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But by then the dot com boom was starting to tip over. “Everything was smelling a little bit and it worried me,” she says. Even so Slattery went ahead and founded Slattery IT Consulting in 2000, although she admits now that; “it was probably the worst time to start in IT.

“I thought I would help traditional businesses become technical and help technology companies market themselves,” says Slattery. Law firm Minter Ellison offered to help sponsor The Watch, and also offered Slattery the use of its meeting rooms to host events.

That was the catalyst for what Slattery IT Consulting has become famous for – bringing together the right people at the right time. Slattery’s first event was on e-tailing. “We flooded the room - those were in the days of Greengrocer, dStore and The Spot.”

Slattery also knew that busy people don’t want to waste time – so she kept the seminars as short as possible. It was a formula that worked and Slattery attracted a good crowd – including venture capitalists looking for up and coming companies.

“I remember Geoff Garrett (former head of CSIRO and now Queensland’s chief scientist) saying that innovation walks on two legs.  There had been a study done that brought up six roles that were crucial for innovation – one of them was the party hostess and how for a good party to work you need someone introducing people – it’s the same for innovation.

“I’ve always enjoyed the accidents that can happen. In the tech industry there are people who are incapable of doing that and I find it quite easy,” says Slattery who is quite comfortable playing social ventriloquist for ultra-smart researchers who “can’t string a sentence to a stranger.”

Her role she says is often about; “Giving them the space to meet and hope that something happens.

“I get a real kick out of some of the young companies we may have helped either through information or contacts or even in some cases some attention. When something good happens to them, I really love that.”

She tells the story of two women who came to a VC Connect event, thinking they were ready for venture capital. They learned at the event that they had more to do before they could successfully pitch to a venture capitalist, but they met Starfish Ventures at the event, went away and worked on their business idea, and came back and got the venture capital two years later.

Today Slattery IT Consulting has a team of seven, running its own branded events , such as Tech 23, Agile and a range of Connect events, and also handling events and marketing on behalf of clients such as CSIRO, Telstra, the Communications Alliance, LinkedIn and Amazon Web Services.

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Beverley Head

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Beverley Head is a Sydney-based freelance writer who specialises in exploring how and why technology changes everything - society, business, government, education, health. Beverley started writing about the business of technology in London in 1983 before moving to Australia in 1986. She was the technology editor of the Financial Review for almost a decade, and then became the newspaper's features editor before embarking on a freelance career, during which time she has written on a broad array of technology related topics for the Sydney Morning Herald, Age, Boss, BRW, Banking Day, Campus Review, Education Review, Insite and Government Technology Review. Beverley holds a degree in Metallurgy and the Science of Materials from Oxford University and a deep affection for things which are shaken not stirred.

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