Meet the ARN 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

This year’s ARN 30 Under 30 Tech Awards were held as an integral part of the first entirely virtual Emerging Leaders forum, an annual event dedicated to identifying, educating and showcasing the Australian technology market’s rising stars. Judged by an Emerging Leaders panel, the 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 recognised the outstanding achievements and business excellence of 30 talented individuals, across both young leaders and those just starting out. In this slideshow, ARN honours this year's winners and captures their thoughts about how their ideas of leadership have changed over time.

  • ARN 30 under 30 Tech Awards Winners

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - Sales winner: Haowei Guo, AWS - "As I’ve developed in my career, I’ve come to learn that the essence of being a good leader lies in the ability to listen with intent and asking the right questions – it’s not about telling those around you what the 'right answer' is but empowering them to find it themselves."

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - Sales winner: Andrew Sabo, Cisco - "With the rise of technology there has been a fundamental change in the workforce and the means of effectively managing teams. In my experience we have seen a shift to a more collaborative, open and transparent approach. As the pace of change continues to accelerate, now more than ever leaders need to be able to wade through the noise and uncertainty to make quick decisions and deliver a clear, memorable strategy."

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - Sales winner: Lauren Young, Citrix - "Over my career, my ideas of leadership have evolved with each change of management and mentor. Today I believe that leadership should be through the inspiration and motivation of others to maximise their ambition and potential around the many layers of their professional life."

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - Sales winner: Luke Swetman, Google - Over time, my expectations of leaders have increased. It’s not good enough to only talk the talk. I expect to see leaders leading by example -- successful leaders, to me, are those who build diverse and inclusive teams and role model people-centric behaviour.

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - Sales winner: Georgia Nelson, Ingram Micro - "Early on I viewed leadership as quite transactional, however through my experience I’ve come to realise we’re all leaders working towards a common goal. Being in a leadership position provides an opportunity to be a role model, to cultivate a positive and purposeful culture and help others reach their full potential."

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - Sales winner: Ellie Johnston, The Missing Link - "Our views of leadership refine over time as we witness good and bad examples of leadership at home, work and politically. Personally, the most pivotal change in my view of leadership was when I became one. Leaders often put immense (unnecessary) pressure on themselves; now coming full circle to an individual contributor role, the leadership qualities that truly matter are reliability when the chips are down, integrity and effective communication."

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - Marketing winner: Shalini Karthikeyan, Cisco Meraki - "Leaders must constantly have a vision, engage peers, explore complex situations, delegate and monitor. It’s challenging, but I also understand leadership isn’t just about managing others – leaders innovate, they inspire and motivate their co-workers and they make tough and vulnerable decisions when no one else is prepared to step up."

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - Marketing winner: Stephanie Gray, InfoTrust - "At the start of my career I believed the mark of a great leader was someone who had all the answers. Over time I’ve realised that to be an effective leader you don’t necessarily need to be the most knowledgeable person in the room. A successful leader surrounds themselves with those people, and more importantly knows how to motivate and get the best out of them."

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - Marketing winner: Sophie Fielding, Okta

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - Marketing winner: Alexandra Skerritt, Veeam - "I’ve come to realise that Leadership is not confined to the c-suite or to those who hold a formal title. Leadership is a mindset which is displayed in how you act and treat those around you. Regardless of what position you hold, every time you inspire someone to act to make a difference, you are a leader."

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - Marketing winner: Emma Heath, VMware - "I used to think you needed to be loud to be a leader. As someone who needs to fully formulate a response before speaking, my chances of developing this ‘key’ leadership skill felt pretty slim. But over time, I’ve learnt that -- for me -- the best leaders are ones that evoke passion in others to achieve a shared, desired outcome. And that’s the type of leader I’d like to be."

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - HR winner: Kirralee Richardson, Aussie Broadband - "Great leaders aren’t about themselves. It takes humility, courage and different thinking to take what you have (and what you don’t) and create a vision that you can not only stick to when it’s uncomfortable, but take others with you on that unknown journey to a better place that only you can see. I’d never thought about it until I worked with a great leader as my example."

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - HR winner: Chelsea O'Hanlon, DXC Technology - "When I first joined the workforce five years ago, I believed leadership was simply the management of staff. I could not have been more wrong. I have since learned that the act of leadership is to inspire, motivate and encourage others and not to just direct or manage them. True leaders understand the power and importance of human relationships."

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - HR winner: Valerie Xie, Fujitsu - "When I first started in the corporate world I thought leadership meant being in a senior position, however that quickly changed over time – seniority in terms of hierarchy doesn’t matter. You’re not a leader without followers – successful leaders have an even more successful team behind them. Leaders who show up with their passion, leaders who know how to listen."

