The WA Brain Gain: attracting the world's brightest minds ...and keeping them?

The five-strong group of PhD and post-doctoral researchers on our panel on Tuesday 16 October were uniformly eloquent, engaging and inspiring.

So too was the building currently housing them and our panel event, the delightful Forrest Hall, the home of the Forrest Research Foundation

Our panelists were:

Ranging from bioscience to archeology, their chosen topics might be baffling to most of us on paper. But as each of the researchers explained their topics and added their personal brands of contagious enthusiasm, it was hard NOT to get equally excited about things we knew almost nothing about previously, like power distribution, sawfish and animal representations in rock art. 

Skilfully facilitated by Events sub-committee member Tracey Naidoo, the audience had the opportunity to delve deeper into the experiences of panel, including what brought them to their STEM careers. All described a curiosity or fascination, often beginning in childhood, with their chosen areas. 

We hope the Australian government is proactive in making it possible for these incredible minds to stay in Perth so they can continue to add immense value, as they are now. 

Negotiating your worth demysified

Last night Women in Technology WA Inc. (WiTWA)  held our bi-monthly TECHXchange event on the topic of ‘Negotiating Your Worth’.  This theme definitely resonated with our network, with another sold-out event at the Globe. 

Our MC Tracey Naidoo led a fabulous conversation with panellists Sam Moody, Neville Smith and Anna Ross-Adjie.

If you missed it, our top 7 takeaways were: 

1. Always have a number up your sleeve as to what you are worth

2. Know what you are willing to walk away from

3. Hiring is like dating; it's the nicest they are going to be to you

4. Close your capability gap

5. Be open to feedback, research, practice and prepare

6. Be able to demonstrate and articulate your value

7. Build you brand 365 days of the year

Our next TECHXchange event will be on 19th September on the topic of "THE FUTURE OF MONEY" and hosted by Bankwest. Ticket sales go live later this week. A special note of thanks also goes to Department of Communities WA for their support and sponsorship of our WITWA TECHXchange event series. 

Data Science Week Event Photos

A serious topic: "Data - good, bad or indifferent?", yet an evening where many a laugh was shared! The photos say it all. Together with Bankwest and Startup Grind we hosted a special event for Data Science Week. Thank you to everyone who joined in on the night!

Latest Techtrails STEM Newsletter out now

Our bi-monthly WITWA Techtrails STEM Newsletter is out with a great overview of recent events and incursions delivered, plus more in the pipeline. Significant updates include:

  • The release of a new STEM Skill Strategy for WA
  • Techtrails STEM incursion success at Duncraig Senior High School
  • Our next WITWA event on Portfolio Careers set for 20 June
  • Snapshot of our recent Data Science Week event
  • Showcasing a great short video interview about Space, Micro-Satellites & WA

If you did not receive your copy CLICK HERE to access our Newsletters and make sure you subscribe for future editions.

Thank you to our Techtrails Sponsors:

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Marking the 2018 Data Science Week milestone with WiTWA, Bankwest and Startup Grind

Opened by WiTWA’s Pia Turcinov and Bankwest’s GM of Everyday Banking, Lousie Vegar, we saw more than 100 Women in Technology WA (WiTWA) members and friends gathered in Bankwest’s beautiful outdoor courtyard for networking, drinks and the best party pies ever as we waited to hear from four esteemed and delightfully different panellists in the field. 

Teresa Harding from BankwestChris Nelson from CSIRO's Data61, and Elizabeth Antoine from Microsoft were facilitated by Andy Lamb from Startup Grind and Diana Adorno from WiTWA and ThoughtWorks. The topic? The age-old question: Data - good, bad or indifferent? 

The session was presented in an entirely accessible and inclusive manner to a mixed audience heralding from a variety of backgrounds. Whilst I can safely say no-one in the room last night was indifferent to the value of data and the myriad of ways it is being used, there were certainly some people that were more vocal in the Q&A session than others on the various degrees of evil it represents. ‘When data goes bad’ quickly became the secondary theme to the evening. 

In summary Chris Nelson’s view was that as long as corporates are driving data collection and third party use for profit in the market, their intention is not likely to be aligned with the greater good.  Andy (King of Disrupters) Lamb agreed that clever tech has a place in our modern society and said, “the future is bright and data is certainly part of it”. Theresa Harding summed it up with; “Kids of the future will be unconscious consumers of the world around them. Their data and behaviour in the public sphere will profile them within an inch of their lives”.

