Category Archives: Director

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

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).

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

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

Yvonne Dias

Name: Yvonne Dias

Yvonne Dias

Designation: Solutions Director

Company: Mint Management Technologies

What do you do every day? During my career with Mint I have controlled the financials of the business and ensuring that corporate compliance and growth were the two fundamental constructs on which the business has been built. I oversee the governance and HR side of the business, in addition to the financial team.  Recently, a change in leadership at Mint afforded me an opportunity to take on operational duties within our Mobile Application Solutions business, which has allowed me to expand my financial skills into business acumen and management. Since then I have driven the dynamic solutions team in securing bigger clients who utilise our DotGo range with their sales force in the pharmaceutical and property evaluation industries.

How did you get into the tech space? During my articles I gained a lot of exposure in different industries and realised that the IT space was a very dynamic and interesting. I was fortunate to be offered a position within the industry over ten years ago, and I have continued my career growth within IT.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? There were a few things, but the one that stands out is to know yourself well and learn to control yourself to influence the environment around you. Do not try to control your environment, you will never win or change it. Focus on what you can control, and consequently you will be happy and always obtain job satisfaction.

 What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Have a passion for technology and be driven. There are so many different areas within IT, you do not only have to be a developer – you can go into finance, design, consulting, project management, and so on. The career opportunities are endless, but you need to have the drive.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? The fact that I make a difference in my environment and add value to every interaction I have.

 Who do you want to be when you grow up? The best version of myself.

Website: http://www.mint.co.za/
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/YvonneDias

 

Sarah–Leigh Visser

Sarah-Leigh Visser, SLV&Co

Sarah-Leigh Visser, SLV&Co

Name: Sarah–Leigh Visser

Designation: Managing director

Company: SLV&Co

What do you do every day? I am fortunate enough to spend my day engaged in conversations with some of the key technology visionaries in South Africa. They challenge me daily in grasping the concepts of their technology ideas and translating them into a viable implementation. I take these wild ideas and bring them back into reality with a project plan and business model that works with the corporate business that we are assisting to grow via innovative ideas

How did you get into the tech space? I started working in the telecom space (MTN Stores) at a very young age. I worked and saved to be able to buy shares in the MTN franchise I worked in. I was fortunate enough for the business to be handed over to me to manage and I grew it into a 16-store franchise.
I am in love with the idea that anything I dreamed up could actually be achieved through the clever implementation of technology.
After selling the business, I was offered consulting roles. I project managed the development of MTN SA’s first consolidate POS system for its 500 retail outlets and I project managed and developed 1View (an emerging market telecom retail management system) for Zero1, amongst other projects.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Dream big and dare to fail. If you are unsure about a decision or direction – always ask (yourself or the group), is this what is best for the business?

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? If you are a female and want to operate in the tech space – know your tech (get someone to spend time explaining it to you if you don’t understand it). Men will not always respond to you in meetings, get over that, focus on the end goal.
You need to work twice as hard as you think you do, to get where you want.
Tread carefully, women (unfortunately) don’t celebrate others’  success like men do.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? Pushing boundaries beyond what is expected and what can be achieved. Call me a dreamer but I love thinking: “How can we actually hit that completely *insane* number of acquisitions that a client wants?”

Who do you want to be when you grow up? The first South African gal to look back at earth from a space shuttle. 🙂

Find me on:
Twitter: @SezLeigh
LinkedIn: za.linkedin.com/pub/sarah-leigh-visser/21/598/717/

Tracy Bolton

Tracy Bolton, SAP Africa

Tracy Bolton, SAP Africa

Name:  Tracy Bolton

Designation: Marketing Director for Africa

Company: SAP

What do you do every day? Coach people, coordinate meetings, analyse data – marketing is more a science than an art now in the days of technology and have fun – I love what I do.

How did you get into the tech space?  I started in the tech space 18 years ago at a reseller after trying a few different industries.  I loved the fact that change is constant and that technology is literally changing the world we live in and the endless possibilities

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Don’t be afraid to fail. 

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector?  Be prepared to learn something new every day, the industry is changing rapidly with new business models, solutions and a new generation who wants things done quicker and easier.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? Wanting to showing my sons that a person can succeed at anything they choose to do by pushing through barriers, giving your best, being able to adapt and change with the times. Knowing that I can help my team be successful and motivating others to be the best they can be.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? An inspiration to young women – “you are empowered, we live in a world where everything is possible”.

Find me on:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=93174635

Melanie Botha

Melanie Botha, Microsoft SA

Melanie Botha, Microsoft SA

Name: Melanie Botha

Designation: Consumer channels group director

Company: Microsoft SA

What do you do every day? I live my passion. I manage an incredibly talented team who are responsible for very disparate and unique business units. From retail, distributors, channel partners, consumer audiences, sales to a very complex product mix. It is my job, along with my team, to introduce and bring to market very exciting products like Xbox and tablets, to strike interesting partnerships to drive alternative channel deals, to category management and setting local relevance strategy. Every hour in my day is different, and every day has a new challenge to resolve.  In between work every day I interject my personal life, learning to see the joy of life through my 7-month old miracle baby’s eyes and living life with my soul mate.

How did you get into the tech space? I lectured Zulu and worked at publishers in the UK, oblivious to IT, not even knowing what IBM stood for when they approached me to work for them…. Since then I never looked back, having had the most incredible opportunities in various countries in a very vast industry.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? THINK. THINK AGAIN. ASK five times WHY to get to the root of an issue and NEVER assume.

What advice would you give someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Don’t ever think you’re not good enough or do not have enough experience. GO for opportunities and stand on the shoulders of giants to learn from them, mentors can help you see through different lenses.

What motivates you to get out of bed every day? The opportunity to change lives through what we do at Microsoft.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? My ultimate self, living and fulfilling my purpose to impact more lives.

Find me on:
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/melanie-botha/0/323/12a

Samantha-Leigh Harper

Samantha-Leigh Harper, Nu Beginnings

Samantha-Leigh Harper, Nu Beginnings

Name:  Samantha-Leigh Harper

Designation: Director

Company: Nu Beginnings IT Career Specialists

What do you do every day? Our number one focus is to assist IT aspirants in advancing their careers – we do this by sourcing IT companies with which to match them up.

How did you get into the tech space? My first position was co-incidentally IT recruitment.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?  That’s a tough one. Best advice I can give – It’s all about attitude. For some reason the younger generation think the world owes them. Study hard, work hard, go the extra mile and do more than what you are paid to do.

What advice would you give someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Technology might be something that is taught, however in my experience, the successful aspirants and happy ones – are passionate about that technology.

They’ve been taking PC’s apart since the age of 10, learning code, doing self -study research and staying on top of new technology. They eat, breathe and live IT. Due to the fact that technology is forever progressing, if you don’t have the passion it’s not the career for you.

What motivates you to get out of bed every day? I work with people 24/7 – there is no reason not to get out of bed.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? Superwoman ideally. 😉 However, I really do admire Adrian Gore. He took an industry that was profoundly broken and turned it into an empire. It’s the exact mission Nu Beginnings has, to change the IT recruitment industry that is profoundly broken into a well-trusted and respected industry.

Find me on:
Twitter: @NuBeginningsSA, @SleighHarper
LinkedIn: za.linkedin.com/pub/samantha-leigh-harper/6/b86/85a
Google+: https://plus.google.com/112938399805856603179
Blog: www.nu-beginnings.co.za