Speaker Spotlight: Q&A with Zain Reddiar, Chief Human Resources Officer @ MTN Cote d'Ivoire

blog article image - Thandi-01Zain Reddiar speaks to us about his role in the technology sector and shares his thoughts on Women in Tech Africa, taking place 18th-19th March in Cape Town. 

Zain Reddiar is a respected, dynamic and innovative professional with excellent executive level strategic management, human resource, business and people skills. Zain is a rare, seasoned South African HR Practitioner, who has blended experience across the African and Middle Eastern continents.

He relishes challenges and believes that encountering different people in different scenarios would not only be stimulating, but would provide him with ongoing challenges. This fuels his passion and commitment to contribute to change on all levels.

Zain has vast experience in the ambit of consulting with particular emphasis on project implementation. He has had exposure to projects from inception, to methodology, through to implementation.

Firstly, Zain will be sharing his wisdom on our MEETUP stage in a discussion entitled 'The Hottest Tech Career Paths in 2019' on 18th March at 16:00. On 19th March at 10:00, Zain will then be presenting on 'Overcoming Regional Challenges to Recruit and Retain Talent for Gender Diversity & Inclusion'. The focus of this talk will be how to create organisations that do not discriminate against the best talent on the basis of gender, race, age, or disability.

There's still tickets available, book now!


We caught up with Zain ahead of the conference, here's what he had to say. 

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

The African Continent and its diversity is misunderstood and often taken out of context. The pedagogy needs to be challenged. Countries on the continent are far from being homogenous. I believe in the women of Africa and I believe in the contribution women can make towards the transformation of the African continent, which has the potential to be the powerhouse of the world. It is untapped, unexplored, it is raw with potential and opportunity, this the keen outside interests. Education, particularly that of women, is the ultimate tool that will unlock the potential of the continent.

What are you speaking about at Women in Tech Africa?

I will be touching  on Overcoming Regional Challenges to Recruit and Retain Talent for Gender Diversity & Inclusion in the form of storytelling. I believe that the traditional method of delivery is not aligned to the spirit of conveying messages in Africa and I believe that the style will leave each women with at least one take away point. The topic has been widely debated, often from a political and finger-pointing view and more often out of context. I will attempt to empower women to own their own transformation journey which will ultimately place the transformation agenda into the hands of the mighty women of Africa.

What will people learn from listening to your talk?

If they learn nothing more than self leadership and the importance of imagination and innovation, then I will have accomplished the mission I am travelling across the continent for.

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

Women telling stories; women sharing experiences; women taking ownership of their pivotal role in society and business.

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

Undoubtably, Jyoti Desai, the former MTN Group Chief Technical and Information Officer. A super smart women who has taken her career into her own hands. She understood her need to transform the system from the inside and break stereotypes. She went on to assume senior technical roles unheard of by females and above all she proved that women can be counted equally at the boardroom table.

There is one thing, however, that she did, which I wish more women will find their duty to do; and that is to inspire, grow and create opportunities for other women.

What’s a typical day like for you?

Work!!! Meetings… conversations with others, exchanging ideas and always conversations with myself as a reminder that there are opinions and inputs that may be different to mine, but that they are equally valuable.

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

I am finalising my Phd (doctoral) studies which will give me access to academic institutions where I intend to give my time to young people, helping to build a sustainable continent.

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

Diversify, diversify, diversify!!! We have passed the era where finding a female technical person or engineer was something rare to behold. There are tons. Africa is churning out female engineers who are competent and they are moving beyond the borders.  The challenge, however, is that women are remaining specialist and with artificial intelligence on the rise, their jobs and futures are threatened. Women need to have expertise in more than one area so that they do not become self-destructing.

Interested in mastering the art of disruption like Zain 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.

There's still tickets available, book now!


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