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.
Today, we speak with Mary Stojcevski, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director at Dicker Data.
Back in 1999 when Mary Stojcevski started working as a part-time financial controller at Dicker Data, she says she had no idea that she would enter one of the more exciting and growing sectors in IT.
Twenty-three years on, she is still with the company and has been there through its growth and technology advancements.
Prior to joining Dicker Data, Mary worked in several mid-tier or smaller accounting firms, working across all facets of accounting including, tax, financial reporting and audit for over ten years.
What attracted her most to Dicker Data was, as a working mother, its close proximity to her home in Sydney’s south, plus the flexibility the company offered.
“Dicker Data was founded on working mothers. I recall at the time having unique access to that understanding and being able to have structure and work hours that suited my availability and personal commitments to parenting.”
In 1999, there were approximately 15 women at Dicker Data all working flexible hours.
“Apart from David Dicker, one of the founders and current chairman and CEO, the rest of the workforce were female who were doing all facets of the distribution business including sales, finance and logistics.”
Today, the company employs more than 600 people across ANZ and has a gender ratio of 54 per cent male to 46 per cent female. “The culture is based on one that exemplifies how the industry should be recognising and accelerating the leadership of women in tech,” she adds.
Mary says Dicker Data launched the company around working mothers, so flexibility and equal opportunity was business as usual for the company.
“What the company offered was the ability to work flexibly where you got paid for the hours you worked. And we could set the hours we worked around family and personal commitments.
“Personally, I moved from a full-time city job to working around school hours.”
She believes the Dicker policy was way ahead of its time and it worked exceptionally well. “Working women are set up for success to excel and fulfill their greatest work.”
During COVID, employees already had their remote working practices in place and were able to easily transition to working from home for longer periods.
“We’re fortunate being an IT distributor,” says Mary. “We had a warehouse with work equipment that could be readily accessed for staff to work remotely. Everyone had their computers, and as an organisation we were able to have everyone adapt to working remotely fairly quickly. “
Mary’s roles and responsibility have grown with the company. “I started as the financial controller in 1999 and today my role is CFO and executive director. I was offered the roles in 2009, prior to the company listing on the ASX.
“It’s been exciting to watch the business grow to where it is today. While this fast pace of change is exciting, it’s also sometimes challenging and we have to stop and catch our breath because our growth is continually rising.”
Due to the pace of growth, Mary says the company continually checks and reassesses its strategic plan. “Being on a continued growth trajectory and in a business heavily invested in working capital means constantly having to manage cash flow.”
Holding a leadership position as a woman in the IT distribution sector and being part of a company that empowers other female professionals to thrive and excel in their careers is something Mary treasures.
She is looking forward to seeing how the business continues to evolve, along with being a part of that growth.
“There’s a lot of exciting growth opportunities as IT and digital transformation continue to be key considerations for businesses. We are really seeing the divergence of tech and lifestyle.”
On a personal level, she loves watching her children carve out their own careers and families.
“I’ve had to work right through their childhood. I hope this has instilled a good work ethic. They’re definitely proud of me. My children are now all independent self-sufficient adults, and are actually looking after me! During lockdown, they did coffee runs and cooked lunches!”
When it comes to relaxing, she likes to tune out and watch movies.
“I do enjoy sitting and watching TV and Netflix, it helps me stop and unwind. Of course, any time with family and friends are always the best. I love a good long walk, preferably by the beach!”