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

Melanie Botha

September 11, 2014 in Director, Profiles
Melanie Botha, Microsoft SA

Melanie Botha, Microsoft SA

Name: Melanie Botha

Designation: Consumer channels group director

Company: Microsoft SA

What do you do every day? I live my passion. I manage an incredibly talented team who are responsible for very disparate and unique business units. From retail, distributors, channel partners, consumer audiences, sales to a very complex product mix. It is my job, along with my team, to introduce and bring to market very exciting products like Xbox and tablets, to strike interesting partnerships to drive alternative channel deals, to category management and setting local relevance strategy. Every hour in my day is different, and every day has a new challenge to resolve.  In between work every day I interject my personal life, learning to see the joy of life through my 7-month old miracle baby’s eyes and living life with my soul mate.

How did you get into the tech space? I lectured Zulu and worked at publishers in the UK, oblivious to IT, not even knowing what IBM stood for when they approached me to work for them…. Since then I never looked back, having had the most incredible opportunities in various countries in a very vast industry.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? THINK. THINK AGAIN. ASK five times WHY to get to the root of an issue and NEVER assume.

What advice would you give someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Don’t ever think you’re not good enough or do not have enough experience. GO for opportunities and stand on the shoulders of giants to learn from them, mentors can help you see through different lenses.

What motivates you to get out of bed every day? The opportunity to change lives through what we do at Microsoft.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? My ultimate self, living and fulfilling my purpose to impact more lives.

Find me on:
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/melanie-botha/0/323/12a

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:

Blog: http://tallulahlucy.wordpress.com
Twitter: @tallulahlucy
LinkedIn: za.linkedin.com/in/tallulahhabib/
G+: plus.google.com/112949899954609180728

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 – www.twitter.com/suhaifa
LinkedIn – http://za.linkedin.com/in/suhaifanaidoo
Blog – http://www.realmdigital.co.za/blogger/suhaifa-naidoo/