Vanessa Doake, Art Processors’ Chief People Officer, has been named a finalist in the Executive Leader category of the 2021 Women Leading Tech Awards. Art Processors has also been shortlisted for an advocacy award for its commitment to diversity and inclusion.
The Awards, hosted by B&T in partnership with Google, recognise the extraordinary female tech talent in Australia and aim to shine a light on the inequalities in the industry. According to the European Commission’s Women in Digital Scoreboard from 2019, only 17 per cent of ICT specialists are women, while women in ICT earn 19 per cent less than men on average.
Vanessa joined Art Processors in 2018 and as CEO Mark Nihill recalls, her impact was felt immediately across the organisation as she set about implementing a raft of progressive, forward-thinking policies and partnerships to create a supportive, inclusive and flexible work environment.
"There was little in the way of policy frameworks to enable the growth and development of our fast-growing organisation,” Mark says. “Vanessa’s vision for our company culture was and continues to be positive, impactful and world-leading.”
In 2020, when businesses were forced to quickly close their offices and transition to remote work, Art Processors was able to quickly adapt thanks to the flexible working policy already in place. The policy allows staff to choose the work format that best suits their lifestyle, ensuring everyone, regardless of gender, can make a meaningful contribution at work and at home.
While the health and safety of Art Processors staff was front of mind for Vanessa in 2020, she persisted with the implementation of key policies to further support staff, including a generous compassionate leave policy, partnerships with working parent platform Circle In and Indigenous internships program CareerTrackers, in addition to revising the company’s progressive Diversity and Inclusion Policy.
As a direct result of Vanessa’s work throughout 2020 and 2021, Art Processors has recruited 20 women from 42 new starters, and has an executive team made up of 57 per cent females.
According to Chief Financial Officer, Amie Scruton: "To produce our unique, progressive work, we need to hire the best talent from around the globe, regardless of location, age or family situation. Vanessa’s commitment to creating a workplace that flexes with a person’s changing stages of life empowers our team to be the best version of themselves at home and at work."
Vanessa says she feels incredibly lucky to have the support and encouragement of an incredible executive team, which has enabled her to bring progressive policies and benefits to life.
"An idea is just an idea until you have a collective group of people that think that it’s as important and essential as you do to be able to bring it to life," she says.
Vanessa pointed to Art Processors’ generous parental leave and support for parents as her proudest achievement to date.
"Parental leave policies that provide support for both parents can be a powerful tool for advancing gender equality, supporting women’s workforce participation and normalising the sharing of parenting and caring responsibilities," she says.
"There’s so much in our policy at Art Processors that sets a new standard to not only support parent/s as they go through this huge change, but close the gap on the financial disadvantage that women in particular experience when going on parental leave."
Before joining Art Processors, Vanessa co-founded Code Like a Girl, a groundbreaking social enterprise that challenges the significant imbalance of gender representation in Australia’s tech industry. As Chief Operating Officer, Vanessa introduced and optimised programmes to attract and retain girls from all walks of life in STEM education and technology careers.
Throughout her professional career, Vanessa has held several senior and executive positions in People and Culture, working with organisations across the tech, legal, health, education and government sectors. An unswerving commitment to social justice and gender equality have been concurrent themes across her diverse career, imploring organisations from inside and out to do better when it comes to their most valuable asset — their people.