As the Managing Director of Dell Australia New Zealand, Angela Fox needs little introduction. After eight years at Dell, Angela returned to Australia last year to head up the tech giant as it builds on its PC roots to capitalise on opportunities in cloud technology, big data, mobile and security.

But there is much more to Angela than a long list of career achievements. A passionate leader and mentor, we chatted to Angela to find out more about her career, how she is leading from the front on diversity and inclusion, and of course, to get her tips on being a Leader in Heels.

When talking to Angela, her passion to make Dell a great place to work is immediately clear. She walks the talk.

It’s really important when leading an organisation that you are creating an environment where you are getting the best from every body in the business. You are creating an environment where, irrespective of gender, ethnicity or sexuality, people are comfortable putting their ideas forward.

Beyond the policies and employee resource groups at Dell, Angela considers that it’s critical she maintains an open door policy, as an important way to get a “pulse check” on the business. As leaders or perspective leaders, Angela recommends demonstrating what we stand for, and setting this expectation and tone across the leadership and business. For Angela, these days, this also includes a commitment to her health and wellbeing and ensuring that she leaves the office in time to have dinner and quality time with her family.

Career sponsors have been critical throughout Angela’s career. In her opinion, sponsorship is more than ensuring that she was considered for roles and opportunities, it was also about giving herself the confidence she needed to move forward in her career, even when she thought that she didn’t have the right skills for a particular role.

Despite a long list of business achievements, Angela’s passion is ensuring that she provides the same opportunities for her staff. When asked about her career highlight, Angela immediately reflects on the pride she feels watching the individuals that she has worked with, or had a part in developing or mentoring, blossom and grow to take on opportunities.

Angela’s understanding of the human element at work was also critical as she worked in Asia Pacific roles, and relocated to Singapore. Angela encourages Leaders in Heels’ readers to grab opportunities to work overseas, and immerse themselves in a different environment. While Angela credits these roles in giving her perspective on the emerging markets in the APAC region, it was her understanding of cultural differences that was critical to her success.

As Australians and Kiwis we tend to be pretty upfront and forthright. It’s the cultural awareness of how you work with the different cultures, and the humility of understanding what works, where you are working, that is key. You can’t just take who you are and apply it directly, you may need to adapt your communication style.

Since returning to Australia, and following the privitisation of Dell in 2014, Angela is focused on realising the potential of Dell to deliver in cloud technology, big data, mobile and security. She is working tirelessly to build channel capabilities, and continuing to adapt and change to the market conditions in Australia and New Zealand. She speaks with pride on the flexible and entrepreneurial environment that is fostered at Dell – with this real innovative and entrepreneurial spirit exactly what attracted Angela to Dell in the first place.

Angela Fox is a true example of a Leader in Heels. Before we finished our conversation, we made sure Angela shared her three tips on how to be a Leader in Heels with us:

  1. Draw on the experience of those around you and trust their experience. The art of delegation is critical.
  2. Build a culture of trust, communication and innovation. Just as importantly, make sure as a leader you are walking the talk.
  3. Lead from the front! Be authentic. Be confident about who you are, what you are, and where you are. Lay the ground rules that work for you and stick to these with conviction.

We continue our March Technology series with an interview with Jessica Wilson, who recently stormed into the tech world with the creation of her app Stashd.

What we love about Jess is her openness, and absolute commitment to creating a cutting edge app, building it from the ground up. Read on more to find out about one of Australia’s newest tech stars!

What is one thing that we don’t know about your career?

Jessica: I am not a techie and I am the CEO of a tech company! This is something that people find it hard to wrap their heads around. The idea is that I really know the industry that I am working in [the fashion industry], and I use tech as an enabler, rather than just throwing tech at things because that is the thing to do right now.

What is one thing that you can share about your day-to-day life?

Jessica: As founder of a start up, life is really up and down. I think a lot of people have founders bipolar! You need to learn how to manage your state, how you are going to take on all of these challenges and how you will cope mentally. Something that I have found helpful is daily meditation. It is so important to ground yourself to what is actually happening, a lot of people don’t voice how hard it really is! You see all the perks in the media, with that is a lot of hard work and you have to figure out how you manage yourself mentally.

