Permenthri Pillay and Mat Franklin win Women in ICT awards

20 November 2023 3 min. read

Women in ICT network WIC has hosted its annual awards night, with EY partner Permenthri Pillay and MF & Associates managing director Mat Franklin among this year’s recipients.

Ernst & Young government and public sector partner Permenthri Pillay has been named ‘WICked Woman of the Year’ at the annual WIC Women in ICT awards in Canberra, which celebrates the advancement of women in the industry.

Mat Franklin, the founder and managing director of recently acquired advisory MF & Associates, was also recognised as the recipient of this year’s ‘Male Champion of Change’ award.

Permenthri Pillay and Mat Franklin win Women in ICT awards

A more than two-decade consulting and IT veteran, Pillay joined EY in 2020 from the partnership of PwC, prior to which she was a partner and A/NZ government and public sector leader at IBM Consulting. Earlier in her career, Pillay also spent two years at Booz & Company prior to its 2013 acquisition and Strategy& rebadging, and is credited for her work in helping to create South Africa’s first post-apartheid democratic constitution.

Nominated by her colleagues, Pillay received the top honour for her significant industry contribution, her role as a model and mentor for women, and her encouragement for women to join the sector. Following the win, EY senior tech consultant Chelsea Lifschutz stated, “I feel very privileged to be in a workplace surrounded by women in tech who are changing the definition of what it means to be a female in tech for the better.”

Mat Franklin meanwhile took home the award for ‘Male Champion of Change’, the honour capping a big couple of months following the sale of his Canberra-based consultancy MF & Associates to multinational tech firm Fujitsu. The firm was also recently named the ‘Best Place to Work’ by the Australian Women in Security Network, and was the leading ACT entry on Deloitte’s latest Technology Fast 50 list., with three-year growth of 567%.

MF & Associates director Laura O’Neill was also nominated for a WIC ‘Defying Gravity’ award, which recognises early-mid career women making change towards gender equity in ICT. O’Neill’s colleague Chloe Choy is among previous winners, along with Chelsea Abel, principal consultant at another recent Fujitsu acquisition Enable, and Emily Mills, who is managing consultant at Pragma Partners – bought in 2021 by ASG Group.

The awards ceremony – organised by WIC vice president Josephine Calabria, who recently joined EY as a director of intelligent automation – was held in conjunction with the organisation’s annual debate night, which featured recent EY partnership recruit Gen Fields as a member of the team arguing in favour of “AI: The Human Race is Doomed”.

Other participants included former Atturra cloud COO Emily Curlewis, and Darren Menachemson, global partner at social design consultancy Thinkplace.