Women in STEM: 3 Influential Women in Australian Technology


From leading global firms to smaller SME’s, females are consistently making their mark within the world of technology. While significant progress has been made in this area, women are still definitely outnumbered, hence why we thought it was important to recognise some of the ladies paving the way in the technology sector here in Australia right now. We spoke to Client Relationship Manager at Huxley, Jessica Swann on who she feels are three names in particular leading the tech revolution.


Sally-Ann Williams: Cicada Innovations and Ex Google

Sally-Ann Williams has had an extensively successful career spanning across various different areas of the technology industry. She recently completed a solid stint of 12 years at Google Australia, where she served as Executive Program Manager leading the company’s efforts in CS, STEM education and outreach, as well as engaging in various research engagement projects with universities and start-ups. This pivotal technology role set her up for her current position as CEO of elusive incubator company Cicada Innovations. This is essentially the home of Australia’s ‘’deep tech’’ movement right now, with its focus being on various intricate topics such as sustainable food production and cancer treatment. The company has always been notoriously secretive about the projects under its care, but under Williams direction it may finally step into the limelight, with Williams telling Business Insider Australia that she wants to help Cicada ''amplify the success that has already been achieved and find new ways to grow that further.’’

     Throughout her career, Sally-Ann has been involved in driving engagement and change strategies in terms of innovation and entrepreneurship. She has also long been an advocate of STEM education, which has seen her working with the COAG STEM Partnership Forum as well as being involved with the foundation of StartupAUS, a not-for-profit with its main mission being to change Australia through tech entrepreneurship. Sally-Ann is openly passionate about boosting digital literacy among Australian school children, as she believes this is where the challenge of accelerating women in technology begins.

     Without a doubt, Sally-Ann is a pioneer for women within the technology scene here in Aus, with an amazing career and countless achievements under her belt. We’re excited to see what 2020 brings for her and for Cicada, as we’re certain she will make her mark there in her first year as CEO!


Nicola Hazell: Champion of Women in Leadership

Nicola is one of Australia’s leading females in terms of gender equality and social innovation, with a career spanning across various industries, and a particular emphasis on technology. Nicola is a champion of the digital transformation, and an innovator for inclusion in tech and entrepreneurship. She has been known to work with everyone from global tech powerhouses to up and coming start-ups, and everything in between. Nicola successfully produced the award-winning SheStarts documentary series, which showcased the stories of female founders to audiences around the world. More recently, she designed the national #ChangingTheGame series in support of women in sport.

     Nicola is a sought after advisor and social commentator, and we were actually lucky enough to attend her talk on ‘’Team Tech: Are we attracting the people we need for Australia to thrive in the future of work?” at last year’s CEBIT. This was centred on the successes and failures of driving inclusion and diversity in the tech sector. As well as this, she holds a standing role on the OECD’s Expert Advisory Committee on Digital Transformation, as well as the Sydney School of Entrepreneurship.

     With all of the above in mind, it’s little wonder that Nicola was one of the first people who sprung to mind for us when thinking of Women in STEM. She has gone to great lengths to promote gender equality within the technology sector, and we’re sure there’s more to be seen from her throughout 2020 and beyond.


Annie Slattery: Co-Founder and CEO of ConX

Winner of last year’s Australian Women in Tech Pitch 2019, Annie is originally from Dublin, Ireland but has been making waves in Australia since she settled here around ten years ago. This event saw some of the rising stars in tech pitch their ideas in Brisbane last August, in order to win more than $100,000 in business support services, plus the potential for further capital investment to grow their businesses. Annie has been building ConX since 2015, and now manages a team of twelve in what is essentially a business that digitally transforms how construction contractors find and win work, a really relevant concept for Australia given the booming construction industry here. ConX went on to beat eleven other finalists in the competition hosted by AusTrade, the Australian Government’s lead international trade promotion and investment attraction industry.

     ConX’s core team are also very representational of Australia’s large overseas population, with all of them being of Irish origin. The business has now expanded to include Tender Management and Automated Takeoffs in its range of services. Whereas originally ConX simply focused on Australian contractors, the business has now begun to target the US, South East Asia and China and even has a number of Irish SME customers using their software. It is highly product focused, with potential turnover for 2020 set at approximately AUD $2.5 million. Following her win, Slattery summed her up her plans for global expansion with ‘’The market is now ripe for transformation and ConX is at the forefront, which was recognised by judges this week.’’

     Along with ConX, Slattery is also a Non-Executive Director of Fishburners, a not-for-profit dedicated to helping to create highly scalable Australian tech start-ups. This is essentially Australia’s largest start up space at the moment, so it is yet again another formidable project to be involved in. We feel 2019 was a real year of recognition for Annie, and 2020 looks set to only to build on this further.

The above are just three of the influential women changing the technology scene in Australia right now, but there were countless more we could have mentioned. Please keep an eye on our website and social media to hear more about our upcoming Women in STEM event which will be taking place in the near future.

Interested in discussing your next career move or hiring needs within technology? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch at the following contact details.



[email protected]

+61 2 8251 2100


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