What is your personal philosophy?

Jessica: I grew up on a farm in Coffs Harbor and have always believed that you are able to create your own opportunities. A lot of people think “Oh this happened to me, poor me”. I think you can create your own life, put yourself in the right opportunities and dictate what you do more than people think you can.

What is one piece of technology that you can’t live without?

Jessica: Stashd! But asides from Stashd, I am tied to my iPhone and laptop! 

Don’t miss out on our full interview with Jessica Wilson to find out how she went from being told that she “didn’t have a career in fashion” in her, to changing the way we shop online.

2015 Bubbles and Bargains  event will feature a “Success Collection”, comprised of outfits and success tips from 50 women of influence, such as Pru Goward, Naomi Simpson, Mia Freedman and Leaders in Heels Founder, Kasia Gospos!

Since opening in 2009, Dress for Success Sydney has supported over 8,000 women in need by providing high quality professional attire and practical advice to prepare for job interviews. And today Dress for Success shared some of the fantastic advice with Leaders in Heels to inspire and motivate our readers.

Success tips from women of influence

Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right

Pip Marlow, Managing Director, Microsoft Australia

 Have confidence to push for the role you want and keep a sense of humour.

Ann Sherry AO, CEO Carnival Australia

When you feel sad, when you feel that the world is not appreciating you and you feel hopeless, the best you can do is to help someone else. You will quickly notice that amazing things happen when women help other women.

Kasia Gospos, Founder of Leaders in Heels

Dress for the job you want, not the job you have!

Alexandra Mills, CEO of Product, AussieCommerce Group

Never underestimate the power of self-belief. Know in your heart that you’re capable of achieving great things. Only surround yourself with positive people that build you up, support you and believe in you for they will become your rock in times of need. Back yourself and be amazed at what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it.

Deborah Hutton, Publisher and Founder, Balance by Deborah Hutton

Be true to yourself and don’t let work rule your life. Family must come first.

Deb Knight, Co-host Weekend Today | Host of Financial Review Sunday and Nine News presenter

Your reputation is everything. Word hard, treat everyone with respect and always try to do the right thing.

Kirsten Galliott, Editor InStyle Magazine | Ambassador Dress for Success Sydney

Minister for Women “Don’t hesitate when taking the next step. Take a risk and back yourself. Men don’t get bogged down in the qualifications they need for a role. Women need to stop believing they need to be overqualified to do the job. There’s no substitute for getting your hands dirty and getting experience under your belt.

Pru Goward, New South Wales Minister for Planning | NSW

If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me.

Naomi Simson, Founding Director RedBalloon Author, Blogger and Speaker

Fail fast. You don’t learn by omission, you learn by co-mission.

Mia Freedman, Journalist, columnist, author, blogger and media consultant


This Sunday the 15th of March 2015, grab a bargain and sip champagne at Bubbles and Bargains, whilst raising critical funds to help women in need. Whether you fancy a near new pair of Prada shoes, a fabulous suit or just the opportunity to browse with a glass of bubbles in hand, Bubbles and Bargains is the event for you.

Bubbles and Bargains will be running from 10am – 3.00pm at the Easts Bondi Leagues Club (93-97 Spring Street, Bondi Junctin). Funds raised support Dressed for Success, find out more about Dressed for Success here.

At Leaders in Heels, we love nothing more than interviewing inspiring women who are willing to share their passion, knowledge and expertise with our readers. With two businesses, a degree, a national franchise network and two children under her belt by the age of 30, we can all agree that Tina Tower has plenty to share!

Tina credits her achievements to a massive desire to achieve and live a life less ordinary. After seeing her father sick with cancer at a young age, Tina is acutely aware that life is short, and strongly urges everyone to make it count and do something great with their life.

Feeling inspired? So are we!

