Name: Tracy Surkont
What do you do every day? As TotalSend’s newly-appointed MD, I’m very interested in the bottom line and when it comes to profitability, few things are more important than Sales and New Product Development. As such, my day is focused mainly on coaching and motivating sales staff while also researching potential new products.
How did you get into the tech space? My career was entirely sales-focused for about a decade before I was offered a Product Manager role at Vodacom in 2008. I was excited by the challenge of being completely out of my comfort zone and I absolutely fell in love with mobile new product development. After then spending some time in Africa, another opportunity presented itself when I was asked to consider building a bot platform for one of the social networks entering South Africa. I then collaborated with a former MXIT colleague and with my product knowledge and his ninja skills, we delivered our first version in 2013.
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Work smart not hard, believe in yourself and speak up.
What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector?
Don’t be afraid to do a little bit of grunt work – most times the work is fun, you get to develop products and services, but that also means you sometimes need to answer the phones, help out with support and get the coffee.
Shed your ego and open yourself to learning – big egos get nothing done. There is always someone who knows more than you and if you are willing to learn – you’ll be better off for it.
What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? My family. I have a toddler at home who is constantly curious – I get to experience the world through his eyes and he has made me realise that life is not all about work. Taking the time out to enjoy the simple things has helped me to look at things in a different light. I really do want the world to be a better place for him.
Who do you want to be when you grow up? Don’t all moms want to be superwoman ☺
LinkedIn profile www.linkedin.com/in/tracy-langdon-surkont-13046327/
Name: Prudence Spratt
Designation: MD / Founder
Company: Spratt Digital Consulting
What do you do every day? Running a small business I do a little bit of everything, I meet with clients, project manage work in progress, execute on tasks and do all of the admin that comes with running a business.
How did you get into the tech space? I think I was born into it.
I was born in the 80s and at the time my mom was a computer trainer when PCs first came out so there was always a PC in my house and I loved being on the computer.
When my mom was pregnant with me she met Bill Gates at a trade show in Sydney so in some way I think I was meant to get into tech – that and the fact that I started coding websites when I was 14.
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? To take accounting to Gr12. It helped with my further education and work after school immensely.
What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Follow your passion – find the sector of tech that you like the most because when you love what you do the other parts of your job that you don’t like become much easier to deal with.
What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? My great team and the ability to work with them on exciting projects and with awesome people. That and if I don’t get up and feed my dogs they will probably eat my couch.
Who do you want to be when you grow up? A grown up version of myself…
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SprattCoZa/posts
Name: Karen Booth
Designation: Consulting Services Director
What do you do every day? At work I manage an awesome team of technology subject matter experts in various fields such as Human Capital Management, Customer Engagement, Governance, Risk and Control, Analytics and Supply Chain. As a team we help companies solve their business challenges by deploying the most appropriate solutions.
How did you get into the tech space? From starting my career in human resources, I decided early on there were more fun and efficient ways to manage human resources than on paper and in files. This got me scratching around in IT which quickly turned into a passion rather than a job. Now I get to combine my passion for people and technology and it’s called work.
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? A previous manager who is still one of my mentors today told me once to “Never stop contributing”. In my experience, when you contribute you get back what you give in multiples.
What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Just do it. Find a gap, take a drop in pay, work for free if you have to. Do whatever it takes to get your foot in the door. When you’re in, work hard, get involved, don’t be scared, show your potential, take initiative and contribute! You can learn any skill, but character and attitude has to come from within.
What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? The smell of good coffee…..More seriously, my very young family, my awesome colleagues and the new and exciting challenges that present themselves every day.
Who do you want to be when you grow up? An organised superhuman!
Sarah-Leigh Visser, SLV&Co
Name: Sarah–Leigh Visser
Designation: Managing director
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. 🙂
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