In Africa, there’s a lack of women in top technology management positions.
As a continent, we urgently need female leaders and role models that can deliver great work and hold top positions. Women can deliver on that mandate.
The global community is also eager to work with strong African women, who are capable of achieving greatness through receiving the right support and embracing the latest technology trends.
Nomsa Seisa, Rekindle Learning new Chief Executive Officer discussed the key role of women in technology during an interview with Bontle Moeng, BizNis Africa Founder and Manager.
As a CEO, Seisa can relate to the lack of diversity, especially women who hold top management positions. This has resulted in great strides being made by various technology companies, like Rekindle Learning, in order to close the widening gap.
Tell us about yourself and what do you currently do at Rekindle Learning?
I’m originally from Botswana and I studied in South Africa. I joined Rekindle Learning at the beginning of 2017.
My current role is an Executive Director for the company and it entails implementation and delivering technology tools for our clients – getting our products out there and increasing our market share.
You’ve recently been appointed the new Rekindle Learning CEO – How did that happen and how do you feel about the role?
I’m previously an Entrepreneur.
In every business you go through the linear growth and the business goes through the different phases and as an entrepreneur, I think usually you start off the business and then you can hand over the baton to someone else who can possibly grow the business but still implement your ideas.
I think that’s where Rekindle Learning is and that’s where Rapelang Rabana was.
My job for the next 2 to 3 years is to take Rekindle Learning to the next level. Move it from a start-up into an early stage medium size business.
I think I can do that. I think it’s going to be a journey but that’s where we need to go right now.
I’m excited about the role.
It’s overwhelming obviously to take over from someone like Rapelang. It is big shoes to fill but I’m excited for my team and I look forward to the things we will achieve.
Do you feel as a continent, we are making progress in introducing entrepreneurship as a vital subject in Africa’s education system?
I think we are but not as much progress as we should be making. I look at when we started off, graduated and wanted to be entrepreneurs. The dynamics and bureaucracy, it was not easy.
When I look at the next generation, I realise it won’t be as easy but they are much more brave.
I look at organisations trying to come up with solutions to empower them and to assist them but we definitely could be doing much better.
In your opinion, which skills are currently lacking in the tech industry and how can we fast track the process of acquiring them?
First of all coding, but I think at the moment I like what I see, I like the drive in trying to empower young people to become coders especially the females as well.
Secondly, project management as well as implementation. I think when you look at other technology graduates, they are able to develop but are unable to take their product to market.
If we can find ways to educate them and assist them in taking what the have developed to market, we could do much better.
How can we advance the number of women in leadership roles across Africa?
Women should just be women. We should not be given a special offering for us to now take over. I think if you are brilliant at what you do, are passionate, then you can execute what you are supposed to do well. Your work will speak for itself.
As women in business, what we need to do is that if there are other women like that, we need to support them – not to set them aside and be professional about the advancement of other women.
I believe that we stand a good chance as men right now. I really don’t think that we need to enforce any other processes to support women.
As a woman, I think I’ve had an opportunity, I’ve been given opportunities and I’m happy to give opportunities to other women.
What is your definition of great leadership and how can it be applied in Africa’s technology industry?
My definition of great leadership is creativity and self-awareness. It’s also the ability to be innovative and agile as well.
I think what is lacking in the technology industry is great leadership.
When I look at the tech space, coming from a business space, I find that a lot of the tech human capital is into developing very closed personalities and they are not interactive people.
They are the people who have the know how, they have the innovation. So they need to be able to communicate better to enable other people to understand their vision and to take their vision to market.