Darlene Menzies

September 15, 2015 in CEO, Entrepreneur, Founder, Profiles
Darlene Menzies, TDH/SMEasy

Darlene Menzies, TDH/SMEasy

Name: Darlene Menzies

Companies and Designation: The Development House (TDH) – Founder and Chairman, SMEasy Business Software Pty Ltd – Founder and CEO

What do you do every day? Team role – leader and innovator. I run a business that develops simple scalable software solutions that address gaps in the small business market. I enjoy the risk and challenge involved in taking an idea from concept to commercialisation – going from initial ideation and market research to product design, the development of a minimal viable product, market piloting to demonstrate early user traction and then raising venture capital to fund product commercialisation. In terms of my role in the team I am the ideas person, the team leader as well as the product evangelist. I love my job.

How did you get into the tech space? I started work as a bank teller and got involved in the bank’s IT division through my interest in helping test new IT systems that were being implemented in the bank at the time. I was moved to the regional IT division in KZN in the late eighties, there were no ladies in the division at the time. I worked in corporate IT for 15 years before starting my own software development business in 2004.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? If you don’t totally love what you’re doing stop doing it, immediately…then do everything you can to get started doing what you are passionate about. This one decision will change your whole life.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? I encourage them to do it, it’s the future, the opportunities are endless. I tell them they have to be prepared to work hard, very hard. If they are starting a tech business I usually tell them to be prepared to make big sacrifices and take massive risks, the rewards down the road will far outweigh the sacrifices in the early years. Also that the key to success and growth is your team. If you focus on building your team, your team will build your business.

For people who ask me if I have any particular advice for women wanting to get in tech – I tell them to forget about gender and just do what they are gifted to do and passionate about, that is what will ensure their success. It’s not about gender, it’s about ability, timing, hard work and a bit of luck!

What motivates you to get out of bed every day? I totally LOVE what I do; I would do it even if I didn’t get paid. I wake up on a Saturday and Monday feeling equally excited about the day ahead.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? A mix of Melinda Gates, Hillary Clinton, Meryl Streep and Katy Perry… LOL. I think all these ladies are incredible in their own fields! Seriously, I want to be me but with loads more money; I would like to be able to make the kind of social and economic impact that someone like Melinda Gates is making. It’s a privilege to be able to change people’s lives.

LinkedIn: https://za.linkedin.com/in/darlenemenzies
Twitter: https://twitter.com/darlenemenzies / https://twitter.com/thedevhouse

Lorraine Steyn

November 10, 2014 in Entrepreneur, Founder, Profiles
Lorraine Steyn, KRS

Lorraine Steyn, KRS

Name: Lorraine Steyn

Designation: Simplifier-in-Chief

Company: Khanyisa Real Systems (Pty) Ltd

What do you do every day? I solve problems – mostly on behalf of clients, and by bringing together great tech, business insight and skilled people.

How did you get into the tech space? I’ve been a software developer since 1978, first at school, and then as a career. I’ve worked on old mainframes to the latest web and mobile technology, and I still love it.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Be willing to learn, even if accepting feedback is hard.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? I’d want to motivate more women to enter the technology sector. It’s not all about geeky gamers – it’s a creative field with scope for a wide variety of skills including business, statistics, design and code, and good people skills are just as essential as problem solving abilities.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? The alarm clock and the school run – I’m really not a morning person.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? I’m really happy where I am at present. I have a fantastic company, I work with great people, and I’m old enough to not worry what other people think of me!

Find me on:
Twitter: @lor_krs
Personal Blog: http://beingrealblog.wordpress.com/
Business Blog: http://www.krs.co.za/blog/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/lorraine-steyn/11/761/4a6

Leigh-Ann Fowle

November 7, 2014 in Founder, Profiles
Leigh-Ann Fowle, Girl Geek Dinners & The Written Word

Leigh-Ann Fowle, Girl Geek Dinners & The Written Word

Name: Leigh-Ann Fowle

Designation: Copywriter, Content Creator

Company: Girl Geek Dinners and The Written Word

What do you do every day? My day job is as a copywriter. Basically, I create content for clients, the majority of which is for digital channels. My passion project is Girl Geek Dinners, which I run together with my partner Kirsty Sharman. Girl Geeks is a networking event for women in tech.

How did you get into the tech space? When I started freelancing, I was looking for networking opportunities for women in tech and I just couldn’t find any! I found out about Girl Geeks and I started the JHB branch in 2011. Girl Geeks is a worldwide phenomenon, with chapters in 99 cities.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? That you can do whatever you put your mind to doing, provided that you are willing to work hard. Some of the most talented people I know didn’t start off in the career that they ended up in.

What advice would you give someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Go for it! It is an exciting industry with great growth potential and new things happening every single day. And build up your network – it’s important.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? Knowing that I get to create content for some inspiring brands and the opportunity to learn on a daily basis.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? A superhero, one that has it all!

Find me on:
Twitter: @leighfowle
Blog: girlgeeksofjhb.co.za
Website: www.thewrittenword.co.za
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=99770427&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile

Annette Muller

October 7, 2014 in CEO, Founder, Profiles
Annette Muller, DOTNXT

Annette Muller, DOTNXT

Name: Annette Muller

Designation: Founder & CEO

Company: DOTNXT

What do you do every day? I multi-task, I build, and watch people grow, I innovate.

How did you get into the tech space? I was born in the tech space. 🙂 But my first real entry was working on MTN”s nok nok, its mobile social network back in 2007.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Everyone is just human, if they can do it, you can do it.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? It is the future of all industries, every company will be a technology-driven company so don’t even think twice, just do it.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? Being a part of delivering something extraordinary every day and being surrounded by people smarter and wiser than myself!

Who do you want to be when you grow up? I am not planning on every really growing up!

