Elena Casciano’s (’00) professional IT journey and advocacy for women’s participation

For our April Old Scholar Story, LOSA would like to recognise Elena on her career within the Information Technology industry. Elena has also been an advocate for increasing women’s participation in both community and professional fields, so we have asked Elena to share with us her journey since leaving Loreto.

Elena in her own words:

I was drawn to a career in information technology because I had a passion and purpose to create new things that help make life easier for others and myself. I found software development at a young age and enjoyed the freedom of an empty canvas, ready to give instructions and create something from nothing. After leaving Loreto in 2000, I embarked on my journey which started at the University of South Australia entering a Bachelor of Information Technology, majoring in Software Engineering and minor in Multimedia and Design.

As a professional developer, I gained experience over 15 years in the transport/logistics and banking sectors. As a talented skilled developer, who enjoyed working with people to solve problems, I was identified as a rising star and was picked to study a Diploma in Business Administration which propelled me into several management roles.

Through my career, as a woman in the IT industry, the lack of other women in my field was evident and concerning. Coupled with my passion for making things easier, I developed a purpose that saw me actively working towards making things fairer for women to enter in the IT industry. With a lack of women role models and negative stereotypes, not to mention many other factors, I joined the National Association of Women in Operations and started to become active in changing participation rates of women in the operations industry. I work with large corporations and challenge them to change their mindsets on the role women play in their organisations and I help women realise their potential and develop their skills to reach their goals.

The experience I gained working in commercial environments and coupled with my own initiative to study, read and be curious was instrumental in leading me to the role I currently have today. I’m working with renown SA start up guru’s, heading up Code 360 as General Manager, supplying software as a service platforms to major universities in Australia to manage student engagement in sporting clubs, guilds and associations.

My passion and purpose for fairness drove me to put my hand up in the 2018 local government elections and I was elected as a councillor for Campbelltown City Council. My role is to be a voice for my community and people who aren’t often heard. To also be a voice for young families and working parents at the table where decisions are made that affect our community.

In 2018 I was also elected by members to the Board of Directors for Rugby Union SA, for my commitment over the last 11 years in the rugby community in SA. Women’s rugby, like the IT industry, still suffers from lower participation rates compared to men. Over my time, I’ve played a critical role in resurrecting women’s rugby, taking the competition from 3 teams in 2008 to 8 teams in 2019.

My journey started out many years ago with the simple goal of just getting a job to change the world, and my purpose has evolved into what it is today, having a wider impact to make the lives of South Australians fairer, easier and sustainable.