2023 Mentors

Michelle Simpson

As a leader in digital transformation and technology, I focus on project management basics, human centricity and culture at the heart of success. I have 25+ years in technology consultancy with EY, PwC and IBM. I lead large scale transformation programs and specialise in multi geography teams and delivery excellence with a strong PMO..

I have worked around the world in multiple industries including Consumer, Oil & Gas, Health Care and Telco, across multiple technologies including Salesforce, SAP and Dynamics. I have a strong focus on corporate social responsibility and linking into the UN SDGs and making a difference and recently led global operations at a Green Hydrogen company.

I am a D&I champion and change maker for women in technology and mentoring and coaching at all levels from C-Suite to students. I volunteer time to guest lecture at schools and universities on the importance on STEM. Building teams around collaboration is one of my key ethics and I am a mental health advocate.

A self confessed professional STEM enthusiast, having studied computer science many moons ago, I am also a rugby fanatic, aspiring chef, avid world traveller and I speak 4 languages – for now.

Karen Katz

Karen Katz is the Director of KK Consulting Melbourne – a Human Resources consultancy dedicated to helping businesses hire, nurture and develop amazing humans! She works across the spectrum of HR needs for her clients doing everything from career coaching and writing people policy through to executive team building and recruitment.

Karen (or Mama Katz as she is known in the Girls In Tech community) is passionate about the empowerment and development of women in the technology sector and has been sitting on the board of Girls In Tech for over 6 years now.

Originally qualified with a Bachelor of Information Technology, Karen commenced her career as a Business Analyst and through various opportunities and experiences now finds herself using what she has learned about technology, and more specifically the people who work within digital and technology to coach and assist women to further their careers in this sector.

As a proud mother to two very strong, determined and driven young women, Karen is dedicated to educating all women about what is possible and doing whatever she can to help them get to wherever it is that they want to go.

Renece Brewster

Renece Brewster is the CEO and co-founder of Visual Domain, Australia’s largest in-house video production agency. Under her leadership, Visual Domain was acquired by News Corp in October 2021, further accelerating its growth and opportunities.

Renece has a passion for emerging tech and has partnered with her hustle and grit to build a multidisciplinary business that spans multiple industries. She is also the CoManaging Director of Girls in Tech, a global non-profit organization that aims to empower women in technology.

Brianna MacDonald

Brianna MacDonald is the founder and director of The Care Co–an EdTech, HealthTech startup teaching kids aged 5-12 positive mental health skills they can action on their own.

Motivated by social impact and the possibilities for tech to do good, Brianna is a startup leader proving that you can balance profit, passion, and purpose. A two-time entrepreneur, Brianna’s background in Digital Marketing and Communications, Startups, and Business have her well placed to chat about roadmapping your next goals, transforming an idea into a venture, how to navigate startup life, and balancing health and wellness as a fulfilled woman with a fast-paced career.

Led by the belief that we can transform lives when we bring together technology, innovation, and global priority work, feel free to chat to Brianna about pairing Science with Saas and how your startup idea could benefit the next generation at scale.

Jess Ransley

Jess Ransley’s journey from a non-tech background to becoming a sales and client relationship management expert in the data and communications industry is truly inspiring. Over time, as the industry evolved, she demonstrated her adaptability and agility by successfully transitioning her skills into the digital and tech realm through self-learning and development.

For the past 7 years, Jess has been excelling in sales leadership in the communications industry. Currently, she is the General Manager of one of Australia’s largest marketing services providers, where she leads a team of over 40 marketing automation and communications specialists, driving their success through innovative strategies and solutions.

With a passion for developing others, Jess is committed to helping individuals who aspire to evolve their area of expertise or grow into leadership roles. Her dedication to continuous learning and development, combined with her wealth of experience, makes her an invaluable resource for anyone looking to achieve professional growth and success.

Natalie Barrett

Natalie spent her formative years working on yachts in the Med and the Caribbean, making the customer experience of the rich and famous outstanding. Then ten years working in the exhibition and event industry in Sales and Project Management roles bringing customers and brands to life!

For the last decade, she has worked in SaaS in customer success, Setting up and building relevant repeatable and scalable customer-obsessed CX and CS teams for both SMB and enterprise.

She currently works for Dynatrace as the APAC Senior Director for Dynatrace ONE. Dynatrace ONE is the business's customer experience and success arm, tasked with continuous enablement and driving customer adoption, value, retention and growth. Her two teams of Customer success and product specialists look after Dynatrace growing customer portfolio across the APAC region.

Natalie is excited to be here today to discuss the balance between human and digital touch.

Natalie Nicholson

Natalie Nicholson is an executive leader with over 20 years national and international expertise in HR and strategic commercial roles.

In her previous executive roles at Humm Group, Challenger Limited, CBA and ING, Natalie has driven long-term strategic initiatives focused on building high performing leadership teams, cultivating talent to reach their potential and creating a performance-driven work culture, with increased productivity. She is also a strong advocate and champion for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Natalie is currently the Chief People Officer at Optiver, and is working closely with her team to develop and execute the people strategy for the APAC region.

Sophie Arkelidis

Sophie is a highly motivated and outcome driven leader, with 20+ years’ experience in executive management, brand, marketing, strategy and communications within the financial services industry.

Over this time, she has coached and mentored successful teams and has extensive experience in the development of new brands, growth strategies, segmentation, change transformation and stakeholder alliance across both B2C and B2B markets.

