Category Archives: CEO

Woman in Tech of the Week: Michelle Lissoos

Woman in Tech of the Week: Michelle Lissoos

Name: Michelle Lissoos
Designation: Director
Company: Think Ahead / iSchoolAfrica

What do you do every day?
Think Ahead and iSchoolAfrica work closely with schools across South Africa to ensure that our youth are receiving the skills to prepare them to thrive in today’s Fourth Industrial Revolution. We implement full education technology solutions in schools.
So every day I am engaging with school leaders, partner funders , teachers and students . I am also working closely with my team to ensure our solutions meet the needs of our partners.
I spend a lot of time researching global education technology trends and thinking how these are relevant to our local context .

How did you get into the tech space?
My brother was pioneering in South Africa in terms of setting up Learning Channel . In 1999, I joined him to head up Learnthings – a digital curriculum company – creating online learning resources for the Guardian UK.
I realized my passion was not about technology for technology sake but rather the social impact of technology within the education space.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
My late father was my mentor – he showed us by example that you can never stop learning, and only boring people get bored . His advice to us was to be kind, be honest to yourself and others and always keep learning.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector?
Ask yourself – What do you what technology to achieve ? what problem do you want to solve ? Be aware and engaged …..always act in the position you want to grow into …

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday?
I love what we do . For example we have a progranme – iSchoolAfrica Inclusion programme – empowering children with disabilities with technology – the personal success stories of thid programme inspire me .
I am also driven by the partnerships and relationships that Think Ahead and iSchoolAfrica has afforded me.
And my nieces and nephews keep me grounded ……

Twitter handle: @MichelleLissoos

Do you know an inspirational women in tech? Please get in touch with Robyn (robyn@kato.global) to get her featured!

Do you want to sponsor Women in Tech ZA (our research, website and events around South Africa)? Please get in touch with Robyn (robyn@kato.global).

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Woman in Tech of the Week: Lindiwe Matlali

Woman in Tech of the Week: Lindiwe Matlali

Name: Lindiwe Matlali

Designation: Chief Executive Officer

Company: Africa Teen Geeks

What do you do every day? I spend an hour or two every day keeping up with tech news on Techcrunch and MIT Tech Review.  Staying informed is very important.  “I also make a list of the top three things I must get done each day.  I also make a list of the three things that must be achieved each month and each week to ensure that we remain focused and committed to our strategic goals.

How did you get into the tech space? I didn’t study technology at University. I got involved in tech because I saw the need to expose children from disadvantaged communities to tech not only as consumers but as creators too. I believe that the difference between a child born in Sandton and a child born in Diepsloot is lack of opportunity not intelligence. My passion is to close the opportunity gap and hopefully inspire the next Mark Shuttleworth or Elon Musk.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? My grandfather told me to never compare my weakness to other people’s strength. Consistency can achieve more than intelligence. I need both to succeed.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? My advice for anybody wanting to get into the tech sector is to just do it. There are may free resources now available for one to learn how to code from Edx, cousera and others. All it takes is commitment and determination. In as little as three months you can be a software engineer. 

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? I am motivated by the impact we have made so far. We have children who before joining ATG had never touched a computer but now are writing a Java code and coding robots. They now have dreams to be the next Mark Shuttleworths. Instead of looking up to celebrities, they now have raised their aspirations and see themselves as the youth who could change the world one day. That for me is what inspires me and help me get up in the morning even when things are tough. Knowing that in my small way, I am making a difference.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? I would like to teach one day. I am furthering my studies torwards my dream of becoming a University lecturer within the next 5 years.

Twitter: @LindiweEM

Blog: https://medium.com/@lindimatlali

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lindiwematlali/

 

Do you know an inspirational women in tech? Please get in touch with Robyn (robyn@kato.global) to get her featured!

Do you want to sponsor Women in Tech ZA (our research, website and events around South Africa)? Please get in touch with Robyn (robyn@kato.global).