We canvassed the opt-out for data collection services too. For example that message that pops up asking permission to drop cookies on your desktop when you peruse a new site, and the geotech data that tracks your every move when your mobile is in your pocket, allowing restaurants to offer you specials when you’re in the neighbourhood, or your phone to predict your driving patterns so when you jump in the car at 5pm on a Friday it can inform you that the traffic is heavy and it will take you 22 minutes to get home.

And Google’s recent example of the newly announced feature called Google Duplex was also cited for debate (good, bad or indifferent?). It uses artificial intelligence technology to generate a natural-sounding voice assistant, able to make a phone call on a user’s behalf, hold a conversation, and book a restaurant reservation or hair appointment without you needing to even pick up the phone. Other than pranking and inappropriate calls, the security industry and the individual concerned with ethics and privacy will need to consider the downsides of this new tech.

Artificial intelligence expert Hussein Abbass of the UNSW Canberra told the media; …"AI Duplex collects people’s voice signatures to continue training the robot and even its own voice seems to be a synthesis of one or more human voices. (People) need to be aware how their data gets used and they need to offer explicit consent for the collection of the data and for the intended use of the data”.

The #witwa committee are Kay Hargreaves Donna Edwards Lucie Hammond Anitra Robertson Diana Adorno Pia Turcinov Maree Morrell and Lacey Filipich.

The next event will be a TechXchange gathering on Disruption and the Rise of Portfolio Careers, featuring Melissa Langdon from Bossmama, Josh Richards, our resident and much loved Mars One Astronaut candidate, and Shona Rowan, Peak Performance Specialist and Ballroom Dancing Champion.

More details can be found on the WiTWA website.

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Level up for greater good say WiTWA role models

Women in Technology (WiTWA) recently packed Spacecubed to the proverbial rafters while hosting a panel of top-notch local female role models in the tech and innovation ecosystem. 

This event is one of several in the popular boardroom series, which WiTWA run to support its mission to promote diversity and equality in WA. The level of interest and quality of questions were testament to two points worth highlighting:

  1. The rise and rise of Perth as an ideas hub with top talent, and
  2. The appetite for women to lift the bar through contributing to diverse teams and business agendas. 

We are thankful to all the role models on the panel who kindly gave their time to share their stories and inspire. 

We look forward to seeing you all at our next shindig to celebrate International Womens Day in conjunction with the Australian Computer Society (ACS) at the Hyatt Regency. Please see the WiTWA website for more details and to register. http://www.witwa.org.au/events/

Here are the highlights from the panel:

  • Even though things are slowly improving, there is still a definite lack of female role models in the tech sector. 
  • We need to stop competing against other women and instead work together to help and encourage each other to get ahead. The old ‘leave the ladder down’ approach for female colleagues is a good place to start. 
  • We may need to reconsider what a role model looks like - a tech role model may actually be younger than you and not fit the stereotype you once imagined. 
  • If you cant find a role model within your organisation, you need to network and look outside your organisation for inspiring role models. It may not be a ‘one size fits all’ but instead you may find several role models useful for different aspects of your development. 
  • Being stubborn, and resilience were key themes the panel members shared, which had enabled them to get to where they are today....doing the things that people said that they couldn’t do, and using this to drive themselves forward to achieve even greater things.

 

PM’s Prizes for Science Opening Soon

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Nominations for the 2018 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science are opening on 21 February 2018! Do you know or work with a humble science hero, promising early- or mid-career researcher or someone forging their way along the innovation trail that you would like to see celebrated on the national stage? Help them get the recognition they deserve by nominating them for the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science.

Past recipients include Professor Jenny Graves AO for her pioneering investigations of the genetics of sex, and Associate Professor Kerrie Wilson for her work optimising the global allocation of scarce conservation resources. This year the Prize for New Innovators has also been amended to better acknowledge Australia’s innovators for their contributions.

Check out the criteria for all prizes at business.gov.au/scienceprizes and think about who you might know that is eligible for nomination!

Original text published by www.business.gov.au.

 

First techtrials for Teachers event at John Curtin College in Fremantle

On October 31, 2017, the first techtrails for Teachers STEM & Future Skills Event which aimed to inspire, connect and demystify the jobs of the future for our educators was run at John Curtin College in Fremantle. This event was attended by school principals, deputy principals, teachers, careers counsellors and educators. 

