Danelle Stiles, NATIVE VML
Name: Danelle Stiles
Designation: Head of Projects
Company: NATIVE VML
What do you do every day? Every day is a new challenge! I have a healthy mix of responsibilities, which include revenue forecasting and targets that I manage with my team daily, as we are responsible for NATIVE VML’s services revenue. I am constantly reviewing and implementing project management process, standards and best practices. From a new business point of view I work closely with our chief growth officer to ensure all new business opportunities have a solid plan to bring our proposals to life. I am responsible for a team of 15 project managers across Jo’burg and Cape Town so a good portion of my day is spent directly with the team either from a personal point of view or hands on with project work.
How did you get into the tech space? With a bit of luck actually. After school I did a web development diploma, which was really the tip of the iceburg in terms of skills development. I managed to get an interview at Cambrient, a web development company and started there in July 2002. From day one I was able to practice my new-found web development skills along with all my other duties which at that point was anything and everything. Twelve years on, Cambrient has merged to become NATIVE VML and I have been very fortunate to continue to develop all my skills within the same company with amazing teachers and mentors.
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Fake it ‘til you make it.
What advice would you give someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Never work in a silo. Learn everything you can about all the disciplines you cross paths with and be willing to blur your role in order to get the job done. Be a team player – teamwork and open communication is the key to success.
What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? I work with incredible people who all inspire me in different ways. Each day is an opportunity for us to do something new and crazy and I love being part of it.
Who do you want to be when you grow up? The owner of a small restaurant in the middle of nowhere.
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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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