Find me on:
Twitter: @nettyml
Web: http://about.me/annettemuller

Samantha Watt

October 1, 2014 in CEO, Founder, Owner, Profiles

Name: Samantha Watt

Designation: Owner

Company: Watt Communications PTY Ltd

What do you do every day? I communicate – one way or the other, I talk and talk and talk…with my mouth and my fingers!

How did you get into the tech space? I worked for an engineering company and they invested in an IT brand. I was seconded across to set up the communications department and the IT bug bit. That was in 1995!

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? “When someone shows you who they are, believe them,” – a quote from the late Maya Angelou, shared with me by a great friend and business colleague. This is true in business and in life in general.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Be prepared to stretch yourself, learn how to move fast, do 10 things at once, while giving 120%.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? The school bell 😉 I am a single Mom of two amazing young girls and making a fabulous life for them is truly what motivates me.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? Content (and no, not what you think!) In today’s world we tend to achieve and over-achieve, never knowing when or what is good enough. I want to learn to recognise when I have given enough and can kick back, relax and smile, knowing it’s enough.

Find me on:
Twitter: @wattisup
LinkedIn: http://za.linkedin.com/pub/samantha-watt/1/b40/245/

Sarah–Leigh Visser

September 25, 2014 in Director, Founder, Managing director, Profiles
Sarah-Leigh Visser, SLV&Co

Sarah-Leigh Visser, SLV&Co

Name: Sarah–Leigh Visser

Designation: Managing director

Company: SLV&Co

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. 🙂

Find me on:
Twitter: @SezLeigh
LinkedIn: za.linkedin.com/pub/sarah-leigh-visser/21/598/717/

Charlene Carroll

September 23, 2014 in Founder, Owner, Profiles
Charlene Carroll, Anti-Clockwise Consulting

Charlene Carroll, Anti-Clockwise Consulting

Name: Charlene Carroll

Designation: Owner

Company: Anti-Clockwise Consulting

What do you do every day? I manage and execute on the PR, communications and copywriting requirements of a handful of tech customers while trying to keep the team of Anti-Clockwise out of trouble. I also edit a custom lifestyle travel magazine, manage a few non-tech accounts, try and raise two children while reminding myself constantly why animals eat their young, and on occasion I ride my horse.

How did you get into the tech space? When I was fresh out of my studies I decided to break out of the mould of consumer PR and dove headlong into journalism. IT journalism, at that. My options were vast. The first was to edit a poultry magazine, the second a timber magazine and the third the old MNet magazine. The offer to be a junior news hack at the then Computing SA somehow just sounded more attractive. When I took the job I had no idea what an OS was and I had to have my boyfriend at the time painstakingly explain what a UPS was before my first interview. The rest is history.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Write like you speak, respect that your audience doesn’t have the time to look up big words, and never wear high heels when interviewing short men. Other pearls of wisdom were to place your trust with your people first, if fact finding shows them to have been in the wrong you can discipline them later, but it’s hard to regain trust when you at first believed another so easily. A good journalist will find, uncover and write a story from anything – no matter how mundane the event.

What advice would you give someone wanting to get into the tech sector? You will need to be armed with a thick skin and a fantastic sense of humour. It is a demanding industry so you need to have your wits about you and you will be required to pull late nights. Don’t expect the people (read experts) around you to know what they are doing, a lot make it up as they go along. Learn to speak geek and stay abreast of what is happening in the industry – so read (all the time). Oh and please, open a Twitter account and research what a hashtag is. Be prepared that someone half your age will know more than you. More importantly have fun and try and not take people too seriously – there are a lot of opinionated people in this industry who will try and break your spirit – remember they are also probably making it up as they go along. So don’t give up it will be worth it in the end.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? Coffee from my Nespresso machine which the tech industry paid for (jokes). That and trying to ensure my children have a little more of an edge on life than I did as a kid. I would lie if I said it was a spirited Sound Of Music leap into the office to hammer away at the next advertorial or brochure – but I do love what I do.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? I always wanted to be the editor of Custos (the old SanParks mag). Now I think it is to own a small stable yard and to drink wine / whisky while trying to ensure children and friends don’t fall off their horses and working on getting rid of the nervous twitch from having been in the IT industry too long (that’s what the whisky is for).

Find me on:
Twitter: @Charlenecarroll
LinkedIn: http://za.linkedin.com/pub/charlene-carroll/1/177/290/
Blog: http://charlene-carroll.blogspot.com/ – (I seldom blog though,­ too busy writing other people¹s blogs for them)
Website: www.anticlockwise.co.za

Stacey Vee

August 27, 2014 in Founder, Profiles
Stacey Vee, iPads for Lionhearts

Stacey Vee, iPads for Lionhearts

Name: Stacey Vee

Designation: Founder

Company: iPadsforLionhearts – we’re a charity that collects second-hand iPads and gives them a new home with families challenged by autism.

What do you do every day? Not as much as I did in the beginning! Running a registered charity is complicated; thankfully I have a small team who have stepped in to help me.

How did you get into the tech space? I am a technology journalist with a parenting blog, with a special needs child of her own – starting the charity seemed like a perfect fit.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Spend your 20s working hard, getting as much experience in every part of your industry – then in your 30s, specialise. My dad gave me this formula for success.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Strip a computer and learn what all the parts are, what they do and how they connect. This sounds silly, but this basic understanding will go a long way in your career, no matter what field in IT you want to work in.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? I am deeply in love with my job (and not many people get to say that).

Who do you want to be when you grow up? A full-time fundraiser and publisher author.

Find me on:
Twitter: @MissStaceyVee
Blog: www.ipadsforlionhearts.co.za / www.livinglionheart.co.za
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/stacey-vee/61/385/82b