Saturday 8 July 2017

ARTICLE SERIES - Highlights of AWSN - interview with Iresha Fernando

By Amanda-Jane Turner, Chief Editor & National Blog Manager of the official AWSN Blog

The Australian Women in Security Network (AWSN) was founded only a couple of years ago by Jacqui Loustau and yet is already maturing into a respected association supporting and encouraging diversity in the security industry. It is with great pleasure that the AWSN shares with you the following interview with long-term supporter, social media manager and active member of the AWSN, Iresha Fernando.

It was early 2016, and Iresha was seeking some type of networking group that mentored and encouraged women, when she received an invitation to attend a networking lunch. Seeing it as a good opportunity to build and strengthen her career network she accepted. AWSN was in its infancy and Iresha did not know what to expect or what a networking group would even look like or operate. Iresha was pleasantly surprised that there were others like herself at the networking event looking not only to gain support but also to provide it and share their own experiences. She saw passionate leaders and mentors who willingly shared their time and ideas to help ‘newbies’ like her. Iresha quickly realised that AWSN is the perfect group for her to be a part of to build her professional network and confidence.

A year on from this and Iresha has attended several AWSN facilitated networking events and because of AWSN has met and been inspired by many experienced women in the security industry. She credits the support of AWSN with building her confidence and presentation skills and for the first time in her life had the opportunity to present at a university. AWSN soon had her managing social media for the group which has honed her skills and increased her confidence further. Additionally, this has led to good recognition in the office (balancing work and D&I in the group) which lead her gain a well-deserved promotion at her paid employment. All this within a very short time being with the company. Most importantly Iresha said is that AWSN helped her to find a good mentor who trusts in her.

Iresha emphasised that AWSN ensures that there are people out there to help no matter who you are or what your background is.  Iresha added that she likes and respects the committee/leaders of AWSN group and states that they are a bunch of humble women who are trying to build a better career place for other women.

AWSN highlights for Iresha are the Go Girl For IT participation and when Jacqui won the AISA Diversity award in 2016.

Iresha is proud to be a part of AWSN and happily shares how the network has made her believe in herself and help her achieve things she had not thought possible.

(c) AWSN 2017

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency, organisation or association.

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