Holding a Master’s Degree in International Marketing, Sophie is a professional member of the Australian Marketing Institute (AMI) and holds a range of qualifications across Leadership, Finance, Metrics, Project Management and Digital Marketing.

Sophie acts as an advisor to C-Suite executives and sits on the board of a prestigious private school in Sydney and the NSW Parents Council, a conduit between the NSW Education Dept and Independent schools, providing leadership, advocacy and empowerment to parents and carers with children at independent schools in NSW on educational and related issues.

Lindy Woodburn

Lindy has a background in manufacturing engineering, analytics and data science, with a broad experience across a number of industries, including the development of retail reporting and analytics, personalisation through product recommendations, churn models, and customer segmentation. She is experienced in building and deploying ML models using cloud technologies, including Azure ML and AWS Sagemaker.

Lindy’s early career included factory automation and manufacturing execution systems, with projects ranging from plastics extrusion, optimising tomato sauce production lines, and commissioning an explosives manufacturing plant. With a deep interest in data, and programming, Lindy pivoted from engineering into IT with a data science degree embracing R, Python, Cloud, and all things data.

Samantha Middlebrook

Senior Director Product Marketing & Management

Samantha Middlebrook is a seasoned senior leader, product strategist and CX leader with 10 years of experience in knowledge management, product development, and transformation. Passionate about using innovative technology to solve complex business problems, Samantha is dedicated to delivering quantifiable benefits to clients. Recently recognized as a top CX thought leader and influencer.

Victoria Plows

Victoria (Vic) is a Senior Software Engineer at a Tech Consultancy. Following a successful career as an academic in the social sciences, working in the UK and Australia, Vic was ready for a new challenge and chose a change of direction retraining as a software developer at a bootcamp in Scotland. Upon returning to Australia in 2019, she joined a Tech Consultancy as an Associate Consultant. A full-stack developer, she has worked on client projects across a variety of industries and at different stages along their digital transformation. Vic loves joining new teams, learning new ways of working, and picking up new technologies. Now a Senior Consultant, Vic enjoys coaching and helping others to progress. She is particularly interested in supporting people who have made a career change into tech, and to give back to the community that supported her on her journey.

Jane Holt

Director, Data & AI. Jane is an experience start a practitioner with over 20 years experience working in Consulting, Industry and for tech vendors. She joined Deloitte almost six years ago and is
passionate about enabling data as the foundation for innovative and emerging capability such as generative AI. Jane is passionate about supporting change aimed at embracing diversity and developing gender equity.

Crystal Calabretta

My name is Crystal Calabretta and I am a Manager at Deloitte Australia within the Graduate Talent Acquisition team here in Melbourne. My journey into the world of HR sparked back in year 12 after taking a business class, upon reaching the chapter “HR”. After high school, I studied a Bachelor of Business majoring in HR at Victoria University. 5 years later, I am proud to say that I have been working for Deloitte for 4 years within the HR field, and most recently within the Graduate Talent Acquisition space. I started at Deloitte in 2018 as a HR Consultant. I had a bad case of imposter syndrome, which is totally normal when Graduates start their first corporate job after University. Fast forward 2 years, I was promoted to Senior Consultant within the Graduate Talent Acquisition team. My focus here was recruiting Graduates and Vacationers into Deloitte Digital, nationally. After a year of this, I was then promoted to Manager within the Graduate Talent Acquisition team and now my role is to oversee the end to end recruitment process for the Consulting business nationally.

I’ve learnt a lot over the last 4 years at Deloitte, but one thing that has really stuck with me is that personal brand and interactions matter. I pride myself on being a “hands on” Manager, that isn’t afraid to do the work and get stuck into it. I’m friendly, caring and empathetic. All the traits you need to work in the field of HR. In saying that, our interactions with our internal and external stakeholders are what builds our personal brand. I love engaging with candidates and more importantly, helping them to find their path and start their careers. This is why I love doing what I do, making an impact that matters and creating memorable moments.

Anwesha Chatterjee

Anwesha is a skilled software engineer with a passion for effective communication through technical documentation and mentoring. With almost 10 years of experience in the industry, she has a proven track record of delivering high-quality software solutions while also taking the time to help others learn and grow in their own careers.

Anwesha prides herself in being a natural communicator who enjoys sharing knowledge through presentations, pairing and technical documentation. She believes that good communication is key to successful software development, and is always looking for new ways to improve the way teams work together.
Anwesha led the Brisbane chapter of Muses Code JS (Formerly Node Girls) An organisatiom that helps women and non-binary folks get familiarised with NodeJS and JavaScript
Anwesha also led the Junior Engineers Program at 99Designs where she mentored and facilitated the juniors in the company so as to equip them with necessary technical and interpersonal engineering skills.

Anwesha is committed to making Tech a more inclusive and welcoming place, and is always looking for ways to use her skills to empower others.
Overall, Anwesha is a dedicated and enthusiastic software engineer who is passionate about using technology to make a difference in the world, and is always looking for new ways to help others do the same.

Kristina Chaston

Senior Director Operations
Kris has been working in tech for more than 15 years. In her current role, she covers the region and the operations within a global tech business. She is passionate about supporting others to grow and develop and loves seeing what people can achieve with encouragement.

Kris is also now a Board member of Girls in Tech Australia.Senior Director Operations