Ms Katherine Burleigh
About the speaker
Our speaker today is Ms Katherine Burleigh.
Katherine is the Managing Director of Intel Australia and New Zealand.
She is passionate about the need to create smart solutions that put the “user” at the centre of innovation. Katherine advocates the need for smart government policy and industry leadership around how we live, work and play within the connected world.
Prior to her commencement at Intel, Katherine worked in the marketing industry where she spent six years as Marketing and Retail Sales Director, during which she was voted by AdNews as one of the top 40, under 40 rising stars in advertising and marketing.
Katherine is on the Board of the Australian IT Industry Association and a nominated chair of the National i-Awards steering committee. In 2014, she was voted by her industry peers into the Australian Reseller News National Hall of Fame.
Katherine holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of Sydney and a Masters of Business and Marketing from UTS.
It gives me great pleasure to invite Ms Katherine Burleigh to deliver the occasional address.
I would like to acknowledge: the Chancellor, Professor Vicki Sara; Presiding Vice-Chancellor, Mr Patrick Woods; Presiding Deans, Professor Ana Vrdoljak and Professor Tracy Taylor; academic staff; distinguished guests; graduates; families and friends.
I would also like to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, upon whose ancestral lands we stand.
It is a privilege and an honour for me to deliver the Occasional Address to the Graduates here today.
Let me commence with a genuine and heartfelt congratulations!
I trust you are all relishing and enjoying the moment right now.
Today is your day. Today it’s all about you. I commend you for the hard work and intellectual effort you have put into attaining your degree. Your degree is special - even in this modern age where we have such good universal access to education. There is no employer who will not value it. ALL of the learning and effort you have put in has been worthwhile.
You’ve pulled the all-nighters, sacrificed weekends, rejected friends and family and no doubt made countless other sacrifices to get here today. Treasure this moment … because you’ve earned it. Once again I say, CONGRATULATIONS.
And to all the family and friends here today, congratulations to all of you. Whether you played the role of moral supporter, principal financer, sounding board or shoulder to stress out on … you too have played a role in getting your loved ones here. I have no doubt you all feel very proud today and you should.
The theme of my address today is –
“How to succeed in the technology driven business world”
But before I get into all of that, by way of context, I would like to give you an overview of Intel and how we work in Australia.
I trust that a great many of you have heard of Intel. Just to prompt you a little, Intel invented the world’s first commercially available microprocessor back in 1971. Since that time we have gone on to become the processor supplier of choice to the world’s IT industry, providing microprocessing power to approximately 85% of the world’s computers and powering 90% of the “cloud” with our high performing microprocessors and associated technologies.
Perhaps you have heard of “Moore’s Law” which is the theory that microprocessing performance would increase at an exponential rate while the cost of computing decreased. It is this law that propels Intel forward, encouraging us to challenge the physical limits of technology and to relentlessly redefine boundaries. Computing continues to become more powerful and cheaper which in turn makes it more accessible than anyone could have ever imagined.
Gordon Moore was of course one of the co-founders of Intel. Actually it was the 50th anniversary of Moore’s Law just two weeks ago. For the geeks amongst you, there are a lot of fun facts about what life would be like if Intel had not continued to push the boundaries of Moore’s Law – for example your average mobile phone would be the size of a car parking space or your average laptop would be the size of a house and like a house you would need a mortgage to buy one. The impact of microprocessors in all walks of life and business simply cannot be under-estimated.
Intel is of course essentially a B2B company. We make highly sophisticated engineering driven products which we sell to other companies who then build them into their own innovative solutions. Think Apple, Dell, HP, Toshiba, Amazon, Microsoft, CISCO … all amazing technology companies in their own right with Intel processors underpinning much of their innovation.
And what do we do in Australia? Broadly, we both sell directly to the computer manufacturing industry in Australia and we also support leading brand name computer companies who have “Intel Inside” their products. We also do a lot of business development on behalf of the industry, engaging Australian Businesses, academia, thought leaders and politicians around the positive potential of technology to drive the nation forward.
