Introducing NSW BEC member – Nelli Zinder MACS


  • Nelli Zinder MACS is the most recent elected NSW Business Executive Committee member and a Delivery Executive at IBM. 
  • Nelli shares with us what her passion for mentoring women and migrants in the ICT community, her vision for the years to come and the best lessons learnt along the way. 

You are the Delivery Executive and a BEC member. What are some of the qualities of an executive and decision-maker? 

From my experience, people are reluctant to take on new roles, because they often think ‘I can't do it’. Women especially suffer from the impostor syndrome. They know they have the passion but they don't think they have all the skills. Most of the time, we do. 

If you’re too comfortable in your role, you’re not growing. Focusing on that growth mindset is what helped me. You must ask yourself, ‘What strength can I bring to the business? How can I maximise my strength and where can I challenge myself?’

I would also advise you to research for a new role actively. The moment you put yourself out there, you’re in the right mindset and maximise your chances. 

How do you ensure a growth mindset? 

Always have a mentor, and even more than one. Some of them can help on the technical trajectory, others with strategic thinking or to address difficult conversations… I go out to my mentors often. 

Some of the managing tools such as 360 feedback are also essential, even if people are reluctant to use them. Constructive feedback is not personal, it’s about helping you grow. 

This is one of the purposes of the ACS Mentoring Program. Mentors and mentees go through the DISC program and 360 reviews to help with these challenges. The next intake of the mentoring program starts on 13 June. Apply today to be a mentor or a mentee. Applications for the next intake of the mentoring program close on 24 May. 

You are passionate about the topic of women in Tech and you are a member of many organisations. What are the priorities and initiatives to focus on to improve the gender gap in the ICT industry? 

I believe it all starts with education, schools and universities. Most people still don’t understand what IT can be. They still think it’s all technical, focused on coding and such. There are so many roles in the ICT industry, in different sectors that are available. Things are changing so fast. 

Besides, women don'tcelebrate their successes as much as they should. We should be proud of our achievements and inspire each other to lead by example. 

The ICT industry needs to be growing by more than 500,000 professionals by 2030, which is +5% every year until then. However, people are still struggling to find a job, especially as migrants. What do you think the industry can do to facilitate the process? 

There is a bias about hiring people with an accent. In Australia, we have a lot of skilled migrants who come in but can’t find a job. While ACS does a brilliant job of certifying their experience with the skills assessment services, newly arrived skilled migrants still struggle to get their foot in the door. After 6 months, they understandably get discouraged. 

How can we bring more awareness to these people, how can we give them a chance when they probably have a wealth of experience? We should be looking for people with the right attitude rather than the right experience. You can learn new skills, but you can’t fake an attitude. 

What has been the best lesson learnt in your career? 

Be adaptable. 

Don’t say no to the role if you’ve never done it, always give it a shot.

And never give up.