Press release: Moving to Mastery: Women in Tech and Digital Conference announced

[9 May 2019] Cape Town – Useful & Beautiful and Women in Tech ZA today announced the inaugural Women in Tech & Digital Conference – to be held on 12 June at the Belmont Square Conference Centre in Rondebosch, Cape Town. Featuring an all-female speaker line-up, the event is targeted at men and women already active in the technology and digital spaces and seeking to master the skills they have.

Says Useful & Beautiful founder and CEO Lynette Hundermark: “Tech and digital marketing are often seen as discrete sectors and part of what the event aims to do is bring them closer together – in discussion and in practise thereafter. We also want to touch on more complex topics like how to retain women in the sector and creative ways we can accommodate their responsibilities and roles outside the workplace, that often cause them to drop out of tech once they get married or have children, for example.”

The event will showcase a range of topics including Entrepreneurship at any age, Demystifying AI and other tech trends, Creating purposeful solutions, Advanced digital marketing and Self-care.

“This event is tailored to showcase the high degree of skills and expertise we have in the tech sector, and specifically among women in tech, who are very under-represented at events as speakers and delegates. That said, and while the name and content are tailored to women delegates, we want to make it clear the conference is for everyone,” says Women in Tech ZA co-founder Samantha Perry. “Bridging the gender divide in tech requires an inclusive approach and a joint effort from everyone in the sector.”

The speaker lineup so far includes:
Anna Collard – Popcorn Training – a Knowb4 company, founder and MD
Aisha Pandor – SweepSouth co-founder and CEO
Birgitta Cederstrom – Frost & Sullivan Global Commercial Director, Growth, Innovation and Leadership
Barbara Mallinson – Obami founder and CEO
Jacqui Mackway-Wilson – Go Social SA founder
Lorraine Steyn – KRS founder and CEO
Lynette Hundermark – U&B co-founder
Samantha Perry – Women in Tech ZA co-founder

As part of U&B and Women in Tech ZA’s commitment to giving back, the event beneficiary will be Sisters Incorporated, a safe house for abused women and children. All delegates will be asked to bring a donation of a toy, item of clothing, or a handbag to the event and will have a chance to hear more about the organisation.

Hundermark says plans are in place to bring the event to Johannesburg later in the year. Tickets for the Cape Town event are on sale now at an early-bird rate of R1750 (full rate R2000). Please email monique@usefulandbeautiful.co.za or visit http://usefulandbeautiful.co.za/events/ to purchase.

With thanks to our sponsors Popcorn Training – a Knowb4 company and the Belmont Square Conference Centre, media partner ITWeb, without whom this event would not be possible.

ENDS

Contact: Samantha Perry, Women in Tech ZA, samantha.perry@gmail.com/0834145586for more information

About Useful and Beautiful
Useful & Beautiful is a fast-growing mobile solutions consultancy, with a specialist focus on user experience and design, mobile technology and product development. Service offerings encompass mobile strategy, design and development with the aim of supporting business goals and integrated customer experiences with the unique qualities that mobile has to offer. Built on 20 years of experience in the mobile and digital space, Useful & Beautiful is passionate about leveraging the latest mobile technology solutions to map out intuitive and seamless user experiences that drive sustainable business value and results. For more info, visit www.usefulandbeautiful.co.za

About Women in Tech ZA
Women in Tech ZA is an initiative that aims to help address the gender gap in the ICT sector through showcasing women in the sector on the WiTZA website, providing a platform where technology companies can find women to hire, doing advocacy and outreach through events and speaking at conferences, and changing the image of the tech sector by showing the world the diverse faces of ICT.

Women in Tech Africa Summit

Recently, hundreds of women involved in technology came from all over Africa for the Women in Tech Africa Summit.

Attendees of this unique event immersed themselves in specialist lead talks, paneled discussions, and action-oriented workshops, all centered around female empowerment and technological innovation.

Haidi Noassair at the Women in Tech Africa Summit 2019

Setting the stage was Haidi Nossair, Marketing director at Dell Technologies for Middle East, Turkey and Africa.