And finally, we support our brand so that whether you’re the CIO of a large Australian company or a student looking to buy a new laptop – that somehow, whether conscious or subconscious, you have a preference for computers with “Intel Inside”.
By the way – in case you are wondering – I found out yesterday that Intel is the 23rd most “liked” brand on facebook in the world! Can you believe that, a microprocessor company having so many fans and so many friends that we become one of the most liked companies in the social media sphere.
I don’t know if you still learn about it now. But funnily enough, when I did my Masters of Business and Marketing degree at UTS, I recall in one class studying the Intel Inside campaign as a case study.
Actually it couldn’t have been more perfect timing because while I was just one third of the way through that degree, a headhunter called looking to place me in a job working in the Intel marketing department. Have you heard of “Intel” he asked … have I ever! … thanks UTS!
So that gives you a view of Intel. As for me, all you really need to know about me is that I started life as a humanities student who wanted to save the world. But over time I discovered that I was much better suited to the cold hard world of business. Eventually I forged myself quite a successful career in marketing communications which ultimately landed me in a role at Intel.
I have now been working for Intel for 17 years and needless to say I have learnt more than a thing or two about both business and technology, some of which I will share with you today.
I have also been married to a gorgeous guy for the past 15 years and together we are the proud parents of two daughters, Hannah 14, who has all the trappings of the humanitarian crusader, and Matilda 12, who can’t decide who is cooler, Professor Steven Hawking or Liam Hemsworth. At present we’re busy encouraging the passion for science!
The theme of my address today is:
“How to succeed in the technology driven business world”
Firstly – I am assuming that the majority of you are planning on and hoping to have a successful paid career in some area of the business world, putting your degree into action.
So – let’s break it down. How do you succeed in the technology driven business world?
Since the industrial revolution and really even the invention of the printing press itself, technological breakthroughs have had a dramatic impact on how we all live, work and play.
In my own case – my first job out of uni saw my land a job in an organization which still had a typing pool.
That’s right, a typing pool.
Seriously – that was life back then. Actually writing with a pen and paper and actually giving it to someone to type.
Can you imagine how long it took to get anything done?
Can you imagine how hard it was to move fast on anything urgent in the days of the “typing pool economy”?
Fast forward to today and we’re all living and working in the digital economy. There is no job I can think of or conceive of which does not have a large dependency on technology. Hence the topic of my address.
Loosely, I define the digital economy as basically running on computers, servers, smartphones, broadband, the cloud and a host of smart apps and software. No matter how small or large the business footprint, in this day and age we are all running our business on the same sophisticated technology platforms.
Indeed we are living in a world where technology allows the smallest start up business to look big and the largest business to appear local and approachable.
Of course not every business gets it right. But I am sure you follow my point. Technology is the great equalizer in business. It is simply an expectation that you will know how to master it, know how to optimize it and know how to use it to your advantage.
So if technology is the great equalizer – what is it that will really set you up for success in the business world?
My personal experience combined with feedback from many other cross industry business leaders who I am privileged to work with, can be summed up in the following seven observations:
1. Don’t believe or be intimidated by the frequent bagging out that “Gen Y” gets - I’m telling you now that I’m a gen X and when I first started out in the work force everyone used to give Gen X a hard time. And it’s now happening to Gen Y.
Technology is dramatically speeding up and changing the way we do business and no generation is more adept at embracing technology than Gen Y.So if you are a Gen Y – don’t apologise for it, own it and turn it to your advantage in the workplace.
And if you’re not a Gen Y, make friends with them, hire them, speak to them, embrace them … Gen Y is the future and in a technology driven future we need both the experience and wisdom of Gen Xers and Boomers, and the enthusiasm, risk taking a zeal for technology that Gen Y bring to the work place.
