Special 2 for 1 Ignite! at the Innovation Summit offer for WomeninTechZA followers!

Ignite! is an innovative speaking (and entertainment!) event taking place at this year’s South African Innovation Summit. Think TED-style turbo-charged talks with an innovative twist where innovation thought leaders and entrepreneurs will burn up the stage with fabulous artists and entertainers and all of them share their experience, story, learnings and dreams!

Firestarters (that’s Ignite! lingo for speakers ;)) include:
Puleng Makhoalibe, Creativity Activist, Author and Head of Henley Business School of Innovation
Paula Quinsee, Relationship and Conflict Expert & Author of Embracing Conflict
Monalisa Sam, Retail, marketing and branding expert and host of the Big Small Business Show
Khotso Mokoena, Olympic silver-medallist and founder of entrepreneurship support network
Mandla Maseko, the “Afronaut” that is destined to become the first black South African in Space
Morgan Beatbox, SA beatbox champ, creative genius and entrepreneur
Yolande Steyn, Head of Innovation at FNB
Nicola Cooper,  Trend Researcher & Analyst specialising in ‘Glocalisation’ of Lifestyle  

AND MANY MORE…

Also introducing… theABCbandZA, the creators and makers of ‘ruban’ music and Vuyani Dance Theatre, international multi-award winning dance company from SOUTH AFRICA    

Join us for a fabulous fusion of innovative, creative and business minds! Hear crazy, brilliant ideas, dreams and stories, see fantastic new artists at their innovative best AND network with fellow biz savvies and entrepreneurs!

Ignite! will launch at 3pm on Friday Sept 23 at the Birchwood Hotel and OR Tambo Conference Centre and tickets are R295 per person!

Two lucky WomeninTechZA supporters can get a Buy 1 Get 1 FREE deal! Simply follow the instructions below to order. First come, first served.

  1. Book 2 (TWO) tickets for Ignite! at http://innovationsummit.co.za/ignite-event-registration/
  2. Make sure you click on the R295 option and not the Early Bird R195 option
  3. Click on “Add to Cart”.
  4. Click on “Have a promotional code?” just above “Select a payment method”.
  5. Enter this code (IGNITE_WOMENINTECH) in the space provided and click on “Apply Promo Code”:
  6. Now select a payment method to complete your order
  7. You will receive an email to confirm your order after which you will receive your tickets.

Every Ignite! Ticket holder also gets FREE access to the Market on the Edge from 10am on Friday Sept 23!

If you happen to experience any problems with the registration process or have any other question please email ignite@innovationsummit.co.za

 

WomeninTech: A question of changing perceptions

EMC systems engineer Jeanette Marutle joined the company in 2010 with no technology experience. A nine-week bootcamp, two years’ of mentoring and training and four years’ on the job and she’s working with the local sales team to provide high-end technology solutions to meet customers’ business needs.

“It’s been an exciting journey,” she says. “I didn’t want to be in tech, tech found me.”

Marutle studied economics, mathematics and computational mathematics and wanted to go into the economics side of it, but ended up in the computational space. “People who meet me now versus six years’ ago can see I’ve changed. I work with customers who’ve been in IT for 20, 30 years, and helping them and convincing them that I can add value to them has given me confidence.”

IT is a constantly changing sector, so you’re always learning, she says. “I’ve gotten to a point where I tell myself that I don’t need to know everything, I need to know enough and I need to know who to ask about the things I don’t know.”

View the full interview with Jeanette Marutle:

Women in tech on film…

We made a video! It’s part retrospective of the last #WomeninTechZA networking event and part invite (to men & women in tech) to the next at Fak’ugesi. With thanks to sponsor Business Connexion for all the support! 🙂

Get your tickets for Monday’s event with Debbie Rogers from Praekelt & Business Connexion’s Grace Dipale here: https://www.quicket.co.za/events/7372-womenintechza-networking-event/

https://youtu.be/TF-L3sXYzss

 

 

Jennifer Bezuidenhout

Name: Jennifer Bezuidenhout

Jennifer Bezuidenhout

Jennifer Bezuidenhout

Designation: Technical Director / Co-founder

Company: Viga Interactive, Taggo, Boulot

What do you do every day? I hustle. My days vary considerably, some days I’m swamped with admin and strategy meetings, some days I’m in back to back usability tests, other days I just code or create architecture, but every day I manage a team and client’s projects.

How did you get into the tech space? I started my career in the graphic design industry. Even while studying I wasn’t convinced of this weird exotic thing called coding, but one day I was asked to develop a website instead of just designing it, and so I started coding. I started my first registered company at 25, unfortunately it failed just over a year later. The failure of my first business resulted in a knock to my confidence, from which it took a while to recover from. When I started my next company, however, I was a lot more knowledgeable, stronger and wiser.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Stay humble. As entrepreneurs we have to be confident, sometimes even arrogant, so it is difficult to remain humble all the time. When I succeed in staying humble it keeps me honest, grateful, and makes me a better listener. All of which tends to come in handy in the big bad world of business.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Never stop learning. Things move fast in the tech space and you need to stay up to date and relevant, when it comes to new technology and trends.

