Leader in the Spotlight
Fay leads an ambitious agenda to enable Senior Australians, their families, providers, and others to have the best in class digital experiences, and to create a better-connected aged care ecosystem that is consolidated, sustainable, automated and modern.
A natural leader and passionate advocate for women in tech, Fay recently spoke at the annual Leadership Summit for Women in Tech. Her leadership, goals and pathway through the tech industry is not just inspiring for those in the industry but for every female professional determined to succeed and climb the career ladder with compassion, empathy and courage.
After graduating university, Fay worked in a small software development company building margin-lending software. As is often the case in small businesses, Fay was given lots of opportunity to experiment with multiple hats. “It was a real insight into the full delivery lifecycle of IT products – from design to development to running the software; priceless, early, hands-on experiences, which imprinted an entrepreneurial spirit that has stayed with me throughout my career” explains Fay.
Fay then took a big step into the world of banking IT – working in powerhouses like ANZ, ING Direct and Comm Bank.
Like most women, Fay juggled work with family life and that meant working as an Executive Manager whilst also raising her two children. As her career progressed, she developed a reputation for delivering and made a natural progression into consulting; a highly competitive space, but also highly rewarding.
Inspired by the potential for modern technologies to improve our social welfare systems, and driven by a personal goal to make a difference, Fay moved to government. She started her public service career in Services Australia, before moving on to drive digital transformation of the aged care sector as a First Assistant Secretary in the Department of Health and Aged Care.
As a person navigating a career in IT, Fay has encountered her share of challenges and some of those challenges relate to her gender.
“When I started out, there was still a very visible glass ceiling that affected, consciously and unconsciously, the way women were treated as technologists. At that time, female IT specialists were still rare, for example, I was the only woman in my IT degree course. In fact, I’ve spent a lot of my career being the only female in the boardroom. And, as any minority group can tell you, being one amongst many can make it difficult to be heard.”
It can be easy to be a highly capable woman working invisibly supporting the reputation and career progression of a male leader. She believes this speaks to the broader social context, but also to the willingness as women to do a lot of hard work undercover. “At a certain point, I had to consciously put myself out there. Which, admittedly, felt unnatural at first but I practiced being brave, taking on public accountability, and being willing to back myself.”
Fay’s goal was clear … make her presence known and become really clear about how her personal efforts contributed to the outcome!
She challenged herself to not become smaller or quieter – that subtle technique we sometimes use to help others feel less threatened. If she had a good idea, Fay would stand up and share it, no matter how overwhelming the moment felt.