Haidi Nossair did not study technology – she graduated in languages and fell into the tech world by chance. She spoke about her journey as a woman rising to the top echelons at Dell Technologies saying:

“You really have two options in life. You choose where you are going or, if you land somewhere, you choose what will happen”.

Haidi Nossair discussed ways to develop your talent, build a network, let others know what you want and the importance of being a role model even when you think no one is looking.

“Speak about what you’re good at. Promote your talents and your brand. Hard work isn’t always appreciated – perception counts as well.”

Nossair also touched on the economic imperative to bring women into higher paid roles across industry stating: “Diversity is not nice to have. It’s a business imperative,” adding that if by 2030 women had equal levels of employment as those of men, the global economy could gain $5.3 trillion.

Mavis Ampah, CEO of Stinsad Consult and previously Lead ICT Policy Specialist for The World Bank shared an astonishingly good talk titled:

‘Upskilling fast to identify your path to seniority – 5 career lessons from a badass’.

She introduced herself and laughed on stage while she said that someone else had titled her talk and now she had to talk about being a “badass” to which she quipped nonchalantly “whatever that means”.

Mavis Ampah is so impressive whilst being so casual and down to earth that I was immediately awestruck.

Mavis Ampah spoke at the Women in Tech Africa Summit 2019

Photo credit: (Stanford Africa Business Forum, YouTube)

Mavis Ampah has worked for The World Bank, transformed the telecommunications industry in Ghana and even had a hand in the project for laying the undersea cables that carry the internet.

Imparted wisdom included advising the audience to work on small projects with quick turnaround times stating that “the right visibility can be critical to getting a promotion”.

Other lessons included finding projects that expose you to the boss, the importance of learning to prepare great presentations and to state your issues confidently.

She encouraged attendees by saying:

“Say no with justification – you’ll gain respect. Ask for help with justification – you’ll be appreciated.”

Another valuable topic Ampah touched on is to claim and document your success, she then went on to discuss the value of having a mentor for motivation, training and guidance.

Mavis Ampah reminded us to embrace failure with dignity, explaining that failure should be seen as a path to gain resilience and that we need to adapt, learn and draw lessons from our experiences.

Her closing note was to be brave, telling the audience that “the best opportunities come when you demonstrate courage”.

Exceptional women from all over Africa spoke and attended

The event was hosted at the Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town, South Africa on the 18th and 19th of March 2019.

By far the most impressive aspect of the Women in Tech Africa summit was the exhaustive list of exceptional female leaders from all over Africa who spoke.

The panels and speakers included a range of executives with roles such as VP of engineering, CTO, CEO, Strategic Growth Director, Chief information officer, Head of Global Business Services and more.

Topics ranged from cloud optimisation and getting into data science to practical advice such as how to present technology principles to a non-technical audience.

Speakers at Women in Tech Africa Summit

 

Getting exposure to tech giants

There were two tracks within the conference: one track of workshops and a ’speakers corner’ venue to meet the speakers, integrating attendees, speakers and sponsors to discuss career opportunities and field questions.

What do the best tech companies in the world do about diversity?

The major themes of the event were around diversity and inclusion, addressing the digital divide, skills development and using tech to drive economic development.

We know that addressing gender inequality is crucial and must not stop. Women are increasingly a bigger part of the workforce, but there are still barriers preventing them from assuming higher management roles.

The Women in Tech Africa summit was an opportunity to hear how tech companies engage in social upliftment and addressing these concerns.

Through Tricia Smyth, EMEA Diversity and Inclusion Lead at Dell and Vice President of Client Solutions David Brooke’s workshop on diversity – I learned of several strategies employed by Dell.

One such program was called Men Advocating Real Change (MARC) which helps men understand unconscious bias, insider/outsider dynamics and gender role conditioning.

Their focus includes flexible hours, education, mentorship and a promotion pipeline that puts women forward. They hold management accountable, saying that this action must start with a definite stance and plan from management. Dell also has a ‘Re-entry’ program which brings women back into the workforce after a career break.

