A business must combine its strengths to achieve success in the ICT sector and sustain the highest levels of visibility in the market. To make it big takes a huge helping of talent, a generous portion of passion and more than a sprinkling of determination and tenacity.
Welcome to the world of Tami Sussman, Chief Marketing Officer at the Integr8 Group, South Africa’s leading Information Communication Technology (ICT) managed services provider.
Even by today’s standards and heavily regulated environment, seeing a woman in such a high-level technical position is not commonplace.
As head of marketing in the business, Tami is at the coal-face of creating innovative marketing strategies that will build the company’s brand, lead to increased awareness, revenue, relevance and respect amongst its target market.
Together with her team, Tami is focused on driving brand recognition, brand management and innovation to the betterment of the company.
It seems to be working. In February 2013, Integr8IT, the ICT management specialist firm in the Integr8 Group, was acquired by systems integrator Business Connexion in a deal valued at R126 million. This demanding role calls for a number of skill sets, including business intellect, leadership, appreciation for innovation in commerce and powerful decision making, amongst others.
In addition to these significant deliverables, Tami is aware of the fact that she represents a growing trend in the domestic ICT market – the increase in the number of women establishing a career in what has largely been a male dominated industry.
“IT has traditionally been a male-dominated industry and, even today, it’s difficult to source sufficient numbers of qualified women to boost IT ranks in business. When it comes to the technology industry, women are an ‘endangered species’,” says Tami.
However, as Tami points out, the situation is improving.
An article posted on sagoodnews.co.za in March 2012 referred to the 2012 Grant Thornton International Business Report which stated that 28% of senior management positions are held by women in South Africa. This compares favourably with the global average of 21%.
“To boost interest in female learners entering the IT sector many companies and organizations are encouraging schools to focus on exposing learners to science, technology, engineering and math disciplines. It’s the early exposure that industry leaders feel will erase gender stereotypes and help to establish a more diverse IT workforce,” she says.
Besides “loving her work” and forcing herself to take some “personal time” each day (usually for exercise, family time and hanging out with her husband and hand-reared bird), Tami has valuable advice for aspiring female entrepreneurs wanting to break the ICT mould. “Believe in yourself and your ideas. Be tenacious and determined. Give it time and be committed.”
Chief Marketing Officer