Mother’s Day Q&A: Celebrating mums in Technology

Mother’s Day Q&A: Celebrating mums in Technology

Sean Fielding

6th May 2022  |  Technology

On Sunday 8th May, Mother’s Day will be celebrated in 96 countries across the world.
Connex One is fortunate to have many mothers in tech across our international teams, paving the way for their families as well as their individual careers.

At Connex One, we want all women, girls and mothers to be welcomed into the tech industry and fully supported in their career paths, in order to help reduce the gender imbalance in tech roles.

Only 23% of tech jobs in South Africa are held by women in 2022, and despite the fact that 43% of Americans believe women create a safer, more respectful work environment than men, only 26% of computing-related jobs in the US are held by women.

Celebrating mother’s in the tech industry

With their unique skill sets, working mums can make teams more diverse by offering a different and new perspective on workplace culture and innovation. 

To commemorate Mother’s Day this year, we sat down with three of Connex One’s hard working mothers to talk about their experiences working in the tech industry, what captivated their interest in the field, and how they balance work and life as mothers.

To learn more about their individual experiences, we held a Mother’s Day Q&A with Business Development Executives Nadira Gounden and Priscilla Adam, as well as Enterprise Sales Manager Aletta van der Merwe and Debbie Elrick.

Mother’s Day Q&A – Connex One

Q: HOW DID YOU BEGIN YOUR CAREER IN THE TECH INDUSTRY? 

Nadira Gounden (mother of two):
My career in the tech industry started at Connex One in September 2021. It has been an amazing, insightful adventure thus far. Before starting this role, I had written down my expectations of an ideal workplace in my prayer journal and Connex One ticked all of the boxes.”

Priscilla Adam (mother of three):
“After more than 20 years in the credit and collections industry, I reached my limit as a Group Executive in a multinational corporation. I desperately needed a change, so I decided to pursue a career in technology.

“I had the opportunity to work closely with IT and systems architecture specifically during my career path. My experience in implementing systems to solve business problems gave me the confidence to enter the tech world. I was headhunted by a global tech company based in India about 8 years ago, and I was offered a position as their South Africa partner, which was incredible because I spent a month in India getting more training in the tech space.

“Now my journey continues at Connex One and I’m learning more every day.”

Q: DID BECOMING A MOTHER CHANGE YOUR PRIORITIES? HAS IT MADE YOU THINK DIFFERENTLY ABOUT YOUR CAREER? 

Priscilla Adam:
I am mother to 3 beautiful children that have seen me be their example of how hard work pays off. I have always maintained the balance of work life and home life, it’s not always easy to juggle but you need to give your 100 percent when you are at work so that you can give the 100 percent when you are home with your kids and family.

Priscilla and her three children

“Family is important and they will support you when they see the rewards of your commitment as well as your work ethic. Never compromise one for the other.”

Nadira Gounden:
“Becoming a mother has certainly made me think differently about my career as it has molded and sculpted my strong character. It allows me to see myself as much more, and has empowered me to take on more responsibilities and command more respect.”

Alletta van der Merwe (mother of three):
Since I can remember, I have always dreamed of becoming a mum one day. I know that it might sound ridiculous, but I was very fortunate to have had my children when I was much younger.
I knew that building my career was important, but I also knew my reason for living was to become a mum. I was confused and felt stuck, knowing that I needed to work hard and focus on my career, but I also wanted to focus on my kids when they needed me the most. 

“So yes, being a mum impacted the way I looked at life and the choices I made. My priorities shifted and that was also the reason I applied for the half-day jobs when I did. I was then obviously unaware of how much my life would be impacted by making the move to join the tech world.”

Debbie Elrick:
“Being a mum also helps me understand the different challenges and pressures my colleagues have. It’s also great having insight into the world of tech that our children are growing up with – both the good and the bad aspects. Move over millennials – this truly is the world of digital natives!”

Q: HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT JUGGLING WORK/LIFE BALANCE AS A MOTHER?

Alette Van Der Merwe:
“I’ve always been a hard worker and have always taken my job very seriously but I also take my role as a wife and mum very seriously. The juggling between work and life was difficult at first. But then I realized that balance was of utmost importance if I wanted to succeed in my career and still be the best mum and wife to my family.

Aletta’s three eldest children

“My kids grew up knowing they are loved, and that you have to be willing to work hard, always give your absolute best in everything that you do and it’s very important to never ever give up.

“My responsibility as a mum had to be shared a bit between work and my children when we decided to welcome another child to our family. Tylisha joined our family last year as a young adult and we could not be happier. The realization of not just being responsible for the happiness and well-being of my own biological children, but now for another child was very overwhelming. The fact that we can positively impact her life makes me want to try just a little harder.

Priscilla Adam:
“One has to make the conscientious decision to give both work and being a mother the full commitment it deserves. This thought process has allowed me to achieve a good balance, despite it being difficult at times.”

Q: DO YOU THINK THERE’S ENOUGH REPRESENTATION OF WORKING MuMS IN TECH?

Priscilla Adam:
“I would say that there is a steady increase in recent years. However, globally women only make up only around 19% of tech related jobs in the top 10 global tech companies. So, my answer is no but there is hope that we will continue to see these ratios become more balanced in the coming years.”

Debbie Elrick:
I think this is changing more and more for the better, and the cross section of women in tech who are working mums is representative of our changing attitude to gender equality in the workplace in general. Certainly the benefits of hybrid working that have come out of Covid have led to far more flexibility for families in general.”

Aletta van der Merwe:
Being in the industry for so long, I have noticed an increase in working mothers in the tech industry. I feel it’s still a very male-dominated industry, but there has been a huge shift and women, in general, are embracing the opportunities given to also prove their value within the tech industry.”

Q: HAS WORKING IN THE TECH INDUSTRY CHANGED YOUR OUTLOOK ON BECOMING A MOTHER?

Debbie Elrick:
“I don’t think so – being a Mum is a privilege and so is working in the Tech industry – both keep me young and up to date in an ever changing digital world!”

Nadira Gounden:
“Nothing could change my outlook on being a mum. This is my highest calling. However, working within the tech space has impacted my life in the most positive way – especially whilst raising a daughter, leading by example and showing her that she should and must take up space within a male dominated industry.”

Nadira and her two children

Aletta van der Merwe:
“I was only introduced to the tech industry after becoming a mother. Now, my children are 18, 19 and 20 and also have huge love and interest in the technology industry.  Bianca, my 18-year-old daughter, is currently in MATRIC and all she wants to do is become a project manager in the tech space.”

Priscilla Adam:
“All my children are grown, so if I had to go back and choose again to be a mother, I would do it nonetheless as I have been able to ensure that I strike that balance.
Being a mother is a God given gift so we should all embrace it even if we have the most demanding jobs. It’s what makes us super mums.”

We would like to say a big thank you to all of the women who participated in this year’s Mother’s Day Q&A sessions and also say Happy Mother’s Day to everyone celebrating this weekend across our international teams.

At Connex One we are rolling out numerous efforts to promote, and support, mothers and women in the business. Working mothers are instrumental in offering new initiatives and technology can benefit immensely with the help of these amazing women. 

To learn more about how Connex One is helping employees to succeed, visit: www.connexone.co.za get in touch with our team at hello@connexone.co.za or request a free demo of our platform here.