For International Women’s Day, Look Back At B&T’s Past Women Leading Tech Winners: 2021 Applications Close Today!

For International Women’s Day, Look Back At B&T’s Past Women Leading Tech Winners: 2021 Applications Close Today!

For this year’s International Women’s Day, B&T is looking back at some of the women we’ve celebrated in the past.

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is ‘Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world’.

Last year, women were disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. A report by Kaspersky called ‘Where are we now? Understanding the evolution of women in technology‘ was published in January of 2021.

It found that fourty-seven per cent of women in tech believed that the effects of COVID-19 had
delayed their career progression.

As well as this, sixty-three per cent of mothers working in tech surveyed said that they had done more of the homeschooling, or helped their children with homework more than their partner, since March 2020. Sixty per cent of women also said they had done the majority of the cleaning at home since March 2020.

In contrast, only fourty-seven per cent of men said the same.

On today of all days, it’s essential that we spotlight the female role models leading the way here in Australia. B&T‘s Women Leading Tech awards (whose late entries for 2021 close today!) do just that.

We’ve had the privilege to interview or profile a number of our 2020 Women Leading Tech winners in the run up to this year’s awards.

Have a scroll, get inspired and absorb some wisdom from some of our women leading tech.

2020 Women Leading Tech Entrepreneur/Founder Winner, Kath Blackham


Kath Blackham was not just the winner of the Entrepreneur/Founder award – she was also our B&T 2020 Woman Of The Year. As the CEO of VERSA, she is an incredibly powerful female figurehead in the industry.

In this interview with B&T, she reflects on the advice she would have for her younger self.

She told us, “I wish I had, much earlier on, focused in on the things that I believe in and working towards those, rather than worrying about my career and where I was going, because that has followed for me,” in a slice of wisdom as evergreen as they come.

2020 Women Leading Tech Data Science Winner Mohadeseh Ganji 

Mohadeseh Gangji is ANZ’s head of data science and an honorary fellow of the University of Melbourne.

She points out the importance of encouraging women to look at tech as a viable career from a young age.

“The biggest barrier for girls entering tech or data science is the mindset that is being cultivated at early school ages that boys are better than girls at tech and science. Even at high school it is generally perceived that tech roles are more suitable for boys.”

“It is an unwritten and unintended part of the education system and the family/social culture that cultivates such stereotypes in the minds of our kids and teenagers.”

2020 Women Leading Tech Design Winner Sally Woellner

Sally Woellner is product and design director at Canva, which she joined in June 2019, where she led the development of the first mobile-first presentation platform for Canva Presentations.

Prior to her work at Canva, she developed brand ideas and strategy  for Wolrd Vision’s #kidsoffnauru campaign.

2020 Women Leading Tech Engineering Winner Ellie Shin

Ellie Shin is a team engineering lead at Canva, where she worked on the design of Canva’s browser software (Canva 2.0). She was then tasked with leading the Canva for Android project, which was recognised by Google in 2019 with the ‘Standout Build for Billions’ award.

She has also worked with the coaching team and other tech leaders at Canva to design a programme that tackles the issue of female engineers feeling less confident than their male counterparts.

2020 Women Leading Tech Executive Leader Winner Kate Quirke

Kath Quirke is the managing director for Alcidion. She was also the first female and youngest member of the NSW Health Advisory Committee.

She was inspired to go into health care technology by her single mother, who worked cleaning hospitals and hoped Quirke would study to be a doctor.

In her role at Alcidion, Quirke has accelerated their growth with the ptake of Alcidion technology across Australia, New Zealand and the UK, delivering smart technology to more than 42 health organisations, live at 215 hospitals and at 30,000 hospital bedsides.

2020 Women Leading Tech Marketing Winner Rachelle McDermott

In this interview, Rachelle McDermott, growth marketing manager at Blackmores, reflects on the women who have inspired her throughout her career.

“I’m a big believer in women uplifting women. To work alongside great women and coach women to find their ‘thing’ and develop their own career is something I’m really passionate about.”

“The Women Leading Tech Awards seemed like a great way for me to walk the talk, show my colleagues and peers that you have to be in it to win it, and make it known that receiving support and encouragement from industry peers is great for all women.”

2020 Women Leading Tech Mentor Winner Jessica Box

Jessica Box is the managing director of Girls In Tech Australia, an organisation dedicated to supporting women and girls in the tech industry. She is also head of growth at social platform Linktree.

She told B&T that her leadership strategy is guided, ultimately, by by empathy.

“In male-dominated environments, it can sometimes feel difficult to operate from a place of empathy and vulnerability, so, as a woman in tech, I’ve always been really conscious of supporting all voices within my teams. My personal leadership style has always been to lead and nurture from the back — to lay a clear path forward, but then listen, observe and raise my team up for their successes.”

2020 Women Leading Tech Sales Winner, Kristine Celona

Kristine is Verizon’s Senior Platform Sales Lead at Verizon Media. Earlier this year, she caught up with B&T about how her life has changed since winning the awards.

In the piece, Kristine reflects on the need to be ‘Human and Helpful’,  “which means putting the needs of people, the industry and the community ahead of yourself”.

You can apply for the 2021 Women Leading Tech awards here. Entries close at 5pm, March 8th. 



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