We are thrilled this week to profile one of our 2017 Branch Executive Committee members, Karen Gee. ACS Victoria team member, T’arne Whelan, asked Karen to answer a few questions about her IT career and her advice to someone looking to enter the industry.
Karen Gee - General Manager, Capability for Business Technology Services at Telstra
My career has spanned 20+ years in the IT services industry with extensive experience in business transformation, program and service delivery for managed, shared and outsourcing services working in corporate and government organisations. I have held various leadership roles working with service providers and customers across multiple industry sectors including IT services, telecommunications, health, education, financial, manufacturing and logistics.
I am currently working at Telstra as General Manager, Capability for Business Technology Services, accountable for enabling learning and development opportunities for our existing, acquired and new employees. This role includes leading an innovative resourcing initiative for a new Academy program attracting new talent to our team to become future technologists for security and network services.
Why do you love working in IT?
I’ve always loved working in IT as there’s always something new to learn, it is constantly changing and challenging, it provides many opportunities and it’s great to be part of making a difference with technology to achieve improved business outcomes. I’ve had experience travelling, working globally, meeting new people, making lifelong friends and taking advantage of flexible working to be able to juggle work/life balance whilst raising a family along the way.
Why did you decide to nominate for the ACS Victoria BEC?
A great colleague recommended this opportunity to me. Over the last 12 months I have been a representative on the ACS Business Advisory Council. I believe that ACS can enable greater opportunities by working more in the industry with our partners and engaging closely with businesses including start-ups, SMBs and enterprise organisations, to deliver improved benefits to the members and stakeholder community. I know how hard it is to break into and remain connected in our industry, with technology changes rapidly occurring I feel strongly that we need to be focused on enabling opportunities through our employment, government and education programs both now and for our future.
What do you see are the challenges for the sector? And how do you wish to contribute to resolving them?
I see the challenges for the sector being the pace of change, and the opportunities and challenges that comes with it (e.g. Virtual Reality, Robotics, Blockchain, Quantum computing etc) that includes having skilled and talented people in the industry. I see my role with ACS and Telstra helping enable the initiatives to work towards contributing to improvements and helping us benefit from the opportunities these changes create for us.
Do you have any inspiring words of wisdom for those looking into a career in IT?
Don’t hesitate to get involved, there are so many opportunities that are available for careers in IT, and not just for the traditional technical roles. If you have an appetite for change and continual learning, enjoy being challenged and love being involved in a wide range of activities that indeed can create life changing differences, then this is the industry to be in. I would recommend engaging with industry networking activities (e.g. ACS, Women in IT, Special Interest Groups etc) and find a mentor or coach who can help you along the way as you pursue your career opportunities. This is a relevant and important aspect of your career for getting in to IT as well as for all of us along our own career path in the industry.