Cathryn Reece

August 11, 2014 in Digital, Profiles
Cathryn Reece,

Cathryn Reece,

Name: Cathryn Reece

Designation: Head of Product Development


What do you do every day? I run a small team of unicorns who play at being Product Managers, Product Owners, Business Analysts, Content Strategists, Data Architects and more at

We manage websites, mobisites, apps, feeds and editorial workflow on some of South Africa’s largest digital brands: News24, Careers24, Health24, Sport24 and more! We speak geek for editors and English for developers, all while making sure our commercial guys have things to sell!

How did you get into the tech space? I joined News24 in 2006 as an editorial content producer and have over the years worn several hats across the business: Community Manager, Social Media Manager, Editorial Liason with Developers, Product Owner, Product Manager and now Head of Product. I have a Master’s degree in Media from UCT but suspect that all those years mucking around on computers when I was a kid is what really helped me get to where I am.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? See one, do one, teach one! It’s the easiest way to learn a new skill.

What advice would you give someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Don’t. Get in to whichever sector you feel most passionate about.

Everything will have tech at its centre very soon and we have an opportunity to champion digital thinking everywhere we go right now. I wanted to work in the media and so I did – my job didn’t exist 10 years ago, but I love being able to work at the point where media and technology intersect. It’s your passion and interest which will keep you going on the path of reinvention. That is going to be crucial for us all in the next 50 years.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? Practically – the threat of being stuck in traffic! I love the products I work with and am truly humbled by the opportunity I have right now to work at such scale. The geek product manager in me still relishes things like Elections Maps!

Who do you want to be when you grow up? Elon Musk or Tina Fey! But I’d settle for a more serene and competent version of myself.

Find me here:
Twitter: @CathrynR
Google +:

Helga Pearson

August 6, 2014 in Digital, Marketing, Profiles
Helga Pearson, Geek Girls SA

Helga Pearson, Geek Girls SA

Name: Helga Pearson

Designation: Marketing Consultant/Content Developer/Social Media Manager

Company: Redbrick Online (Online Business Developer)

What do you do every day? The list of what I DON’T do every day would be much shorter! This is a common occurrence with nearly all tech start-up companies. First employees tend to be generalists. With any new brands that we develop for the online market, I am involved in the initial strategic planning and development as well as the content creation and subsequent marketing.

This year with I have also taken up the role of social media manager, which has been challenging but also really exciting!

In a social capacity I’m also the founder of Geek Girls SA. I just felt there wasn’t any local organisation in South Africa that represented woman who are passionate about all things geeky – tech, sci-fi, fantasy and gaming. My heroes are Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton, individuals who have turned being quirky and different into a movement and thriving community. That’s my vision for Geek Girls SA – let’s build a South African community online and in real life with women who aren’t afraid to be smart and who are proud of their geeky fandoms and hobbies.

How did you get into the tech space? I started my career in advertising at TBWA Hunt Lascaris and took a break for a few years to raise my son, Ethan. I’m actually surprised I didn’t venture into tech and online marketing sooner as I have always been a bit of a nerdy web addict.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? “We’re all stories, in the end. Just make it a good one.” Okay, it’s a Doctor Who quote (I told you I’m a geek) but it’s also brilliant life advice! You only get one chance to live this particular life, so make it the best story ever!

What advice would you give someone wanting to get into the tech sector? We are living in an adventurous time in the digital landscape of South Africa. The horizons are rolling out before us and we get to choose how to shape and create them as we go. Now is the time to plant your flag and start building.

Be an online entrepreneur; come up with a solution to a problem; design an app; work for a digital agency and gain some experience – There are so many avenues currently available to join up with the information super highway right now, just pick one and go for it!

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? I’m a natural enthusiast; I find something to get motivated about in nearly everything. Working for a digital start-up is the best place to be for me because there is something new to tackle or something new to learn all the time.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? The Mother of Dragons… Ha! No wait, I never really want to grow up so that’s a trick question. 🙂

Find me on:
Twitter: @HelgaTheGeek


Frew Murdoch

July 22, 2014 in Digital, Profiles
Frew Murdoch, HR Pulse

Frew Murdoch, HR Pulse

Name: Frew Murdoch

Designation: Assistant Editor: HR Pulse

Company: ITWeb

What do you do every day? I write, do the online publishing for HR Pulse, sub, edit and proof, publish press releases, meet clients and co-run the SEO and keyword strategy for our website. I set up the newsletter and love playing with HTML code. When I publish, I use a Joomla backend for events, modules, press offices etc.

