and Solange Cunin providing some entertaining and thought provoking words. FITT’s Chair – Jacqui McNamara – provides her key takeaways from the day.

The FITT team is now looking forward to our 2017 International Women’s Day Luncheon in Sydney and Melbourne in March. Mark your calendars – we look forward to seeing you all there!

We also celebrate the end of another successful year of our Mentoring program, and it is encouraging to hear the value both our Mentees and Mentors get from this fantastic program.

It has been another busy month for our sponsors with Avanade participating in a fascinating immersion on VR/AR & MR with Melbourne Girls Grammar, and Cisco getting much deserved recognition for the diversity programs of one of their key HR executives.

Paxus has just released its 2016/2017 Digital and Technology Salary Guide which is made available for members – perhaps some food for thought as you think about what 2017 has in store for you professionally!

From all of us on the FITT Committee, we wish our members all the best for a happy holiday season celebrating with friends and family. We look forward to seeing you all in 2017!

Executive Forum Luncheon 2016


Inspiration from David Thodey and Solange Cunin

Jacqui McNamara,
FITT Chair


FITT’s new executive forum event was lucky to have David Thodey present to us around his personal experience with diversity. As usual, what struck everyone about David was his extremely authentic and honest delivery. He told an amazing story of his own early experience at IBM with Jane Elliot, famous as a result of the “brown eyes, blue eyes” study. I won’t go into too much detail as this story got a great deal of press – I’ve linked one article at the bottom. I have worked at both IBM and Telstra, both champions of diversity. Telstra has David’s particular stamp, a culture which supports and encourages diversity more effectively than any other company I’ve encountered. It’s easy to assume that David is one of the enlightened few, a singular individual who has the strategic ability to see what others can’t and lead them onwards – and frankly, that was my assumption.

David has an even more miraculous story. Years ago, he had no idea, and hadn’t even thought about it. His experience with Jane (in front of a room full of thousands of people) left him wishing the ground would open up and swallow him. But – and this is what makes the difference – his resilience and humility meant that instead of being angry or avoiding the issue, he realised he had a lot to learn. And did he ever learn it – to the point where he’s arguably Australia’s best advocate for workplace diversity and is a thought leader in our country around this issue. It’s a lesson we could all take home. Even the most clueless around diversity can pick this up, it doesn’t require a special skill base, just a willingness to learn.

That’s the difference between good and great. It’s that simple.

Secondly we were thrilled to introduce Solange Cunin of Cuberider. You can read about Solange in the article at the link below. This 23 year old astrophysicist and mathematician has founded her own company to help develop the coding skills of NSW high school students with the goal of creating a NASA approved payload for the international space station. Their first successful launch just happened, on December 9, and consists of 60 experiments created by Australian students. Solange will be presenting at IWD for us – her journey is already an incredible one and she has a long, long way to go, both in light years and success.

Thank you so much to all who attended the forum, we had a great chance to do some networking and catch up as well as hear some amazing stories – it really doesn’t get better than that – until it does get better than that, on International Women’s Day – our event is shaping up to be even more amazing. There’s nothing like being inspired by amazing stories, at a time when globally diversity faces challenges. We look forward to seeing you all in a few months.

Article Links: (subscribers only)

Save the Date:
FITT Presents


The 2017 International Women’s Day Luncheon

‘Celebrating the Digital Frontier’


We are excited to announce our 2017 International Women’s Day Luncheon – ‘Celebrating the Digital Frontier’. Join with hundreds of people across the ICT industry to hear about the digital future from the eyes of a rocket scientist, a leading Group CIO of an ASX listed organisation, inspirational inventors and more… They’re the people of today who are pushing the boundaries for tomorrow.

The FITT IWD luncheon events sell out each year, so we encourage you to get your tickets before they’re all gone. Be part of IWD 2017 – and Celebrate the Digital Frontier!

Date: 8 March, 2017
Venue: Star City – Event Centre
80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont, NSW 2009

To register for our Sydney Event click here:

Date: Friday 17 March, 2016
Venue: Park Hyatt Melbourne – Grand Ballroom
1 Parliament Square, East Melbourne, VIC, 3002
(off Parliament Place)

To register for our Melbourne event, click here:

For all event enquiries, please contact:
Big Mouth Marketing Communications & Events
Ph: 03 9785 3050


Celebrating the Close of another Mentoring Year


Tanya Pugsley and Susan Robinson
FITT Mentoring Team


December marked the close of the FITT Mentoring Program for 2016. This year, we are privileged to have facilitated 43 mentoring partnerships nationally, including a Circle in Melbourne and some highly successful remote mentoring relationships.

The Sydney and Melbourne End of Year mentoring program close held at Cliftons, was a wonderful celebration with a talented, inspirational group of mentors and mentees. The theme of the evening reflected on successes, personal value and insight gained over the year. We would like to thank everyone who joined us for their active participation, genuine connections and shared experiences. Everyone had a great time and it was a fantastic way to recognise this wonderful group.

In recognition of all our mentees – thank you for putting yourselves out there, being ambitious and seeking this opportunity to develop.

To all our mentors, your contribution to the FITT Mentoring Program is beyond measure. Thank you for your time and support and for your tireless efforts in assisting your mentees to realise their goals and unlock their potential.

