What does a day in your role as L&D Lead & Change Manager look like?

The most important aspect of any ICT transformation is managing the change it brings for the people involved – the fears, concerns and unknowns they may face as their work environment changes. With this in mind, my day often involves prioritising the opportunities to meet with stakeholders and provide as much clarity as I can about the change through a range of change artefacts – change impact assessments, stakeholder analyses and communication plans. I also have the privilege of managing a team and constantly checking-in with them to manage workloads. I love living regionally so spend my hourly commute listening to my favourite podcasts – How I Built This and Freakonomics Radio.

Having worked at several leading organizations, which position or organization has had the most positive impact on your career and why?

As a queer woman of colour in the IT industry, I am always conscious of having representation at the leadership level. The position therefore that has had the most positive impact for me is when I’ve had the opportunity to be that leader, either as a board director or as my current role of L&D Lead for the largest federal ICT transformation. Being empowered to lead has enabled me to create diverse and inclusive environments for my teams through representation, role modelling and mentoring.

What do you enjoy most about being a L&D Lead & Change Manager or working in the tech industry?

I love the possibility IT as a tool provides to a range of people, whether through improving accessibility or increasing efficiency thereby freeing up people to work on complex transactions that require human weigh-in. I recently invested in some further study through a FinTech Bootcamp with the University of Sydney and it has been so cool using AI to provide another lens to analyses. However, also very aware of all the bias built into data and the reality of what is not measured, does not get changed.

Who or what has been the biggest inspiration in your life (either business or your personal), and why?

The biggest inspiration in my life has been my nana (Hindi for my maternal grandfather). Growing up in apartheid South Africa, I saw my nana use business as a tool for social impact. Through his dry-cleaning business, he was able to fund hundreds of scholarships to marginalised communities to access education to break poverty cycles. I saw firsthand the life changing impact business can have on communities. I wish to use my skills and passion to similarly make a positive long-lasting change on the communities I am a part of and carry his legacy with me as inspiration in all that I do.

As one of the Top 100 Women of Influence, as named by AFR, do you have one piece of advice for up-and-coming female professionals?

The reality is the systems that we operate in socially, culturally and especially in the workplace have been built over generations by structures that did include equal participation of female identifying individuals. I always hold close to me the paragraph written by Harriet Taylor Mill in 1851 which I believe holds true to this day, she wrote:

“Concerning the fitness, then, of women for politics, there can be no question; but the dispute is more likely to turn upon the fitness of politics for women. When the reasons alleged for excluding women from active life in all its higher departments are stripped of their garb of declamatory phrases, and reduced to the simple expression of a meaning, they seem to be mainly three: first, the incompatibility of active life with maternity, and with the cares of a household; secondly, its alleged hardening effect on the character; and thirdly, the inexpediency of making an addition to the already excessive pressure of competition in every kind of professional or lucrative employment.”

It reminds me I am operating in a system built to purposefully exclude me from my full participation and I always challenge the system first and foremost. Practically this translates to, actively understanding the context in which I am operating before my human instinct of internalising kicks in, it also provides me with perspective and in essence the ability to be kinder to myself. I feel empowered when I realise I am the stories I tell myself and I can use those stories to change a system. Thereby, empowering others.