And the best work place practise diversity – not because they should but because it makes good business sense.I don’t ascribe at all to the generation wars in the work place.The more diverse the work place, the more productive.So own your generation and be positive about the value you have to add.
2. Don’t be impatient – experience takes time, especially practical hands on experience. Your career may flatline from time to time. That is not a bad thing … the periods of flatlining are when you get to stop and reflect on the experience you have gained.
Take advantage of the lull in a steep learning curve and focus on developing your network, expanding interests outside of work and building long lasting relationships.
I went back and started my post grad degree at UTS during a flatline period of my career. And as I mentioned earlier, that ended up landing me a great job.
3. Take some risks in your career. You will often be offered lateral moves in your career and my general advice is you should take those opportunities. You don’t always have to be moving up the corporate ladder to be succeeding.
Building a broad cross section of experience can create multiple opportunities for future promotion vs. a narrow path.In my own career I moved laterally in 8 different roles –out of all those roles, there were only two actual promotions in play – the rest were lateral transfers which allowed me to increase my scope of influence and amass experience.
4. Perfection is over rated – 80% is good enough in business and 90% is fantastic. Delivering 100% all the time is not only impossible, but you will burn yourself out and in a strange kind of way it works against you. Not that you shouldn’t work damn hard and focus on quality output – but balance is important as well.
Ultimately if you aspire to taking on a senior leadership role one of the attributes that is most valued is balance and self-control.The advice I give people is to focus on quality and being on time with deadlines rather than perfection.If you find yourself being tied up in knots, full of anxiety and feeling as if you’re the only one putting in the hard work – just mentally check in – are you striving for perfection where good enough would have been okay?
In short.Give yourself a break.
5. It’s an old adage but one that rings true – the only constant is change. Embrace change. Love change. The modern working world has never moved faster and you need to embrace it and move with it.
Working in the IT industry of course I live and breathe the fast pace of change each day.At Intel we disrupt our own products with the mantra that “only the paranoid survive”.Just think of all the leading brand name products that have been displaced over the years because they didn’t change and move with the times.Everyone’s favorite example is of course Kodak which invented digital photography but tried to hang on to film.Other examples include Netscape – the internet browser which was displaced by Google.In the travel industry we are seeing the traditional travel agency model being disrupted by aggregation sites like Trip Advisor.RSL taxis are being disrupted by UBER.Even the tertiary education system is being challenged by alternate paths of learning that threaten the traditional university structure.
If you’re comfortable with change you’re going to do really well in the business world.
Importantly, work towards determining what role you can play in leading or supporting your company vision through inevitable change cycles.
On the same topic, don’t assume that the “old timers” can’t hack the change. Remember, they’re lived through a heck of a lot more change already than any young graduate. In my own workplace, when we are navigating through big cycles of change, the first people I turn to are the longest serving employees. They’re the ones that get the younger ones through the change. Who cares that they can’t book a car on UBER –if you’re driving transformational change they’re the quickest to step up and ask how they can be part of it.
6. My final tip is to watch out for the technology enslavement trap - Technology can be enslaving – think of your smart phone, your inbox, your social media account – is it running you or are you running it?
Learn quickly how to determine what’s important vs. what’s urgent and tend to those tasks in the right order.If you haven’t hit on a technique for mastering your technology, sort it out now.
Reflecting on the tips I have just given you, I trust you can see that what I am recommending is by and large grounded in common sense.
Work hard. Use your education. Celebrate diversity in the work place. Embrace change and as much as it pains me to say it as the Managing Director of Intel – don’t be a slave to technology.
Oh and the 7th tip – I did say there were going to be 7 didn’t I. Well that’s the easy one.
7. Above all else, be a good person and have fun! Life’s too short for your self worth or definition of success to be all tied up in work!
Congratulations to all of you today. I wish you the best of luck in the future and trust that you all have wonderful fulfilling lives ahead of you.