Women in Tech of the Month: Nikita Dehal

November 29, 2021 in Business development, Profiles, Woman of the Month, Women in Tech

Name: Nikita Dehal
Designation: Business Development
Company: Ozow

What do you do every day?
Professionally, in my role at Ozow, which is a South African FinTech company, my day to day varies. Most days I am reviewing and advising on contracts from both a legal and business perspective, I am driving risk mitigation and regulatory compliance, and I am engaging with various internal and external stakeholders in an effort to improve processes and efficiencies. I am also engaged in building the business’s policy framework and in high-level strategic initiatives.

How did you get into the tech space?
I am passionate about innovation, learning through innovating and contributing to financial inclusion in Africa. I left the traditional law firm environment seeking a place to explore my passions and utilise my skill set and acumen. Having experienced the tech world in the US, I gained exposure to the opportunities for lawyers in tech. I actively sought such a role when returning to South Africa.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Define your purpose, explore your passions, recognise your worth and reach for stars.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into tech?
I would advise that he/she consider their abilities, strengths and weaknesses, conduct their research into the tech environment and look to people with similar backgrounds for mentorship and guidance. I think it is important to ensure that your professional and personal strengths and abilities align with a role in the industry that you are seeking, and an individual in the industry that you look up to. In this way, you can adequately plan a path to achieving your desired professional goals.

What motivates you to get out of bed every day?
I love what I do and feel that I am living out my purpose. This motivates me.

Women in tech of the Week: Katlego Mabunda

November 29, 2021 in Business development, Profiles, Woman of the Week, Women in Tech

Name: Katlego Mabunda
Designation: Business Process Engineer
Company: FNB

What do you do every day?
I work on process mapping, analysis, and digitisation and/or automation of processes. I am also a tutor at a university and also a business owner for an online store. I pack orders and dispatch them.

How did you get into the tech space?
I studied Masters in Information Technology Management

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
There’s always a price for everything you do whether good or bad, so choose your path well.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into tech?
It’s better to fail than to never try

What motivates you to get out of bed every day?
Life – the minute I open my eyes and realise that I am alive. I get up with gratitude knowing that I am given another chance to make my life right.

Who do you want to be when you grow up?
A leader who follows servant-leadership principles. I want to change the definition of leadership in corporate. Leadership should be given to those who understand and live by this principle.

Women in Tech of the week: Vinoliah Martin

November 29, 2021 in CIO, COO, Profiles, Woman of the Week, Women in Tech

Name: Vinoliah Martin

Designation
: Chief Technology Officer/Client Technology Lead

What do you do every day?
I am currently a Client Technology Lead viewed as a virtual Chief Technology Officer and part-time Non-Executive Director, Conference speaker, visionary and goal-oriented professional with over 12 years experience in strategy development and execution, project leadership and technology. I am at the forefront of digital transformation efforts for enterprise businesses and help enterprises innovate and digitally transform their operations, products and business models.

How did you get into the tech space?
I studied software development and then moved into a management role within the software quality assurance space and have been in the technology area for more than 12 years and love every bit of it. So much so that I am now embarking on a PhD journey focusing on digital transformation of organisations

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Keep pushing to reach your goals and don’t be afraid to take risks

What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into tech?
Technology is all around us and constantly evolving, get into tech and become part of an exciting community and sector that is transforming everything around us from education to the way we do business, compete in the market and grow the economy. Get into tech and help build technologies that champions inclusion, privacy, safety, and transparency and builds a better more innovative future for all mankind.

What motivates you to get out of bed every day?
Knowing that I will continue to strive and make a positive change and difference in someone’s life, be that an employee, a client, a friend, family member or stranger. Also, knowing that it is a new day to get up, show up and work towards that next development phase and career aspiration

Who do you want to be when you grow up?
A person who ’empowers all nations to leverage technology capabilities for the greater good of society and effective economic growth.’

Women in Tech of the Week: Janine Harley

November 29, 2021 in Brand Manager, Profiles, Woman of the Week, Women in Tech

Name: Janine Harley

Designation: Account Manager

What do you do every day?
Each day I am inspired to go out and help my clients, friends and colleagues achieve their goals. I truly believe that we rise by lifting others.

How did you get into the tech space?
I got into the tech space by pure chance. In 2009, Internet Solutions gave me an opportunity and it changed my life forever. I believe I was put on this path for a reason and would not change a thing. I feel blessed.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Never give up and always do your best. The rest will follow.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into tech?
DO IT!!!! It is not easy by any measure but the feeling of being able to form part of the worlds future is so rewarding.

