Women Leading Tech: ISPT’s Letitia Hope On Creating Game-Changing Spaces for Game-Changing Women

Women Leading Tech: ISPT’s Letitia Hope On Creating Game-Changing Spaces for Game-Changing Women

There’s been much talk about the need for diversity in the workplace, but it’s rare to find a landlord who is actually advocating and investing to promote that.

Enter ISPT who are making their mark at 477 on Pitt Street, in the heart of the newly designated Tech Central Precinct. 

477 on Pitt Street is being reimagined as the talent incubator of emerging entrepreneurs, many of whom are women.

Letitia Hope, Partnership Specialist at ISPT, said: “What we’re focused on are places that enrich, excite and energise people.”

We sat down with Letitia to discuss how 477 on Pitt Street is building a culture that celebrates diversity, nurtures new talent and promotes collaboration and partnerships.

Q: What were the biggest hurdles you noticed in the traditional workplace for women that drove your innovation?

LH: It’s been a period of discovery through COVID. What we’re seeing is a move towards people very much wanting work to fit in with the things that are lifestyle priorities. 

We’re really thinking about how we change a traditional workplace to enable and facilitate this change to “lifestyle working”. What that means is: why would you come to work? 

What we know is people are coming in primarily for connection to three things:

  1. Organisational culture i.e. getting a feel for how things are done around there. We very much learn from observation and seeing how things are done, rather than just reading the online orientation. 
  2. Connection with communities for social support, fun and learning. And you know what? As we’re seeing a change in the workplace, the networks that we can foster across organisations throughout a precinct is really important. That might be around professional interests, but also personal interests.
  3. Collaboration, so for people to be really able to invent, innovate, create together, and test and stretch their own thinking with others.

We’ve got to be able to change workplaces, to better facilitate those things and be much more flexible to be able to do those things in a variety of ways.

B&T: How does 477 on Pitt Street specifically cater for the working woman?

A key part of Tech Central is to bring lifestyle working to play by introducing epic innovators that are adding to women’s lives, to their progression and their wellbeing. We will include a school holiday programme, a great parent room and become puppy friendly.

And sometimes we’ve got a lot of competing needs, so how do we accommodate all of the different things? Is it the learning and networking events that you might make the effort to come in for, or finding great sponsors within tech? Is it for individual one-on-one wellbeing coaching, a movement class, or, you know, using the peloton bike while you’re in place?

These are the sorts of things that we’re thinking people want to be whipping into work for a few hours for.

B&T: We’ve previously spoken about harnessing the power of tech and data. I’m interested in how that’s being used to create these experiences?

In one of the simplest forms, we’ve got an app for our buildings called EPIC. It’s a really easy way for people to connect with everything that we offer, whether it be amenity or movement classes, right in the palm of their hand form wherever they are working.

Then we’ve really got to start considering these virtual worlds that we’re going to work within. So when we hear things like the collaborative metaverse sessions, we’re already trying to think well, how do we use tech and data to enhance 3D and 2D, and the combination of these experiences?

B&T: Do you believe inclusive workspaces benefit everyone?

We know that diversity is really what helps great places, and particularly creative, innovative places thrive. Although we are really focused on precincts and creating place and placemaking, it’s the people that make places.

And that means all sorts of people; every kind of diversity that we can be better, and encourage to be part of our community is what we’re aiming for. 

And that means all sorts of people; every kind of diversity, and encourage and facilitate people to be part of our community is what we’re aiming for.

B&T: On that note, what changes do you think landlords can make to their existing offices to promote a culture of equality for women?

Psychologically safe places are so important, particularly after the last few years there’s lots of anxiety around returning to work, breaking routines, or starting a new routine. 

When you walk into 477, that sense of welcome that someone is there to greet you, help you find where you’re going, show you where the coffee shop is, hearing laughter – these are the things that are really important to help people have that sense of physical and psychological safety.

For a tech precinct, what we’re really thinking about when enabling and facilitating women in tech is how do we shine great light on women at every level, but especially those just entering the tech sector and industry? How do we shine bright light on those in a startup or at a scale-up level to inspire others to be part of this sector.

Those are simple things, but very symbolic about the importance of diversity.

B&T: Why do you think gender-inclusive participation is of particular importance in tech compared to other industries?

I think it’s important in every industry, but in tech the representation is about one in four at the moment. That’s not a great representation, particularly when tech as a sector offers so many things. Even if we think about economic security and superannuation levels, tech is really leading the way in a lot of those sorts of indicators. 

And so this opens up a new world to women of a lot of different ages, maybe even those thinking of changing careers. We really built 477 thinking about the importance of those sorts of opportunities, so that we can be showcasing the different entry points, and encouraging more and more women to enter tech.

B&T: What do you think the next decade will look like for tech, particularly if there is a greater shift towards creating gender-inclusive workspaces?

I think, in the next 10 years, we’re going to see tech transform Australia. Tech can lead us in so many great directions: diversity and inclusion, sustainability, and completely changing the way in which our economy is driven. 

And inclusive workplaces are going to pave the way where people can come together and make that happen. Because as human beings, we are built to be with others. So that’s what’s really important about creating great places where people want to be, so that they can really enjoy that part of themselves as well.

B&T’s Women Leading Tech Awards 2022, presented by Atlassian, are coming up soon on Thursday 28th Apr 2022, 5:30 pm – 11:30 pm AEST.

Don’t miss out! Be part of the action and get your tickets HERE today.

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