Another essential piece of advice I would give is to create rock solid specification documents. Because there are always issues around communication, a good spec can avoid misunderstandings.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? The possibility of a game changer. Every day I’m excited about the prospects that particular day can bring, you never know what’s around the corner and how it can make your business a success.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? I love being an entrepreneur. Yes, it is extremely difficult and sometimes I think I must be crazy. The reason I keep pushing is that someday when I’m all grown up I can look back and say it was all worth it, I helped build some really cool stuff.

Twitter: @VIGAInteractive
LinkedIn: https://za.linkedin.com/in/jennifer-bezuidenhout-26484235

Catalysts for change

For women, working in the male-dominated technology sector, it’s important to keep in touch with who you are, and what you, as women, bring to the table. It’s also important to look beyond the immediate deadline, or sales target, or quarter, and take the time to give back to those around you.

Account Manager at EMC Eleanor Masher and Delia Naicker, Senior Project Manager didn’t set out to be heroines, in fact, to their friends and colleagues the sociable pair didn’t seem likely candidates for athletic prowess, at all. Then tragedy struck, and the pair decided to do something exceptional.

 

Women in tech need to speak out

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Gender diversity is an ongoing challenge for many industries, including ICT. In South Africa, women make up only 23% of the IT workforce. If the sector is going to attract and retain more women, action needs to be taken.

EMC client solutions director Charlene George, says women in the sector need to speak out , share their experiences and show young women and girls, particularly, that there are women in the tech sector and that it offers a wide range of career options.

“We also need to address the stigma that girls don’t enjoy math and that they therefore can’t be good at it,” she says.

Comments EMC channel sales leader Chipo Msimanga, “It starts in the classroom, we need to look at how we teach these subjects – are we keeping children excited and engaged when we’re teaching maths and science? We need to keep it relevant – instead of talking to people about speeds and feeds, talk about technology in a way that’s pertinent to what’s happening today. For example, I used to have to rush home to catch my favourite show at 7pm, now we have PVRs, so I don’t need to do that. That’s IT, and it’s part of our lives.”

Watch the full interview here:

For more information about Diversity & Inclusion in EMC Southern Africa, feel free to contact Sonelia du Preez, Marketing Lead: Africa on email: sonelia.dpureez@emc.com, or visit:  www.southafrica.emc.com.

WomeninTechZA at Fak’ugesi

WomeninTechZA is thrilled to invite you to our second Johannesburg networking event, sponsored by Business Connexion, to be held at the Fakugesi Digital Innovation Festival on 29 August.

Come and listen to Praekelt Foundation GM Debbie Rogers speaking on how Praekelt Foundation has designed and implemented mobile technology solutions to empower women in lower and middle income countries and why they believe that uplifting women and girls is one of the most important investments that can be made to reduce poverty and improve people’s health and wellbeing.

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Date: 29 August
Time: 3-30pm – 5:30pm
Venue: Tshimologong, 47 Juta Street, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2000

Tickets are R100, include cocktails and snacks, and can be purchased here: https://www.quicket.co.za/events/7372-womenintechza-networking-event/#/

Technology is not a boy’s club

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Women in technology garner a lot of attention, perhaps because they work in a sector known for its overwhelming male presence. This despite the fact that some of technology’s earliest pioneers were female, such as the inventor of programming, Ada Lovelace, or Hedy Lamarr, the film star and sex icon who also pioneered frequency hopping, used in mobile phones today.

 Technology is behind the curve. Though over half of professional occupations in the United States are held by women, a mere quarter of professional technology jobs can make the same claim. Some argue that women are simply poorly suited for technology, lacking the logic and mathematical savvy to compete against men. A few even assert that women are simply riskier. 

Disproving such generalisations is easy, but the stigma is harder to purge. To Patricia Florissi, VP & Global CTO of Sales at EMC and a technology polymath, this perception is more about a lack of representation: “If more opportunities were given to women, especially at senior levels, then you would be able to see more of a sample of female leadership that would change some of the biases. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy: the fewer women you have in leadership, the more biases you create, because you don’t have enough samples to create an accurate image of how women act and how successful they can be.”

Under-representation sabotages opportunities for women, says Florissi. But she doesn’t pin this on a misogynist culture. People think of those they know and consequently offer opportunities to whoever is front of mind. If an organisation is understaffed with women, odds are that women will not be considered as candidates merely due to a lack of visibility.

One could argue that gender should have nothing to do with it, that it is all about the best candidate. This is true, but Florissi warns of a larger danger if diversity is not part of a company’s outlook: “We need to treat women in technology as a real issue, because we’re talking about fifty percent of the population, about digital transformation that is suffering from a deficit in intellectual capital and yet we leave half of the population behind. This is a business imperative. Where you don’t have diversity, you don’t have cognitive diversity, so you are in a position of disadvantage. We can only solve that together.”

 The need for diverse, out-of-the-box thinkers has never been greater. Technology needs women: the problems and opportunities of the world cannot be tackled from just one vantage point. Creating diversity in gender and creed is what helps companies evolve and open new channels. Everyone has a role to play in making this shift happen. As Maya Angelou said: “Nothing will work unless you do.”

For more information about Diversity & Inclusion in EMC Southern Africa, feel free to contact Sonelia du Preez, Marketing Lead: Africa on email: sonelia.dpureez@emc.com, or visit:  www.southafrica.emc.com.