Final speaker line-up for Moving to Mastery: Women in Tech and Digital Conference announced

May 31, 2019 in Events

Useful & Beautiful and Women in Tech ZA today announced the final speaker line-up for the inaugural Women in Tech & Digital Conference – to be held on 12 June at the Belmont Square Conference Centre in Rondebosch, Cape Town.

The event, unusually, features an all-female speaker lineup, including:

  • Comedian Mel Jones – MC and hostess
  • Anna Collard – Popcorn Training – a KnowBe4 company, founder and MD – Female entrepreneurship in Cyber Security
  • Aisha Pandor – SweepSouth co-founder and CEO – The journey from student/researcher to employee to entrepreneur and making the purpose-driven decision (as scary as it was!) to quit my job
  • Birgitta Cederstrom – VP Commercial Brand & Demand MEA MD B Incorporate, Frost & Sullivan – Demystifying AI, Machine Learning and other Tech Buzzwords
  • Barbara Mallinson – Obami founder and CEO – Oh, the lessons I’ve learned! My experiences as an entrepreneur in Africa
  • Jacqui Mackway-Wilson – Go Social SA founder – How to get the best out of social media for your business
  • Lorraine Steyn – KRS founder and CEO – Sustaining your leadership as an industry expert over the years – aka leading from the trenches
  • Lynette Hundermark – U&B co-founder and CPO – Integrating the Silos of Tech and Digital to create purposeful solutions

The event also features two panel discussions. The first, to be chaired by Cathryn Reece, product owner at Property24, will cover wellness including sleep (and getting enough of it), stress, health/fitness, parenting and health trends/work wellness with sleep scientist Dr Dale Rae of the Sports Science Institute, LivFit founder Olivia du Plessis, and Business Insider editor Helena Wasserman.

The second will be chaired by Samantha Perry – Women in Tech ZA co-founder – and delve into technology in action, particularly AI, Blockchain and Machine Learning, with Celina Lee (Co-Founder & CEO at Zindi Africa), Debra Roodt (CCO, Xago), Genevieve Mannel (Head of IT at Cipla), and Emma Kaye (Founder and CEO of Bozza).

Event beneficiary Sisters Incorporated, a safe house for abused women and children, will present on its activities after lunch. The day will conclude with drinks and networking.

Tickets for the Cape Town event are on sale now for R2000. Please email monique@usefulandbeautiful.co.za or visit http://usefulandbeautiful.co.za/events/ to purchase. Ticket sales close on 5 June and limited seats are available.

With thanks to our sponsors Popcorn Training – a KnowBe4 company – and the Belmont Square Conference Centre, media partner ITWeb, without whom this event would not be possible, and our prize sponsors Rouge Day Spa, OneDayOnly, Hope Distillery, TRACE, Kaku,  Wellness Warehouse and ELEMIS who will be helping us to treat our delegates to goodies and spot prizes on the day.

Contact: Samantha Perry, Women in Tech ZA, samantha.perry@gmail.com 

Press release: Moving to Mastery: Women in Tech and Digital Conference announced

May 9, 2019 in Events

[9 May 2019] Cape Town – Useful & Beautiful and Women in Tech ZA today announced the inaugural Women in Tech & Digital Conference – to be held on 12 June at the Belmont Square Conference Centre in Rondebosch, Cape Town. Featuring an all-female speaker line-up, the event is targeted at men and women already active in the technology and digital spaces and seeking to master the skills they have.

Says Useful & Beautiful founder and CEO Lynette Hundermark: “Tech and digital marketing are often seen as discrete sectors and part of what the event aims to do is bring them closer together – in discussion and in practise thereafter. We also want to touch on more complex topics like how to retain women in the sector and creative ways we can accommodate their responsibilities and roles outside the workplace, that often cause them to drop out of tech once they get married or have children, for example.”

The event will showcase a range of topics including Entrepreneurship at any age, Demystifying AI and other tech trends, Creating purposeful solutions, Advanced digital marketing and Self-care.

“This event is tailored to showcase the high degree of skills and expertise we have in the tech sector, and specifically among women in tech, who are very under-represented at events as speakers and delegates. That said, and while the name and content are tailored to women delegates, we want to make it clear the conference is for everyone,” says Women in Tech ZA co-founder Samantha Perry. “Bridging the gender divide in tech requires an inclusive approach and a joint effort from everyone in the sector.”

The speaker lineup so far includes:
Anna Collard – Popcorn Training – a Knowb4 company, founder and MD
Aisha Pandor – SweepSouth co-founder and CEO
Birgitta Cederstrom – Frost & Sullivan Global Commercial Director, Growth, Innovation and Leadership
Barbara Mallinson – Obami founder and CEO
Jacqui Mackway-Wilson – Go Social SA founder
Lorraine Steyn – KRS founder and CEO
Lynette Hundermark – U&B co-founder
Samantha Perry – Women in Tech ZA co-founder

As part of U&B and Women in Tech ZA’s commitment to giving back, the event beneficiary will be Sisters Incorporated, a safe house for abused women and children. All delegates will be asked to bring a donation of a toy, item of clothing, or a handbag to the event and will have a chance to hear more about the organisation.

