Tell us more about yourself
I’m a born and bred Stellenbosch girl, educated at Stellenbosch University (B.Comm Honours in Marketing and Strategic Management), experienced in networking and socializing and passionate about people, technology and Africa.
I am currently doing my Masters degree in Socio Informatics through the MIH Media Lab in Stellenbosch. The focus of my study is mobile technology adoption in Africa. Before rejoining the world of academic pleasure, I had my own marketing consultancy which specialized in strategic marketing for (mostly) technology companies.
Founder of Women of Wines, Stellenbosch Young Professionals Network, Girl Geek Dinners Cape Town and #hackSTB. I love my hometown, Stellenbosch, and am proud to be co-curator of TEDxStellenbosch for the third year running. Future plans include moving to Nairobi (Kenya) for a few years, to combine my passion for Africa with my current academic focus on mobile technology.
What led you to introduce the Girl Geek Dinners to Cape Town?
In December 2009 I met Luisella Mazza who is Programme Manager in Emerging Markets for Google, and we connected on LinkedIN. I had a look at her profile and saw that she was part of Girl Geek Dinners, which immediately grabbed my attention as I love organizing girly events and technology. I visited the GGD website and saw that there wasn’t a South Africa chapter yet and contacted the founders. They informed me that two South Africans, Max Kaizen and Sarah Blake, had already shown interest in starting GGD in South Africa but haven’t completed the process yet. I then contact Max and Sarah (both whom I luckily knew from networking events in Cape Town), and they gave their blessing for me to start GGD Cape Town.
From my previous event organizing experience I realized that one had to get the community on board and ensure that people feel included from the start. We then had a “pre-launch” planning event in Cape Town in January 2010 and I was overwhelmed by the number of ladies (and men) who showed up and who gave their unconditional support to the initiative. Based on the feedback from that meeting, we started planning the first GGDCPT event for March 2010, and the rest, as they say, is history.
When and how did your passion for technology begin?
I think my Dad is partly to blame for my infatuation with technology. From when I can remember my dad was always tinkering with the latest desktop computer, and my brother and I spent countless hours playing computer games during our holidays. My Dad also encouraged my brother to take apart some of his broken computers, and although the boys did more of the work and bonding over motherboards and taken-apart printer components, I enjoyed spending time with them and seeing how things worked.
I’ve always enjoyed the “sexy” world of technology and was blessed to work for an engineering company after I graduated. This led to the “Marketing Engineer” moniker, which at first I interpreted as “engineering the world of marketing”, but now, ironically I use more as “marketing the world of engineering”.
In 2010 Gustav Praekelt was one of the speakers at TEDxStellenbosch, the first TEDx event I was involved in. His talk was on the possibilities offered by mobile phones to improve the lives of people living in Africa. It really struck me that we can use technology to better people’s lives in numerous ways. I think that planted the seed for me to look at a more academic approach to investigate how humans and technology interact.
What’s your favourite?
Movie: Into the Wild
Book: What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly
Mobile App: Instagram, RealTimeWine and Basic Swahili (http://www.afriapps.com/app/basic-swahili)