How did you find your start in the industry and how did you arrive at your current position?
After graduating university I started my career in IT in the dairy industry. One of my first roles was as a project co-ordinator doing administration – budgets, minutes, supporting project and programme managers in anything they needed. I really enjoyed working in a project environment, fast paced and focused on delivering specific outcomes. I used that time to learn as much as I could, I spent a lot of time listening, asking questions and observing different management and leadership styles and after a few years I moved into a project management role, managing a range of small-medium IT projects.
I then got the opportunity to work on a large transformation programme, replacing the system we used for core business processes (HR, procurement, finance, supply chain and sales) across multiple countries in Asia. This was a steep learning curve for me, I had my first experience being part of a high performing team and in 18 months we had rolled out the system to five countries.
Following that I decided to take some time off, and spent six months travelling overseas. When I returned to Auckland, I wasn’t really sure what to do next, and a role as a IT project manager came up at SkyCity Entertainment Group. I had never thought about working in Gaming or Hospitality, and knew very little about the industry. I was most attracted to the team and the culture. There was a lot of emphasis placed on the importance of people and being part of a team delivering technology and value to our customers which really appealed to me.
In my first week, I was in Adelaide to start work on the SkyCity Adelaide Expansion IT project, where I was quickly exposed to the complex facets of our industry and the technology behind the operations of Gaming and hospitality. Here I am almost two years later, nearing the completion of the project.
What do you consider to be the biggest achievement of your career, so far?
My current project that we are just finishing – managing the ICT delivery for the SkyCity Adelaide Expansion, specifically the systems for our new hotel EOS by SkyCity, which opened in December 2020 along with restaurants, bars, and gaming. This project has been the most challenging but the most rewarding of my career . For SkyCity IT we delivered a combination of existing and new technologies with 25+ systems in the expansion.
Our new precinct is world class and something to be proud of, I have been part of an exceptional team working with some of the best to bring the technology and customer experience to life.
What excites you most about working in the gaming and/or hospitality industry?
This industry is constantly changing, customers are at the centre of everything we do, and we are continually trying to find ways to improve their experience, and I love how technology is an essential part of that. I also find no two days are the same which keeps things interesting.
What advice would you give your younger self, starting out in the gaming and/or hospitality Industry?
Back yourself, take any opportunity that comes your way, give it 100% and learn as much as you can. Expect to make some mistakes, ask questions and don’t be afraid to ask for help. It also helps to have a solid support network around you and mentors that you can talk to.
What do you think is the most significant barrier for women in the industry, today? How do you think this barrier can be overcome?
When I started working, I had no idea of the breadth and depth of roles and career options that existed within the IT and hospitality industries and it was never something I was drawn to. But once I had my foot in the door and started to learn about the industry, many opportunities unfolded. I think it is important to continue to talk about and provide visibility of the industry and opportunities that exist within it, especially to those just starting out in their careers.
Another barrier that I have observed is that there are not a lot of women in senior leadership positions to relate or aspire to. I believe that companies need to invest in their own people and development, providing support and a pathway for those who want to progress into more senior roles. Networking is essential, to help build strong connections and support cross functionally.