Ada Lovelace Day – Sae Ra Germaine

Once again it is time to celebrate Ada Lovelace Day, which recognises the achievements and talent of women in science, engineering, technology and mathematics fields. This year I’d like to dedicate my post to a colleague, friend and someone I admire greatly – Sae Ra Germaine.

I had the fortune to meet Sae Ra during the lead up to in 2011, and was immediately struck by her positivity, warm and endearing personality and stellar graphical design skills.

Her strengths embody many of the qualities that women bring to the table – and which are sorely lacking in information technology such as;

  • The ability to develop strong working relationships with people from different backgrounds, and with differing technical competencies. Sae Ra was the glue which held our team together – diplomatically resolving conflict, understanding peoples’ unspoken needs – and ensuring they were met – and generally acting as a nurturing influence on our group.
  • Design acumen and keen sense of visual appeal – which helped us to deliver one of the most attractive sets of conference paraphernalia that I’ve seen in recent history
  • The knack for sensing tension or conflict before it becomes marked and apparent, and working quietly behind the scenes to resolve the conflict or find a workable solution
  • An awareness of ‘human’ needs within a project – such as the information requirements that people might have, and what emotions should be catered for during an event such as a conference

Sae Ra is truly an asset to women in computing and multimedia.

Ada Lovelace Day – Donna Benjamin

Ada Lovelace Day has come around again, and although Donna Benjamin was profiled in brief for last year’s post, this year I’d like to dedicate several more virtual column-inches to covering her achievements and notability as an inspirational woman of technology.

Service as a mentor, guide and trusted friend in producing open source events

For many years, Donna was instrumental in making the Software Freedom Day celebrations in Melbourne happen. Countless hours of unpaid time were devoted to organising, herding, negotiating, liaising, encouraging and motivating the diverse group of open source enthusiasts around Melbourne and Victoria to come together. This culminated in 2010 in Melbourne’s Software Freedom Day event being recognised as one of the best in the world. While a strong leader in her own right, Donna went one step further. Through actively mentoring others, she has nurtured nascent talent in the community, ensuring that similar events in the future are more sustainable, and draw from an emerging field of willing and capable minds.

This is no more apparent than in her role as ‘ghost’ to the current organising team (Disclaimer: of which I’m a member). Her insight, knowledge, reflections and practical demeanour, built from the success that was 2008 have put the team on a very strong footing indeed to be able to deliver January’s event. Her passion, energy and dedication are also echoed in Drupal Downunder coming to Melbourne in 2012.

Donna is also a respected speaker and conference presenter, spreading her passion for open source, open knowledge, open education and open culture.

Digitise the Dawn

Donna’s trumpeting achievement in the last year or so however lies in her successful spearheading of the Digitise the Dawn campaign. In a matter of weeks, Donna’s efforts had raised over $AUD8000 – enough to have the archives of Louisa Lawson’s ‘The Dawn’ newspaper digitised in Trove and made available for researchers – a significant step for women everywhere.


It is Donna’s drive, passion, enthusiasm, willingness to give of herself and ability to genuinely nurture others that make me respect and admire her so much. Thank you, Donna.



Ada Lovelace Day – Donna Benjamin, Brianna Laugher, Lorna Jane Mitchell and Elizabeth Naramore

One of the reasons behind the Finding Ada campaign is to promote the wealth of female talent in science, engineering, technology and computing. In previous years, I’ve heard the laments of many would-be bloggers; “but I don’t know any women in technology or computing!”. In contrast, I believe there are so many to choose from!

Donna Benjamin

Donna is a stalwart in the Linux and Drupal communities in Australia, and a key member of AussieChix. Although she holds many positions of responsibility within those communities, it is her passion, dedication, fervour and strong commitment to the values underpinning open sourceĀ  that make me admire her so much. Education, openness and freedom are principles she strongly advocates – and on that basis alone she deserves credit. Her leadership abilities enable her to gain support – often from volunteers at events such as Software Freedom Day or for running conferences – and drive people to deliver on a shared vision. She is a force to be reckoned with, and a wonderful role model for other women.

Donna is @KatteKrab on Twitter, etc.

Brianna Laugher

Also a key player in the open source community, Brianna heads up Wikimedia Australia, an organisation dedicated to supporting the creation of free cultural works. She is active in the open source and Linux communities in Melbourne, and shares my passion for language.

Brianna is @pfctdayelise on Twitter, etc.

Lorna Jane Mitchell

Although having collaborated online as part of PHPWomen, I had the privilege of meeting Lorna while travelling in the UK. She is one of the most dynamic, energetic and determined people I’ve ever met – and an absolute dynamo during her time with PHPWomen. She now looks after the developer community at iBuildings, and has the (fun!) job of organising the Dutch PHP conference. As part of PHPWomen’s Big Sis L’il Sis programme, Lorna has mentored and coached a number of up-and-coming PHP developers, imbuing them with the confidence and skills to hone their PHP development technique.

Lorna is @LornaJane on Twitter, etc

Elizabeth Naramore

One of the founders of PHPWomen, Liz has previously worked on PHPArchitect magazine and in a number of development roles. She has played an instrumental role in establishing PHPWomen’s partnerships programme, in which open source software projects with strong values and statements about supporting equity and diversity within their development communities are promoted through PHPWomen. Liz is also a Mum – and how she manages her young family and still has time to code, I just don’t know!

Liz is @ElizabethN on Twitter, etc

So? Do you know a standout women in science, technology or computing? Then blog about them for Ada Lovelace Day!