Wednesday, January 26th, 2011
Australian technology identity Sonja Bernhardt has been honoured for her outstanding contribution to the information technology industry with a Medal of the Order of Australia, on Australia Day 26 January 2011.

Sonja, Chief Executive Officer of software development house ThoughtWare Australia, is well known in the industry for her energy, passion and commitment. She has spent the past 15 years serving on multiple executive boards and committees providing advice and guidance to Governments, Business and Community bodies on various aspects of information technology, as well as supporting and encouraging other women into science, engineering and technology studies and careers. Whilst not an academic or research scientist, Sonja has also contributed to research within the ICT and business fields through partnerships with universities and active engagement in industry research.

Sonja has positively contributed to the growth, development and enhancement of the industry as well as promotion of the Australian IT industry into broader circles, such as APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) and the United Nations.

She will be the 1st Queensland female to receive an Order of Australia for information technology and is joining an elite group of four other IT people from the State with pre- existing Order of Australia awards.

Australia wide she is the 30th IT person in all of Australia (and fifth female) to be recognised with on order of australia for services to IT.

Sonja stands out from the crowd as a visionary, a leader and a doer. A person who is not afraid to stand proud in the face of controversy to achieve her values and to passionately spread the word about IT. Her achievemetns are many with key ones listed at

Highlights have been
• founding the successful WiT (Women in Technology) association
• co-founder of AWISE (Australian Women in IT, Science and Engineering)
• mastermind and financer of sometimes controversial intervention programs such as Million $ Babes (, the Screen Goddess IT Calendar ( and “Doing IT Around the World” (
• long running resident Geek Girl on ABC Radio (Coast FM), a regular radio spot on current technology and science topics
• appointed (2008) to the United Nations supported International Taskforce for Women and ICTs ( (vision is to promote communication and information exchange; increase sharing of research, knowledge, and resources; develop a series of collaborative activities; and promote recommendations for policy and programming – globally)

all of which she has voluntarily undertaken.

Other recent award recognition for Bernhardt are:
• At the Aged Care Industry IT Awards, her aged care software solution i.on my care ( won the best implementation of the year (under 150 beds) and ThoughtWare was a finalist in the ICT Company of the Year category (July 2010).
• Sonja was winner of the Science, Engineering and Technology Industry/Business Category of the Queensland Our Women – Our State Awards, sponsored by IMBcom and The Institute for Molecular Bioscience (November 2009).
• She was awarded the ICT Outstanding Achievement Awards – sponsored by Optus, at a glamorous 1920’s themed evening at the Tivoli Theatre in Brisbane (August 2009).

Sonja is a mother of three - a 29 year old daughter (Naomi), and 26 year old son (Tom) from her first marriage and a 7 year old daughter (Kira) from her extremely happy second marriage to scientist Dr Robin Craig. Her third grandchild is due to be born shortly.

Sonja bases her life and all activities on a reality and reason based philosophy, in fact her daughter Kira was named after a heroine in the novel “We The Living” that was written by Ayn Rand - a philosopher Sonja greatly admires. Every undertaking by Sonja is consistent with who she is and what she passionately believes in.

Photos available

Contact Profile

ThoughtWare Australia

ThoughtWare Australia Pty Ltd (ABN 88 086 471 338) a privately owned Gold Coast, Software Development and Project Management business was established in 1991 and incorporated in 1999. Cornerstone solutions are a unique, innovative range of Governance, Risk Management and Compliance solutions (i.on my solutions) to assist managing governance, risk, compliance and accreditation requirements.
Sonja Bernhardt
P: 07 5502 9236
M: 0416 248 236


Australia Day Honours List, Order of Australia, information technology. first female, women in IT, Australian women in IT



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