What motivates you to get out of bed every day?
The idea that I can help create something that can impact the future is what drives me. I also get to meet loads of really cool people.

Who do you want to be when you grow up?
I think I am pretty grown up already 🙂 My goal is to never stop learning and growing.

Women in Tech of the Month: Kelly Hoffman

November 29, 2021 in CEO, Entrepreneur, Profiles, Woman of the Month, Women in Tech

Name: Kelly Hoffman
Designation: CEO and Digital Navigator
Company: Vocalysd.ai

What do you do every day?
I spend countless hours understating with a hands-on approach of every aspect of my new start-up and taking strategic steps to build something great. Something that genuinely makes a difference and aligns AI with human performance – I am not here to replace the people element, I am here to enhance it. I get my hands dirty, I intrench myself in all aspects and (at times to my own detriment) go at full speed to achieve results. So, in short: I never sit still. I also drink a lot of tea 🙂

How did you get into the tech space?
By accident, out of necessity to be frank. Yes, I feared this monstrous word “tech” (due to zero experience) BUT with a genuine and passionate love for business development – I took on a role to open the African leg of an established global software player – Initially focused (and still do) on the growth factor, but one has to know what they are selling and believe in the product. My love affair began – I am resourceful, and okay with asking for help. I don’t have to be the “know-it-all” in the room. I have learnt from my peers and continue to do so. This very experience led me to build my own baby. A work in progress (soon to be launched) – “Designed and developed by South Africans, for South Africans” FYI – not a competitor product to what I do now, I have integrity and loyalty 🙂

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Mandela (true story – he keeps me going) ” Nothing is impossible until it is done” – every week I learn more, accomplish more and love what I do. I feel less “stupid” than the week before, and proud of the little steps I take. I am empowered by the knowledge and industry I envelope myself in. Yes, tech is exciting, and I am obsessed BUT my greatest teachers are the people I engage with daily!

I literally take baby steps (realistic to me and my understanding), and his words and example remind me to keep pushing and to never give up!

What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into tech?
Remain human. Be authentic. Tech is fun and share that passion with others. Allow your mind to be stretched and listen to your audience. Technology is constantly evolving, enjoy the ride but above all, always be ethical and stand by good practice. lastly, it is okay to be the student, in fact that’s the best position to hold. Have fun and be kind to yourself.

What motivates you to get out of bed every day?
Mmmm… interesting as this involves multiple factors that may not be tech related (directly that is), however – family! Building a legacy, I am proud of and my children will benefit from gets me excited every day! I also am completely addicted to innovation, data and all kinds of self-growth.

Vocalysd, a start-up is my own version of “Kelly’s MBA” – I want to envelop myself in every aspect, understand from the bottom up. So, when I stand before others, and the head of a boardroom table of a global monster – I earned that seat, I deserved it and I have the knowledge and experience to back it up.

My true aspirations are more around business growth and becoming a CEO of a power-house tech company, that absolutely drove innovation and changed lives. Its way more than just a title.

Woman in Tech of the Week: Fazlyn Petersen Petersen

November 29, 2021 in Profiles, Training and development, Woman of the Week, Women in Tech

Name:  Fazlyn Petersen Peterse

Designation: Senior Lecturer

Company: University of the Western Cape

What do you do every day?
I am a Senior Lecturer in the Information Systems (IS) Department at the University of Western Cape.

How did you get into the tech space?
I joined academia to train the next generation of IS professionals. I teach Information Systems Strategy and Enterprise Architecture. The rising levels of youth unemployment has made me focus on including entrepreneurship into my courses so that students have an alternative to finding employment in the formal sector. Students need to formulate a business idea using Design Thinking then create a Business Model Canvas as the first step towards their business plan. We need more female IS professionals and entrepreneurs to make a difference to the South African economy.

I honestly didn’t want to become an Accountant, Economist or Statistician so this major was chosen by order of elimination lol I’ve heard a saying, “Sometimes a dog chases the wrong squirrel up the right tree”. IS was my right tree even though I didn’t realise it at the beginning. It works to my strengths of problem solving and creative thinking.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Nothing is impossible, even the word says I’m possible 🙂

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector?
When I started a degree in IS I wasn’t even computer literate and I didn’t own a computer. I had never used the internet before starting university. Now I have a PhD in Information Systems. I’m proof that with hard work you can achieve anything. Challenges help you grow and what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger 🙂

What motivates you to get out of bed every day?
I can make a difference using technology to help make a difference. I can design for the inclusion of the marginalised.

