Girlapalooza – for women who dig digital at REA

Hello and welcome to the inaugural Girlapalooza blog post, with me Miss Leah(pleurodon) Eramo, at your service.

What is Girlapalooza?

A couple of years ago, a few of us who were interested in technology came together and formed a group to collectively harness the talent, passion & creativity that women at REA possess.

Girlapalooza is a community that positively engages women within REA in activities relating to digital technology, marketing, design and leadership.

Girlapalooza embraces women of all abilities and backgrounds, with a positive philosophy of fun and inclusion.

This month I am featuring an interview with REA’s 2016 Big Idea winner and my team mate, Linda Brunetti. So read all the way through to catch her interview.


There are many ways in which people like to be presented information, there are those that like to have their emotional side, common sense or intuition appealed to. There are also others that prefer the cold hard facts.

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This brings me to the topic of this blog post, “What is the benefit of having women in the workplace?” This is something that can be measured on an emotional scale as well as a factual scale, and as such I will do my best to portray this issue with warm fuzzies balanced with some cold hard facts as well. So in the words of Maurice Moss in the IT Crowd: “best put seat belts on your ears, Roy, ’cause I’m going to take them for the ride of their life!”

it_crowd_moss

Did you know…

  • In 2009 it was estimated that closing the gender gap for employment rates in Australia might be able to increase the level of Australia’s GDP by approximately 11 per cent. i
  • Another reportii in 2012 suggested that even a 6% increase in female workplace participation might increase the size of the Australian economy by roughly $25,000,000,000 (25 billion, that’s a lot of zeroes.)
  • Of women who are aged 25 – 34, 20% are more likely to hold bachelor degrees compared to men.iii
  • Having women in your company will help your brand understand its female consumers. Understanding female consumers is particularly vital as it has been estimated that women are reported to control or influence 70% of household spending in Australia. iii
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This is the transition I’m planning for my life when we achieve equal participation of genders in the workplace.

Wow, that’s a lot of cold hard facts. When it boils down to it, women can contribute in non-measurable ways too.

Women in the workplace help to provide a female perspective on things, from sales to concept development to hard core 8 hour code sessions fuelled by Mountain Dew and the tears of developers. Women can help to see things from a different angle. Simply put, a company will not have success marketing to a group of individuals without having those individuals represented inside their company.

Women are severely under-represented in tech, especially software development. This is slowly starting to change. To see women developers in roles where we might unconsciously perceive the role as a man’s role means we don’t end up with 500 developers/QA/delivery leads who look like this:

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Not only does it mean we may see more women in a dev role but we won’t assume every dev looks like a reject from the cast of The Big Bang Theory if it was set in the 1980s.

big bang theory

If my mother compares me to Leonard Hofstadter one more time, I’m going to lose the plot.

Once we understand that people for these roles come in all shapes, sizes and genders, suddenly… voilà, our talent pool grows exponentially and we have the diversity in our company to understand why our programs should never look like this:

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Dear sweet cheese on crackers, where’s the close button? Kill it with fire…

So in conclusion meine Damen und Herren, women grow the economy, make for a large and more educated talent pool, can combat unconscious bias… and just generally kick butt!!!

All in all, females in the workplace are a boon, we’re funny, intelligent, strong… determined… humble… totally humble…

Most importantly we’re roughly half the population. There is no reason the workplace shouldn’t be riddled with us.


Let’s meet: Linda Brunetti

linda_brunettiName: Linda Brunetti
Business unit: Enterprise Technology Services
Position: Digital Engagement & Change Specialist

Tell us a bit about your journey to your current position in REA:

I’ve been at REA for just over 6 ½ years now. I started in a team called HubOnline where I was out on the road training customers on building their websites and extending the reach of their online brand. Even though HubOnline was eventually retired, it was the best springboard I could have ever hoped for as all the lessons gathered from the time spent in customer offices I took with me into my next role in Learning & Development for the Residential line of business. In that role I got to work closely with Sales, Product, Marketing and IT to launch new products as well as deliver induction training to some absolutely awesome Account Managers. After three years helping other people grow their careers in REA, it was time to focus on my own so I went for a newly created role with the ETS team which is where I am today. Damian, my manager, created the role recognising there was an opportunity to bridge the gap between “flicking the on switch” when we introduced new technologies and the need for having someone close to the business to communicate and bring them on the journey. Part of this was launching our intranet and on-boarding the international offices so that it truly was the REA “community”.

Tell us about a time in your career where you thought, wow we have a long way to go with gender equality?

Moving from L&D into tech, I went from an all-girl team into an almost all-boy team.. that was probably when it was made most obvious to me that neither actually worked as well as they could if they had a balance of both genders in the team. I think as individuals and gender aside, we all work towards a common goal but how we get there when working together changes significantly when there’s a dominance of either sex. It definitely causes unconscious bias. 

How has winning the big idea changed your work day?

It’s changed in so many ways! The project has just kicked off but in the interim I’ve been having mentoring sessions with Inventium which has been a great learning experience and really helped me understand the science behind what makes a good idea more than just a good idea/wishful thinking.

Working with The Big Idea committee is definitely new! It’s the first time I’ve had the opportunity to work with most of them and there isn’t a meeting I don’t walk away from feeling challenged and super inspired all at the same time. It always reiterates and blows my mind to think how many intelligent people are under the same roof that I don’t even know yet (this isn’t a paid advertisement by the way, they literally blow my mind).

Sometimes I find that whilst I’ve been working it’s gotten dark but I’m so focused on what I was doing I didn’t even realise.  

My team have also been really supportive of me throughout this whole experience and knowing that they’re proud of me makes me work even harder at it. 

If you were president of the world what law would you implement to create better gender equality?

Only one law?!

Well as president of the world, I would focus on parts of the developing world where gender equality is much worse. I’d do this by challenging traditional cultural norms with laws that make education for both sexes mandatory, criminalise genital mutilation and raise the minimum age that a girl can be married and bear children. To support this, women require access to family planning, the right to open a bank account and be protected from those who threaten these rights.


Thanks to Linda for a fantastic interview and congratulations on the big idea win. I know everyone in REA can’t wait to see what she has in store with her “Stylebook.”


i Goldman Sachs JBWere Investment Research 2009, Australia’s Hidden Resource: The Economic Case For Increasing Female Participation, viewed 1 November 2013

ii Grattan Institute titled “Game-changers: Economic Reform Priorities for Australia,”

iii http://www.business.gov.au/business-topics/employing-people/diversity-in-the-workplace/Pages/women-in-the-workplace.aspx