Aroha Kaa
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Aroha Kaa

Director of Technology

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Breaking the bias is the theme for this year’s IWD. The theme is all about removing bias, stereotypes and discrimination to create greater diversity, equity and inclusion. What’s one way you strive to break the bias in your role? 

I am a NZ Maori woman, who never graduated University, suffers mental health issues and can't code. I am also the Director of Technology for one of QLD largest technology employers and a leading global brand. I believe that being open about who I am and sharing my experiences and my journey, has given confidence to others like me, the minority, to know they can strive to be more and can break the stereotype of what it takes to be a leader in technology.

What do you think women bring to the tech ecosystem?

To have a flourishing ecosystem in any business, building connections to each other and the businesses vision is critical. Successful businesses are underpinned by tight-knit teams, clear guidance and consistent inspiration to "show up". I believe that those who identify as women or are a part of a minority group really excel in building meaningful connections. These groups depend on their support network for survival and always have. This innate survival mechanism allows women and their partnering minority groups to thrive in business and in tech if they are enabled to do so.

If you could swap roles with any of your colleagues for a week, who would it be? What role? Why?

I have always wanted to spend the week as a Designer. If this hypothetical week also came with magical design skills, I think it'd be so much fun. I'd love to understand how we take creativity and imagination, and turn it in to something practical, yet engaging for our customers to use. Also, every Product designer I meet has this colourful aura, a spark! Whether it be in their clothing, their tattoos, the language they use, the way they ask questions...it's fascinating and I want a bit of that magic in my life for a week.

What’s one piece of advice you could share with women entering the tech or start-up world that will help them on their journey?

If you are anything like me you will always question and doubt what you are doing or your place in the world. It will always come in waves and you won't always have the support network around you to pick you up and pat you on the back. So, just remember that whilst you can be your biggest critic you can also be your biggest hype person. Feedback and advice are always great to seek, but if you can't look in the mirror and say to yourself "you're doing an awesome job", "be kind to yourself you are learning", "be patient" "you are on the right track and if you aren't who cares", then it'll be unlikely that seeking other peoples validation or approval will make any difference. Someone wise once said to me "Love yourself and seek to know yourself first. That way the love and gratitude shown by others is just the icing on the cake"

If you have been on a candidate journey / placement with The Lab17. Tell us a bit about it (highs, lows, thoughts, feelings).

I am very thankful for Lab17 and the time they took to guide me in to my role as Director of Technology and Entain AU. It has been a challenging, but very soul-fulfilling five months. I am a big believer in "nothing in life worth having, comes easy" and this new role is one of those things. I experience great joy in seeing Entain grow and am privileged to be a part of it. 2022 is set to be a big one for us with new ways of working, exciting products and technology challenges we have never faced before. Watch this space.