NZ_OzWIT 2012 “persistence, challenge, passion, enthusiasm, growth, balance”
The first ever New Zealand and Australian Women in IT Conference was held in beautiful Christchurch on the 10th and 11th of October. Christchurch welcomed us with a bit of an earthshake, 4.1 on the Richter scale. “Was that a truck going past?”
Nicky Wagner MP opened our conference and emphasized the need for ICT to increase diversity in 4 areas; gender, background, lifestyle and nationality.
Professor Dame Wendy Hall’s keynote, reminded us that we are in a constantly changing frontier and that even the creators of the World Wide Web did not know what it could do until it was invented, and they are still learning.
Professional NZ Women shared their personal journeys. They chose this career out of “convenience”, “challenge” ” passion” and “shopping” !
The Academic stream of the conference provided the underlying theories that attempt to unpack the reasons behind the increasing lack of diversity in ICT. Stereotypes, self-efficacy, confidence, support groups and strategies to persist and flourish were shared.
The student poster session demonstrated the varied and creative applications and research into aspects of ICT.
Day 2 . Kay Giles, CE of CPIT (Christchurch Polytechnic) advised all to put family first -then the rest will fall into place. Start each day with something to do, something to look forward to and something to love.
Lyndal Stewart from Business Mechanix gave us DBA to CEO in 15 easy steps. Demonstrating thatl “enthusiasm is infectious” and that “time as a precious gift”.
The ‘influencer’ panel unpacked leadership styles, Sue Wilkinson an “eagle who facilitates conversation”, Melanie Tobeck “persistent,even dogmatic” Jo Healey “an active listener, a leader who stands on others shoulders”. These women ‘run their own game’ and have created the ICT business environment that works for them.
The final session delivered by Jo Miller led each of us to “Build our own Brand”. It was noisy, energetic, and left everyone with solid strategies advice for the future.
We were enthused to go and model the workplace culture we want, mentor women to enter computing, as well as become leading influencers in our organisations.
If the energy in the room could be bottled……