Celebrating International Women’s Day 2019, #BalanceforBetter

international women's day 2019 #IWD2019 women's rights #balanceforbetter equality

It’ll be no surprise to many of us that 8th March is the International Women’s Day. A day of recognising the achievement and the rights of women all around the world. It is also a day to raise awareness of women’s issues that still plagues our country, community and our family.  Some are controversial whether it’d be religion, politics or economics that has affected our lives for years. But today is the one day we all stop to draw attention to these issues, to open a forum for discussion and to reflect on the progress we have made to overcome these issues.

This year’s campaign focus is #BalanceforBetter which calls out for a more ‘gender-balanced world.’ It raises discussions and the need to create equality for women and fight against gender bias and discrimination in society, community and the workplace.  We’ve come a long way compared to 50 years ago. However there is no denying that there is still a subtle and unspoken bias and inequality that women still face today; from unequal pay to do the same job, double standards on dress code and behaviour to lack of opportunities in executive positions within the workforce. These issues still arises although in their form of subtlety and are often denied that they exist.      

Our own journey to creating diversity and a gender balanced team at Tradify have become one of the key initiatives in developing a high performance culture.  You may remember our CEO, Curtis Bailey’s article last year on Growing our Workforce with Intention (not unintended bias)’.  Tradify had embarked on changing its hiring and workplace culture to incorporate more females in the different roles within the company.  Having founded the company 6 years ago, and realising the company had organically grown to a team of male engineers, testers, analysts and sales reps, Curtis decided he had to ensure the company had the environment and culture to also attract talented women in the tech industry. This was not only to create diversity for the sake of it but to entice a wider pool of talent that the company can attract and retain, as well as bringing in ‘fresh perspective’ on ideas, innovation and problem solving.    

So in honour of the brave and strong women who have embarked on bettering the lives of all women, Tradify is sharing the stories of women from our own circle.  From the staff members to our customers and partner, here are four phenomenal women who shared with us the story and journey of their life, career and what International Women’s Day mean for them.

Tradify’s Staff: Veronika and Anna leading the way to making Tradify platform perform at its best!

Veronika-2

Q1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, where you were born, where you lived and your career.
A. I’m a Ukrainian that moved to New Zealand 2 years ago. At school, I was passionate about biology and computer science. Eventually, I connected my life with tech and I’ve got a Bachelor degree in Computer science and after that worked as Junior QA Engineer in Ukraine for international company Netcracker for almost a year. In New Zealand, I’ve got valuable experience in both manual and automated testing and stepped ahead in my career. I’m a passionate person, I love what I do and I do what I love :)

Q2. When/how did you come to decide to become a QA Engineer?
A. I decided to become a QA Engineer when I was in the third year of my studying at Uni.


Q3. What was your experience on your path to specialising in this area of work?
A. Awareness of interest in QA came to me after customer support experience. My QA path started almost 3 years ago. I find in QA realisation and perfect fit of my personal qualities, a lot of interesting ways of making quality software and also room for growth.

Q4. What do you see as the one best accomplishment a woman/women have achieved on behalf of the female gender?
A. The equal rights to quality education.

Q5. What are some of the significant differences you see in your life experience as a woman today compared to what your grandmother or great grandmothers may have gone through?
A. I see more opportunities and an independent will to choose what you want to do and how you want to do that.

Q6. What’s your definition of a strong woman?
A. Can't say it better than Kavita Ramdas “We need women who are so strong they can be gentle, so educated they can be humble, so passionate they can be rational, and so disciplined they can be free.”

Q7. If you could do one thing to help advance the rights/welfare of women in today’s world, what would it be; provided you have the power and the unlimited resources to do so?
A. Spread awareness among women you can do more you can think and there are no limits.

Anna Tomilova-1

Q1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, where you were born, where you lived and your career.
A. I was born in Russia, moved to New Zealand at the age of 17 right after finishing high school. I graduated from UNITEC with a Bachelor degree in Computer Science. And shortly after graduation, I got an internship job as a QA Test Analyst at Fiserv and then got a permanent role at the same company.

Q2. When/how did you come to decide to become a QA Assurance Engineer?
A. This idea came into my mind after doing a software testing paper at university. It got my attention because it seemed to be a relatively new role in the IT industry that involves working with a technical field as well as closely working with the business side.

Q3. What do you see as the one best accomplishment a woman/women have achieved on behalf of the female gender?
A. Reproductive rights.

Q4. What are some of the significant differences you see in your life experience as a woman today compared to what your grandmother or great grandmothers may have gone through?
A. I live in a peaceful time and I don’t need to do hard physical work to be able to feed myself and a few kids (both my grandmother and great grandmother had 3-4 children in their early 20s).

Q5. What’s your definition of a strong woman?
A. A woman with a voice.

Q6. If you could do one thing to help advance the rights/welfare of women in today’s world, what would it be; provided you have the power and the resources to do it?
A. Education.

Tradify Customer: Bushworx Qld Pty Ltd leading the way in Environmental Restoration.