David Brooke, Dell

David Brooke – VP Client Solutions Group (META) @ Dell Technologies giving a workshop on Diversity and Inclusion

Interview with Haidi Nossair

When given an opportunity to interview Haidi Nossair for this article, we spoke about the challenges of diversity in tech and she stated that

“The key challenge is unconscious bias.”

Nossair explained further saying “there is a common perception that certain technology jobs are too difficult for women or because those women look after families that they will not have the time or commitment to cover certain technology roles.”

Going on to detail how bias extends into hiring practices she said “The technology industry is historically led by men, the number of men in the workforce are quite a bit higher than the women in the workforce and then when people are hiring they people nominate and recommend people they know – but they don’t know women.”

Nossair stated “Men need to have more visibility of women in the industry” and stressed that both sides need to engage adding that “Women need to make themselves more visible and to promote their work and their skill set.”

Speculating about causes of women holding themselves back she mentioned: “Either we are not making ourselves visible or we are not promoting the great work we are doing or we are not raising our hands to go after the jobs we want because we don’t feel ready.”

When aiming to satisfy the need for technical skills in the industry Nossair said “I hear a lot that we don’t find the skill sets in the market but that’s the pressure that is placed on the talent acquisition, to actually go out and find those skills to help the organisation and hiring managers make the decisions and not use that as an excuse.”

Her closing remarks were related to her enthusiasm for an IoT agriculture venture and the impact of technology on business use cases saying

“The potential is immense, I am more excited about technology than ever before”.

The women in tech Africa summit was an excellent forum to discuss such issues 

The first day of the event closed with an opportunity to network and share a drink with new friends and other attendees.

The second day closed with a heartfelt keynote from Asha Patel, Head of Marketing at Google South Africa.

Patel tied in many relevant themes and shared her perspective on the challenges of growing up as a woman of colour in South Africa and being a mother whilst being career driven.

Hearing stories like hers is transformational for the Women in Tech community throughout Africa. Inspiration and role models are needed by all of us to have a greater vision for our future.

Asha Patel, Head of Marketing at Google South Africa

Asha Patel, Head of Marketing at Google South Africa

A huge thank you to the organisers – Maddox Events – and to all the attendees and speakers who made it so wonderful. Thanks to Haidi Nossair who kindly gave her time to be interviewed for this Women in Tech ZA article.

Written by Whitney Tennant, 8th April 2019

Whitney Tennant is Engineering Manager at VIPERdev – a software development startup based in Hamburg, Germany. She works remotely, loves tech, art, raspberries and playing soccer. You can find her on the internet with the handle @whits_ftw

New Founders Forum competition announced

Founders Forum, a global community for digital and technology entrepreneurs, is giving start-ups the chance to pitch their business ideas on the future of air travel.  On June 12, with support from British Airways, a panel of leading investors and CEOs will be 30,000 feet in the sky while ideas are pitched from the ground via on-board WiFi.

The competition is looking for start-ups that are building next generation travel tech products or services which have the potential to transform customers’ air travel experiences through innovative technology solutions. The competition is open now and full details to enter are available at https://thefutureofflying.com/?forum=founders .

Entries will be whittled down to a shortlist of businesses that will face a unique challenge of pitching from the ground to judges on board a British Airways aircraft full of leading investors and CEOs. Entrants will take part in a live question and answer session using the airline’s inflight new WiFi all while the aircraft is 30,000 feet over the Atlantic.

British Airways is introducing industry-leading streaming WiFi on its long-haul flights. It currently has more than 50 aircraft with this service, and 80 per cent of the airline’s 134-strong long-haul fleet will be fitted by the end of 2020. The airline’s entire short-haul fleet will be WiFi enabled by summer 2019, all part of British Airways’ £6.5bn investment for customers.

Alex Cruz, Chairman and CEO of British Airways, said: “The competition, which ties in closely with our centenary activity looking to the future of flight, is a unique opportunity for some of the most innovative start-ups to put forward their ideas for travel in the future. We’re excited to be supporting Founders Forum in the pitch process, which is set to be an exciting challenge using our inflight WiFi.”

