T'arne Whelan, Customer Marketing Manager


What is your career story?

Starting my professional career in corporate events and marketing, the adrenaline and buzz of late nights and early mornings, and the opportunity to get creative was what I found to be my safe place. But what I loved most was that everything I was doing was for humans. As events started to come with a sense of – perhaps a little too much – ease, I found myself exploring new ways to keep myself on my toes, throwing myself into opportunities and roles in the areas of operations, corporate governance and more and more marketing!

Whatever had me involved in making an impact on people and customers, I was up for it! And it’s why I love what I have been doing for the last few years in a customer marketing capacity. Being able to impact how a customer feels and recognise their value to a business – all with a little bit of time, thought and engagement (or as some would say… marketing) – it just gets me excited. I love the challenge that a role like customer marketing brings, with so many opportunities to create programs and initiatives that equally show value to the customer and gain value for the business.

What does International Women's Day mean to you?

International Women’s Day, to me, represents a day of perception, celebration, amplification, and progressive change. It’s about turning conversations into action, and is a day where I reflect on the radical roots of how the day came to be and why it is celebrated still. I am grateful for the many quests that women (a lot more courageous than I) have taken to remove barriers and fight for the freedom of choice for us all, but this day reminds me that there is so much more we can do.

I feel privileged to be surrounded by some incredibly strong and resilient women who have seen or experienced adversity themselves, and who I look up to in both my personal and professional life. This often reminds me though, that the day isn’t about us as individuals, it’s about women everywhere, in all walks of life, some of whom haven’t been fortunate enough to have mentors to lift them up.

What is it like working in the technology industry and what are some of the challenges you have experienced?

Being a young female in the technology industry, I have experienced first-hand what it’s like to be held back due to someone else’s beliefs. Too young, too empathetic, not strong enough, not driven enough. These are stereotypes that I think still cloud people's judgement around whether a female is capable to perform a certain role or possesses the skills required.

Having worked in male dominated industries throughout my entire career (construction and technology), I’ve seen how difficult it is to drive female participation in these industries (and others alike) and I think there needs to be more support from women and men, to remove these biases that are preventing career advancement.

Are there any assumptions about women in the workplace that you want to challenge or change?

With women making up almost half the workforce, it’s hard to believe that there is an assumption on females not possessing the skills that make them capable enough to be in leadership positions. The idea that traits and skills come from gender – female and male – is an assumption I would love to see crushed. Yes, I am female, and I can be empathetic, and sensitive and systematic, but I can also be tough, logical, curious and strong. These are all qualities I am proud to possess and that shouldn’t hold me or anyone back from achieving our career aspirations.

Has anything in your personal life impacted/challenged or changed your working life?

I was always surrounded by hard-working role models – my grandparents were very entrepreneurial, having owned every business under the sun – a milk bar, small courier company, news agency and even a childcare centre! My parents also owned their own business where I saw the highs and lows, and when it got tougher, they just worked harder. When successful, they were humble, and when there was failure, they showed strength.

They taught me that everything you do – the choices you make and ways you react – is all for the purpose you set yourself. And it’s definitely something I think about often and take with me.


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