Women of Airwallex Australia share their tips for career growth

Isabelle Comber5 mins
Company news
Women of Airwallex Australia share their tips for career growth

(pictured from left to right; Isabelle Comber, Liv Triffitt, Lisa Tsai, Taylor Fox-Smith)

‘Inspire Inclusion’, the theme for 2024’s International Women’s Day, has two objectives. One is to understand and value women’s inclusion, and the other is to inspire women to be included; fostering a sense of “belonging, relevance and empowerment”. 

Traditionally, the tech industry hasn’t always been particularly welcoming for women, but the tide is turning. However, the numbers are still far from where they should be.

According to the ACS Digital Pulse 2023 survey, women only make up 29% of the Australian tech workforce, despite making up 47% of the working population. The survey also found that opportunities are growing. Australia will need 445,000 more technology skilled workers by 2030 to keep up with international economies. We would love to see more women feel encouraged to make the move into these roles.

So, inspired by this year’s theme, we’ve asked some of the brilliant women from the Airwallex ANZ team to share their tips for women looking to break into the tech industry. 

We’ve asked them three questions;

  1. What advice would you give to women who want to break into the tech industry?

  2. What do you think is the best action that women can take to grow their careers in tech?

  3. What is the best piece of career advice you've ever received?

With women from across our IT, product design, sales, partnerships and marketing teams contributing – we hope that these golden tips can inspire other women to make that exciting move into the world of tech. 

Emily Mason - Manager, Sales Development, SME & Growth

To all the women aspiring to break into the tech industry, my advice is to embrace the fear and do it anyway. The tech industry is fast-paced and challenging, but it is also the most exciting industry I have ever been in and has helped me grow the most professionally. You can absolutely make that transition - remember that your diverse perspective, unique skills and experience are invaluable assets and can give you an advantage when initially breaking in. Utilise resources like networking events, online courses, and mentorship programs tailored for women in tech. It is all about taking that first step, and I promise you won't look back.

The best action women can take to advance their careers in tech is to continuously seek opportunities for learning and growth. Don't hesitate to take on challenging projects that push you out of your comfort zone and help you to grow and develop. Stay updated on industry trends, technologies, and best practices - be excited and passionate to learn and aim to be the expert in the room.  Build a strong professional network, both within and outside your company, especially other successful women in tech and don't hesitate to share experiences and learn from each other.

The best piece of career advice I've ever received is really simple but effective to my mentality - the harder I work, the luckier I get. Work hard, don't be afraid to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. It is your unique experience through all the trials and errors that has led you to be the talented individual you are today. Remember what you bring to the table and don't shy away from it.

Follow Emily on LinkedIn.

Tammy Olmstead - Director, Channel Partnerships, SME & Growth

For anyone looking to get into tech, be curious. You're often solving problems that haven't been solved before so curiosity wins over experience

Specifically to those looking to break into startups/scaleups, don't be concerned about your title as the work you will be doing will be so much more than that. Be open to parallel moves to gain new experiences as this will be way more valuable than having the word ‘Senior’ next to your title.

Every woman hears this, but just apply for the damn job! The worst someone can say to you is no or not right now.

Follow Tammy on LinkedIn.

Taylor Fox-Smith - Senior Manager, Community Partnerships

A recent Tech Council report found that men make up 75% of the startup workforce. Lack of female representation in early-stage tech companies can zap the confidence out of women who want to join our ranks. Fear not! The generosity of women in tech far outweighs any other industry. We have mentors and communities who are so excited to meet you. My advice is to take the first step, and take it today. It starts with making a personal connection, then it builds to community participation and finally it lands you in a career.

There are two skills that take startup operators from strength to strength: a builders mindset and actively listening. Owning the design and delivery of your own idea - whether is a sales play, product roadmap or community event - is an incredibly desirable skill. Actively listening is another one - listening to feedback from your manager, complaints from your customer, ideas from another team. This level of presence in the process can help grow your soft and hard skills.

And in terms of the best career advice I’ve ever received - it’s a tried and tested startup mantra; “get comfortable with the uncomfortable”.

Follow Taylor on LinkedIn.

Lisa Tsai - Associate Director, Account Management, SME & Growth

If you want to break into the tech industry, just do it! Tech is no different to any other industry which takes passion and curiosity to learn in order to excel.

Don't be afraid to lean into the technical part of the product. It's easy to shy away from areas that we are uncomfortable or unfamiliar with but like everything else, practice and exposure makes perfect.

Be open to opportunities that present themself to you, even if they might not be aligned to your original plan. Sometimes these curveballs open up a new world that you wouldn't have known you'd love!

Follow Lisa on LinkedIn.