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - Entrepreneur winner: Callum McDonald, CSW-IT

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - Entrepreneur winner: Mikel Wellsmore, Elevate Technology - "My idea of leadership has transformed from telling people what to do and how to do it to empowering people to make those decisions for themselves and become a 'leader' themselves."

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - Entrepreneur winner: Jesse de Haan, Layer 8 Security - "My idea of leadership has changed from me leading the team to achieve success, to the team leading each other on a collaborative level to grow the organisation and staff as one. My team and I work together to become industry leaders within our field and strive to lead our customers in the right direction."

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - Entrepreneur winner: Jamie Cerexhe, Mastt - "Over time I’ve realised that leadership isn’t always about being in front. Giving others the opportunity to be heard and to take the spotlight means you don’t have to rely on authority to drive a team towards a goal. Empowering others will naturally draw people towards you."

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - Entrepreneur winner: Fergus Creese, My Careers - "To me, Leadership is no longer about a militaristic style of commanding control, instilling pressure or constraining time to maximise human output. The world has seen the evolution of a new breed of leader -- one who eliminates the incremental, linear way traditional leaders develop, leveraging community, big data, smart learning algorithms and new technology into achieving performance leagues above their peers."

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - Management winner: Natalia Crasta, Arrow ECS ANZ - "With time and experience I have understood the importance of having a people-oriented focus rather than a task-oriented one. I have found that innovation and creativity are crucial aspects of leadership that allow us to make day to day work more enjoyable for the team. This not only creates an atmosphere that people treasure, but also increases productivity and team spirit."

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - Management winner: Laurence Duguay, DigiTech - PwC - "Over the years, I've really come to understand the importance of proactively empowering others as a leader, seeking opportunities to build on their strengths and creating space for them to learn. I've been fortunate enough to work with a lot of inspiring leaders who have done this for me and I'm always looking to do the same for my team."

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - Management winner: Lucy Grigg, Mimecast - "Curiosity around leadership and, more importantly, people is key to be able to adapt your approach. Great leaders are less focused on the result and more focused around the performance of the team, always being mindful of what individuals need, and how they can best support fulfilling those needs."

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - Management winner: Gabe Marzano, NEXTGEN Distribution - "My idea of leadership has evolved over time. Since moving into the corporate world, my idea of leadership has developed into a multi-faceted and polymathic approach to leading. I recognise the best leaders are those who can harness the accelerating pace of technological advancements whilst as equally having a ‘human-centric’ approach to leadership."

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - Management winner: Callum Walker, The Missing Link - "Over the years, I’ve learned that leadership is not reserved for people with 'manager' in their title, and I’m proud to work at a company where leadership shines through at all levels. As a manager, I feel a responsibility to foster leadership skills in my team, help them to find their ‘why’, and support them on their individual journeys."

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - Management winner: Kathryn Roger, Vocus

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - Technical winner: Nikita Dhami, DXC Technology - "I want to do more and know more, quicker. It propels me to find the shortest path to the outcome in mind. This may be unorthodox, but the outcome is correctly functional. But Impatience carries the risk of bulldozing people and ideas. I’ve learned to balance my impatience with the essential need to bring people along on the journey."

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - Technical winner: Sitara Charles, NBN Co - "We’ve seen the transition from having a task-oriented mindset to investing to a people-oriented mindset. Given the constant change and volatility, leaders are now more focused and open to adaptability and resilience as an innate need to drive success within organisations."

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - Technical winner: Ashish Mathur, NTT - "To thrive in these times of great uncertainty, leaders with integrity, vision and commitment offer timeless assets to any organisation. Leadership requires empathy and exceptional communication skills along with making decisions quickly and staying on top of the big picture. In this way, as John Kotter observes, leaders not only manage change, they 'cause change', by 'establishing the vision for the future and setting the strategy for getting there'."

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - Technical winner: Jen Liu, VMware - "In the past, I thought leadership was simply a skillset required to manage a team. However, my mindset has slowly evolved from focusing solely on individual problems to envisioning the broader strategic goals first. From this experience, I have also discovered that motivating my team members was a long-term effort, one which I am also responsible for driving."

  • 30 under 30 Tech Awards - Technical winner: Emily McCarthy, Vocus - "The idea of leadership has changed for me from being a traditional leader managing a team of people to learning how to lead people from the side in a non-management role. Leadership for me is now about how I can most effectively lead groups of different stakeholders to deliver an outcome that benefits our customers and our teams."

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