We asked some of the awesome wāhine at N4L a few questions about what International Women’s Day means to them. 

Celebrated since 1911, it’s all about gender diversity celebrating women from across the globe and has an important theme of #InspireInclusion. It’s a day where we’ve all got an opportunity to be part of a positive step toward a diverse, equitable and inclusive world where difference is valued and celebrated.

We’re showcasing a handful of our amazing N4L women to learn more about what #InspireInclusion means, and find out what advice and learnings they’ve valued in their careers. 

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #InspireInclusion, what does this mean to you?

Sithara: To me, #InspireInclusion involves creating a space where everyone, regardless of gender, feels valued, respected, and included. It’s also about creating a stronger, more vibrant community where everyone can reach their full potential. It’s not just about gender equality; it’s about creating a safe, respectful, and loving world for everyone.

Den: As women, we should inspire and encourage one another to pursue any chosen career path. If we lift each other up, this in turn helps the economy and creates a better community for everyone, especially for kids.

How did you get started in your career, and what led you to your current role?

Giselle: I began my career with a degree in IT which laid the foundation for my journey. Initially, I worked as a programmer and transitioned into an application support specialist role, where I discovered my passion for support-related tasks. This eventually led me to my current position where I’m able to leverage my technical background and support experience. 

Sithara: I started my IT career 12 years ago, gradually improving my skills over time. With over a decade of experience as a system engineer, I’ve worked in numerous schools. However, it was during my six-year tenure at an Auckland college that I truly discovered my potential and I decided to pursue something I genuinely enjoy: IT security. I began studying IT security and furthered my education in cybersecurity. Although leaving the college was difficult, I was inspired to pursue my career and joined N4L. Now, as I embark on this new journey, I’m proud of myself and the confidence I’ve built.

Can you share a story about a woman who has inspired you in your career or personal life?

Julia: Maybe it’s all the noise about the Eras Tour, but a woman who’s been inspiring me lately is Taylor Swift. It’s admirable to see how she turned every artist’s worst nightmare into a defining and profitable moment in her career. It helps me view hardships as more than just a “difficult time in life”, but as a means for growth and transformation.

Sithara: Every woman I’ve met in my life has inspired me in many ways, but there is one special person other than my mum. I am incredibly grateful to her; she helped me realise my true potential and encouraged me to pursue what I love. Deciding to change my career path was tough, but her encouragement and support made me realise how grateful I am. She is the Deputy Principal at the college where I worked for six years, one of my closest friends, and someone I greatly admire.

Are there specific skills or qualities that you believe are particularly important for women to succeed in your field?

Den: Like all other fields, chaos will always be there, so it is important to operate without stressing out. Women (and men) should remain calm, vigilant to details and have an open heart and mind, which includes pushing your ideas and knowing when to accept the state of things. I always keep this small prayer in my mind when facing challenges: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Julia: For anyone to succeed in this field, technical skills are very important. But for women to succeed, confidence is a quality we need to master. Back yourself and what you offer, talk about your contributions and achievements, ask for help, and be open to learning and expanding your skills. All of these can set you apart, and all of these require confidence.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting in your field or considering a similar career path?

Giselle: For those embarking on a journey in IT or considering a similar path, it’s essential to establish a strong foundation in fundamental concepts while embracing lifelong learning. With dedication to continuous learning and development, individuals can build a fulfilling career in IT and thrive in a constantly evolving landscape.

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