Dell’s Women in IT Executive Mentoring (WITEM) program

What is WITEM?

The Women in IT Executive Mentoring (WITEM™) program was founded by Dell Australia in 2005 with the aim of accelerating development of leadership skills of women within the IT industry and profession. The program forms part of a longer term strategy of attracting and retaining women within participating organisations, and combines 1:1 mentoring together with cross organisational learning and facilitated group networking.

Women in IT Executive Mentoring AwardsWITEM was created and championed by Dell Australia managing director Joe Kremer. Fostering diversity is an essential element to Dell’s corporate values and guides the kind of company we are and aspire to be. WITEM is designed specifically to meet and understand the needs of female diversity, flexibility and to understand the barriers to career progression.

WITEM’s core objectives are to generate greater awareness and understanding of women’s barriers to advancement, develop leadership competencies in these executive women and to progress female talent throughout the IT industry.

Since its inception, WITEM™ has evolved through several chapters, impacting over 200 mentors and mentees from differing senior management roles (CEO, CIO, CTO) and from across industries such as finance, distribution, professional services, education, manufacturing, government and ICT. The organisations continuing to embrace this program are among Australia’s leading commercial companies, education institutions, state and federal government departments.

How does WITEM work?

The program aims to address the low numbers of women in the IT industry by providing women with dedicated executive mentors drawn from the leaders in the industry.

The program structure combines face-to-face mentoring with facilitated group sessions held regularly across a 12 month period. Dell works with Orijen Consulting on the facilitation and management of the program.

The WITEM program is unique in bringing together technology organisations and executives in a cross-mentoring structure. In the corporate sector, Managing Directors and CIO's mentor high-potential females from an alternate company. In the public sector, CIO's from federal and state departments are matched with high potential women cross-departmentally.

Benefits of WITEM to Mentees

WITEM participants are surveyed throughout the program. Results indicate that mentees experience significant gains from their mentoring experience such as:
  • Improvement in existing skills and development of new skills
  • A broader perspective of leadership and management
  • Increased networking opportunities
  • Increased communication either up or across an organisation
Mentees also report long term gains such as:
  • Increased confidence and self esteem
  • Learned strategies to achieve career aspirations
  • Gained a strong sense of professional self

WITEM Programs

Since its inception, the WITEM Program has impacted more than 200 mentor-mentee pairs across the following programs. This number continues to grow as programs are expanded across the country.
  • Program 1: Sydney - 12 month pilot launched in December 2005
  • Program 2: Sydney - Launched November 2006 this program represented a move from the IT industry to the wider IT profession, encompassing public and private sectors
  • Program 3: Canberra - launched August 2007 and first partnered program with the Australian Federal Government (AGIMO)
  • Program 4: Adelaide – Launched June 2008 and first time the program extended to public and private organisations outside Sydney and Canberra
  • Program 5: Canberra – Second AGIMO partnered program launched in December 2008
  • Program 6: WITEM eXTEND : Canberra – Launched March 2009, Dell, AGIMO and the Australian Computer Society (ACS) joined forces to launch WITEM™ Extend, the first program designed for middle-management female executives with an entirely female mentor and mentee base.
  • Program 7: Brisbane – First Brisbane-based program launched on 30 October 2009
  • Program 8: Melbourne - First Melbourne-based launched March 2010
  • Program 9: Canberra – Fourth Canberra-based program and a dedicated Australian Public Service program launched April 2010
  • Program 10: Adelaide – Second Adelaide-based program launched October 2010
  • Program 11: Canberra – Fifth Canberra-based program launched August 2011
  • Program 12: WITEM Coaching Circles - Canberra: Middle-management all female coaching program launched March 2012 in partnership with AGIMO (WITEM ‘pipeline program’)
  • Program 13: Sydney - Planning and recruitment underway for launch late 2013
  • Program 14: Canberra - Sixth Canberra-based program launched August 2012
  • Program 15: WITEM Coaching Circles II - Canberra: Second middle-management all female coaching program to launch late 2013 in partnership with AGIMO

WITEM™ is a registered trademark of Dell.
Contact Information

For more information about WITEM, contact:
Marty Filipowski
Dell Australia

Jenny Morris
Who is Orijen?

Orijen is a specialist consultancy in mentoring and coaching services and the external facilitator of the WITEM programs. Jenny Morris, CEO and founder of Orijen, draws on extensive human resource management and consulting experience to help organisations address the needs of the diverse and changing workforce. You can find out more about Orijen at www.orijen.com.au.

  • Winner of 2008 EOWA Business Achievement Award for Outstanding Initiative/Result for the Advancement of Women
  • Joe Kremer, WITEM founder, Finalist of 2009 EOWA Business Achievement Award for Leading CEO for the Advancement of Women
  • Dell, Finalist of 2010 EOWA Business Achievement Award for Leading Company for the Advancement of Women (<800 employees)

"The most significant benefit I gained from taking part in the WITEM mentoring program was a new found self-belief and confidence that I could be an effective manager and leader."
WITEM Mentee

"I did not realise that this would be such a win/win. My time as a WITEM mentor has been very worthwhile."
WITEM Mentor