Who do you want to be when you grow up?
I wanted to be a doctor and now I am but without the needles, blood and Covid.

Woman in Tech of the Week: Fiona Anirudh

August 13, 2021 in Profiles, Woman of the Week, Women in Tech
Photograph of Fiona Anirudh

Name & Surname: Fiona Anirudh
Designation: Director
Company: Omnia EdTech Solutions

What do you do every day?
I improve the way education is delivered across South Africa, by empowering education providers with 21st century teaching & learning methods that leverage technology, design & innovation.

How did you get into the tech space?
My journey of discovery began at the age of 6 when I won my first computer. I soon discovered a visual game development tool that I used to build a maze challenge, which would have given Minecraft a run for its money.

My computer was also a key part of childhood play dates, especially during pretend grocery shopping, where the calculator was my point of sale system, the optical mouse light was used as a grocery scanner and keyboard was used as a card swipe machine. My ‘customers’ would even hear a little beep sound denoting payment validation, thanks to sticky keys.

It was then only fitting that I pursued IT as an area of study in High School, where I was 1 of 2 girls in a class of approximately 30 boys, who continuously got the highest marks in IT. I furthered my studies in College where I did a 3 year IT Diploma and graduated with 15 Distinctions & a Top Achiever award, all while interning at a large corporate (EOH – Oracle Services).

I then studied Project Management in London, and was very quickly promoted to IT Project Manager & then Head of Strategic Projects at one of SA’s largest private education providers, where i got to work on Digital Transformation projects globally across the group.

Corporate life was great, but I was ready for a new challenge with no limitations on creativity, and the freedom to design your own destiny. So in 2018, with a huge leap of faith , passion and determination, I embarked on my Technopreneurial journey and established Omnia Solutions, which did an incredible 7 figure revenue within its first year of operation.

There is nothing more satisfying than watching your business grow and contributing to economic growth by being a creator of jobs and opportunities.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
“Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you will land among the stars”, it’s something my dad told me when I was young, that inspired me to always think big.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into tech?
Technology is not just a job, it is a way of life.

Due to the rapid rate of advancements in the industry, especially in cloud computing, robotics, cybersecurity, IOT, AI & the virtual reality space, IT skills in-demand today would be completely different 5 to 10 years from now. So, if you enjoy innovating, problem solving & have a passion for technology, now could not be a better time to start your journey.

Also, don’t be afraid to combine your humanitarian or social passions with your flair for innovation & technology. Technology is at its best when it solves problems in a meaningful way!

What motivates you to get out of bed every day?
I have the best job on the planet! – I get to use my passion for technology & innovation to create meaningful impact, by transforming the face of education across South Africa. There is nothing more significant than education.

An example of the type of work I do can be found in the link below which takes you through a virtual tour of our latest project.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AnExViAwkk

Website: www.omniasolutions.co.za
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/fiona-anirudh/
Email: fiona@omniasolutions.co.za

Woman in Tech of the Month: Lisa Nokulunga Bhembe

November 6, 2018 in Business development, Director, Profiles, Woman of the Month

Name: Ms Lisa Nokulunga Bhembe

Designation: Business Development Director

Company: Zeal Point (Pty) Ltd

What do you do every day?
Business development. Basically getting clients for the business and maintaining relations with our current clients. I also motivate my staff to aspire to be more and do more.

How did you get into the tech space?
I have always been a very inquisitive and a goal-driven person I was always reading and seeing posts about women in male-dominated sectors and I thought to myself, wow. I could relate to that as I grew up with 2 elder brothers. I always had to fight to put my own ideas through, being told that I cannot do certain things because they were known to be done by men. What a life, right! I was inspired by reading the posts of these women who were making a change in different sectors. I decided to start my own company in the ICT Industry that will design, plan, develop and maintain fibre infrastructure.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Be bold, Be kind but above all, be…

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector?
My advice to women who are passionate about tech would be, do it! They might hate you for it, it won’t be easy but its all worth it. Take that course, Start that company, Be the Legacy!!

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday?
My mother, who has always been there for me. Who understood and believed in me before everyone else did plus working towards closing a deal each and everyday gets me excited.

Who do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be the woman that young girls can look up to and say, if she did it I surely can.

Twitter handle: @LisaBhembe
LinkedIn: Lisa Nokulunga Bhembe