Image for post
Image for post


Chief Executive Officer, Orbx Simulation Systems.

Image for post
Image for post
Anna Cicognani, CEO Orbx Simulation Systems

High level overview of current remit: Aggressive revenue growth, adjacency expansion, team in AU and UK, M&A, IPO in the next 12 months.

What sort of flexible work practices have you undertaken in your career?

I have always encouraged employees to balance their family commitments with work life, not just women, but men too! Working remotely has been normal for our team as we are scattered a bit everywhere, so people are very result driven rather than being bound to a desk

What are the biggest barriers or challenges you have overcome in advancing your career so far ?

There is definitely more willingness to give a female executive a go, compared to a few years ago. I believe there is still quite a bit of gap in pay between males and females though, in executive roles, and especially CEOs.

2020 could perhaps best be described as a bit of a shitshow. How have you managed to stay on track personally and professionally ?

Staying physically active is vital to find motivation every day to get out of your PJs. As a CEO, there is no time to feel isolated as the team is looking for an example and role model, so you need to be dynamic and provide guidance on a daily basis — even if you are on VC many hours a day and it can get a bit monotonic. That, and finding some space to think at the end of each day, so trying to switch off. Having a separate work space also helps.

You have managed very large teams throughout your career. What drives maximum engagement?

A mission. When clearly articulated, the team (any team) can really achieve the impossible. Respect for each other is also a big must — learning from people around you is very rewarding and it develops trust, as you know your colleagues are experts in their field and you can have an open and/or challenging discussion without feeling threatened.

Your one tip to senior managers on managing a remote team ?

Daily VCs are great — chat rooms (we use Discord) and frequent “pings” to people during the day, less emails and more instant messaging.

56% of women in tech are reported to leave their industries after 10 years. What is driving this in your view and what needs to change to correct this ?

Never heard of this stat before, so I believe you on face value 😉 Assuming that is true, I guess you need to look at higher education programs. I guess a passion for technology comes from an early age too, maybe girls are (still) not encouraged to be tech versed from an early age, though I would have thought access to computers, tech and connectivity would level the ground.

Note: For anyone interested, here’s a link to more on the above stat — Ed

Give your crystal ball a polish for us. Is this really the beginning of the changes the world has desperately needed on so many fronts despite such harsh realities ? Could your share your top 2 or 3 predictions for what the new future may hold.

Less travel for business, better online communication, survival of the the-fittest, both in business and in life.

I live on a farm in rural NSW now, and there is nothing “remote” about it because of technology. I think decentralisation is going to be more and more prominent. This is different from living in the “burbs” — it is a very different lifestyle.

Anna shared her insights with Puffling’s Lija Wilson.

If you’re interested in more on Puffling or being featured in a future interview profile, connect with Lija here.

Written by

Australian based talent platform by connecting senior level female talent who want flex with progressive employers who are leading the way in the future of work

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store