Do you want to advertise to the  Women in Tech ZA network? Please get in touch with Robyn (robyn@kato.global).

Brittany Hawkins


Name:
Brittany Hawkins

Brittany Hawkins

Brittany Hawkins

Designation: Chief Experience Officer (CEO)

Company: Explore Sideways

What do you do every day? As the CEO of a startup I wear many hats. At the end of the day, I do whatever it takes to get our company and our team to the next stage in growth.

How did you get into the tech space? I lived and worked in Silicon Valley for 7 years, which sparked my endless fascination and adoration for technology. The frenzied tech space is the perfect place for people like myself that don’t see problems, but rather, potential solutions. It’s when technology and imagination collide that I’ve seen the most incredible things happen.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Don’t be afraid to fail. Technology is wildly mutable and faster paced than any field in history – all you can do is embrace the insecurity and learn as much as you can along the way.

What advice would you give someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Approach each day as a new opportunity to learn. If you focus on deriving enjoyment from the process, rather than the outcome, you’ll be both successful and happy.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? The opportunity to learn something I didn’t know the day before.

Twitter: @hawkbritt
Web: exploresideways.com
LinkedIn: https://za.linkedin.com/in/hawkinsbrittany

Darlene Menzies

Darlene Menzies, TDH/SMEasy

Darlene Menzies, TDH/SMEasy

Name: Darlene Menzies

Companies and Designation: The Development House (TDH) – Founder and Chairman, SMEasy Business Software Pty Ltd – Founder and CEO

What do you do every day? Team role – leader and innovator. I run a business that develops simple scalable software solutions that address gaps in the small business market. I enjoy the risk and challenge involved in taking an idea from concept to commercialisation – going from initial ideation and market research to product design, the development of a minimal viable product, market piloting to demonstrate early user traction and then raising venture capital to fund product commercialisation. In terms of my role in the team I am the ideas person, the team leader as well as the product evangelist. I love my job.

How did you get into the tech space? I started work as a bank teller and got involved in the bank’s IT division through my interest in helping test new IT systems that were being implemented in the bank at the time. I was moved to the regional IT division in KZN in the late eighties, there were no ladies in the division at the time. I worked in corporate IT for 15 years before starting my own software development business in 2004.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? If you don’t totally love what you’re doing stop doing it, immediately…then do everything you can to get started doing what you are passionate about. This one decision will change your whole life.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? I encourage them to do it, it’s the future, the opportunities are endless. I tell them they have to be prepared to work hard, very hard. If they are starting a tech business I usually tell them to be prepared to make big sacrifices and take massive risks, the rewards down the road will far outweigh the sacrifices in the early years. Also that the key to success and growth is your team. If you focus on building your team, your team will build your business.

For people who ask me if I have any particular advice for women wanting to get in tech – I tell them to forget about gender and just do what they are gifted to do and passionate about, that is what will ensure their success. It’s not about gender, it’s about ability, timing, hard work and a bit of luck!

What motivates you to get out of bed every day? I totally LOVE what I do; I would do it even if I didn’t get paid. I wake up on a Saturday and Monday feeling equally excited about the day ahead.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? A mix of Melinda Gates, Hillary Clinton, Meryl Streep and Katy Perry… LOL. I think all these ladies are incredible in their own fields! Seriously, I want to be me but with loads more money; I would like to be able to make the kind of social and economic impact that someone like Melinda Gates is making. It’s a privilege to be able to change people’s lives.

LinkedIn: https://za.linkedin.com/in/darlenemenzies
Twitter: https://twitter.com/darlenemenzies / https://twitter.com/thedevhouse

Annette Muller

Annette Muller, DOTNXT

Annette Muller, DOTNXT

Name: Annette Muller

Designation: Founder & CEO

Company: DOTNXT

What do you do every day? I multi-task, I build, and watch people grow, I innovate.