Greg Kennaugh, Chief Operating Officer of Founders Forum, said: “We are thrilled to be hosting this competition, fostering new ways of thinking about travel and directly supporting early-stage entrepreneurs to showcase their ideas to a community of leaders in digital. Connecting seasoned West Coast investors with the most promising European talent midflight on their way to our event is a new milestone for Founders Forum and we are delighted to work with British Airways to deliver this unique initiative.”

The top three finalists selected on board will be invited to attend Founders Forum London on June 13, 2019, to pitch in person to a judging panel of top CEOs.

The lucky winner will receive 100,000 On Business points in British Airways’ business loyalty programme, equivalent to four return flights in World Traveller Plus (long-haul premium economy) to New York (JFK) from London Heathrow. The prize also includes 100,000 Avios, a profile in Business Life magazine, a presentation at the Founders Forum London event attend by hundreds of investors and a business meeting with Brent Hoberman founder of lastminute.com and the Founders network.

Female Role Model of the Year donates R200k of web services to Women in Tech South Africa!

Yesterday, Women in Tech South Africa, received wonderful news that Lynette Hundermark of Useful and Beautiful decided to gift us web services to the value of R150 000 from Kaskade.Cloud, as well as adding an additional R50K of UX from her own company.

Hundermark recently won the Southern Africa Startup Awards‘ South African Female Role Model of the Year as well as the South Africa People’s Choice Award. Her prize was website design, hosting and managed services for 12 months to the value of R150 000 by Kaskade.Cloud, which Hundermark decided to donate to Women in Tech South Africa.

We want to thank you personally Lynette, as not only will this make a huge difference to our online presence, but it will have a HUGE impact on creating exposure for females in STEM across our country including our current community, future members and future partners/sponsors.

We have big plans for the website, but if you have any suggests please do contact us here.

About Lynette Hundermark

An established industry expert in the digital and mobile space in Africa, Lynette is recognised as one of the top 30 most influential women in SA digital marketing, a Regional Business Woman of the Year 2018 Finalist (run by the Business Women’s Association of SA) , 2018 Female Role Model in Tech National Winner (SA) and 2018 People’s Choice Winner Regional Winner in Southern Africa (Southern African Startup Awards). She has also been recognised by Fast Company in 2018 as one of the most creative people in business. In previous years she has also been a winner of numerous app development awards both locally and internationally.

With over 20 years of experience in the tech, digital marketing and mobile solutions space, Lynette co-founded specialist mobile solutions consultancy Useful & Beautiful and has a passion for creating great customer experience that harness the power of mobile and digital to help businesses achieve their omnichannel goals.

Previous experiences include launching innovative & award-winning solutions for the initial versions of Ster-Kinekor, Bidorbuy, Old-Mutual, Sanlam, Hollard, News24, and General Electric apps. She also led mobile innovation units at Naspers for their eCommerce businesses which included Kalahari.com, 36Style and Media24 while starting off her career as an enterprise developer analyst in the UK with clients that included HSBC, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, G4s and Tesco.

Lynette is a sought-after tech speaker, and has spoken regularly at a variety of local and international tech conferences and is frequently quoted in publications throughout Africa. She also served on the judging panel for the EduTech Africa, AfricaCom and World Retail awards, West Africa Mobile Awards and Mobile Marketing Association. She also serves on various advisory boards globally.


About Useful and Beautiful

Useful & Beautiful is a fast-growing mobile solutions consultancy, with a specialist focus on user experience and design, mobile technology and product development. Service offerings encompass mobile strategy, design and development with the aim of supporting business goals with the unique qualities that mobile has to offer. Built on 20 years of experience in the mobile and digital space, Useful & Beautiful is passionate about leveraging the latest mobile technology solutions to map out intuitive and seamless user experiences that drive sustainable business value and results. For more info, visit www.usefulandbeautiful.co.za

Woman in Tech of the Month: Lisa Nokulunga Bhembe

Name: Ms Lisa Nokulunga Bhembe

Designation: Business Development Director

Company: Zeal Point (Pty) Ltd

What do you do every day?
Business development. Basically getting clients for the business and maintaining relations with our current clients. I also motivate my staff to aspire to be more and do more.

