I thought I would share more about myself with you. I grew up in the Western Cape of South Africa. After my parents broke up we relocated to the Northern Cape where I matriculated. Growing up I loved computers especially quest computer games. I was inquisitive and after having received my first computer as a gift from my parents I decided to dismantle it and try and try my technical skills at resembling all the parts back into a working computer. I think we know how this story unfolds.
In later years after continuing to explore technology specifically related to hardware and software I started my own computer business. In the last two years of my schooling career I spent my afternoons installing software, fixing hardware and supporting local businesses with their computer equipment.
After matriculating I got an opportunity to work within a large Information Technology company in South Africa supporting their internal IT systems. After demonstrating my eagerness to learn and being offered training, I quickly progressed to supporting customer systems. For the first 4.5 years of my IT career I was focussed on growing and developing my technical skills.
Being focussed on a vision for myself I knew that I wanted to move into Project Management next and completed a Diploma in Information Systems Project Management. Feeling like my opportunities within the present company was stagnating and receiving a new exciting offer, I opted for a move into the Wine Industry where I learned a tremendous amount about interacting with people. I held numerous roles within this new industry and loved the new experiences that this world offered from learning all the aspects of wine production, utilising systems to track the production and liaising with international buyers. It was a far commute from my Cape Town residence to the beautiful winelands of Stellenbosch daily and slowly the novelty of the quiet life started to wear off.
After searching for the next suitable position an opportunity within IT project management in the Financial services industry arose and I re-entered the fast paced world of technology. Little did I know what challenges lay ahead and how these would unfold to my next greatest opportunity within my career. Fast forward to 8 months later and my first managerial opportunity is offered at a large Retailer based in Cape Town. When reflecting back to the days I took on this position I always think of how some people really enjoyed working with me and others thought I was the world’s worst manager. I had a lot to learn about managing people and at the same time account management and retention of a large customer contract.
So my toolbox of skills started to concentrate on less technical skills and managerial skills required. Little did I know what true leadership was about at this point. I focussed on all the people skills I needed to ensure that the relevant changes were brought about within my team and the necessary growth strategies implemented to deliver against contractual obligations and technical requirements. My introduction to Retail was short-lived as we started to focus on the growth strategies, the consumer demands for availability and longer trading hours. I can clearly recall my first introduction to the client that I reported to for service delivery. The words he uttered was “Keep my stores operational”. With a nod of the head and eagerness to show value the long hours started with early mornings avoiding traffic and watching the sunrise from a rooftop in the centre of town to early evenings departing after sunset. Friendships were forged with late evening changes starting with a meeting onsite at 11pm and running through until 5am ensuring operations were stable. I recall having not having slept for 3 days in a row with some specific challenges we experienced. I often think we forget to respect technical resources irrespective of their field that make these sacrifices to ensure that the world we live in functions as it does many times.
More to follow about my career journey.