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‘Success is the journey, not the destination’, Cecily Macdougall, ACS Victoria Branch Executive Committee Member

Thursday, 17 Mar 2016

Cecily Macdougall is an accomplished and innovative professional who specialises in Strategic IT-Enabling Change. Cecily is on the ACS Victoria Branch Executive Committee and runs the ACS Special Interest Group for IT Project/Program management. Cecily has been in the ICT industry for 25+ years and has a track record for the successful delivery of programmes in difficult, risk laden and complex environments. Her career has spanned over a number of technical and consultancy employments such as Wang, Unisys, Gartner, Emerge and Building4Business.

As an outstanding woman working within ICT, we wanted you to get to know Cecily a little better, so we asked her a few questions.

Cecily Macdougall
What do you see are the challenges for women in ICT?

I believe there are a couple of challeneges for women in ICT:
-    Understanding all the different roles available
-    Equality – performance grading and remuneration
-    Glass ceiling

To what do you owe your success?
Resilience & Adaptivity.

What do you hope will be the biggest advance for gender equality in the next 5 years?
Respect between the genders is paramount. I hope that if we share a common respect, a lot of the segregation will be improved.

What accomplishment are you proudest of?

-    My Doctorate
-    My family; my daughter who is a Paralympian, my son who is also working within ICT, and now a partner who is supportive and encourages any mad ideas that I may have.

Being a busy business woman, how do you balance your work and home life?
It all comes down to organisation and anticipation.

How would you describe your personal style?
I am known for my leadership, inspiration and ability to change what others have not been able to.

Do you have any inspiring words of wisdom for women looking to reach their career goals?
The IT industry is dynamic!  Every day there is something new and every day there is something different!  Keep going and focus on your end goal, keep connected with positive people and always have a creative outlet!

How do you define success?
Success is the journey, not the destination. Keep focused on the outcome you want and let the noise drop away.

In one word, characterise your life as an ICT Professional.
Challenging and rewarding! (One will not sum it up!)

Why would you encourage young women to pursue a career in ICT?
Being in ICT has given me the ability to keep working, learning and supporting my children, in spite of the inequality in status and pay.

According to the ACS Digital Pulse, only 28% of Australian ICT workers are women, what do you think is responsible for this low percentage?
Many young people perceive IT to be mainly about coding or programming. There are many roles in IT beside this. Perhaps we need to rename some of them so that they are more appealing?

Can you identify someone who has impacted you as a leader? Why and how did this particular person inspire you?
I originally joined an organisation that had an innovative, adaptive and team oriented culture. The group that I was in was led by a woman and out of the 8 in the group, 7 were female. The rest of the organisation was predominantly male. There were gender antics but we all had fun, lots of social events that included partners and families, and learnt how to work in the environment.

I was also very inspired by a rising female senior executive, who had been a world champion fencer. The timing of her every reaction to an event was executed with precision. This provided insights to political navigation and a lesson in patience.

For other women aspiring to take the career path somewhat similar to yours, what is your typical day?
-    Strategy
-    Planning
-    Marketing, Sales, Clients, Partnerships
-    Investment
-    Design
-    System development
-    Resourcing, Teams, competencies, Individual pathways for development, recognition
-    Finances
-    Sponsorship and Governance
-    Timelines
-    Quality Assurance
-    Communications

Do you think there are certain myths of what a career in ICT really is? Do you believe this is influencing women not to pursue a career in ICT?
Perception is reality!  So how do we change this?
Young women (primary levels) need to be aware of all the types of roles there are in the IT industry.  We also need pathways for women to transition, leverage the skills they have and expand them to meet the industry opportunities. We don’t want people to have to start at the bottom of the industry if they are bringing experience and many skills to the table.