Prathna Singh

Name: Prathna Singh Prathna Singh

Designation: Digital Lead – Health & Public Service

Company: Accenture

What do you do every day? Working for a global technology consulting firm, I work with clients in the Health & Public Service domain, to proactively adapt and react to technological change. In an era of technology advancement, I find great fulfilment in reimagining their operations enabling them and their customers to reap the benefits. I love being part of the Health & Public Service space because we do work that matters and work that impacts the wellbeing of citizens. This includes the improvement of service delivery, enabling trust and transparency, increased customer and citizen engagement, optimal cost of operations and innovation through technology. I spend my days working with our Digital teams to craft solutions that help my clients create business value whilst remaining efficient.

As a digital technologist, I have an understanding of the technologies that are disrupting businesses and governments. We live in a world of instant gratification. Organisations and entrepreneurs are quickly innovating to deliver delightful experiences and services to citizens in a convenient and reliable way. So in order to best partner with my clients, it is imperative that I spend my days continuously applying my understanding of digital technologies to their world, providing them with the ability to leapfrog the competition and remain relevant.

I spend my days at Accenture working with an array of people that come from diverse cultures. Having spent 5 years working abroad with Accenture in San Francisco, Singapore, and across various countries in Europe, I have a strong appreciation for cultural intelligence and teaming. I am energized by working with people from all walks of life. I am particularly passionate about encouraging and inspiring our women in digital and take an active role in initiatives that provide the platforms for women to excel in this area.

How did you get into the tech space? I actually won a computer through a maths competition when I was 12 years old. Makes me wonder had I not won a computer if I would have ventured in this field, but I am so glad that I did. Back then, computers were really novel and new and gaining access to one at a young age peaked my interest. I spent many days learning how to use it, playing games, dabbling with e-mail and the internet. This led to my passion for it. I remember visiting a school friend at her home and her elder sister had decided to study in the field. She explained what her job would entail after she completed her studies. I remember it sounding a lot like a doctor for businesses in order to make them perform at their best. I quite liked this version of a doctor – to be able to consult and advise on technology in business.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? It would have to be the advice that my father gave me whilst growing up. I am the second of three girls. In his words when he spoke to us about education and career, ‘there is nothing a boy can do that a girl cannot do, you can do well at anything you want to if you give it your all’. Those words empowered me from a really young age to believe in myself and to embrace my strengths in the areas of mathematics and science. I made decisions to study Computer Science at High school and at University and although I was part of a minority group of women in those classes, I remained positive and confident because of the support and belief that was instilled in me.

If I reflect on some of the milestones I have achieved, I attribute a lot of them to raising my hand to take on a challenging role, to having the bold conversation with my supervisor in order to explore new avenues at work, backing myself through my work outputs and decisions, always respectful and always knowing there was always going to be more to learn. It was the best advice anyone had ever given me. Turns out when you believe in yourself, others do too.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? This is the most exciting time get into the tech sector. With the readiness of such advanced technologies such as predictive analytics, drones, artificial intelligence, robotics, the list goes on… We are in the position of contributing to a crucial moment in history. Whilst the pace of change is superfast, there is a wealth of information out there. There are a growing number of women in tech that are applying their strengths and skills, reaching new heights in their careers. There is a drive by many organisations to drive up the number of women in this space and so if there are any doubts around your ability to build a career in this field, have a chat with myself or other women in this space and indulge in their insights and experiences.

I would say that if you are looking to get into the tech sector, you should remain relevant by reading widely, experiencing the technologies yourself and articulating a point of view. Having a point of view on how on how your technology skills can contribute to solving a problem or creating an opportunity for an organisation or individual will provide you with a voice. It will help you differentiate yourself in a high demand talent market.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? I am a ‘glass half-full’ kind of a woman. I believe that living a fulfilling life sits in your control. How you view your day, how you decide to learn from the challenges, celebrate the successes, how you trust the process of life to work in your favour is key. Positive affirmation and truly believing in what you devote your time to everyday are the special ingredients for my daily motivation. In this way, I can have the awareness of when change is necessary and remain true to my life purpose. This means working for an employer that values you, engaging in work that you want to do well and giving the best of yourself.

This also means finding the balance between work and life. Family and loved ones are an important part of my life, so are my passions for travelling, jazz, interior design and being near the ocean. You are the master of your minutes, take time to self-reflect and choose to live your days being happy and motivated. I also remember not to take life too seriously and to remember to inject laughter and humour into my life. We are not perfect and we should not be too hard on ourselves.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? Part of me never wants to grow up, it’s my child-like curiosity of the how the world could be different or reimagined, which is something I really enjoy. Time does roll on though and I think what is really important to me is to grow up being authentic – being true to myself, my values, my potential and my passions. I really enjoy being part of a solution and making a difference in the world through my technology and business skills. More than anything, I want to be one of the reasons that other girls and women in my circle of influence, choose a career or hobby in technology. I think that we bring a different lens to the world as women and it is the cumulative impact that will make the difference. Being able to inspire others to be part of this exciting industry is one of the things I would love to experience as I grow up. I have some great ideas about how to bring together girls and women for this purpose and look forward to bringing those to fruition in the near future.

LinkedIn: https://za.linkedin.com/in/prathna-singh-2085a81
Twitter: @prathnasingh3

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About Samantha

Samantha Perry is the JHB Agency Lead for Irvine Partners, an integrated public relations and marketing agency. She previously worked as a freelance journalist, and has over 20 years' of experience writing for a range of media - print and online - mainly in the ICT sector. She has written for Brainstorm magazine, Mail & Guardian, several niche B2B titles and several corporate clients. She also has a Masters degree in ICT Policy & Regulation, and serves on the IAB SA Marketing Council as the PR rep. She has worked as an independent telecoms researcher for some of the analyst houses in that field and was regularly called upon to comment on telecoms issues in the press. Nowadays she can be found commenting on women in tech issues in the press and speaking at conferences on the subject and the issues women in the sector face.