To mark International Women’s Day 2022, Information Age is publishing a special series, Women in IT Leadership. We speak with 15 women in various tech roles across Australia about how they got their start in the IT industry, their approach to leadership, and how to encourage more females into technology careers.
This week, we speak with Kate Gubbins, CEO and founder of Simpology.
Kate Gubbins was fortunate to have business role models around her when inspiration hit.
“I've been lucky that even in my own family, I have good role models in regard to business development and business ownership.”
As CEO and founder of Simpology, Kate knows that seeing how it’s done played a part in her decision to strike out on her own.
“I'm sure it has played a big role in feeling that I can step forward. I do have a lot of people I've worked with in the industry as well, who absolutely have shown me good ways to manage business and people,” she notes.
Kate spotted a gap in the mortgage space and went on to create something new – that led her into technology.
“I wanted to build something that would digitise all of the knowledge and capability around different lenders’ requirements for mortgage brokers.”
As a young woman, she’d never considered a career in technology. “I absolutely didn't. Perhaps those opportunities weren't made apparent to me or my interest wasn’t there,” she says. “As a younger me, I didn't have the compelling interest in using technology to solve things, perhaps, and so I didn't go down that road.”
Now she’s fully immersed in technology and is in awe of its many applications.
“It's fascinating and a joy to see a solution be created for a real-world problem, to see that come to life. It's also enjoyable from the point of view of our customers when you can see you're helping them and creating efficiencies and solutions and making their lives easier.
“It's exciting and we get a kick out of helping people. That is definitely what I enjoy most about being involved in technology.”
For Kate, one of the things about technology is the prospect of endless possibilities.
“That's actually one of the really exciting things about technology in that more and more is becoming possible all the time,” she declares.
“Definitely with APIs and the way that systems can talk to each other and the benefits that come from that. There's so much that we can achieve now in being able to hook into other systems that have source of truth data, or services that can make your own system better.”
And it doesn’t always mean you have to be a coder or a technical expert from the outset.
“You don't have to be the best at everything. You don't have to reinvent the wheel, you can instead link to services already doing things, that’s their strength, and there are professional service providers for any particular element.”
A model of leadership
Kate’s role is managing high-level stakeholders to understand what's important to the business and to its customers.
“Managing priorities well and communicating what the grand vision of the business is and why we're going down new roads is important, as is keeping everyone on the same page in our organisation, having focus, supporting all of our team in regard to the tools, education and equipment they need in order to do the best job that they possibly can."
In her own life, Kate is creating another model of leadership, both to other women and closer to home in her own family.
“With my daughters, I hope they will give themselves all of the schooling that will give them an opportunity to get into tech if they want to at a more grass roots level than I came into it at,” she notes.
Her advice to women is to keep an open mind. “And delve into it a bit deeper because tech is a fabulous industry. As more technology becomes available, there are more ways to do things on a daily basis. But that's actually one of the really exciting things about technology – that more and more is becoming possible all the time.”
Time with the family and at the beach are always high on the agenda too. Spending time outdoors on the weekends is a must, as is attending to the kids sporting events.
Down time is best spent reading, says Kate. “I love reading. I've always got my nose in the book.”