Kickass Women: Slaying the Tech World, held at One Roof in Melbourne, brought together innovative female leaders from the tech and business world as they shared their triumphs, challenges and the lessons learnt along the way. The event started with a cheer as Ingrid Josephine from General Assembly stood up to the microphone and welcomed everyone. Deftly moderated by VWT Project Manager, Maria Chetcuti, the session began with lightning talks from each speaker, followed by Q&A with plenty opportunity for insightful and challenging questions from the audience.
— Agency Iceberg (@AgencyIceberg) September 18, 2018
Drawn from a diverse range of fields – ranging from law, agriculture and recruitment – the speakers were united by a sense of creativity and entrepreneurship. Both Sheree Rubinstein, a former lawyer, and Anna O’Dea, a business recruiter, told stories of how hitting the glass ceiling largely steered a change in their career direction. Sheree recounted her breaking point emerging when she was in a business meeting with three other men and one of them asked if Sheree was there to take notes.
‘It didn’t matter how hard I worked, how driven I was, or what degree I had, it was diminished by the single fact that I was the woman in the room.’
Like Sheree, Anna also learned her individual abilities weren’t recognised, even though clients were specifically coming to her, rather than the company she worked for. Bolstered by this knowledge, Anna decide to take the plunge and launch her own recruitment agency, Agency Iceberg. Soon after, Anna released a female focused interview series called Leading Ladies, which sharing stories of individuals leaving their former professional roles and the reasons for their decision.
Similarly, a female focused co-working space was launched by Sheree to provide business growth amongst women. One Roof is one of Australia’s leading co-working spaces that seeks to prioritise women-led businesses and give them a chance to succeed by providing expert advice and tools to grow their business.
Sarah Last, co-founder of agricultural startup MimicTec, noted how initiatives such as One Roof and Angel Investors had improved the wider agricultural and technological space, providing Sarah and her co-founder with a sense of being personally supported. “There’s an idea about leaders and women in tech having no vulnerability and always having the right answers,” said Sarah. “There’s been a change in mindset in the last two years around failure and the positives of failure.”
— Charlotte Aves (@CharlieAves) September 18, 2018
Hima Tk, founder of activity subscription box company InquiBox, agreed with the sentiments of her co-panelists. Hima is an expert in challenging the misconceptions of those around her in relation to women in tech. Her company InquiBox aims to encourage children to get involved with tech in a fun and interactive way. In developing this project, and through her extensive career, Hima has learnt that accepting failure as a possibility can be a very powerful thing to do.
During the Q&A it was repeatedly acknowledged that success is only possible if you have a strong support team around you. “You want to build a team who are going to push your vision and mission,” Hima said. “It’s hard when the amount of resources and support is really limited … trying to find people with shared values is important.”
Each speaker took very different paths to get where they are today, showing the diverse range of women working in tech and business. What they do have in common though is a firm belief in the power of women to make a difference. As they strive towards their future ambitions, they are in turn inspiring more women to follow in their footsteps – and slay.