In focus: Women leaders in ICT

Men outnumber women in the IT industry, but here's a list of executive female leaders who have become influential figures in Australia’s ICT industry

  • Alenka Tindale, Targus - Tindale has been managing director and co-owner of Targus Australia since her husband passed away in 1989. She has built the company up from two people to 30 locally, and is also on the accessory vendor’s international management team. Like many of the women in this list, Tindale contributes to promoting female leadership in IT through The Execution Connection Group mentoring program and judged the 2008 and 2009 Telstra Women in Business awards. Her resume also includes membership with the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
  • Andrea Della-Mattea, Insight Della-Mattea has been the senior vice-president across Asia-Pacific for Insight (formerly Software Spectrum) since 2006, but her history with the organisation stretches from 1996 and includes a two-year stint as North America vice-president. Della-Mattea started as a computer systems engineer at Trysoft Australia before joining the Essentially Group in 1993, where she was responsible for building a software, hardware and services business in Queensland.
  • Tracey Fellows, Microsoft - The current managing director of Microsoft replaced Steve Vamos in 2007 after spending time as director of its Server Business Group and marketing operations. Fellows’ long IT career history includes stints with IBM and Dell locally and regionally, as well as positions on the Australian Information Industry Association board and the Business Council of Australia. She is recognised as one of the leading women in IT, but is also an advocate of work/life balance.
  • Deena Shiff, Telstra – This group managing director of Telstra’s SME business has had a significant career with the telco giant, notably as head of its wholesale business from 2001 to 2006. She started her career with OTC in 1989, and has held a range of regulatory and executive positions. Shiff was also director of Freightcorp while it was owned by the Government. She is a member of the Chief Executive Women group and an ambassador for Telstra’s Business Awards.
  • Liesl Capper, Mooter/MyCyberTwin - Capper joins this list of female leaders for her entrepreneurial spirit. She started three successful ICT businesses – Toptots, Mooter and MyCyberTwin – as well as floated Mooter on the Australian Stock Exchange. She won the Outstanding Achievement in IT award from the Women in Technology association in 2007 for her work around artificial intelligence and is a regular speaker at technology development and industry events.
  • Deborah Homewood, Pacnet - Another member of the Chief Executive Women association, Homewood is an advocate for women in ICT leadership positions. The managing director of Pacnet Australia has a long history in telecommunications including roles at Motorola and AT&T. She also raises funds for charities like Canteen in her spare time.
  • Sheryle Moon, AIIA - The former CEO of the Australian Information and Industry Association from 2006–2008 has chalked up 25 years in ICT. Moon’s resume includes vice-president of CSC, managing partner at Accenture, and director of recruitment at Manpower Services Australia. Moon was named the Australian Business Woman of the Year in 1999 and has been involved in a number of government advisory boards. She is a regular speaker at industry forums and has also written two books around careers and jobs in the technology and science sectors. Moon was recognised by John Howard, during his tenure as Prime Minister, as one of the 20 most influential women in Australia and included in the Foundation program for Honouring Women.
  • Kate Lundy, Labor Party Senator Lundy has represented ACT in the Australian Senate since 1996 for the Labor Party and has participated in every ICT inquiry during that time. She has been a significant advocate for ICT usage in Federal Government as well as a spokesperson for the industry at a public level and was opposition IT minister against Senator Alston. Lundy was ranked thirteenth in a shortlist of 25 global leaders by the International Centre for E-democracy and Politics Online in September last year for her work on the Gov2.0 initiative. She is also a patron for CASE: Computer Assistance Support Education, a non-profit group that provides smart, open technology support to community organisations.
  • Maggie Alexander, FITT - Alexander is the founding member of the Females in IT and Telecommunications organisation, which was established in 1989 and sits underneath the AIIA. Her 30-year career history includes several IT and consulting positions including senior manager at Digital Equipment Corporation (1985-1996), acting CEO at Kadence Photonics (1999-2002), and SOX IT project manager at Pernod Ricard Pacific (2006-2007). She is an active member and representative for FITT and now runs her own business consulting firm, M&M Consulting Services, which provides training and coaching with a focus on business process improvement.
  • Kate McKenzie, Telstra - The second Telstra executive to appear on this list is Kate McKenzie, its chief marketing officer from March 2010. She has held a range of senior executive roles across Telstra covering regulatory affairs, government relations and marketing since joining the telco giant in 2004. McKenzie’s background is in NSW industrial relations in the public sector. Given her high-profile position today, McKenzie has become an influential woman in ICT. She is a member of Chief Executive Women and ambassador for the Telstra Business Women’s awards.
  • Wendy O’Keeffe, Westcon Group - O’Keeffe is arguably one of the most high-profile female leaders in the IT channel. As the managing director of LAN Systems, then Westcon Group in Australia, she had led a growing distribution business and team since 2004 while being an active promoter of IT channel. Prior to joining LAN, O’Keeffe spent three years at Tech Pacific. O’Keeffe was promoted to an Asia-Pacific role with Westcon in April 2009 and is now rapidly building out its regional businesses. O’Keeffe is also involved in mentoring other aspiring females and was recognised with the Leading Mentor Award at the inaugural Dell Women in IT Executive Mentoring event earlier this year.
  • Jane Hemstritch, Accenture - Hemstritch was the Asia-Pacific managing director of Accenture from 2004-2007, but her history with the outsourcing organisation began way back in 1982. During her 25 years with the company, Hemstritch ran Accenture’s local and regional change management practices, became a partner, headed up its Communications and High Tech Operating Unit and sat on the executive management team. She is also a member of the Chief Executive Women association and a non-executive director for Commonwealth Bank, Tabcorp Holdings, The Global Foundation and most recently, Santos.
  • Fiona Dicker, Dicker Data - Fiona Dicker was a familiar face in IT distribution during the 1980s, 1990s and into early 2000s as general manager and co-founder of Dicker Data alongside her husband. Her background might have been floristry, but Dicker quickly gained the respect of the IT community during her time as the leader of the only privately-owned entity in broad-based distribution.
  • Maree Lowe, ASI Solutions - As co-founder and sales manager of Anabelle Bits (ASI Solutions) since 1985, Maree Lowe has been an active contributor to the IT industry while also mentoring females in leadership. She won NSW Business Woman of the Year in 1999, the same year ASI scored NSW Westpac Business Owner of the Year award. Her career history also includes work on the NSW Government State and Regional Development – Small Business Development Corporation Board, and as a committee member of the NSW Australian Information Industry Association.
  • Merle Singer, Dimension Data - Singer is well-known as a key figure at Dimension Data. She was director of marketing from 1990-2005 and the founder of the Dimension Data Forum. Singer became the integrator’s Corporate Social Responsibility program director nationally in 2005 before moving into the role of global director of sustainability in 2008.
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