VP of Engineering at Vamp
WHERE DID YOUR TECH JOURNEY STEM FROM?
This is a difficult question to answer as I had no mentor or role model in the industry before joining. It was more a happy accident. I did a computing subject for the HSC and enjoyed the problem solving aspect of it so continued in that direction for university. I think there is a great sense of achievement when you build something from scratch.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BEST PART OF BEING A WOMAN IN THE TECH INDUSTRY?
I think women bring a different perspective to the table. It's been said before: 50% of your customers will be women so having that voice on the team can make a big difference.
WHAT HAS YOUR OVERALL EXPERIENCE AS A WOMAN IN TECHNOLOGY BEEN LIKE?
HAVE YOU FACED ANY ADVERSITY IN YOUR CAREER?
I have been very lucky in my career in that I have not had any significant set backs or adversity. I think the challenges for women are more cultural and entrenched in our ways of thinking. For a good portion of my career I was the only women in my office which can make you feel like the 'odd man out' and disconnected from the group. Another example, is that many of the networking opportunities, like tech meetups, happen outside work hours which can exclude people who have commitments outside of work.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST SUCCESS OR YOUR BIGGEST LEARNING OPPORTUNITY?
My current role has been both my biggest success and my biggest challenge. As Head of Engineering at Vamp I have been empowered to drive new initiatives, mostly centred around improving life for the engineering team and enabling us to deliver faster. This requires not just technical implementation but also cultural change which has forced me to extend my own skill set. It is very rewarding to see these initiatives bring results and I am proud of what the team has achieved.
HOW DO YOU THINK THE INDUSTRY CAN HELP WOMEN IN TECHNICAL FIELDS?
Currently there is a lot of groups focused on bringing women into the tech industry but there is a lack of support as these women move further on in their careers. As people move into more senior or management roles having the support of mentors and peers can be the key to success, but is often difficult to find. A large number of women (up to 50% in some surveys) leave the tech industry due to a lack of career development or support. Addressing this issue is key if we want to improve the gender gap in tech.
WHAT IS SOME ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO THE NEXT GENERATION OF WOMEN IN TECH?
Reach out and build your network. It was not until I had progressed in my career that I realised how valuable this was. Having people you can reach out to for advice or even just bounce ideas off can be hugely helpful when you face new challenges.