Speaker Spotlight: Q&A with Umsha Reddy, IT Director @ PepsiCo Sub-Saharan Africa

Umsha Reddy Women in Tech Africa

Umsha Reddy speaks to us about her role in the technology sector and shares her thoughts on Women in Tech Africa, taking place 18th-19th March in Cape Town. 

Umsha has over 24 years of work experience spanning the Engineering, Business, and IT sectors. She has worked in virtual teams across global borders since 1998 and spent 20 years of her career working for Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and SABMiller PlcUmsha is currently the IT Director for PepsiCo Sub-Saharan Africa, in addition to being a member of the board of Resilient REIT Limited. In her spare time, she mentors more than 30 Henley Business School MBA students.

She will be sharing her wisdom in an interactive workshop entitled '8 Actions to Boost Immediate and Long-term Self-Confidence' on 19th March at 12:40 where she will help attendees stamp out workplace insecurities. There will also be an opportunity to network with Umsha at the Women in Tech Africa MEETUP stage on 18th March at 17:05.

JOIN THE MOVEMENTWe caught up with Umsha ahead of the conference, here's what she had to say.    

Why have you decided to get involved with Women in Tech Africa?

This event showcases women in technology across Africa. As an electrical engineer, business woman and IT director, being involved in this event is in line with my passion to grow and develop others.

What are you speaking about at Women in Tech Africa?

I will be speaking around strategies to inspire, create real change, and LEAD, as well as actions to boost immediate and long-term self confidence

What will people learn from listening to your talk?

They will learn about building trust cultures, retaining talent and most importantly key leadership behaviours needed during times of dynamic change. They will also learn about managing themselves and self-awareness skills.

What are you most looking forward to at Women in Tech Africa?

Meeting and networking with lots of other women in the industry. Listening to their different perspectives and experiences.

Who is your female tech inspiration? What have they done and why do they inspire you?

My female tech inspiration is Katherine Johnson, known as the human computer; a mathematician whose calculations helped put the first Americans into orbit and onto the moon. Her story is told in the movie ‘Hidden Figures’ and she turned 100 in August 2018.

Katherine has a computation centre named after her, which set the stage for continuous digital transformation at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia. She and other "human computers" calculated the trajectories that made early spaceflight possible. She inspires me as, against all odds, she achieved the impossible. She broke new ground, opening a path for many women to follow and be successful in. She did this by being herself, knowing her self-worth and believing in her capabilities and competence.

A woman who displayed huge amounts of tenacity, resilience, and self-confidence. 

What’s a typical day like for you?

In a typical day, I get multiple problems to solve or challenges that hit me. I see them all as opportunities to learn and grow. I believe that I can handle anything that gets thrown my way. By hook or crook I always find a way forward. The sun always comes out tomorrow!

Are you working on anything exciting at the moment that you’d like to share with our readers? 

At PepsiCo, as we are growing, we need the right technology and innovation in place. I am very excited to be on the Sub-Saharan Africa Leadership Team and to bring IT to the fore as a key business partner with a seat at the table. I hope to align IT objectives tightly to the business strategy and have the team recognised as a key enabler to growth in the Africa region.

What advice would you give to women who want to pursue a career in tech?

Believe in yourself. Never limit yourself. Stay loyal to who you are. Know your passions and strengths. Focus on what’s important to you. Have fun every day!

Interested in supercharging your career like Umsha has? 

Women in Tech Africa is taking place 18th – 19th March in Cape TownSouth Africa. In addition to speeches and workshops, there will be a MEETUP stage so that attendees can converse with prominent tech innovators from across Africa on a range of subjects. This includes AI, cloud computing, blockchain, tech career paths and empowering female leadership in male-heavy industries.


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