Kristy Castles v2Q1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, where you were born, where you lived and your career.
A.
I was born in Brisbane and have lived in the Redlands, Qld for most of my life, except for a short 12 month period where I lived at Morningside Qld. I went to primary school in Victoria Point, attended Cleveland District State High School and studied at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane.

I originally started studying my Bachelor of Applied Science (Geoscience) as I have an extreme passion for Meteorology and wanted to become a Paleo Climatologist. It took me seven years part time to complete my degree as I was working full time and trying to succeed with my company Bushworx Qld Pty Ltd.


One of my greatest adventures was my trip to Antarctica. To be working within the environment sector and achieving great results and being able to go to a place that has a pristine environment and experience nature at its best was a great experience. I never in my wildest dreams imagine that I would actually get to go to Antarctica. I use this story to motivate and inspire my staff to work hard and work towards their goals as anything in life is possible if you put your mind to it.

Q2. When/how did you decide to pursue your chosen career?
A.
At the end of year 12 I did a mock interview in preparation for leaving school. On completion of the interview the interviewer told me about some environmental traineeships that were currently being advertised and thought I might be interested. I was fit, loved playing sports and have always had a passion for the environment so I applied for the Traineeship straight away and I was successful.


That was the start of my successful 18 year career in Environmental Restoration works. It was a great decision and I have loved working in this field and hopefully for many more years to come.

Q3. What was your experience on your path to specialising in this area of work?
A.
I finished High School in November 1999 and started a 12 month Conservation and Land Management Traineeship in December 1999.


From the Traineeship, for another seven years I was employed with local government in the Parks and Conservation Department. During that time I fulfilled a variety of roles ranging from:
Bush Regenerator, Team Leading Bush Regeneration Crews, Supervising Bush Regeneration Crews, working in Fire Management Crews and Gardener.

Seven years’ experience in the field of Conservation and land Management/Horticulture working for local Government and now 10 years’ experience owning / managing my own business Bushworx Qld Pty Ltd.

While I was working both for local Government and Bushworx QLD Pty Ltd full time I was studying part time undertaking various qualifications including a Diploma Horticulture and a Bachelor of Applied Science (Geoscience).

Q4. What do you see as the one best accomplishment a woman/women have achieved on behalf of the female gender?
A.
As a woman in today’s society compared to past generations, I am lucky enough to have the privilege to go to work and financially be independent. I am able to provide financial security not only for my future but also for my family. I am also able to work in a sector which can be perceived as a male dominated industry and I am treated with the utmost respect. I would say this would have been very different in previous generations.

Q5. What’s your definition of a strong woman?
A.
Growing up my definition of a strong woman was being picked for the football team, playing sports with the boys at lunch time, having the ability to swim kilometres or carrying a chainsaw around the bush, but during my 37 years’ life experience I have come to learn a strong woman is someone whom;

  • Recognises their mistakes, learns the lessons and positively moves forward
  • Asks for help, challenges themselves works hard and strives towards their dreams
  • Knows who they are and is happy and confident with whom they are and not looking for validation from society.
  • Is a stay at home mum, a working mum or CEO of a big company, doesn’t matter your status, you can be a strong woman.

Q6. If you could do one thing to help advance the rights/welfare of women in today’s world, what would it be; provided you have the power and the resources to do it?
A.
I would make IVF 100% Government Funded. Currently there is a % refunded under Medicare but it is not 100%. 100% funding would allow women whom have medically diagnosed fertility issues to access IVF Services no matter their financial status. 100% funding would take the stress out of an already stressful situation and not deny any women the right to motherhood based on their financial situation.


Q7. Who has been a mentor to you? Both male and female
A.
My dad has been my biggest mentor. Throughout life he has taught me to be a polite, courteous and considerate person. He taught me a great work ethic and that if you want something in life you have to work hard for it. He has taught me to be the hard worker I am today for which I am truly grateful.


Throughout my various positions, I have had both male and female mentors ranging from Team Leaders, Supervisors and Managers whom have provided me with knowledge, leadership and guidance. My mentors have equipped me with the knowledge, skills and confidence to be where I am today and to own and manage my own company.

Tradify Partner: Jill of all Trades, the first bookkeeper in the world to attain the Xero Gold Partner status.

JillQ1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, where you were born, where you lived and your career.
A.
I was born and raised in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel overseas at a very young age. Lived and went to school in Brighton Sussex, UK in the late 1950’s and attended primary, intermediate and high school in New Plymouth, New Zealand in the 1960’s, then returned to South Africa in the late 1960’s.

My career kicked off when I commenced working for Ford Motor Company in a number of positions during my 20 years. My introduction to main frame computers commenced as EDP Systems Supervisor and Model File Analyst in Pre-Production Control and Engineering Dept where I was responsible for setting up all new production roll outs and working closely with programmers who were brought into assist with the setting up of all manual systems onto computerised systems. It is in this position as Model File Analyst where I felt ‘this is where I want to be” and loved the excitement of being involved from the ground of planning and setting up all the models for production right through to the launch of each model.

