Tech dreams come true: Origin’s Kelly Ferguson reveals personal journey

Jennifer O'Brien

She admits the journey in IT has been tough. “It hasn't always been easy. I've signed up for things that I had absolutely no idea how to do. I've won and delivered products and I have failed. I am pretty lucky that I have had an incredibly interesting career.”

She noted how she has often been the only woman in a vast number of scenarios. “I've sat in more meetings and in more teams than you can possibly imagine where I was the only girl, or the youngest, or the only one that had some crazy idea that nobody wanted to listen to. I have persevered and kept that ‘Hussle up Kell’ in the back of my head.”

Speaking about her accomplishments, she said she’s been lucky to have found a niche in order to cultivate success.

“I've been very lucky to have found a niche that I am good at. And through it all, I’ve managed to keep that little ‘technologist’ and slightly rebellious girl alive and kicking within me,” she said, explaining she has worked at Microsoft in the technology team (mostly writing algorithms in Excel), at Philips Healthcare, as CIO of Mi9, the digital arm of Channel Nine, and currently the CIO of Origin Energy.

She said it’s important to be bold for change and credits key influencers in her life including mentors and family members that have helped shape her professional persona. “They have allowed me to remain true to myself and my beliefs. To keep the crazy tech girl running hard inside me, but allows me to climb up that corporate ladder.”

As an example, she credits Raechel Gavin, HR director at Quantium, as a pivotal influencer.

“Raechel taught me about feedback. I give feedback generously and I ask for it like crazy. What I learned from Raechel was how valuable feedback really was. How understanding from people exactly what they need from you, allows you to give them exactly what they need. Without feedback, I’d never be successful. The men and women in my life who have openly shared with me how I could be harder, stronger, faster, sometimes less, talk quieter, talk slower, those people have helped bring out the very best in what I have to give.”

Surprisingly, she also credited her younger sister’s “irritating” habit of saying, ‘know what you want, get what you want,’ as words to live by in her professional career.

“Through times of adversity, the big challenges that have laid before me, keeping my eye on the prize, and being focused with a clear sense of purpose has been a backbone of my success. ‘Know what you want, get what you want’ has kept me focused, helped me ask people for what I needed and ultimately seen me deliver.”

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