It is with great pleasure that I can announce that two of our Australian Cisco employees have been recognised at Australian Reseller News’ (ARN) inaugural Women in ICT awards. The awards were held at a luncheon in Sydney yesterday and aim to celebrate female excellence and reward outstanding achievements by women in the ICT industry. Cisco’s two award winners were Sara Adams and Vanessa Sulikowski and Karen McFadzen was recognised as a finalist.

Sara Adams was the winner of the Achievement category. Sara won the award for her undeniable commitment to the Australian reseller channels. Her proven leadership skills saw her promoted to become Cisco’s Managing Director of the Partner Business Group in 2012, one of our largest portfolios of business in the region.

Sara spends a great deal of time mentoring other career woman making her the personification of what these awards are all about. Sara was a mentor for two years in FITT’s (Females in Information Technology) mentoring program.  Additionally, she sits on the Australian Advisory Board for the not-for-profit We Connect group which is an organisation that empowers female businesspeople.

Vanessa Sulikowski was the winner in the Technical category. Vanessa’s ability to take complex business requirements and architect a solution and strategy which will not only fix an immediate issue, but improve the overall direction of the business endeared her to ARN judges. As a senior member of Cisco’s Asia-Pacific Unified Communications and Collaboration Architecture team, Vanessa is a highly decorated and experienced member of our technical team, she speaks at numerous industry events and in 2011 she was awarded the Cisco “Chairman’s Club Award” for her technical excellence.

We’re also very pleased that Karen McFadzen, VP of Technical Services for Cisco Asia Pacific, Japan and Greater China was recognised as a finalist in the Community category.  Karen has spearheaded numerous initiatives designed to attract, retain and further promote women in the ICT sector. Specifically, she plays a key role in the Cisco Connected Women group which has the mission to hire and develop women in the organisation.

One of the areas Karen helped play a significant role in was the improvement of our hiring practices. This involved proactively educating our external recruitment vendors on Cisco’s diversity strategy in order to develop a pipeline to bring more women into the IT industry. In 2000, 6 percent of the Cisco Asia Pacific Technical Services team were women. Through Cisco Connected Women, we have been able to increase this number to approximately 50 percent.

On behalf of Cisco I would like to personally acknowledge Sara, Vanessa and Karen for being fantastic role models for all women in the ICT industry. You are inspiring examples of the many female leaders we are developing here at Cisco and we couldn’t be more proud.

Congratulations Sara, Vanessa and Karen!


Linda Horiuchi

Senior Manager, Australia and New Zealand PR