How did you get into the tech space? With a lot of luck. I had a profile on Bizcommunity and no experience, but the previous editor of HR Pulse found me and ‘threw me in the deep end’. I was fortunate enough to be able to swim and went from intern to assistant editor in three months.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Rise above!

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Hit the ground running, so to speak. It takes hard work and great character to make it in this sector. Don’t give up – be determined to grow personally and professionally.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? Each day is a new chance to prove myself.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? An editor – a great one!

Find me on:
Twitter: @frew_murdoch

Barbs Mallinson

July 21, 2014 in Digital, Founder, Profiles

Barbs MallinsonName: Barbara Mallinson

Designation: Founder & CEO 

Company: Obami

What do you do every day? A mix of things… I catch up with my team, do some business development and product development, strategise, create content, dabble in marketing, travel, speak, network – whatever’s needed for that day – all fuelled by too many cups of coffee.

How did you get into the tech space? I started my own tech company because of a strong distaste for corporate life, coupled with a sense that the Internet was only going to get bigger and better.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? If it’s not scary, it’s not worth doing!

What advice would you give someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Go for it… be prepared to shed a bit of blood, sweat and tears – the more you do, the luckier you’ll get.

What motivates you to get out of bed every day? Knowing that Obami is doing some pretty cool stuff… at a pretty cool time in African history.

Who do you want to be when you grow up?  I’d like to be my same ol’ self, but hopefully wiser in many ways.

Find me on:
Twitter – @barbsmall
LinkedIn –
Obami –


Tallulah Habib

July 17, 2014 in Blogger, Digital, Profiles
Tallulah Habib, ITWeb

Tallulah Habib, ITWeb

Name: Tallulah Habib

Designation: Social media strategist

Company: ITWeb

What do you do every day?

My role is very varied so there’s no such thing as the average day. My day can comprise of some or all
of the following:

  • Composing social media posts about IT topics
  • Writing articles/columns about developments in the tech space
  • Live reporting from IT events
  • Hosting interviews on social media (Twitter and Google+)
  • Training other staff to use social media
  • Advising on social media policy and strategy
  • Advising on social media marketing
  • Running social media around ITWeb’s own events
  • Compiling the agenda for ITWeb’s Social Media Summit
  • Sitting on ITWeb’s events advisory board

How did you get into the tech space? I studied Journalism at Rhodes (and minored in Computer Science). While there I started blogging for myDigitalLife (which used to be owned by ITWeb) and I assisted with educating local teachers in basic computer skills (through the eYethu Schools Project).

As a devout Star Trek fan I’d had a keen interest in technology for many years but these experiences at varsity really fueled that passion and so I ended up specialising in New Media and applying for a bursary for that final year through ITWeb. I was a co-recipient of that bursary and it included a year of work experience at ITWeb as an IT journalist. After that year I stayed on as manager of ITWeb’s social media and brand ambassador.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? “Do what you love and the rest will work itself out”. I can’t remember who first said it to me (I’ve heard it a few times) but the truth is we spend most of our lives at work and if you’re not doing something you enjoy that makes you happy then you’re wasting your life.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? People will hire you based on your experience, but in tech that isn’t something someone else has to give you. You can gain experience yourself – build your own website, fiddle around with apps. You might hit on a great idea and end up building the next WhatsApp but even if you don’t, you’ll gain valuable experience and learn to know what you most enjoy doing.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? Everything I can think to put here sounds super cheesy! I like the idea of making a difference, even if it’s a small difference. I think anything tech-related is a chance to build something. For me it’s a minor something (a brand presence, an article, someone’s understanding) as opposed to say someone coding a program.

Still, my key motivation lies in that building. We’re living in such an age of opportunity where each of us can use technology to change the world in some small way. Even in a way that’s as tiny as teaching a journalist how to use technology to spread her stories to a wider audience.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? I’d like to eventually be a social media consultant that helps organisations get real value out of their digital platforms, whatever those may be at the time. This would give me the chance to work closely with people to help them build tailored strategies that can give them value without breaking the bank.