How did you get into the tech space? I was born in the tech space. 🙂 But my first real entry was working on MTN”s nok nok, its mobile social network back in 2007.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Everyone is just human, if they can do it, you can do it.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? It is the future of all industries, every company will be a technology-driven company so don’t even think twice, just do it.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? Being a part of delivering something extraordinary every day and being surrounded by people smarter and wiser than myself!

Who do you want to be when you grow up? I am not planning on every really growing up!

Find me on:
Twitter: @nettyml
Web: http://about.me/annettemuller

Samantha Watt

Name: Samantha Watt

Designation: Owner

Company: Watt Communications PTY Ltd

What do you do every day? I communicate – one way or the other, I talk and talk and talk…with my mouth and my fingers!

How did you get into the tech space? I worked for an engineering company and they invested in an IT brand. I was seconded across to set up the communications department and the IT bug bit. That was in 1995!

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? “When someone shows you who they are, believe them,” – a quote from the late Maya Angelou, shared with me by a great friend and business colleague. This is true in business and in life in general.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Be prepared to stretch yourself, learn how to move fast, do 10 things at once, while giving 120%.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? The school bell 😉 I am a single Mom of two amazing young girls and making a fabulous life for them is truly what motivates me.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? Content (and no, not what you think!) In today’s world we tend to achieve and over-achieve, never knowing when or what is good enough. I want to learn to recognise when I have given enough and can kick back, relax and smile, knowing it’s enough.

Find me on:
Twitter: @wattisup
LinkedIn: http://za.linkedin.com/pub/samantha-watt/1/b40/245/

Kirsty Sharman

Kirsty Sharman, Retromedia

Kirsty Sharman, Retromedia

Name: Kirsty Sharman

Designation: CEO at Retromedia, founder of GeeksDoingStuff.com, one of the girls behind @GGDJHB.

What do you do every day? My mom tells people I ‘do stuff’ on the internet and she isn’t far off. On a day to day basis I oversee the paid media accounts across our current portfolio of clients, and in my down time I campaign for new business and keep myself up to date with the latest digital trends.

How did you get into the tech space? Almost three years ago I ran an online campaign that kicked off my career in digital. #WeWantKirsty caught the eye of @MikeSharman (no relation) and the rest is history.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Google it.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? I think the tech sector is one that allows self-learners to thrive. I’ve taught myself most of what I know via YouTube and online forums. If you want to move into the tech or online space your first step is just to get yourself into a position where you’re surrounded by industry people you admire – even if that position isn’t where you want to be right now. Then listen to those industry people. Listen and learn.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? Besides my bulldogs? 😉 I’ve been lucky enough to work with some awesome people. I don’t think we’ve ever had a day without laughter in the office. That environment makes it easy to come to work every day.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? Lara Croft.

Find me on:
Twitter: @KirstyCarrot
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=45272088&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile
Website: www.retromedia.co.za

Nicole Capper

Nicole Capper, MANGO-OMC

Nicole Capper, MANGO-OMC

Name: Nicole Capper

Designation: MD, Account Director, Owner, CEO, wife and mother of three furbabies

Company: MANGO-OMC

What do you do every day? Public Relations or, more descriptively, communications – online, offline and all the bits and pieces in between.

How did you get into the tech space? Fascination and curiousity. Many years ago, before the digital world was rightfully part of the communications sphere, I was playing with mobile channels, digital PR and meeting the incredible brains behind many of the apps and platforms that are commonplace today.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Don’t be afraid to be experimental. There is no such thing as a mistake – there are just better and worse ways to achieve a goal – and you’ll only know which is which once you try it.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Don’t try to understand everything – try to understand bits of everything and find the people to follow that know a lot about the various topics that interest you. Then read what they write, speak to them, pick up the phone, tweet them, email them, send them a LinkedIn request and you’ll be surprised – most people want to share their knowledge. So don’t be afraid of asking questions – but make sure that you’ve done your research.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? The opportunity to use both my brain and creativity daily.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? Me.

Find me on:
Twitter: @ncapper
LinkedIn: http://za.linkedin.com/in/nicolecapper
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+NicoleCappe