The New Zealand Computer Society has decided on brains not brawn with the appointment of recruitment agency The Doughty Group founder Beverley Pratt as its first chief executive.
Pratt sees her new job as being to provide a better service to society members. "I'd like to be able to do that, to give something back to the industry and make sure members are getting service and getting value for money."
Pratt will not be going out of her way to boost women's membership numbers, believing women to be well represented. "It would be interesting to look at what women's membership numbers are like, but I probably won't. I don't see it as a big issue at all. People are people and they have careers and they're members or not. The society offers benefits equally to all its members."
"This business is about brains not brawn and I think traditionally women who have wanted to achieve in the information technology arena don't have a lot to hold them back."
She says the society has a healthy women's membership, with good representation on all branch committees and two women on the national council.
Pratt doesn't think her sex was a factor in her appointment, but she is surprised to see someone with a strong commercial background chosen for the position.
Pratt's first tasks with the society are to organise more sponsorship and to ensure the society's Web site is redeveloped.
"At the moment I'm working with a number of companies on sponsoring of society activities and in fact I haven't had a 'no' yet to any approach that I've made over the past few weeks, which is good.
"We've just recently redesigned the society's Internet pages and it's the first phase of about five phases of that, but I really see that it needs to be a flagship Internet site as far as the society is concerned. The society has got a really great niche in the technology marketplace and I really feel it can evolve some way."