The real value of social is that it’s available to everyone, but this is also a challenge because it creates a lot of noise and there are lots of “gurus” who want to take advantage and make a quick buck. SMEs and NGOs in particular need someone to guide them regarding how to avoid those pitfalls, and how to implement cost-effective and labour-efficient strategies. (Yes, I have been giving this a lot of thought recently :))

Find me on:

Twitter: @tallulahlucy

Suhaifa Naidoo

July 16, 2014 in Digital, Marketing, Profiles
Suhaifa Naidoo, Realmdigital

Suhaifa Naidoo, Realmdigital

Name: Suhaifa Naidoo

Designation: Digital Marketing Manager; Chairperson of Girl Geek Dinner CT

Company: Realmdigital

What do you do every day? I am responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring the marketing strategies for Realmdigital as well as managing our clients’ brands. There is no typical day for me as I am never working on the same thing for long periods of time. Being flexible and dynamic is one of my key requirements. Daily activities range from producing marketing reports to managing social media to developing strategy.

How did you get into the tech space? I have an academic background in the Social Sciences. I graduated with an undergraduate degree from UCT majoring in Politics and Religion and a post-graduate degree in Religion. I initially did not have any interest in the tech or marketing industries and believed I would end up working for the government.

I started off as a PA at Realmdigital and instantly fell in love with the online industry. Technology is constantly evolving and every day comes with different challenges and things to learn. I loved being challenged, it has forced me to learn new stuff each and every day, and this is one of my biggest sources of inspiration at work which led me to my current position as Digital Marketing Manager for two successful tech companies.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? You’ve got to work extra hard if you want to be noticed; do not be lazy! Far too often I see many people who are in similar positions not aspiring to do more than they are told. If you are given a task to do, own that task and make it yours. Complete it with the best of your ability and then try to perfect it even more.

Laziness can be the death of your passion and sadly your career. We all fall into phases where we “come to work to get our job done” but the quicker we get out of that, the better for us. Go beyond what is expected of you and work hard. Hard work does not go by unnoticed.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? I stumbled across this industry by absolute chance and I fell in love with it. I have no relevant marketing qualifications, but believe that regardless of the qualifications you have or do not have; passion for something is one of the greatest things any individual can possess. If you are passionate about technology and marketing then you can turn that passion into a career.

Women should not think that the tech industry is a ‘boys only club’, there are passionate and innovative women revolutionising the way we perceive technology in Africa. Women are crucial to the development of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. We need more women in tech!

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? The uncertainty of not knowing what the day is going to bring. I am excited by creating new memories and simply living a meaningful and positive life.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? An older, wiser and richer version of myself 🙂

Find me on:

Twitter –
LinkedIn –
Blog –

Nicole Klassen

July 15, 2014 in Digital, Profiles
Nicole Klassen

Nicole Klassen

Name: Nicole Klassen

Designation: Director – Head of Content

Company: Bozza

What do you do every day? I am accountable for the artists and content on Bozza. I oversee recruitment, artist development and content distribution. I look for common behaviours and needs and work with closely with the creatives and our tech team to develop tools that are useful to content creators.

How did you get into the tech space? I had some experience with social media and online marketing, but everything I’ve learned about platform development and mobile has been at Bozza.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? I don’t think I’ve had this moment yet. I get a lot of advice all the time but I can’t say I’ve had the best yet. There is so much good advice that I take in on a regular basis.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? You have everything you need to know. Remember that it is people who use technology. Build for people.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? My work is not about me; it has an impact on many creative people, their families and their communities on the African continent. Knowing that we’re contributing to the growth of the creative economy and generating jobs for talented creatives gets me out of bed.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? Who? I’m quite happy with being me. What I would like to do when I grow up is make a vast difference to the creative economies through the use of appropriate technology.

Find me on:
Twitter: @klassennicole

Tanya Kovarsky

July 14, 2014 in Blogger, Digital, Profiles
Tanya Kovarsky

Tanya Kovarsky

Name: Tanya Kovarsky

Designation: Editor, writer, blogger, trainer

Company: Self, and Rattle and Mum (blog)

What do you do every day? Each day is different, but my days generally include doing freelance work such as writing and editing, and blogging, trying products for review and attending events.

How did you get into the tech space? Mostly by fluke – I left consumer women’s magazines and started another blog, this time a bit more commercial and a lot less personal. I always had an interest in tech, which strengthened through the work I took on – from writing about devices, to training in digital, to blogging as a business.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Never convey negativity in emails, only positivity. Rather keep the negative for face to face. Another bit of running advice that stands out is “keep moving. Always start to finish”. It’s a good life credo too.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? As with any industry, be humble and work hard. Try to approach things with an open hand to give, rather than an open hand to take.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? Aside from the obvious – like getting my son to school and earning money – it would also be interacting with people, getting creative, and wearing a bright lipstick or sneakers (I have lots of those).

Who do you want to be when you grow up? Writers Nicole Krauss or Marianne Williamson.

Find me on:
Instagram: @TanyaKovarsky