Hundermark says plans are in place to bring the event to Johannesburg later in the year. Tickets for the Cape Town event are on sale now at an early-bird rate of R1750 (full rate R2000). Please email monique@usefulandbeautiful.co.za or visit http://usefulandbeautiful.co.za/events/ to purchase.

With thanks to our sponsors Popcorn Training – a Knowb4 company and the Belmont Square Conference Centre, media partner ITWeb, without whom this event would not be possible.

ENDS

Contact: Samantha Perry, Women in Tech ZA, samantha.perry@gmail.com/0834145586for more information

About Useful and Beautiful
Useful & Beautiful is a fast-growing mobile solutions consultancy, with a specialist focus on user experience and design, mobile technology and product development. Service offerings encompass mobile strategy, design and development with the aim of supporting business goals and integrated customer experiences with the unique qualities that mobile has to offer. Built on 20 years of experience in the mobile and digital space, Useful & Beautiful is passionate about leveraging the latest mobile technology solutions to map out intuitive and seamless user experiences that drive sustainable business value and results. For more info, visit www.usefulandbeautiful.co.za

About Women in Tech ZA
Women in Tech ZA is an initiative that aims to help address the gender gap in the ICT sector through showcasing women in the sector on the WiTZA website, providing a platform where technology companies can find women to hire, doing advocacy and outreach through events and speaking at conferences, and changing the image of the tech sector by showing the world the diverse faces of ICT.

Women in Tech Africa Summit

April 15, 2019 in Events

Recently, hundreds of women involved in technology came from all over Africa for the Women in Tech Africa Summit.

Attendees of this unique event immersed themselves in specialist lead talks, paneled discussions, and action-oriented workshops, all centered around female empowerment and technological innovation.

Haidi Noassair at the Women in Tech Africa Summit 2019

Setting the stage was Haidi Nossair, Marketing director at Dell Technologies for Middle East, Turkey and Africa.

Haidi Nossair did not study technology – she graduated in languages and fell into the tech world by chance. She spoke about her journey as a woman rising to the top echelons at Dell Technologies saying:

“You really have two options in life. You choose where you are going or, if you land somewhere, you choose what will happen”.

Haidi Nossair discussed ways to develop your talent, build a network, let others know what you want and the importance of being a role model even when you think no one is looking.

“Speak about what you’re good at. Promote your talents and your brand. Hard work isn’t always appreciated – perception counts as well.”

Nossair also touched on the economic imperative to bring women into higher paid roles across industry stating: “Diversity is not nice to have. It’s a business imperative,” adding that if by 2030 women had equal levels of employment as those of men, the global economy could gain $5.3 trillion.

Mavis Ampah, CEO of Stinsad Consult and previously Lead ICT Policy Specialist for The World Bank shared an astonishingly good talk titled:

‘Upskilling fast to identify your path to seniority – 5 career lessons from a badass’.

She introduced herself and laughed on stage while she said that someone else had titled her talk and now she had to talk about being a “badass” to which she quipped nonchalantly “whatever that means”.

Mavis Ampah is so impressive whilst being so casual and down to earth that I was immediately awestruck.

Mavis Ampah spoke at the Women in Tech Africa Summit 2019

Photo credit: (Stanford Africa Business Forum, YouTube)

Mavis Ampah has worked for The World Bank, transformed the telecommunications industry in Ghana and even had a hand in the project for laying the undersea cables that carry the internet.

Imparted wisdom included advising the audience to work on small projects with quick turnaround times stating that “the right visibility can be critical to getting a promotion”.

Other lessons included finding projects that expose you to the boss, the importance of learning to prepare great presentations and to state your issues confidently.

She encouraged attendees by saying:

“Say no with justification – you’ll gain respect. Ask for help with justification – you’ll be appreciated.”

Another valuable topic Ampah touched on is to claim and document your success, she then went on to discuss the value of having a mentor for motivation, training and guidance.

Mavis Ampah reminded us to embrace failure with dignity, explaining that failure should be seen as a path to gain resilience and that we need to adapt, learn and draw lessons from our experiences.

Her closing note was to be brave, telling the audience that “the best opportunities come when you demonstrate courage”.

Exceptional women from all over Africa spoke and attended

The event was hosted at the Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town, South Africa on the 18th and 19th of March 2019.

By far the most impressive aspect of the Women in Tech Africa summit was the exhaustive list of exceptional female leaders from all over Africa who spoke.

