A couple of times a month, we like to get to know members of the KJR Collective a little better. Today we catch up with Ishta Roth.
Years in the industry: 15
Years at KJR: Almost 3
Based in: Canberra
Currently working with: The Department of Defence in stakeholder management, and “anything else that gets thrown at me!”
What Ishta loves most about her job…
Unlike many members of the KJR Collective, Ishta does not come from a testing background – she works as a stakeholder engagement manager and has had ten years of experience in the defence landscape. “I do a lot of people work – when people have questions and complaints (or compliments!), I’m there to reassure them”. She’s a true people person and never complains when a client needs easing into a certain piece of software. To Ishta, a perfect day is one where she is free to work autonomously and flexibly. She also likes applying her people skills into the project management sphere and has taken charge of multiple in-house projects for different clients. Whether she’s making efforts to positively sculpt a company’s culture or upgrading their ALM system, Ishta’s your go-to girl.
How Ishta got into this industry…
“I fell into IT by accident.” Although she doesn’t have a traditional IT education, Ishta’s had a wealth of experience working in tech. Her first IT role was at a Telstra call centre doing ADSL Tech Support when she was 19. “They liked my ‘bubbly’ personality, so they hired me.” Then, via working at an energy retailer to CSIRO in tech support, she eventually found a home at Fujitsu on the service desk, although she didn’t stay at that desk for long. With grit and hard work, she became a qualified Business Analyst through the Australian Institute of Business Management and was able to use her newfound skills and knowledge to manage many projects, improving both the processes and culture within her workplace.
KJR became aware of Ishta’s diverse skillset through a Principal Consultant at KJR, who worked alongside her on a project. Impressed with her work she was promptly recommended when KJR needed someone with Ishta’s skills. Ever since, she’s shown herself to be an irreplaceable member of the Collective.
What Ishta thinks about the future of tech…
“Tech will always continue to grow and develop, and people need to grow with it”. Ishta doesn’t consider herself “tech savvy” – she focuses on how tech can impact the people around her. She places a heavy expectation on tech of the future to incorporate inclusivity. “It’s not just what your gender, race or sexuality is, I think it’s important for everyone to feel comfortable”. Tech’s innovation extends to the workplace for Ishta, especially as COVID-19 continues to impact offices around the world. She recognises the importance of maintaining a positive work culture by using tech. Ishta has been enjoying the opportunity to “show off lounge fashion” in KJR’s Friday afternoon Zoom meetings” and keep in touch with co-workers so everyone feels involved.
She also does other things…
Underlying all this, Ishta had other ambitions– one that involved lots of pastry. “I’ve always really liked cakes, my mother is a chef and so cooking has always been apart of my life”. Earning a Certificate III in Patisserie in 2017 was the first step in achieving her pastry dreams. “I was motivated to learn all the different techniques, but I hated all the decorating!” “I think my favourite thing I ever made was a croquembouche, that required a lot of sugar sculpting and even some sugar burns, because Pastry is not without its danger.” A skill not wasted though – just ask the KJR ACT Collective.
Music has also played a big role in Ishta’s life, with her first memory involving the Led Zeppelin song ‘Black Dog’, “I can’t even describe the feeling that song invokes in me to this day”. Aspiring to become an opera singer when she was younger, Ishta suffered a severe case of pneumonia at 16 years old which permanently impacted her voice. “If I didn’t get pneumonia, I would probably be an opera singer right now”. Her love for music still echoes through her life, and when travelling Europe in early 2020 she made sure to pay a visit to The Beatles’ monuments in Liverpool.
Ishta’s final word of advice…
“Don’t be afraid to cause ripples. Ask questions, make your presence known.”