Category Archives: Enterprise

Angela Schaerer

Angela Schaerer, Microsoft SA

Angela Schaerer, Microsoft SA

Name: Angela Schaerer

Designation: Academic Programme Manager

Company: Microsoft South Africa

What do you do every day? My role at Microsoft entails building collaborative partnerships with the Department of Basic Education, both nationally and provincially, as well as working with schools, teachers and other education stakeholders to provide support in meeting South Africa’s education priorities. Our focus is not on the technology per se, but rather providing thought leadership and professional development for teachers and school leaders on rethinking approaches to teaching and learning so that our youth are given opportunities to develop the types of skills that will make them successful citizens, employees and entrepreneurs. On a daily basis, I may be meeting with partners or education officials, facilitating presentations or workshops, co-ordinating pilots and programmes being implemented in various schools and provinces, and creating platforms for principals and teachers to share best practice.

How did you get into the tech space? I fell into the tech space! I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Pietermaritzburg followed by a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) having only really used technology to type assignments (slowly) and send smses as the proud owner of one of the first Nokia phones. After teaching for a few years in South Africa and the UK, I decided to do my Honours in Publishing at WITS and while studying, took on an editing role at Learnthings Africa (a digital curriculum content provider) to practice my skills. I ended up creating a training department for the company to support teachers in effectively using the digital content and technology to enhance teaching and learning. Through this I had the opportunity to work with ministries of Education and teachers in both rural and urban schools in numerous countries across Africa. This offered a unique opportunity to understand the challenges and benefits in the implementation of technology in schools.
In 2006 I joined Microsoft as part of the Education team. (I have not worked in the publishing industry although see exciting opportunities in this space as technology in schools becomes more ubiquitous and access to digital material and learning becomes more accessible.)

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Follow your passion and trust your intuition. My work is not a job – it is part of who I am and brings meaning to my life by providing a platform to contribute positively towards society.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Advances in technology are exponential! And the possibilities of how technology can help to improve the lives of South Africans are endless. I think the key to being successful in the tech sector is a commitment to continuous learning. It is important to keep abreast of emerging trends and technologies – I do this using platforms like twitter and blogs as well as attending conferences and networking with people in the industry.

What motivates you to get out of bed every day? A good cup of coffee and a morning run.  Microsoft is a busy, vibrant environment with passionate people and a commitment to delivering valuable solutions for customers – working in this space is nergizing and inspiring.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? A mother, a life-long learner, a traveller, and maybe one day a business owner.

Find me on:
Twitter: @angschaerer



Lise Hagen

Lise Hagen, IDC

Lise Hagen, IDC

Name: Lise Hagen

Designation: Research Manager Software and IT Services Africa

Company: IDC (International Data Corporation)

What do you do every day? This role is both bewildering and exciting, often in the same hour. Days are fast-paced, demanding, with long hours. My tasks can include back-to-back interviews with vendors and clients, and then switch to a strategy presentation for executive teams.

When I’m working on a consulting project, especially if it is based here in South Africa, it includes a lot of client-facing meetings, project management, weekly updates, and keeping a very close pulse on the engagement’s progress. I have the privilege to be invited to do technology and market trend presentations in South Africa and across Africa on a regular basis, and my mantra is preparation, preparation, preparation. This includes both researching content, creating compelling presentations, and practicing the delivery – all of which can take up a lot of time.

The part that I relish the most is the writing. Lots and lots of writing: Reports; Return on Investment analysis; Whitepapers; Articles. However, the accompanying dreaded and dratted deadlines truly are the bane of my existence.

How did you get into the tech space? Since I have two MA’s in Social Sciences, I ask myself, and get asked, this question on a regular basis. Technology is a tool, and it would be remiss not to acknowledge and investigate the impact that this tool has on our lives – whether it is as a consumer, as a professional or as a human. My tech and teleco roles utilised and developed my analytical outlook and ability to disseminate complex content in a clear and concise manner. And gadgets. I love gadgets.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Best? Dunno. Most impactful? Regret the things that you’ve done rather than the things you haven’t done.

What advice would you give someone wanting to get into the tech sector? In my opinion there is no right or wrong discipline to follow in order to work in the tech sector. For specialised programming – sure, have the skills and qualification, if so required. But I hire for both aptitude and attitude: curiosity, an analytical approach, a process focus. Also: always keep abreast of technological developments across various disciplines. Ours is a world hurtling towards convergence, and you need to know what the dots could be before connecting them.

What motivates you to get out of bed every day? I have to admit that the act of just getting out of bed sometimes amounts to a Herculean task, but sheer will (especially at 4:30M in winter!) gets me up early to do some writing on my novel.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? Being grown up is vastly overrated, although it has its perks, like being able to have a tube of Pringles for dinner. As for who? I’m me – but I’d like to be a me who is a full-time time novelist.

Find me on:
Twitter: @gadget_hagen

Tracey Newman

Tracey Newman, Microsoft SA

Tracey Newman, Microsoft SA

Name: Tracey Newman

Designation: Small and Medium Business Lead

Company:  Microsoft South Africa

What do you do every day?  I work with my team to enable and empower SMB partners to help them to sell and service our customers better and drive channel transformation to the Cloud. 

How did you get into the tech space?  I had always been fascinated by the impact that technology could have on peoples’ lives and when the opportunity came to join Ixchange in 2002, I jumped at it.  What a great experience.  Working with Dana Buys, Johan Buys and Derek Kreunen was a privilege and I learnt a great deal.  When Ixchange changed its name to FrontRange, Dana Buys offered me the opportunity to run FrontRange Solutions.   What a fantastic experience!  And the rest is history … I guess 🙂

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Stay on your surfboard and enjoy the ride.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector?  Do it!  Take the leap!  The tech sector needs a diverse range of skills and chances are you’ll find your niche.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday?  I am motivated by the fact that each day allows me to change the world around me for the better. I like to make a difference and my team of SMB Warriors and myself believe that technology enablement helps to make the partner and customer’s world a better place.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? An aged, jaded rockstar with a smokey vibe and voice (and, I’m ahead – I already have the hair!).

Find me on:

Adele Oosthuizen

Adele Oosthuizen, HP SA

Adele Oosthuizen, HP SA

Name: Adele Oosthuizen

Designation: Enterprise, SMB & Commercial Channel Sales manager

Company: Hewlett Packard South Africa

What do you do every day? I work very closely with our partners to understand their business goals, risks and challenges. Knowing this means that I can better articulate, align and propose solutions to benefit their businesses in the long run. If their business is healthy, my business is healthy.

Other than working close with partners, I aim to master the fine balance between career, family & friends.

How did you get into the tech space? By chance, really, as I studied in a totally different direction. Today I have no regrets taking that leap almost 15 years ago. I started right at the bottom and gradually worked my way up to finally end up at HP. It has been a great rollercoaster ride and a lot of commitment to adapt in an industry that continues to evolve daily.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? “If you are too big to do small things, you’re too small to do big things” and “If you are the smartest, brightest, most talented in your network, your network is too small”.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Jump onboard now. Our industry continues to evolve and the only thing that is constant is change. We are once again in the middle of a huge transformation with topics like cloud, virtualisation & BYOD almost taking the back seat to make space for IoT (Internet of things), wearables and big data analytics being top of mind.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? My husband :)…. Jokes aside – I absolutely love the company and customers I work with and I learn something new every day! This is one of the reasons why I think I have been able to stick around for so long. It is a challenge to keep up with trends, but working for a company like HP that continues to release products and services that improves user experiences with tech, is motivation enough.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? A helicopter pilot and philanthropist at the same time 🙂

Find me on: