Team - who worked on the project/initaitve
Sam Ryan (Event Manger/Diversus Administration and Operations Manager) Marlene Kornides (Marketing and Media Manager/Diversus Marketing and Communications Manager) Claude De Lucia (Director & Principal Diversus) Dien Tang (Director & Principal Diversus) Karen Hickling (Partnerships Executive Starlight Children’s Foundation) Alexandra Mollo (Events & Communications Coordinator Australian Computer Society) Brett Waters (WA Branch Manager Australian Computer Society)
Event Manager High iTea
Sam Ryan, Marlene Kornides, Claude De Lucia, Dien Tang, Karen Hickling, Alexandra Mollo, Brett Waters
High iTea Organising Committee
Overview - a summary to introduce the project or initiative
High iTea has been established to promote gender diversity within the ICT community, through hosting a high tea annual networking event. The project encourages participation at all levels from university students through to senior executives.
High iTea's purpose to encourage diversity, is actively promoted at an annual high tea, providing the opportunity for women and men to ignite the conversation on what the future can hold! Our first annual high tea was held this year, with inspiring speakers discussing the barriers women often face in the workforce and how to jump those hurdles to achieve gender diversity.
All proceeds raised directly benefit charity, with the inaugural charity being the Starlight Children’s Foundation.
The initiative was inspired by Diversus’ belief in diversity in the workplace. With a ratio of over 45% women and a workforce representing 26 nationalities, it was a natural progression for Diversus to share its success, support its employees and encourage greater diversity within the ICT community. Hence, high iTea was established with the aim to foster diversity, to promote the "how to" achieve greater diversity and provide an opportunity for networking.
Actions / Initatives - Detail the actions implemented to achieve the project or initative
• Develop a concept to appeal to women ensuring that event timing was within business working hours, making it easy to attend a work event
• Nomination of a charity to benefit – Starlight Children’s Foundation
• Securing highly esteemed speakers with experience in promoting diversity in the workforce – Lyn Beazley, AO, FTSE; Lainey Weiser, Just StartIT; and Michelle Sanford, Microsoft and ACS
• Development of a digital footprint to promote diversity in the workforce and the event – this was done via website and social media channels
• Development of an online auction system to raise funds
• Fundraising through sponsorships and donations – received from Business News, Betty Tran, Kailis, Melissa Shoes, Jurlique, Manu Feildel, Edible Bloom, Endota Spa, Peter Alexander, Lorna Jane, Knapp Optometrists
• Partnering with Australian Computer Society to promote to members and wider database
• Promotion of event through eDM (electronic direct mail) and social media channels – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, G+
• Secure venue reflective of the professionalism and quality expected from individuals working in ICT. The Pan Pacific Perth is known for opulent High Tea and also provided sponsorship
• Secure media partner, Business News to increase exposure
Approach - Detail the approach that was taken on the project or initative
With a passion for making a difference, the idea originated during an October 2015 Diversus meeting. Backed by the financial support of Directors, Claude De Lucia and Dien Tang, the idea became reality with the inaugural High iTea held on 24 May 2016, with 72 attendees, 80% female and 20% male representing 26 different organisations.
The establishment of High iTea required a vision to succeed and a determination never to give up. Securing Lyn Beazley to present, accompanied by Lainey Weiser and Michelle Sandford, success was imminent. Lyn challenged everyone to ‘ask the big questions’ - not to just accept what is given. Lainey inspiringly spoke about Just StartIT’s objective to encourage innovative thinking and foster young creators. Michelle spoke from an in-the-trenches ICT perspective of how to succeed with poise and tenacity. Fashionista Betty Tran’s support added style and flare. The generosity of all parties involved ensured a place in the ICT annual calendar.
High school Vocabulary Voyagers, Teale Lyon and Kira Molloy attended to gain a greater understanding of ICT business. They also garnered financial support for their World Pitch in SF. Their app promotes the improvement of literacy through fun and entertaining games that improve NAPLAN results.
Follow up / response - Details the follow up or response to the project or initative
During and after the event, a multitude of praise for the initiative and event was received.
The post-event survey highlighted that “encouraging gender diversity” was the number one reason people attended, followed by “networking”. The survey also confirmed the afternoon timeslot, ‘High iTea’ time worked well with family and busy business schedules.
The funds raised supported 56 seriously ill children at Princess Margaret Hospital to replace pain with play if only for a little while.
Action to overcome resistance - Details the actions taken to overcome resistance to the project or initiative
With Diversus Directors’ strong support of gender diversity in the workplace, there was little resistance to the project. Over seven month of staff time was financed during development, planning and execution stages including the digital footprint, securing speakers, sponsors and donations to coordination of all aspects. After establishing the footprint and understanding the hurdles to hold a such a significant event, the second annual High iTea is sure to be a bigger success and raise additional funds for charity.