How did you get into the tech space?
I have always been a very inquisitive and a goal-driven person I was always reading and seeing posts about women in male-dominated sectors and I thought to myself, wow. I could relate to that as I grew up with 2 elder brothers. I always had to fight to put my own ideas through, being told that I cannot do certain things because they were known to be done by men. What a life, right! I was inspired by reading the posts of these women who were making a change in different sectors. I decided to start my own company in the ICT Industry that will design, plan, develop and maintain fibre infrastructure.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Be bold, Be kind but above all, be…

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector?
My advice to women who are passionate about tech would be, do it! They might hate you for it, it won’t be easy but its all worth it. Take that course, Start that company, Be the Legacy!!

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday?
My mother, who has always been there for me. Who understood and believed in me before everyone else did plus working towards closing a deal each and everyday gets me excited.

Who do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be the woman that young girls can look up to and say, if she did it I surely can.

Twitter handle: @LisaBhembe
LinkedIn: Lisa Nokulunga Bhembe

INVITATION: WomeninTechZA at MMI – Pretoria chapter monthly meetup

INVITATION
 
Women in Tech Pretoria is holding its monthly meet-up at MMI Holdings on Thursday, 25 October at 5-30pm.
 
Format: Panel discussion
Moderator: Thato Morobane, Digital Channel manager, Momentum Retail IT
Topic: Tech industry 4.0
Discussion points:
What technology will dominate in the 4th Industrial Era and why?
What skills are needed and why?
What are the hot jobs of the future?
How can South Africa take advantage of the 4th IR?
 
Four panelists will be announced shortly with a 5th seat on the panel reserved as a ‘wild card’ seat – if you want to ask a question you have to take the wild card seat and you must remain there until someone else asks a question.
 
Wine and snacks will be served before and after the formalities.
 
Men and women welcome! Queries can be sent to samantha.perry@gmail.com
 
Date: 25 October
Time: 5-30pm, for a 6pm start

Woman in Tech of the Month: Maureen Grosvenor

Name: Maureen Grosvenor
Designation: Director – Head of Custom Applications
Company: APPSolve (Pty) Ltd

What do you do every day? Problem solving and business development. I look for opportunities in industries where I can use tech to help solve their problems and stream line the business.

How did you get into the tech space? The entrepreneurial and technology bug bit me at an early age. In 1986, when I was 16, my father bought one of the first home personal computers on the market and I took the opportunity to learn the software languages available at the time. I loved the idea getting to know and understand new innovations and being ahead of the pack. Plus I have always suffered from FOMO (fear of missing out). While still attending school, I started developing custom applications for friends and family and the rest is history. Programming came easy to me and my life since then has emulated the same problem-solving logic that computers run on.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? You teach people how to treat you

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? It is no longer a prerequisite to have a computer science degree to get into the ICT sector. The industry is so dynamic that the relevant diploma with the right attitude and appetite will get you into this job sector. We need more innovative new ideas and skills in South Africa. There is a plethora of jobs that did not exist 10 years ago, and we can just contemplate the endless possibilities of how the world will change over the next 10 years. While fields such as cyber security, social media and mobile development continue to grow, untapped industries such as Blockchain and AI are emerging and expanding. The future is limitless. Make your destiny part of that expansion.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? Farmers Markets, Innovation, the next great idea and inspiring young South Africans to reach for the stars
Who do you want to be when you grow up? A chef in Italy. ICT is lucrative and mentally challenging, food, however, is where my heart is

FaceBook : https://www.facebook.com/1264556650
LinkedIn : linkedin.com/in/maureen-grosvenor-3a207915
Twitter : @maureengrosven2

Women in Tech Intro to Python Workshop

Women in Tech ZA along with PyConZA brings you “Python for Everyone”, a beginners Python workshop.

If you haven’t programmed before, or are new to programming, this hands-on workshop will teach you the fundamental concepts of computer programming, and get you started with using Python to solve problems, automate work, and bring your ideas to life.

Everyone is welcome!

Requirements: A laptop computer with Linux, macOS, or Windows installed, and administrative privileges to install Python. Previous programming experience is not required.

Book your place here now!