Martha O'Sullivan - LfG 2016

Martha OSullivan LfG (2).jpg

Hi I am Martha O’Sullivan and I am one of 3,500 community leadership program graduates contributing to my community.

Originally from Ireland I arrived in Australia in 2003, the career and lifestyle opportunities in regional Victoria incentivised me to move to Geelong. I work in IT Program and Project delivery and I am one of the very fortunate individuals to have had the opportunity to participate in the Leaders for Geelong program 2014-2016. It provided me with the chance to hear from a cross section of community leaders, as well as get to know a group of warm and engaging individuals (many whom I now call friends) who are all interested in seeing Geelong and the region progress.

The two-year program exposed me to various styles of leadership providing me different references to what I had seen through my career in the technology world. It taught me that it is ok to speak to my vulnerabilities and acknowledge that I can make mistakes along with empowering those around me. I have learnt to be humbler, more resilient and confident in decision-making.

I have gained a coterie of experts in my network who help each other and are willing to share, collaborate and contribute in all facets of the community. I originally applied to increase my regional knowledge and identify where I potentially could contribute and learnt so much more about Geelong and the wider region.

I have a passion for technology and see it as an enabler for the future generations and passionately support the participation and engagement in Science Technology Engineering and Maths as enablers for society to innovate and advance.

Throughout the program I came to appreciate the privileged position that I am in as a female leader in technology, this has spurned me to take action in supporting others through their careers. I now actively participate in a Culturally Diverse Women Program designed to coach and mentor diverse women navigating their careers in an Australian business context. I also established the Women in Technology forum at my work place to support and encourage the ongoing engagement of female participation, retention, career development and progression. Through that forum I have had the advantage to work with local community leaders whom are willing to share their stories and show case what is happening across the region.

The LfG program gave me the opportunity to practice public speaking in a safe and encouraging environment, as a result of that I now have the confidence to speak at events when requested. I recently sat on a panel for Big Ideas Summit in Melbourne and spoke to a range of senior executive on the benefits of diverse work force. I have been asked to represent my organisation and present at a Wesfarmers Conference later this year, some thing I would have never agreed to pre LfG! The program not only helped me find my voice but recognise what an opportunity it is to speak for those that may not otherwise be heard.