OAM FOR INNOVATOR

Written on the 10 February 2011

OAM FOR INNOVATOR

THOUGHTWare Australia founder and CEO Sonja Bernhardt has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for continued innovation and contribution to the IT industry.

Bernhardt is the first Queensland woman to receive the accolade for services to IT and only the fifth in the country.

In 1997, she founded and was appointed inaugural president of the Women in Technology Association (WiT), an organisation that has since grown to more than 350 members and 1200 affiliates.

Eight years later she co-founded and became inaugural president of the Australian Women in IT and Science Entity (AWISE) in 2005.

Both non-profit industry groups support and encourage women into technology careers through various community projects and programs.

“I have done a lot of things with my career but I simply saw opportunities and pursued them; I’ve never considered the cumulative impact of my achievements until now. I’m just happy to be recognised for having a positive input,” she says.

“I’m very proud of having set up WiT; watching the high impact this organisation has on the industry and how strong and independent it’s become.

“AWISE was particularly difficult to do. I was dealing with hundreds of personalities from different sectors who didn’t want to give up their intellectual property and share with members to create that collaboration. It was a lengthy process but now it has support from all across Australia.”

In 2008 Bernhardt was appointed to the United Nations-supported International Taskforce for Women and ICTs. The organisation was set up to promote the communication and information exchange of technology knowledge, research and resources on a global level.

“It’s not a gender issue, it’s a participation in society and economics issue. Our society needs every social group to participate equally in IT and technology because it’s the livelihood of our future,” she says.

“The area in the IT industry that really needs more women is in creation, design and ownership of companies. Young women looking to move into these areas should ignore the perceived barriers; know who you are and why you do what you do. If you believe you can do something that will change the world, just do it.”

The Gold Coast tech expert has been at the forefront of web development and project management for more than 20 years.

However it’s her continued efforts in promoting Australia’s IT sector and breaking down gender and social stereotypes that she’s best known.

Having witnessed the evolution of IT technology and products over the last two decades, Bernhardt predicts the future ‘will be unimaginable’.

“In the short term everything will get smaller, more efficient and cheaper. Nano technology and immersion technology are already taking over,” she says.

“Long term, technology will interact with our lives in ways you can’t predict or imagine. You’ve just got to keep up with the latest developments eventually you won’t be able to participate in society.”


Latest News

2017 BRISBANE TOP COMPANIES REVEALED

WHILE Queensland is regarded as an economy in transition with the winding down of the mining boom, the 2017 top 50...

2017 BRISBANE TOP COMPANIES 1-10

FROM insurance and banking to travel, gambling, retail, property and pizza, these "heavyweights" have ha...

2017 BRISBANE TOP COMPANIES 11-20

RETAIL, property, an airline, cars, real estate, software services, energy, agriculture, veterinary services bathr...

2017 BRISBANE TOP COMPANIES 21-30

JEWELLERS Michael Hill International listed in 2016 with a half-billion dollar market capitalisation and a new CEO...

Related News

FURNITURE DISRUPTOR SET TO SHARE HIS ONE OF A KIND BUSINESS MODEL

IT'S no secret that Australians love homemaking. Their ceaseless quest to create the perfect place to call hom...

WEEDING OUT THE ASX'S BURGEONING CANNABIS TREND: 8 COMPANIES TO WATCH

A NICHE is budding on the ASX in the form of medical cannabis, an industry which has been on the country's rad...

FRESH CLASS ACTION TO REVEAL ANOTHER SIDE OF SLATER AND GORDON DOWNFALL

ACA LAWYERS has issued a formal letter of demand to Andrew Grech (pictured), managing director of Slater and Gordo...

STARSHIPS WERE MEANT TO DELIVER DOMINO'S PIZZA

NICKI Minaj may have been off the mark when she declared 'starships were meant to fly'. However, she m...

BOOK YOUR FUNCTION SPACE HERE

 

 

 

Contact us

Email News Update Sign Up Contact Details
Subscriptions

PO Box 2087
Brisbane QLD 4001

LoginTell a FriendSign Up to Newsletter