Megan Hayes - Senior Technical Program Manager

If you’re looking to get into tech be open to, and about, what you don’t know — with others and with yourself. It can be daunting, but don't let a fear of asking questions limit you or your contributions. Enjoy them and the opportunity they bring.

Act with radical candor; effective communication and an ability to challenge (and embrace challenges from) others with empathy, builds trust. Trust will in turn, create more opportunity and space for continuous improvement, benefiting you both individually and together as a team.

I was gifted a book by a colleague who I look up to a lot, Give and Take by Adam Grant. It really resonated with me. I gained a lot of confidence in who I am and who I want to be at work, and insights on how to do so effectively in a way that feels enjoyable, rewarding and natural to me.

Follow Megan on LinkedIn.

Liv Triffitt - Inbound Sales Representative, SME & Growth

It may sound simple but if you’re considering a career in the tech industry, just do it! You won’t look back - it’s such a rewarding, exciting and ever evolving space to be a part of. 

Placing an emphasis on learning and development is an essential action for growing your career in tech. I believe it is really important to continuously seek to learn new things, improve your skill set and develop yourself both personally and professionally. I always ask what companies can offer me in terms of up-skilling and training opportunities.

Two pieces of advice stick out in my mind, the most important one being from my dad! He has always emphasised to me the importance of networking and building relationships as you never know where this could take you. The second piece of advice I received recently is that you will never feel completely ‘ready’ for a new role or a promotion, you need to trust yourself and your abilities and get stuck in! 

Follow Liv on LinkedIn.

Isabelle Comber - Content Marketing Manager

I’ll be honest, early in my career - the tech industry wasn’t even on my radar. Never having been one for STEM studies, I thought that my career options were limited to more traditional creative industries. What I didn’t know then was that tech is a creative industry. Some of the most exciting marketing happening today is coming out of the tech world, and the agile and experimental values of the industry can help you test ideas and push boundaries. Don’t let any preconceived notions of the industry stop you from exploring it - if you have big ideas, you have a place in tech!

It’s really important to keep an open mind and be ready to adopt new systems. Tech is a pioneer industry, you’re at the forefront of new advancements, so be ready to embrace them and evolve fast. For example, AI is presenting so many unbelievable new possibilities. Instead of feeling intimidated, jump in and have fun with experimenting – learn how to make it your own.

I picked up so much fantastic career advice from my mentors at Award School. They helped me understand the importance of feedback. Being open to thoughts from others (even if you don’t take it!) will broaden your perspective. On a different note, I also love the advice of ‘fake it ‘til you make it’. We as women so often experience imposter syndrome and, while it can be unavoidable, you have the power to put it to the side and forge ahead anyway. Don’t let it hold you back!

Follow Isabelle on LinkedIn.

Lisa Jacquiot - Product Design Lead

Regardless of gender, breaking into tech is easier when one has the skills that the industry seeks! We are never too old to go back to school for subjects like software engineering, data science or product design (I myself went back to school to study product design after getting a degree in finance). There are also tons of opportunities for women with non-technical skills to join tech companies as they, too, need people in commercial teams, PR, marketing, HR… All women need is to believe that they can!

Generally speaking, being able to generate good outcomes for a business and a team go hand-in-hand with career growth. In my opinion, there are many ways to generate positive outcomes, you shouldn't feel limited to typically 'masculine' assertive communication styles, despite tech being a male-dominated industry. I would encourage women to develop their own contribution style, bring their unique perspective to the table and show up as their authentic selves to achieve good outcomes.

As for the best piece of advice I’ve ever received, it would be "learn to get the stuff done" from Barack Obama (I wish I had received this piece of advice directly from him, but this was gleaned from a LinkedIn video where he shared career advice). To him, the best way to get noticed wasn't necessarily being the loudest voice in the room, but rather being the most reliable, capable person who can get things done so your work can speak for you. He also talked about doing things efficiently and effectively, which means doing things right, but also focusing on doing the right things (like focusing your energy on projects that will yield the highest outcomes). I've been trying to apply that wisdom to my work ever since.

Follow Lisa on LinkedIn.

Looking to make your next career move?

Are you feeling inspired to make your next career move? Airwallex is rapidly scaling our team across 20 global locations. 

We’re guided by 12 operating principles that lay out the core traits and everyday behaviours we believe are important to achieving our mission. One of these is to be ‘Visionary’, and we know that we can’t do that without championing diversity of thought within our team. We’re here to create transformational value in our world, and we’re always seeking new team members to help us do exactly that.

If you’d like to join a fast-paced, high-growth fintech that's changing the way money moves around the world, visit our Careers page now to see if we have a role that could be the right fit for you. 

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Isabelle Comber
Business Finance Writer

Izzy is a business finance writer for Airwallex. She specialises in thought leadership that empowers businesses to grow without boundaries.

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