Name: Johanna Kollar
Designation: Android Business Development Manager
What do you do every day? My role is to support the Android ecosystem in Africa, so there are lot of touchpoints. I work with Android device manufacturers, large telco partners, and developers. The goal is to find new business opportunities with our partners, that can benefit Google users. Another critical mission for our team is to bring the Africa story back to California, to build awareness about our unique markets and inform product development back at the mothership.
How did you get into the tech space? Google was opening up its Johannesburg office and asked me to join! I was working in private equity and venture capital post-MBA studies but I am always up for a new challenge. The tech sector is shaping our society in so many important ways and I love being a part of that.
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Always be improving. Your self today is not your future self; be the person you want to be.
What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? There are so many opportunities in tech, you should really go talk to people who are doing what you think you’d like to do and grab some of their wisdom. And, do not be afraid to experiment. I’ve been in four different roles during my time at Google, all of which have been fun and have allowed me to grow in different ways.
What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? Knowing the doors of opportunity the internet provides to everyone. It is egalitarian and doesn’t play favorites. I want to help more people seize these opportunities.
Who do you want to be when you grow up? I’d like to be my dog. He has a very excellent life!
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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