The panels and speakers included a range of executives with roles such as VP of engineering, CTO, CEO, Strategic Growth Director, Chief information officer, Head of Global Business Services and more.

Topics ranged from cloud optimisation and getting into data science to practical advice such as how to present technology principles to a non-technical audience.

Speakers at Women in Tech Africa Summit

 

Getting exposure to tech giants

There were two tracks within the conference: one track of workshops and a ’speakers corner’ venue to meet the speakers, integrating attendees, speakers and sponsors to discuss career opportunities and field questions.

What do the best tech companies in the world do about diversity?

The major themes of the event were around diversity and inclusion, addressing the digital divide, skills development and using tech to drive economic development.

We know that addressing gender inequality is crucial and must not stop. Women are increasingly a bigger part of the workforce, but there are still barriers preventing them from assuming higher management roles.

The Women in Tech Africa summit was an opportunity to hear how tech companies engage in social upliftment and addressing these concerns.

Through Tricia Smyth, EMEA Diversity and Inclusion Lead at Dell and Vice President of Client Solutions David Brooke’s workshop on diversity – I learned of several strategies employed by Dell.

One such program was called Men Advocating Real Change (MARC) which helps men understand unconscious bias, insider/outsider dynamics and gender role conditioning.

Their focus includes flexible hours, education, mentorship and a promotion pipeline that puts women forward. They hold management accountable, saying that this action must start with a definite stance and plan from management. Dell also has a ‘Re-entry’ program which brings women back into the workforce after a career break.

David Brooke, Dell

David Brooke – VP Client Solutions Group (META) @ Dell Technologies giving a workshop on Diversity and Inclusion

Interview with Haidi Nossair

When given an opportunity to interview Haidi Nossair for this article, we spoke about the challenges of diversity in tech and she stated that

“The key challenge is unconscious bias.”

Nossair explained further saying “there is a common perception that certain technology jobs are too difficult for women or because those women look after families that they will not have the time or commitment to cover certain technology roles.”

Going on to detail how bias extends into hiring practices she said “The technology industry is historically led by men, the number of men in the workforce are quite a bit higher than the women in the workforce and then when people are hiring they people nominate and recommend people they know – but they don’t know women.”

Nossair stated “Men need to have more visibility of women in the industry” and stressed that both sides need to engage adding that “Women need to make themselves more visible and to promote their work and their skill set.”

Speculating about causes of women holding themselves back she mentioned: “Either we are not making ourselves visible or we are not promoting the great work we are doing or we are not raising our hands to go after the jobs we want because we don’t feel ready.”

When aiming to satisfy the need for technical skills in the industry Nossair said “I hear a lot that we don’t find the skill sets in the market but that’s the pressure that is placed on the talent acquisition, to actually go out and find those skills to help the organisation and hiring managers make the decisions and not use that as an excuse.”

Her closing remarks were related to her enthusiasm for an IoT agriculture venture and the impact of technology on business use cases saying

“The potential is immense, I am more excited about technology than ever before”.

The women in tech Africa summit was an excellent forum to discuss such issues 

The first day of the event closed with an opportunity to network and share a drink with new friends and other attendees.

The second day closed with a heartfelt keynote from Asha Patel, Head of Marketing at Google South Africa.

Patel tied in many relevant themes and shared her perspective on the challenges of growing up as a woman of colour in South Africa and being a mother whilst being career driven.

Hearing stories like hers is transformational for the Women in Tech community throughout Africa. Inspiration and role models are needed by all of us to have a greater vision for our future.

Asha Patel, Head of Marketing at Google South Africa

Asha Patel, Head of Marketing at Google South Africa

A huge thank you to the organisers – Maddox Events – and to all the attendees and speakers who made it so wonderful. Thanks to Haidi Nossair who kindly gave her time to be interviewed for this Women in Tech ZA article.

Written by Whitney Tennant, 8th April 2019

Whitney Tennant is Engineering Manager at VIPERdev – a software development startup based in Hamburg, Germany. She works remotely, loves tech, art, raspberries and playing soccer. You can find her on the internet with the handle @whits_ftw

INVITATION: WomeninTechZA at MMI – Pretoria chapter monthly meetup

October 10, 2018 in Events
INVITATION
 
Women in Tech Pretoria is holding its monthly meet-up at MMI Holdings on Thursday, 25 October at 5-30pm.
 
Format: Panel discussion
Moderator: Thato Morobane, Digital Channel manager, Momentum Retail IT
Topic: Tech industry 4.0
Discussion points:
What technology will dominate in the 4th Industrial Era and why?
What skills are needed and why?
What are the hot jobs of the future?
How can South Africa take advantage of the 4th IR?
 
Four panelists will be announced shortly with a 5th seat on the panel reserved as a ‘wild card’ seat – if you want to ask a question you have to take the wild card seat and you must remain there until someone else asks a question.
 
Wine and snacks will be served before and after the formalities.
 
