Woman in Tech of the Week: Ruanne Lloyd
Name: Ruanne Lloyd
Designation: Recently retrenched – Chief Information Officer.
What do you do every day?
A large part of my job is coaching and mentoring. I do believe that this is very important and women can do this job well, as we are natural nurturers. Ensuring the engine is running smoothly, and the correct processes are in place, creates the environment for both creativity and innovation.
I ensure the different teams communicate well with each other and support each other. Project managers, business analysts, developers, designers, testers and support staff are all part of the same team, and communication between them is key. I put a lot of emphasis on team work.
Every morning we do stand-ups for all the projects. This gives the whole team a clear direction on what they need to prioritise for the day. It is important then to let them get on with the job and not to allocate new tasks during the day.
I will then answer emails, have meetings with clients, and if necessary help with small tasks if required.
All critical tasks will be managed throughout the day, getting regular feedbacks so as to ensure the client can be updated.
I dedicate Wednesday afternoons to technology meetings where everyone can participate and come up with new ideas.
Friday afternoons are for training sessions or sometimes the sharing of motivational videos.
Exco meetings are held weekly where as a director I will participate in the strategic planning of the company.
How did you get into the tech space?
After matric, I knew that I would go to university. I really wanted to become a physiotherapist, but failed to get in. I decided to do Computer Science, as I knew I did enjoy programming. I had been taught by close friends to program in Pascal. I did Physics I, as a backup plan. After getting a first in my first year, I knew then, this is what I wanted to do. I eventually majored in Computer Science and Computational and Applied Mathematics. I had obtained a bursary, so I started working for the company, but continued to complete my Honours through UNISA part-time.
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
To believe in myself and to have faith. It was my first job, and I was very shy, but I was keen and motivated to learn. During the first six years we had implemented an ERP system and were very busy with many other internal development projects. At the age of 27, my mentor and I.T Manager resigned to immigrate to America. He recommended me to take over his position. I was completely surprised, and also knew I was the youngest person in the team. I took the position, even though I did not feel I was capable at that time. That leap of faith grew my confidence exponentially. My mom always said to me that there is no such word as can’t.
What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector?
This is a very exciting space to be in, technology is changing the world. There are so many options to choose from, front-end / back-end development, security, data analytics, artificial intelligence etc. Most people would think you would have to be a very logical person to enter the technical sector, but this is not true, it also requires a very creative mind. The best results always come from those who are allowed to tap into their creative side.
What motivates you to get out of bed everyday?
I will always ask myself, what difference can I make today? I am blessed because I really enjoy my work and I am a very passionate and driven person, so there is no lack of motivation.
Management for me, is more about mentoring and motivating individuals to become their best-selves. It’s truly motivating when you see individuals grow before your eyes.
“Managing people is so much about being able to listen.”
Who do you want to be when you grow up?
The great thing about life is that no matter how old we are, we are always growing. I am proud of my achievements so far and becoming a Chief Information Officer.
Over the years I have seen how I.T departments would drive businesses. There has been a shift over the years, and businesses have started to drive technology, especially now that everything is becoming digitalized. Technology can be fun – having all these “toys” to play with, but without a business use case the “toys” hold no value.
In the last six months I have become involved in a cryptocurrency project to learn more about blockchain. I am also currently learning more about machine learning as I have had many years of experience in working with data. I am hoping in the next few years my career will take me into these fields.
I really want to be the best version of myself, and that is what I will strive to be as I grow older. I want to be a mentor for other people, especially to women entering the technology sector.
Twitter : @ruanne_lloyd
LinkedIn : https://www.linkedin.com/in/ruanne-lloyd-66161899/