Meltwater Africa Celebrates Women in Tech

Meltwater Africa Celebrates Women in Tech

Philippa Dods
8 August 2018

On 9 August, South Africa celebrates National Women’s Day – so there’s no better time to recognise and applaud the incredible women leaders in the country.

In South Africa, under one third (29%) of senior roles are filled by women and one in five local businesses (20%) still have no women at all in senior positions.

The tech scene paints an even bleaker picture. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, only 13% of South African graduates in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields are women, despite the country being ranked 19th out of 144 countries.

Fortunately, Meltwater breaks this mould.

Meltwater, a global leader in AI driven media intelligence, currently has 60 / 40 percent split in favour of females across it’s overall African operations (based out of Cape Town and Johannesburg); while its management layer sees a 50 / 50 distribution between men and women.

To celebrate and congratulate the inspiring female leaders, Meltwater got them all together to chat about their career goals, success, what it’s like working in the tech industry and what inspires them.

Setting and Achieving Career Goals

What does success look like to you?

For everyone in the world, success means something different. As a concept, it’s relative, and is dependant on where one is in their life, and what they value. It’s also not set in stone, but adaptable as our priorities change.

Zubair Timol, Director of Strategy EMEA, who has spearheaded various Women in Tech initiatives, asked the female Meltwater leaders what success means to them.

Some said that now that they’re in a managerial role, success to them is seeing their team do well. Others said that as long as they’re enjoying the work they do while excelling, then they’re successful.

Where do you see yourself in five years?  

In response to contemplating their short to mid-term future aspirations, the predominant theme among the women was growth. The Meltwater team are focused on learning, doing and growing – both personally and professionally.

Daynee Fourie, Client Success Manager, says that the next five years for her will be about exploring her newly-discovered passion for mentorship. “I really love working with people,” she adds.

For others, it’s about physical growth and launching a Meltwater office in Kenya and beyond.

Watch this space!

The Characteristics of a Successful Manager

When discussing what makes a successful manager, several different characteristics were mentioned. For some, it’s about being empathetic and approachable. Others value positivity and confidence in managers the most.

Life at Meltwater

Being a Woman in the Tech Industry

Although there’s been some significant improvements with inclusivity in the tech industry, men still dominate the field both in South Africa and internationally.

However, when we asked the #WomenInTech about working in the industry, all were excited at the opportunities and the potential that the future holds, based on their lived perspectives on how the employment landscape is changing.

What do you think about Meltwater’s culture?

The Meltwater women all credited the company’s culture as a cause for strong team morale, positive energy and professional success in the office.

“The first thing that struck me about Meltwater is its very strong collaborative culture,” says Lindsay Balfour, Client Success Manager.

Within the company, there are teams within teams, so there’s ample support from colleagues and guidance from managers to succeed. When everyone is doing their best work and encouraging others to do their best, it makes for a collaborative environment where colleagues can not only produce their best work but also feel valued.

Ingrid Gerber, Senior Key Account Manager, says she loves the exciting company culture, “At Meltwater, it’s all about work hard, play hard,”.

“Moro”, the Norwegian word for fun, is one of Meltwater’s three core cultural pillars – and its importance permeates all facets of corporate life at the company. From dress-up days and breakfasts on balconies to after-work drinks and month-end celebrations, work is always balanced with time to enjoy the lighter side of life.

Lessons from Meltwater’s African Expansion

The global media intelligence company presently has commercial offices in Cape Town and Johannesburg, as well as a tech incubator (the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology) based out of South Africa and Ghana. Their client footprint however, extends across Africa.

With plans to increase their brand awareness, presence and client base throughout Africa in 2018, the women leaders of Meltwater expressed their excitement for expanding into largely untapped markets, learning new cultures and languages and grabbing new opportunities as they are presented.

Lays Bammesburger, Sales Manager at Client Acquisition for Meltwater Africa, said she’s most excited about the opportunity to innovate in Africa and said, “Out of all the international markets, Africa is really ready for innovation.”

What Inspires the Inspirational?

What inspires you from a professional perspective?

Timol then posed the question, “what inspires you from a professional perspective?”

The answers were overwhelmingly focused on people – people that are passionate about what they do, professionals that are hard-working, and colleagues that make it exciting to get up and go to work every day.

Elna Coetzee, Managing Director of Client Success Team for Meltwater Africa, who’s been at the company for over four years, says she is most inspired by her successful team.

Tell us a little bit about your mom

It quickly became apparent that all of the ambition, ability to work hard, determination and strength from the female leaders at Meltwater comes from their mothers.

The women described their mothers as, “my best friend,” “my mom is one of the strongest people I’ve ever met,” “my mom is my biggest role model,” and “she’s a hard worker and one of the most positive people I know.”

We’re inspired!

What other women in business inspire you?

A couple of the other women in business that inspire these fierce women in tech are:

  • Sheryl Sandberg (Chief Operating Officer, Facebook) – a female C-suite leader at one of the largest and most influential tech companies on the planet.
  • Sibongile Sambo (Founder and CEO, SRS Aviation) – the first CEO of a 100% black-female-owned airline company in South Africa.
  • Beth Comstock (former VC of General Electric) – operated Business Operations at GE, named one of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” in 2015 and 2016.
  • Dambisa Moyo (Economist) – Zambian-born international economist who analyses the macroeconomy and global affairs.
  • Sophia Amoruso (Businesswoman) – currently Founder and CEO of Girlboss Media, previously founded Nasty Gal, named one of the “fastest-growing companies” by Inc. Magazine.
  • Aunnie Patton (Founder of Intelligent Impact) – Cape Town-based Founder of Intelligent Impact, a company that focuses on using AI for good.
  • “My mother,” said Carla Sedres, Collections Manager at Meltwater Africa, “for starting her own business when she realised that corporate wasn’t for her.”

Let us know on Twitter which women in business inspire you and deserve to be recognised: @Meltwater, #WomensMonth.