After working a few jobs to pay her way through Uni, Tina opened her first business, Reach Education Centre in November 2004 when she was 24 years old. She admits wondering: how hard can it be?! Two years later, Tina graduated and threw herself into the business. Tina admits that the business was big, laborious and badly leveraged!

With her trademark grit and determination, Tina preserved with the business – selling toys, tutoring and running birthday parties and arts and craft sessions. It wasn’t until a large toyshop opened down the street that everything turned sour. The owner of the toyshop called Tina prior to opening, telling her to close her doors now, before they put her out of business. Reach lasted two years after this before closing down.

Luckily for Tina, bigger and better things were in store. At the Centre, she had developed Begin Bright, a program to help build children’s reading ability and confidence. She had the idea to do school readiness courses, something that hadn’t previously been done in Australia. Soon the course licensed at 50 locations across Australia.

Like many businesses, growth presented a range of challenges for Tina. Under the license, Tina wasn’t able to give business advice – which was a challenge with her experience in the tutoring industry. Licensees also couldn’t use the Begin Bright name.

We looked at either accepting that people would do what they want, and we would have to bite our tongues… or we would have to franchise.

Tina admits that franchising is tough! But with her goal to have thousands of students around Australia completing the program, it was the only way to build the business properly.

I was really close to walking away. I was doing everything by myself for the first two years; it is only in the last 18 months where I started to get help.

Thinking of franchising? Tina recommends:

  • Filling the gaps in your own knowledge with a board of advisers: Whilst Tina likes to think that what she lacks in experience she makes up for in general enthusiasm, she strongly recommends building a board of trusted advisers. Tina’s board members have all been in franchising for around 20 years and she admits: there is no replacement for knowledge that comes over time!
  • Using a business planner to help break down your goals. Begin Bright has five-year plans, right down to weekly action items. “It is not so much a pie in the sky dream these days – we are taking tangible action steps which will actually get us to where we want to be.”
  • Surrounding yourself with the right people. Starting a business can be lonely; people always see the glamorous parts but often miss the hard work and challenges. Make sure you have people around you to build you back up.

What about Tina’s advice for other women who are starting a family and a business?

Tina admits that she has never known any other way, having only ever been self-employed! After having her two boys, Tina strapped them in the sling and took them back to work!

When it is your own business, you are in the drivers seat. You are in charge of your own life. Gone are the days where you have to choose family or work; I have my dog next to me at the office, my kids have a desk at the office for their important work, whenever there is a school assembly or play I’m there. I know you can’t always do this in a conventional job, but with your own business you are building something for your family.

Tina’s final piece of advice? “Go and do it!”

We’re kicking off a new Technology series in March, and kicking off our shoes to show you a different side of some incredible, inspiring women in the tech industry.

Our first interview is with Angela Fox. You may know her as the Managing Director of Dell Australia and New Zealand. She’s one of a growing number of high-ranking women in the technology sector, and has been instrumental in guiding Dell A/NZ through the recent global shake-up stemming from its privatisation.

But Angela is also a committed family woman, a pragmatist, and her beginnings back at university may surprise you! Read on for four things you didn’t know about Angela Fox!

What is one thing that we don’t know about your career?

Angela: Most people are surprised when they hear that I have a Bachelor of Science majoring in Zoology–this doesn’t seem very logical to some people! When I graduated there was a number of outstanding graduate programs, that judged you on having succeeded in obtaining your degree at a reasonable level, and having characteristics that companies were looking for. Many corporations were still taking on generalist intake, it didn’t really matter what your background was. I think it is getting tougher these days, graduates are being hired in their specialist area, such as Marketing or Finance.

What is one thing that you can share about your day-to-day life?

Angela: My husband and I don’t have any family in Sydney, and only one family member in Australia. Because we don’t have family around us, we have a daily ritual of multiple Skype calls to allow us to stay in touch with our families and to let our daughter keep day to day communication with her family – from aunts, uncles, cousins to grandparents. This ritual is very important to us.

What is your personal philosophy?