WiTWA’s techtrails incursions program is designed to generate passion, excitement and interest in technology and science based careers to motivate secondary students to explore and pursue related study and career opportunities. Acknowledging the declining numbers of students choosing technology, science and engineering career paths, WiTWA has been able to excite and inspire in excess of 2,000 WA students to increase their awareness and participation in STEM as a career option whilst broadening their knowledge of and participation in the innovation system as a whole since it’s inception in 2011.

Thanks to Australian Government grant funding and industry partners, WiTWA is able to supplement the techtrails STEM incursion program with techtrails for teachers events in October and November 2017. This techtrails for teachers events was specifically designed to enable teachers, careers advisors and educators to hear from and network with a range of technology and entrepreneurial STEM professionals, showcasing a current industry perspective and tangible examples of the application of STEM skills in future proofing our next generation.

To make this event such a success, our thanks go to:

  • Prof Lyn Beazley, Patron of WiTWA
  • Anitra Robertson, Surgical RealitiesJessica Baldwin & Jennifer Davies, Kinetic IT
  • Susan Kreemer Pickford Engineers Australia (WA)
  • Erica Haddon, RAC
  • Swati Sharma & Kate Langdale, British Telecom at Fiona Stanley Hospital and
  • the wonderful teams at The Institute for Professional Learning and
  • John Curtin Secondary College.

Leading with humour: A WiTWA techtrails Alumni Principal rises to the occasion

They say that laughter can cure a multitude of ills. It is also the mark of a great leader. So we could not help but admire Mr Saeed Amin, Principal of Broome Senior High School, whose parting leadership gift to the current year 12 cohort was an "impromptu" dance performance to Beyonce's hit song Put a Ring on It. We had the pleasure of collaborating with Mr Amin and his wonderful team when we took our WiTWA techtrails STEM incursion to Broome at the end of 2016. 

Watch his dance moves here - it's trending! We are sure Mr Amin's moves will be remembered by the graduating students for years' to come. It will make you smile, we promise!

WiTWA techtrails visits Ocean Reef SHS & Belridge Secondary College

On 17 October, the WiTWA team brought our techtrails STEM & Future Skills Incursion to Ocean Reef SHS (www.oceanreef.wa.edu.au), where we presented to 150+ year 9 students from Ocean Reef SHS and Belridge Secondary College. For this incursion we had another fantastic and inspirational group of STEM professionals, industry experts and entrepreneurs meet the students and share their stories and experiences.

Thank you to all who made this event possible, and especially to our generous group of STEM professionals for making themselves available and agreeing to share their personal techtrail stories to inspire the next generation:

  • Lakshini Weerasekera, Harry Perkin Institute for Medical Research
  • Alex Hickling, WA Museum
  • Nikki Foster & Para O'Kelly, Thoughtworks
  • Hilary Goh, Mine Vision Systems
  • Kirsten Flint, Scitech
  • Jessica Kemp, Shell Australia
  • Ellie Sansom, Desert Fireball Network
  • Trevor Dunstan, Kinetic IT

The students from both schools were an absolutely pleasure to meet and all staff involved made the occasion a seamless and fun day. Our special thanks to Karon Brooks, Principal of Ocean Reef SHS, Maggie Glover, VET and Workplace Learning Coordinator Ocean Reef SHS, Warren Smith, Deputy Principal Ocean Reef SHS, as well as John Burke, Principal Belridge Secondary College and Liz Cassidy, Technology and Enterprise, Belridge Secondary College.

We would also like to acknowledge the support provided by the Australian Government enabling us to deliver techtrails to over thousands of secondary school students in WA throughout 2017.  Take a look at some of the photos capturing the event by visiting our stories page at www.techtrails.org.au/blog.

Australia's National Science Statement 2017 released

The government has just released Australia's National Science Statement with a vision of setting a long‑term approach to science, providing guidance for government investment and decision making and clarity on strategic aims.

"The Australian government has established Innovation and Science Australia as an independent statutory body with responsibility for providing strategic whole‑of‑government advice on all science, research and innovation matters. The government tasked Innovation and Science Australia to review the performance of the innovation, science and research system and to develop a strategic plan for the period from now to 2030—called the 2030 Strategic Plan—with recommendations for government, which is expected to be completed in 2017.

In this context, the National Science Statement sets out the government's enduring science objectives and principles. It also positions the government to respond to the science elements of the 2030 Strategic Plan in a considered and targeted manner. The Statement will continue to provide guidance for the government's other science‑related policies and initiatives into the future." 

