The award to Ross marked the first time a woman has been awarded CIO of the Year, and the award citation said Ross had been awarded for “demonstrating the most substantial improvement in organisational performance based on excellence in ICT leadership and innovation.”
Ross is responsible for the software development and technology operations of the Wotif Group, which includes leading accommodation and flights website Wotif.com, as well as more than 100 travel content and destination websites. She also manages 136 software development, architecture, operations and support staff across Australia and Asia.
“It’s a great honour to be awarded CIO of the Year and I’m really grateful for the support of the wonderful and highly talented IT team at the Wotif Group,” Ross said.
Ross said that, as CIO, she was aware of the “typical male stereotype of IT management,” when she entered the industry.
“Overall I have been fortunate to have bosses who have been very supportive of me, and women in IT in general.
“When I first became CIO I was under 30 and clearly didn’t fit the typical CIO stereotype of a grey-hair, middle-aged man, so at that time some IT vendors and business partners didn’t take me seriously. But I found that once I demonstrated my depth of knowledge and breadth of responsibility they were reassured."
Wotif Group CEO Robbie Cooke said Ross was a “fantastic role model for anyone thinking about entering the IT arena,” adding that she was “proof that talent, a great work ethic, leadership and the ability to still have fun whilst on the job are ultimately what counts.
“It’s not simply a question of the number of years on the clock, or gender that determines success. In a profession that may still be viewed by some as traditionally male dominated, I hope that Mandy's success comes as an inspiration for others to consider a career in IT.
“Mandy is an exceptionally talented individual who commands huge respect from the whole team at Wotif, and we could not be more proud of her!” Cooke said.
Wotif's family of online brands include Wotif.com, lastminute.com.au, travel.com.au, travelmax, Asia Web Direct, LateStays.com, GoDo.com.au, and Arnold Travel Technology, and around 100 other travel content and destination websites.