Angela: Truly believe that you have to live in the moment and seize the opportunity. While I am not a reckless person, you can’t beat yourself up for something in the past. It is that old adage: you can influence the future but you can’t change the past. While you have to take the learnings from the past, I am not big on beating yourself up over things that you can’t change. I am relatively pragmatic and I look for the positives and ways to always improve, learn and get on with it.

What is one piece of technology that you can’t live without?

Angela: I can’t live without mobile devices. From the laptop that I use at the office, to the tablet device I use for business and pleasure to my good old mobile phone! For me, there isn’t one thing: it is symptomatic with what is happening with technology, we are all leveraging multiple devices! I recently read an interesting article about “technology addiction”. Learning to turn the device off is part of it; you can’t neglect old-fashioned face-to-face communication.

We have a longer interview with Angela coming up next week, so don’t forget to check back in for that!

If you have been reading the news lately, chances are you are feeling a little bit disenfranchised. Women in leadership positions are being targeted by the media and politicians, and we are still grappling with how our society should deal with challenging issues such as domestic violence.

It’s time to change the conversation. On Sunday the 8th of March, the All About Women Festival is coming to the Sydney Opera House to provide an opportunity for the community to come together and discuss issues relevant to women.

All About Women promises an exhilarating day of ideas and stories from world-class storytellers, thinkers, adventurers and legends. This year, the festival is coinciding with International Women’s Day, and bringing together a diverse range of impressive women from all around the world, such as Elizabeth Gilbert, Anita Sarkeesian, Rosie Battie and Annabel Crabb to share stories and explore the experiences and voices of fascinating women.

For Ann Mossop, the Head of Public Programs at the Sydney Opera House, the opportunity to take on a role sharing ideas and engaging with different audiences was one she couldn’t resist. Now in its third year, All About Women is set to be bigger and better than ever.

Ann isn’t concerned by the fact that we live in an age where our attention spans seem to be ever diminishing, and information sharing is often done via text message or a 140 character tweet. Alternatively, she sees the Festival as another way to feed societies hunger for knowledge, engagement and connectivity.

“People want to be exposed to a lot of different ideas. They don’t want to just read one very complicated book and leave it at that. People want to know about a lot of things: there is a curiosity and a hunger right now.”

In Ann’s opinion, the Festival provides something special by allowing the audience to connect in some way with the person behind the idea, and being in a room with other people who are passionate about the same issues. The social element of the Festival makes the audience feel connected to something that is real, important and happening right now.

In her role, Ann has been fortunate to meet many fascinating and inspiring individuals. Ann’s highlights of this year’s program include Anita Sarkeesian, whose writings on the treatment of women in video games resulted in death threats. In an age where we are all acutely aware of vile and vicious trolling online, Anita is able to share her perspective from the middle of the controversy. Ann is also proud to feature Australian of the Year, Rosie Battie, on her tireless campaign against domestic violence. Ann hopes that Rosie’s voice will help a huge number of women suffering because of domestic violence, which is often regarded as “too hard” or simply “too sad”. Ann is also looking forward to hearing Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) talk about on how to be creative, and sharing tales of her extraordinary life with the audience.

Sharing ideas and talking about women’s issues can’t be limited to events such as All About Women; it’s something that we must do all year around. We asked Ann what she would recommend for women who want to take a stand on issues they are passionate about:

  • First, find a platform to engage with ideas. Events like All About Women provide this platform for women to share their thoughts and for everyone to talk about ideas that matter to women. Ann wants people to come and listen, watch, read the speaker’s works, talk about them and think about what it means in their daily life.
  • For some people, there will be a second step. This step recognises that you want to do something on a scale that is not just about you and your life. You can engage with an organisation that does this kind of work, start a book club to talk about ideas, volunteer, donate money – anything!

“What we assume is that the more public conversations that we have about these ideas, the richer, livelier and better kind of culture we are going to live in, and the more progress there will be for women on a range of issues.”

We can’t wait to attend All About Women and share our thoughts on social media using the hashtag #allaboutwomen. Don’t miss out! Get your tickets here.