Men and women welcome! Queries can be sent to samantha.perry@gmail.com
 
Date: 25 October
Time: 5-30pm, for a 6pm start

Applications for MEST Class of 2020 now open to aspiring software entrepreneurs across Africa

September 13, 2018 in Events, News, Opportunity

Applications for MEST Africa’s 1-year, fully-sponsored entrepreneurial training program in Accra, Ghana are now open for aspiring entrepreneurs from across the African continent. Interested applicants have until February 8th, 2019 to apply for the class of 2020.

Successful applicants will receive in-depth training and mentorship, access to a global network and the opportunity to build the next generation of global software companies alongside successful graduates like Anitrack’s Winnie Akoko, Qisimah’s Sakhile Xulu, Bidiibuild’s Kelvin Wachira, Kudobuzz’s Kena Amoah, MeQasa’s Kelvin Nyame, Amplify’s Segun Adeyemi and more.

“The MEST program has given me the opportunity to focus on developing the technical and business skills I need to succeed in the tech industry,” says Millicent Koranteng-Yorke, a member of the Developers in Vogue 2018 cohort and the MEST Class of 2019. “It is a chance for me to gain practical knowledge, experience and insight into my fields of interest and to develop solutions to the problems I am passionate about.”

Truly Pan-African, the MEST class of 2019 is its most diverse yet, representing entrepreneurs from 12 African nations. The Class of 2019 also welcomed the highest representation of women in a MEST cohort to date, at 37%. MEST will continue its strong focus on recruiting female leaders in tech, partnering with organisations including Developers in Vogue (DIV), Yielding Accomplished African Women(Yaa W), and Tech4her.

Over the course of 1 year, successful applicants will come to MEST HQ in Accra, Ghana and take part in an intensive entrepreneurial training program centred around business, communication and software development. The training is delivered by global experts and includes extensive hands-on project work, as well as mentorship from successful entrepreneurs, CEO’s and other executives from Silicon Valley, Europe and Africa. The program culminates in an investor pitch for seed funding and the opportunity to grow their business out of one of the Pan-African MEST incubators in Lagos, Accra, Cape Town and soon Nairobi.

“Our goal at MEST is to enable entrepreneurs in Africa to build scalable businesses – not just apps,” says MEST managing director Aaron Fu. “One of the ways we look to do that is through the significant  Pan-African diversity in our program, which offers our EITs a strong network and a deeper understanding of problems and markets across the continent, from day 1.”

“This year, building on our 2018 admission of the most number of female founders in our history, we are also focused on continuing to increase our  representation of female founders, as we recognise the incredible value female leaders provide in tech.”

Establishing and expanding its presence on the continent over the past 10 years, MEST has invested over $20million in training nearly 400 individual entrepreneurs, and invested in 50+ early stage software companies from across Africa. MEST entrepreneurs have developed solutions addressing local, regional and global markets, received follow-on funding from global investors, and been admitted to top accelerator programs such as Y-combinator, 500 startups and TechStars.

Some MEST portfolio successes include:

The Application Process

  • Attend a local MEST information session
  • Complete the application form
  • Successful applicants are contacted for a phone interview
  • Qualified applicants are asked to complete an aptitude test
  • Top candidates in each region will be invited for an in-person interview in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya or Cote d’Ivoire
  • Applications for the class of 2020 close February 8, 2019

About MEST

Launched in 2008, MEST is a Pan-African training program, seed fund and incubator for technology entrepreneurs in Africa, providing critical skills training in software development, business and communications. Headquartered in Accra, Ghana, MEST is funded by the Meltwater Foundation, the non-profit arm of Meltwater, a global leader in media intelligence and AI-driven Outside Insight.

Women in Tech Pretoria August meet up

August 28, 2018 in Events, Women in Tech

Women in Tech Pretoria is holding its monthly meet-up at MMI Holdings on Thursday, 30 August at 5-30pm.

The evening will include a keynote address from Kefilwe Morobane, award-winning public speaker and entrepreneur entitled ‘The Power of Showing up”, followed by a talk by Ngwako Ramohlale, Founder & CEO of Nunnovation Africa Foundation.

We will then provide a short update on September’s planned event from Sdu Matlala followed by some fun and giveaways from Offer Zen. Wine and snacks will be served before and after the formalities.

Men and women welcome!

Date: 30 August
Time: 5-30pm, for a 6pm start
Venue: MMI Holdings, West Avenue, Centurion 
RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/972863979561073/

WomeninTechZA mentoring event tickets on sale now

January 19, 2017 in Events

 

WomeninTechZA is hosting a mentoring and networking event at the end of the month and we’d love for you to join us. Details below – email samantha.perry@gmail.com to book your ticket. [update, 31 Jan] WomeninTechZA’s networking and mentoring event tonight is sold out! Watch this space for news of the next one!