Category Archives: Founder

Lorraine Steyn

Lorraine Steyn, KRS

Lorraine Steyn, KRS

Name: Lorraine Steyn

Designation: Simplifier-in-Chief

Company: Khanyisa Real Systems (Pty) Ltd

What do you do every day? I solve problems – mostly on behalf of clients, and by bringing together great tech, business insight and skilled people.

How did you get into the tech space? I’ve been a software developer since 1978, first at school, and then as a career. I’ve worked on old mainframes to the latest web and mobile technology, and I still love it.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Be willing to learn, even if accepting feedback is hard.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? I’d want to motivate more women to enter the technology sector. It’s not all about geeky gamers – it’s a creative field with scope for a wide variety of skills including business, statistics, design and code, and good people skills are just as essential as problem solving abilities.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? The alarm clock and the school run – I’m really not a morning person.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? I’m really happy where I am at present. I have a fantastic company, I work with great people, and I’m old enough to not worry what other people think of me!

Find me on:
Twitter: @lor_krs
Personal Blog: http://beingrealblog.wordpress.com/
Business Blog: http://www.krs.co.za/blog/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/lorraine-steyn/11/761/4a6

Leigh-Ann Fowle

Leigh-Ann Fowle, Girl Geek Dinners & The Written Word

Leigh-Ann Fowle, Girl Geek Dinners & The Written Word

Name: Leigh-Ann Fowle

Designation: Copywriter, Content Creator

Company: Girl Geek Dinners and The Written Word

What do you do every day? My day job is as a copywriter. Basically, I create content for clients, the majority of which is for digital channels. My passion project is Girl Geek Dinners, which I run together with my partner Kirsty Sharman. Girl Geeks is a networking event for women in tech.

How did you get into the tech space? When I started freelancing, I was looking for networking opportunities for women in tech and I just couldn’t find any! I found out about Girl Geeks and I started the JHB branch in 2011. Girl Geeks is a worldwide phenomenon, with chapters in 99 cities.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? That you can do whatever you put your mind to doing, provided that you are willing to work hard. Some of the most talented people I know didn’t start off in the career that they ended up in.

What advice would you give someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Go for it! It is an exciting industry with great growth potential and new things happening every single day. And build up your network – it’s important.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? Knowing that I get to create content for some inspiring brands and the opportunity to learn on a daily basis.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? A superhero, one that has it all!

Find me on:
Twitter: @leighfowle
Blog: girlgeeksofjhb.co.za
Website: www.thewrittenword.co.za
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=99770427&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile

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/

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/

Charlene Carroll

Charlene Carroll, Anti-Clockwise Consulting

Charlene Carroll, Anti-Clockwise Consulting

Name: Charlene Carroll

Designation: Owner

Company: Anti-Clockwise Consulting

What do you do every day? I manage and execute on the PR, communications and copywriting requirements of a handful of tech customers while trying to keep the team of Anti-Clockwise out of trouble. I also edit a custom lifestyle travel magazine, manage a few non-tech accounts, try and raise two children while reminding myself constantly why animals eat their young, and on occasion I ride my horse.

How did you get into the tech space? When I was fresh out of my studies I decided to break out of the mould of consumer PR and dove headlong into journalism. IT journalism, at that. My options were vast. The first was to edit a poultry magazine, the second a timber magazine and the third the old MNet magazine. The offer to be a junior news hack at the then Computing SA somehow just sounded more attractive. When I took the job I had no idea what an OS was and I had to have my boyfriend at the time painstakingly explain what a UPS was before my first interview. The rest is history.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Write like you speak, respect that your audience doesn’t have the time to look up big words, and never wear high heels when interviewing short men. Other pearls of wisdom were to place your trust with your people first, if fact finding shows them to have been in the wrong you can discipline them later, but it’s hard to regain trust when you at first believed another so easily. A good journalist will find, uncover and write a story from anything – no matter how mundane the event.

What advice would you give someone wanting to get into the tech sector? You will need to be armed with a thick skin and a fantastic sense of humour. It is a demanding industry so you need to have your wits about you and you will be required to pull late nights. Don’t expect the people (read experts) around you to know what they are doing, a lot make it up as they go along. Learn to speak geek and stay abreast of what is happening in the industry – so read (all the time). Oh and please, open a Twitter account and research what a hashtag is. Be prepared that someone half your age will know more than you. More importantly have fun and try and not take people too seriously – there are a lot of opinionated people in this industry who will try and break your spirit – remember they are also probably making it up as they go along. So don’t give up it will be worth it in the end.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? Coffee from my Nespresso machine which the tech industry paid for (jokes). That and trying to ensure my children have a little more of an edge on life than I did as a kid. I would lie if I said it was a spirited Sound Of Music leap into the office to hammer away at the next advertorial or brochure – but I do love what I do.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? I always wanted to be the editor of Custos (the old SanParks mag). Now I think it is to own a small stable yard and to drink wine / whisky while trying to ensure children and friends don’t fall off their horses and working on getting rid of the nervous twitch from having been in the IT industry too long (that’s what the whisky is for).

