1. Tell us a little about yourself?
Emily is the co-founder of a multi-award winning tech startup from Sydney called Compass IoT. She co-founded Compass in 2018 at the age of 23 through UTS Startups with her two co-founders while studying for a postgraduate degree. In 2020, she won the University of Sydney $10,000 Student Startup Innovation Prize for pitching Compass IoT. Emily has over five years of experience working within the Sydney startup community and is passionate about mentorship, user-centric design, and the power of data to make a difference.
2. Who are the women who have inspired you the most in your life?
It’s cliche, but of course, I’m going to have to say, my mum. She taught me the importance of subscribing to a consistent work ethic and that you don’t have to be ‘naturally’ talented at something to be good at it; that resilience and persistence trump natural ability when people become complacent. I’d also like to give an honourable mention to my mentor, Kristy Bayley, who has been an endless stream of support over the last year, battling the imposter syndrome that comes with running a company while still being in your mid-twenties.
3. Why do you think it’s important to increase the number of women in business, particularly in leadership roles?
It’s important because we need to normalise seeing women in business and leadership roles to challenge the default male mindset; so that when you ask questions like “name three scientists that aren’t men”, people no longer struggle to come up with an answer. It’s also important to have women in leadership roles to provide an alternative perspective that reflects the unique experiences of our gender. Women are often not appropriately represented in the quantitative data used to design our cities, plan our infrastructure, or devise our laws and government reforms. The unintended consequence of this is that women’s experiences are not being adequately reflected in the built environment, in our workplaces, or the systems we use to govern society.
4. How would you describe your current thinking about diversity and inclusion?
I think diversity and inclusion provide perspective. In particular, decision-makers and leaders often have to make decisions on behalf of many people; they must be from diverse backgrounds or have access to informed, alternative viewpoints to ensure we consider perspectives from all walks of life, not just their personal experiences.
5. Would you like to tell us a bit more about your thoughts/ comments?
In the future, I hope the words’ leader’ or ‘CEO’ invokes images of awesome and hard-working women as much as it conjures images of awesome and hard-working men. I hope one day we can throw away the specificity of labelling someone a ‘girl boss, ‘female scientist’, or ‘female doctor’. Women should be entitled to the name of their occupation without someone feeling the need to distinguish their gender specifically, and nor should it matter in the first place.