Year: 2021


Sarah Bailey, Penten CFO and Company Secretary and Sonali Sachdeva, Penten Financial Controller have been named as finalists in the Women in Finance Awards.

Sarah Bailey is finalist in the Director of the Year category and Sonali Sachdeva is finalist in the Mentor of the Year category.

The finalist list, which was announced on Tuesday, 13 July, features over 250 high-achieving professionals across 28 submission-based categories.

Sarah Bailey, began at Penten as the CFO in 2018 and took on many portfolios such as strategic finance while also leading Penten’s governance, secretarial and human resources functions. In 2020, she took on the role of Company Secretary and in February last year Bailey accepted a position on Penten’s Board of Directors. She became Penten’s first female and non-founder board member.

Bailey, set the foundations for Penten’s substantial rapid growth. In the last year, Penten’s staff numbers increased by 73% and revenue by 50%. Bailey has been instrumental in guiding the company through the stages of start-up to SME to large company.

Bailey felt honoured to receive news of becoming a finalist, but was even more proud of her team members; Jenny Rau, nominee for Accountant of the Year and Sonali Sachdeva, finalist for Mentor of the Year for getting involved and putting themselves out there.

Bailey offered advice to others in the industry, “Get involved. Be curious. Finance has a bigger strategic role. You can significantly contribute to business decision-making with your finance lens”.

Sonali Sachdeva has been with Penten from start-up phase and has helped grow the Finance team from two to nine employees in a short period of time. While coaching the many new staff members, Sachdeva continued to keep Penten on track through their first external audit and all the challenges of scaling up rapidly.

Sachdeva set up many of Penten’s finance systems, processes and protocols. She insists Finance can be a creative career choice, despite its “misconceptions about meticulous people”.

Sachdeva encourages others to be themselves and get your hands dirty. “There is no place for ego in leadership. You need to be authentic, be candid and honest about your own abilities and leverage your strengths,” she said.

The Women in Finance Awards was founded by Momentum Media in 2017 to celebrate female leaders, role models and future champions within the financial industry.

This esteemed awards program provides a platform for remarkable women leading in their field to be acknowledged and celebrated for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the industry.

This year, the Women in Finance Awards not only celebrates the trailblazers of the industry, but also acknowledges the work of all women within the financial industry for their exceptional effort and dedication to clients during a year of constant change and challenge.

Annie Kane, editor of mortgages at Momentum Media, commented: “Since its inception, the whole concept of the Women in Finance Awards has been to champion and profile the amazing women working in financial services — an industry that has been, and remains, typically male-dominated.

“This year, we were thrilled to see that a record number of people nominated their friends, colleagues and peers for an award, demonstrating the growing outpouring of support for those leading the way — and a desire to create more female role models in this space.

“Congratulations to all of the finalists of the fifth annual Women in Finance Awards who are helping more Australians than ever to manage their financial situations, improve their financial literacy and grow their businesses.

The winners will be announced at a gala event in Sydney on 2 September 2021.

Penten, one of Australia’s leading national security technology companies, has officially released its updated AltoCrypt pBox product, an anti-eavesdropping device.

First launched in 2018, the pBox is a portable container designed to prevent mobile phones from listening in on sensitive and classified conversations.

The 2021 upgraded version has: updated software, improved locking system, faster charging of device, custom parts and a sleek new look.

The product allows workers to remain in close contact with their phones in important meetings and secure facilities, without the risk of the phone eavesdropping or collecting video.

The new pBox design is manufactured in Australia with new enhancements and at a lower cost than the previous model due to a sovereign partnership between GME and Penten.

The custom manufacturing by Penten and GME in Australia allows for larger quantities of the product to be built at a significantly lower price, allowing Penten to pass this saving directly through to customers.

GME manages this by leveraging off its robust supply chain, its state-of-the-art Surface Mount Technology (SMT) manufacturing equipment and production facilities. SMT is a method in which the electrical components are mounted directly onto the surface of a printed circuit board (PCB). This method increases manufacturing automation reducing cost and improving quality.

“The pBox is one of our flagship products and we are thrilled to be able to bring this new iteration to market,” Penten’s General Manager, Business Strategy, Joshua Bolton said.

“In addition to providing security and peace of mind to our customers, our new pBox is entirely made in Australia with our manufacturing partner GME,” Mr Bolton said.

“Penten has always believed that Australia is well placed to be a global hub for national security technology and this product is proof it’s possible to cost effectively manufacture in Australia,” he said.

“Given the wealth of knowhow and capability in Australia, there is no reason why the country cannot forge a path as a global technology leader,” Mr Bolton said.

“GME is extremely proud to be contributing to enhancing Australia’s national security by providing sovereign industrial capability from our manufacturing facility based in Winston Hills, Sydney.” GME’s Defence Program Manager, Winslow Tam said.

pBox comes under Penten’s Secure Mobility division, which also manufactures the AltoCrypt Phone and AltoCrypt Stik.

Marcus Thompson Penten

Marcus Thompson AM PhD has joined Penten’s Board of Directors, bringing with him over 30 years of experience in the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Dr Thompson joins Penten to help support its rapid growth, underpinned by its work with defence and government clients.

His most recent job in defence was as the inaugural head of the Information Warfare Division, where he led defence force capabilities in cyber, electronic warfare, intelligence, space, artificial intelligence, and command and control.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Board of Directors at Penten, who are a standout example of Australia’s booming cyber and national security industry,” Dr Thompson said.

“Penten’s focus on secure mobility, applied AI and tactical communications is a natural fit for my previous experience and I am looking forward to helping them as they continue to grow and prosper as a company,” he said.

“The battlespace of the future will increasingly be a digital one.  Companies like Penten will be leading the charge to help keep Australia safe,” Dr Thompson said.

Penten CEO Matthew Wilson said Dr Thompson’s appointment was a vote of confidence in the company as it continues to grow.

“From five founders in 2014, to 120 staff today, Penten has grown into one of Australia’s leading cyber technology companies,” Mr Wilson said.

“Since 2017, when the Information Warfare Division was founded, the Australian cyber industry has developed tremendously and is the best example of sovereign capability development in the national security field,” he said.

“Cyber is proving to be Australia’s best chance to create a world leading national security sector, one where our products and capabilities can be exported worldwide, especially to our five-eyes partners,” Mr Wilson said.


About Marcus Thompson

Major General Marcus Thompson graduated from the Royal Military College in 1988 and was allocated to the Royal Australian Corps of Signals. He served in a variety of command, regimental and Special Operations appointments including: Command of the 3rd Combat Signal Regiment; secondment to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) as the Senior Advisor Defence Policy and Operations; Director General Special Operations Capability; Commander 6th Combat Support Brigade; and deployments to East Timor, Iraq, and Afghanistan. His final appointment was as the inaugural Head of Information Warfare for the Australian Defence Force.

Since leaving the Australian Army, Marcus has founded Cyber Compass Pty Ltd, an independent advisory focused on improving cyber security and developing sovereign Australian capability.  He is also a Director of Engineers Australia, having been elected in November 2019.

Marcus holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering with honours from the University of New South Wales, a Bachelor of Business from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, a Masters Degree in Defence Studies from the University of Canberra, a Masters Degree in Strategic Studies from Deakin University, and a PhD in Cyber Security from the University of New South Wales. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.