Find me on:
Twitter: @Charlenecarroll
LinkedIn: http://za.linkedin.com/pub/charlene-carroll/1/177/290/
Blog: http://charlene-carroll.blogspot.com/ – (I seldom blog though,­ too busy writing other people¹s blogs for them)
Website: www.anticlockwise.co.za

Stacey Vee

Stacey Vee, iPads for Lionhearts

Stacey Vee, iPads for Lionhearts

Name: Stacey Vee

Designation: Founder

Company: iPadsforLionhearts – we’re a charity that collects second-hand iPads and gives them a new home with families challenged by autism.

What do you do every day? Not as much as I did in the beginning! Running a registered charity is complicated; thankfully I have a small team who have stepped in to help me.

How did you get into the tech space? I am a technology journalist with a parenting blog, with a special needs child of her own – starting the charity seemed like a perfect fit.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Spend your 20s working hard, getting as much experience in every part of your industry – then in your 30s, specialise. My dad gave me this formula for success.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Strip a computer and learn what all the parts are, what they do and how they connect. This sounds silly, but this basic understanding will go a long way in your career, no matter what field in IT you want to work in.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? I am deeply in love with my job (and not many people get to say that).

Who do you want to be when you grow up? A full-time fundraiser and publisher author.

Find me on:
Twitter: @MissStaceyVee
Blog: www.ipadsforlionhearts.co.za / www.livinglionheart.co.za
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/stacey-vee/61/385/82b

Lynette Hundermark

Lynette Hundermark, Useful and Beautiful

Lynette Hundermark, Useful and Beautiful

Name: Lynette Hundermark

Designation: Co-founder, MD and Chief Product Officer

Company: Useful and Beautiful

What do you do every day? I am currently building up my start-up business. My daily activities include:

Business development (ensuring I move from startup to the growth phase within the next three months) – I am working toward this by meeting with existing and potential clients to make sure I understand their short-term and long-term business goals in order to identify the best way a mobile solution (be it apps or mobi) can help them meet those needs.

I also monitor the mobile consumer landscape so that I can advise potential clients on the best and most relevant solutions for their business at a strategic level. I work with designers and developers on existing projects so that the project execution is in line with the vision expected by clients. I also manage client expectations as the project unfolds.

As a veteran in the mobile space my job is also to educate my clients about the industry, so I proactively look for ways to improve their business using current technology trends.

How did you get into the tech space? I graduated with a BSc(hons) degree at university majoring in Computer Science. I was offered a bursary by Standard Bank during my third year of studies. On completion of my degree, Standard Bank placed me in their head office as an analyst programmer.

I continued working an as analyst programmer for several years thereafter, both locally and internationally (eight years in the UK) with clients including Citibank, Deutsche Bank and HSBC. I progressed to the level of senior enterprise analyst/developer and on my return to SA in 2010; I was approached by the MIH group to fulfill a new role as mobile product manager which requires a combination of technical, analyst and user experience skills.

My passion for the mobile space ignited during this time and I realised I wanted to focus in this ever-changing space. I have always been a gadget girl and it was a fantastic opportunity to combine both of my passions. Wanting to pursue a strong career in mobile by gaining as much practical experience as possible across a variety of industry sectors, I joined Prezence Digital (at the time, it was the best mobile solutions house in the country), to build and grow their mobile apps division. Earlier this year the holding company of Prezence (Primedia) decided to exclude mobile from their core offerings and shut Prezence down. That was a huge catalyst towards me making the big bold move to start up my own company and continue working in a space that I love.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? My good friend and mentor reminded me of a phrase by the great Mandela when I was torn with the decision of starting my own company or looking for a new job at a corporate: “It always seems impossible until it is done.”

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Don’t look at it as a black and white career. Although IT can be seen to have an “old-fashioned” connotation, new channels such as apps belong in this realm. There are many paths and opportunities so you have to explore and cultivate your career to what you want it to be.

Females in particular seem to think that working in tech means you have to be a geek in the corner coding. While sometimes it may start out that way (I was one of those geeks in the corner for almost eight years), it certainly does not have to stay that way. Tech is wonderful, dynamic and so full of progress. If you are willing to embrace it, there are no limits to what you can achieve.

Find a tech space that inspires you and do the best you can. I strongly believe that women can have a career and a family as long as it is a career that inspires them. It’s really about loving what you do and working hard at it that will always yield results.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday?

Nothing beats waking up every morning to do something I really enjoy and getting paid for it. Seeing a product evolve from just a concept on a napkin or a whiteboard to something tangible is the best feeling ever.

I love that tech is so dynamic; it excites me that a new gadget or operating system may be released at any time and I look forward to investigating what cool stuff can be built on it. Also as a gadget girl at heart and working in the tech space, it’s the best of both worlds for me as there is no real division between my personal and professional life. Life does not get any better.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? I am growing up really fast in my new role as a business owner using my own money to pay for things along the way. I suppose I would like to be regarded as a successful, well-established business owner, who is able to lead by example to help inspire and motivate people to realise that all it takes is hard-work, determination and a passion to succeed in life.

Find me here:
Twitter: @lynetteanthony @UandBMobile
Web: www.usefulandbeautiful.co.za
Blog: http://www.usefulandbeautiful.co.za/category/blog/
LinkedIn: http://za.linkedin.com/in/lynettehundermark