To access Australia's National Science Statement click here.

WiTWA techtrails STEM incursion @Warnbro Community College

Thank you Kya Graves, Principal and the wonderful teaching staff at Warnbro Community College for hosting our 7th WITWA techtrails STEM incursion for the year. We were joined by Professor Lyn Beazley, Patron of WITWA for our opening session, with Darren Lomman from Bloom Labs as one of our STEM role models who presented to the year 9 students.

Au revoir ..... which actually means 'see you again' Taryn!

As many in our network will have realised by now, we unfortunately recently had to bid Taryn Musgrave goodbye as she relocated herself and her wonderful family to beautiful Canada on the other side of the globe. Pursuing new ventures will no doubt create fantastic opportunities for them, but for us here at WiTWA it was a sad occasion to say goodbye to our fabulous Committee member.  

Taryn was instrumental in broadening our WiTWA networks and adding further diversity in thinking to our conversations. During her time on the WITWA Committee Taryn created some powerful new networking initiatives, including what have now become our very popular bi-monthly Cheeky Sparrow Meetups, as well as our dynamic TECHXchange program. Having been responsible for organising and coordinating many interesting and informative sessions, Taryn's legacy will hopefully continue to thrive as both these initiatives grow. We know that feedback from our WITWA members has been thoroughly positive! In her role as WITWA Treasurer, Taryn also added her broad knowledge of tech solutions into the mix, enabling further growth and streamlining many of our internal processes.

We would like to thank Taryn for the two years of dedication and hard work she spent advocating for women in technology since joining the WITWA committee in mid-2015. Taryn, we wish you all the best for the future and your Canadian adventures!

Au Revoir & Best Wishes from all of us here at WiTWA.

DIVERSIFLY promote STEM to entrepreneurs of the future

The WiTWA Techtrails STEM school incursion program is only possible as a result of the many wonderful STEM professionals who volunteer their time to present and talk to our Techtrails students. All do so taking time out of their busy schedules, but always seemingly with a smile on their face.  Lucy Hammond, founder of local edu-tech start-up Diversifly VR and initiator of many other interesting projects, was one of our recent Techtrails presenters to Butler College in Perth's northern suburbs.

Following her visit, Diversifly VR wrote a short blog about the experience. "Lucie spoke on her less traditional journey to STEM. Her message to students came from both personal and professional experience, and a combination of her time spent within corporates, as a ‘working mother’ and as a consultant running Women in Leadership programs before embarking on Diversifly’s mission to train super-humans for the future of work using virtual reality."  To read the full blog click here.  Thank you Lucy and Diversifly VR for sharing your passion and experience with the next generation!

WA TECHXchange: First Impressions, Visibility & Connectivity via Linkedin

Limited tickets still available!

There still are a handful of tickets available to our next TECHXchange @the Cheeky Sparrow on July 19.  This is your chance to consider whether your LinkedIn profile is in need of an update. Are you using your profile to your advantage? Is it written in a relevant way to your career now? How do you craft a profile that will make a great first impression, create visibility and enable you to leverage connectivity?

Come along and hear Jo Saunders of Wildfire Social Marketing address these questions and offer a handful of meaningful tips for using LinkedIn.  Look out for Jo’s upcoming book ‘Get Good or Get Off - A guide to getting it right on social media.’ Discover more about Jo before the evening @https://au.linkedin.com/in/josaunders.

Tickets available via Meetup or Eventbrite.

Curtin Ignition: your time to get that idea off the ground? Scholarship opportunity for women in tech

Do you have an idea or innovation that could become a high growth business? The Curtin Ignition Program is run by the Curtin Centre for Entrepreneurship and is based on the successful Ignite program managed and delivered by the University of Cambridge Judge Business School’s Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (CfEL).

Ignition is a five and a half day intensive program which prepares you for taking your idea to the business world. The experience includes a blend of practical teaching sessions, expert clinics, mentor sessions and experienced advice and support from leading entrepreneurs and innovators. To find out more and see if you may fit the scholarship criteria simply contact Danelle Cross, Director of the Centre of Entrepreneurship at d.cross@curtin.edu.au.  

There are multiple categories for scholarships, so don't be shy and don't presume that you are not ready. Too often we miss out on opportunities because we don't take a chance! This may be your time to get that idea off the ground. Click here to find out more.