Channel Post speaks with Yaadhna Singh-Gounden, Country Manager at StarLink for South Africa, on how she chose a career in cyber security and her leadership philosophy throughout this journey.
Tell us about your leadership style and philosophy.
I believe in team building, empowering and inspiring members within the team and having a vision. My leadership style includes challenging employees to solve problems by using creativity and initiative. Working within a value added distributor means adaptability and being able to work with teams that are each working towards one goal, but trusting in each of their strengths. My aim within my team is to earn trust, confidence and respect of fellow team members to make it easier for them to accept and adapt to changes within the organization, especially a dynamic organization such as StarLink.
I have a few philosophies when guiding a team, including:
- Hire on character, not necessarily on skill; the true test and character of an individual will be revealed during times of immense pressure, whilst skill is always something that can be instilled in a person.
- In all things remain disciplined, and diligent.
- Listen to what your team is saying.
- Inspire team members, as opposed to forcing them to work.
- And finally, keep your target market in mind.
What made you choose IT as a career opportunity?
As a child I have fond memories of my father’s computer in our study. I remember figuring out the different applications connecting our home printer to the machine. It was then, that I started to develop a passion for computers, which led to technology. Shortly after school and tertiary education I started to appreciate the security risks involved in an ever changing landscape of technology and decided to pursue a career in cyber security.
How has your unique background prepared you for success in the industry?
I have been incredibly blessed to have worked with the best in the industry. Each organization and leader that I have worked with has imparted some valuable lesson or piece of advice that has helped mold me into the woman that I am today. These pearls of wisdom, along with my strong background in Africa travel and business relations over the last decade has put me in a favorable position to succeed in this industry. I believe that working in the Africa region and seeing the various stages of development have also prepared be for a new age in cyber security.
What was your most interesting job?
In 2008, I was hired on a contract basis at a broadcast, surveillance and multi-media systems integrator. It allowed me the opportunity to build on my relationships within the Africa region, working with international OEMs. I would say that I learnt my most valuable lessons during my tenure there, being responsible for business development and vendor relations.
What advice would you give to women looking to break into the field of computer technology?
The technology field is an incredibly expansive field, so do your research and understand what you would like to do. Pursue your passions by focusing on your goal, and above everything else, ‘believe in yourself’!
What is the greatest transformation in technology you’ve witnessed in your career?
Personally, I am amazed at the technology we have available to us. It’s astounding to have the power to retrieve almost any information and communicate in a thousand different ways using a little device that fits in your pocket. Working for a value added distributor affords me the opportunity to work with next generation technologies such as endpoint security that require updates using artificial intelligence, deception technology solutions and so much more. The most incredible technology transformation I have seen is the development in AI.
What are your thoughts on the next transformation in the tech industry?
There is always something new on the horizon and I am incredibly excited about the next wonder in technological marvels that are coming up. I think as technology is rapidly transforming, the security threat landscape is growing at a rapid rate and organizations need to remain mindful of this. So I am excited about all that new changes in cyber security solutions.
Are you involved in any sort of volunteer work? Can you give us some details?
I am currently involved with the Rivers Foundation, and I have great visions in terms of guiding young minds nurture their talents, and develop their skills. I am also currently designing an internship program, working with technology sponsors, and up-skilling youth that are equally passionate about technology.
What’s next for you in terms of your career in the tech industry?
I have incredible plans at StarLink over the next few years involving global markets.