Q2. When/how did you decide to pursue your chosen career?
A.
I sort of evolved and kept my analytical skills to move with the times as software changed from desktop applications to the now cloud and digital solutions.


When I arrived on the Gold Coast, I worked as a temp for a few months for a number of fabulous companies. It did not take me long to realise these firms, their computerised systems were not that elaborate and/or non existent to the point, with time consuming manual invoices and statements being generated. I found myself drawn to setting up workflows and implementing systems to train management and staff. It was not long before I realised that I could start my own business to offer bookkeeping and software training. Initially the bookkeeping was processed using manual cash books and journals and in 1992 I discovered MYOB and later became a MYOB Certified Consultant offering computerised accounting support and training. In 2009 I discovered Xero and my journey into the cloud began. Many trips back and forth to New Zealand over the years found me becoming more and more passionate with the APPS world and how these solutions could benefit and enhance my clients' businesses.

Q3. What was your experience on your path to specialising in this area of work?
A.
Back in 2009, many clients who had only used desktop solutions thought I was nuts and would not have a bar of my recommendations to try out the cloud. It was not easy and many hours were spent giving demos and talking about my own journey into the digital world. With their fantastic marketing and options to move to the cloud, Xero became a household name and more and more potential clients started contacting me to help them move and or meet up and discuss how this new option could help their business. I had a regular flow of enquiries from tradies who realised this is the way to go and some baby boomers who wanted to test the water but worried about loss of data if they changed.


I analysed my client base and decided on specialising in the trades and services with a number of plumbers, landscapers and electricians who I already had but they needed help with job costing and understanding how much profit they actually made on a specific job. So this was the beginning of my journey. Learning some of the best solutions readily available for these services was the game changer for me. As my tradie clients became more familiar with their awesome apps they told their mates and so had a regular flow of “can you please help, xyz told me about how you." 

Q4. What do you see as the one best accomplishment a woman/women have achieved on behalf of the female gender?
A.
Equal opportunities in the workforce. Acceptance of females and recognising their passion /skills in the what was once very much male dominated industry in ‘coding & programming’. Opportunities being able to still find ways to learn and grow every day.


Q5. What are some of the significant differences you see in your life experience as a woman today compared to what your grandmother or great grandmothers may have gone through?
A.
My grandmother in South Africa was definitely not the stereotype ‘knitting, sewing & baking’ grandmother. She worked the land growing flowers, breeding cattle and milking the herd to sell their produce. Her passion and time management was instilled upon myself at an early age where I spent a great deal of my time growing up into my early teens. 
However my gran in the UK was a typical housewife who managed the home while my grandad took care of bringing in the bread.These two matriarchs who were part of my life were so diverse in character and needs compared to the modern woman of today, who have so many roles to fill. The modern woman has many roles, some who are stay at home mums doing the daily chore of school drop offs and sporting events, others who are career women but still need to coordinate carers, meals and school functions. Others who find themselves as single parents needing to juggle the same chores of drop offs, school events and some me time. All of these factors from my own life did not occur because both my sets of grandparents were married with partners who supported and worked together as a team. So when one compares the different generations and the roles they have played the core functions of family caring and life balance is very similar but on a different scale. Children took themselves off to school without being dropped off, if the parent(s) were fortunate to have a second car most day school activities parents did not attend and grandmothers were always happy to babysit. Now there are school drop offs, parents take time out to attend sporting activities and babysitting some have professional nannies and/or children either are picked up and or taken to after school child care centres.

Q6. What’s your definition of a strong woman?
A.
So many definitions on this subject. A woman does not need to look for validation from society to be something they are not. Able to love oneself and be themselves. Seek and find ways to learn and grow every day and be proud of the accomplishments you have made no matter what profession you choose. Defining their own strength but not afraid to ask for help from supportive friends and colleagues.

Q7. If you could do one thing to help advance the rights/welfare of women in today’s world, what would it be; provided you have the power and the resources to do it?
A.
Holding perpetrators accountable for violence against women and girls. 
I believe Making Your Voice Heard – sign up to pledges online. Setting an example. If we want women’s rights issues made a priority, we need to make getting women in leadership a priority, both in business and politics. Vote for women in local elections.

Q8. Who has been a mentor to you? Both male and female
A.
I have had so many people who have reached out and helped me in my professional journey and eternally grateful for their help.


David Barton – CEO TuiBiz, a New Zealand accountant who reached out and offered to help me in my journey with Xero . We met at one of the Xero Roadshows and Conferences. He was a tremendous help back in the early days

Wayne Schmidt – ex Channel & Sales Director at Xero.
Who challenged me every day back in the early days to change the way I worked, helped me grow my business and upgrade my skills in the Add-On Marketplace. He was amazing to work with and he continues to help others new to this industry of digital solutions.


Our final thoughts: If you’d like to learn more about International Women’s Day (#IWD2019), its history or how to organise your own events or campaigns around IWD,  head over to their global site here for resources, tips and see how women around the world are celebrating.