There has never been a more exciting time to do business as woman than now, technology has opened up so many avenues where women can participate and contribute meaningfully while fully owning their time to attend to other demands of life that come with being a woman.
Sarah Luyele Njamu is the CEO and founder of Compu-Connect Education, a Johannesburg based software company that specialises in: E-learning, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cyber Security, Digital Transformation and Executive Leadership Training.
In a nutshell, tell us a bit about your job, and what role technology plays in it?
I am the CEO and founder of Compu-Connect Education, a software company that is based in Johannesburg, South Africa, that I founded 12 years ago. My job is to oversee the successful running of the company. My role involves anything from IT project management to stakeholder liaisons as well as Business development.
Where did your professional journey start and how did you get to where you are now?
I started my career in 1998 as a High school Mathematics teacher in Zambia and in 2001, I moved to Botswana where I transitioned into tertiary lecturing, in this role, I was tasked with teaching tertiary students mathematics and Computer skills, I must say this is where my love for tech started. I came from not knowing how to operate a computer because when I started working computers were just starting to be introduced, so I had no formal training in computers, when I started working as a lecturer in the Tertiary institution where I taught mathematics to students across different vocation skills such as engineering, Construction, textiles, hospitality and multimedia courses, I was also tasked with teaching computer skills to these students due to the skill shortage in the tertiary institution that I taught in. As a matter of fact, all the staff in our department were mandated with the task to teach computer skills to the students who were studying different technical courses, as a result we all had to teach ourselves how to use a computer and go through a computer skills program that we then taught the students that enrolled in different courses.
In 2007 once I had obtained my MBA, I then decided it was time to try something new, so I moved countries, I came to work in South Africa, where I landed myself a job in a Software company as a software sales consultant and it was in this job that my eyes where opened to the possibility of starting my own software company. In 2009, I then launched out on my own and started a software company called Compu-connect Education. Initially Compu-Connect Education company focused on distribution of educational software and we experienced a lot of success in this market, then we expanded into the development of customized Learning Management Systems and e-learning content, and more recently as the market shifted towards Robotic Process Automation (RPA), our company then expanded into Robotic Process Automation, which is a very exciting space to be in at the moment. We are truly grateful to be counted among the companies that are pioneering Robotic Process Automation on the African continent because RPA is a game changer for companies.
What is the greatest transformation in technology you’ve witnessed in your career?
The introduction of Robotic Process Automation or digital workforce also known as software robots, that basically can do any mundane, repetitive, rule based tasks such as date entry, data capturing, invoicing, HR information processing, customer service activities, mortgage processing, sales order processing etc. These software robots are trained to work exactly as human being work, except they are more efficient and more accurate than human beings.
When you think about ‘women’ and ‘technology’ what comes to your mind first?
Opportunity, Opportunity, opportunity. There has never been an exciting time to do business as woman than now, technology has opened up so many avenues where women can participate and contribute meaningfully while fully owning their time to attend to other demands of life that comes with being a woman.
We always hear there are not enough women working in Tech. What needs to happen to change that? Using your own words, why do we need women focused groups in the tech community?
More women need to be encouraged and supported to enter the tech industry. Young girls from an early age must be encouraged to take keen interest in technology. The STEM agenda for girls needs to be pushed more vigorously so we can increase the number of women entering the tech industry.
We need women focused groups in the tech community because the tech industry is a male dominated industry, as a result it can be a very lonely place for women, we need more and more women in tech to network together so we can support each other in the best way possible.
Who are your tech influencers and why?
It’s definately Ursula M. Burns, she is an African American businesswoman who is the former CEO of Xerox. For me Ursula Burns symbolises the epitome of success in business against all odds. She came from an engineering background to leading a fortune 500 tech compan. In her first five years as CEO, she transformed Xerox into a thriving international services provider and made it profitable. For me Ursula Burns is a woman with tenacity who inspires me to push myself beyond the limits that society puts on women. Women like her inspires me to dream big.
What has been the greatest piece of advice you have received in your career so far?
In order to grow your business, you need to be hands on. Be aware and up to date with what’s happening in your business.
If you could host a dinner party with 3 influential people in tech, who would you invite and why?
Bill Gates founder of Microsoft, Mihir Shuklar CEO and founder of Automation Anywhere an RPA company, Ursula Burns former Xerox CEO. For me these are well-grounded and highly successful business people, whose brains I would like to pick, on several business-related issues.
Sarah Luyele Njamu is the CEO and founder of Compu-Connect Education, a Johannesburg based software company that specialises in: E-learning, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cyber Security, Digital Transformation and Executive Leadership Training. She is also an international conference speaker, facilitator, trainer and Business coach. With a career of over 20 years backed by an MBA and qualifications in Education, Sarah L. Njamu has extensive experience in sales, customer care, marketing, change management, project management, leadership training, Robotic Process Automation Implementation (RPAi) and Learning Management system (LMS) implementation with e-learning content. Sarah brings a great wealth of experience and exposure from working in three African markets namely South Africa, Zambia and Botswana.