On that note, we asked our mentees and mentors to consider what career advice they would give to a school leaver to help them unlock their potential. Their top 4 tips are:

  • Follow your gut!
  • Try different things, take all opportunities and do your best at every opportunity even if you don’t like it.
  • Look for an outcome not a job.
  • Learning is a lifelong activity – embrace it.

We would like to offer special thanks to all our sponsors for nominating mentees to participate in the program and supporting the lifelong learning and development of women in IT.


How much are you worth?


Paxus 2016/17 Technology and Digital Salary Guide


It is predicted that over 9,000 new ICT jobs will be created in Australia over the next three years, with growth expected to be fuelled by new technological developments. With such a dynamic market in play, it is important to know what new skill sets are on the horizon, and how much you should be getting paid now.

To help you identify where you currently sit in the market, if it’s time to move roles or ask for a pay rise, FITT sponsor Paxus has developed its 2016/17 Technology and Digital Salary Guide. Pulling together salary data from thousands of respondents and summarising key industry trends, it’s a great resource where you can see how your salary stacks up, what skills are in demand, and what areas are set for growth.

You can view the Paxus 2016/2017 Technology and Digital Salary Guide by
Clicking Here



Avanade talks Virtual Reality with MGGS

Lee Hamilton, Avanade

I was fortunate to be able to present to the Melbourne Girls Grammar School (MGGS) Years 8 - 12 this evening as part of a 2-3 hour session on VR/AR & MR. I subsequently found out the event was academically oversubscribed with students on waiting the list to attend. Just an indication of the huge appetite from the students on this topic. 

The umbrella organisation for this type of activity is the Centre for Educational Enterprise (CEE), which is a global educational community hub, dedicated to innovation and leadership in education practices launched by Melbourne Girls Grammar in 2014. Today’s activity was an offshoot of the recent successful ‘Externship’ programme that was completed in September.

The MGGS ‘Externship’ programme involved MGGS academic teaching staff working alongside Businesses & Enterprise. One of the outcomes of this specific programme is real-world observations extracting understanding from business & commercial landscapes, potentially remodelling and introducing those learnings for future academic usage.

Today’s presentation topic was specific to AR/VR & MR (Inc. Microsoft HoloLens). This was not only a presentation on Hologram use, but a HoloLens ‘hands –on’ student product demo followed by an interactive workshop.

After the presentation and demo, we broke the students up into teams and with a small amount of guidance on format workshopped with the students to create HoloLens application ideas to be pitched back the academic staff as their POC/App ideas - think ‘Academia’ meets ‘Shark-Tank’.

It was such a great session, really good fun, and the ideas being pitched back…whoa!
Well let’s just say, I’m left with no doubt that some of our Melbournian future leaders were in the room. Here is an overview of just some of the concepts pitched back this evening as HoloLens App ideas:

  • Armchair tourism - including hotel & amenity review and pre-booking activity. 
  • Cultural visit support - designed to help with locations and languages when travelling. 
  • Military Training - VR Bomb disposal in the environment of a realistic combat situation.
  • Event Management &/or Interior design - Location creation using product placement or signage.
  • First Responder Medical Support - Designed to assist in hard to reach locations, making medical support available via a satellite data link. 

While the workshop was going on MGGS Director of E-Learning Mary-Lou O’Brien trialed the new technology and agreed it has great promise and future opportunity.
Previous to this evenings presentation I learned from Anne Hamilton who works at the Innovation labs for Accenture in Silicon Valley that they know of a US organisation whose studies have shown that using VR as a staff training medium has drastically improved knowledge retention and recall. 

To put this into perspective, I have found that when using traditional methods for training, only 20% of information is retained for recall after a week, where as the tests have shown that 80% of knowledge is being retained for up to a year when using VR as a training medium. These findings could provide strong indicative evidence to assist in our future client discussions. 


Cisco’s Adrian West receives recognition in HRD Hotlist

Cisco is proud to share that its very own HR executive, Adrian West has been recognised for being one of the HR professionals to make the HRD 2016 Hotlist.

Adrian was instrumental in Cisco’s win as the 2016 AON Hewitt “Best of the Best” Employer Award.

Adrian is a Diversity champion, he is currently participating in the FITT mentoring program as a mentor, and is a regular speaker at industry events. Adrian is the Head of HR for Cisco across Australia and New Zealand, as well as a HR Business Partner for Services across Asia Pacific, Japan, China and India.

In his Australian and New Zealand role Adrian has the overall responsibility for the 1200 employees and setting the People Strategy across both countries including creating and driving strategies that impact the Cisco brand both internally and externally.

As an Asia Pacific HR Business Partner Adrian works alongside senior leadership teams in 8 countries to support an employee population of 3500 to ensure the business strategies are executed on a strong foundation of high performance, collaboration, engagement and talent management principles and practices.


FITT Volunteer Role

Volunteer Position




FITT Media

A summary of the month’s social media posts


FITT’s Social Media Manager, Louisa Partridge, provides us with her social media highlights for this month.

1. It Took Sheryl Sandberg Exactly 2 Sentences to Give the Best Career Advice You'll Hear Today

2. BHP will hire for capability not experience to get 50 percent women

3. Social Activity during our FITT Executive Forum with David Thodey in Sydney was fantastic. Check out #FITTExec_Forum on Twitter to read the attendees impressions.

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

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