What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?
Without a doubt, the satisfaction of witnessing the growth and development of people under my leadership. When people in my team go on to manage large teams or projects, both locally and abroad, it gives me an enormous sense of pride and affirmation that I have been successful in my role. I believe that one of the most important roles of leadership is to facilitate and support a platform of learning and development.
What first made you think of a career in technology?
My father was an electronic engineer so, from an early age, I was exposed to a bunch of electronic gadgets. We had a family computer called the Commodore 64 which had 64kb of RAM which was huge back in then! I spent most of my spare time coding or playing games. I think the bug bit in those early years and I went on to program in Cobol & RPG 400 in an AS400 world.
What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?
Lead by example. I have always believed that we have a responsibility to be a combination of manager, coach, mentor and leader. Leadership is about the process of influencing other people’s behaviour, attitude and opinions. As a leader, it is vitally important to set a steady course for others to follow.
What do you think is the current hot technology talking point?
‘Autonomous things’. Whether it’s in homes, cars, robots or agriculture, autonomous things use AI to perform tasks traditionally done by humans. The sophistication of the intelligence varies, but all autonomous things use AI to interact more naturally with their environments. A good example of this today is the endless possibility offered by drones.
How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?
I have a passion for extreme sports. If I’m not doing extreme mountain biking you might find me doing crazy enduro motorbike riding on an off-the-beaten-track mountain. Otherwise you may find me sitting in a quiet room in my house hiding away from the kids with a good book.
If you could go back and change one career decision what would it be?
If I hadn’t gone into the exciting and constantly changing world of cybersecurity, I would have followed the aviation IT path. It would be amazing to be involved in the next generation of aircraft, using some of the new technologies incorporating AI.
What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?
The exponential growth of cyber threats is confirmed by research groups around the world, which consider a cyberattack to be the main risk facing businesses in the near future. The frequency and severity of cyberattacks and data breaches has risen significantly in the last few years, as attacks increase in volume and variety.
What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in Africa?
Achieving availability of a safe, secure, trusted and affordable Internet for all is seen as a key enabler of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) around the globe. People globally are relying more and more on the Internet for access to education, healthcare, employment, commerce and information. Plus, the developing Internet of Things (IoT) with its myriad of connected sensors and devices promises to dramatically enhance the varied social and economic benefits of global connectivity – while simultaneously leaving further behind the world’s unconnected populations.
What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the next 12 months?
In the ever-evolving threat landscape it’s becoming increasingly important to create a culture of cybersecurity awareness for our customers, partners and internal teams. Communicating this effectively has become an increasing focus for me and I believe this will continue to be the case as cybercrime continues to change and become more sophisticated
What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain C-level position in your industry?
Work hard, show dedication, courage and determination in everything you do. Also, maintain a strategic mindset that overcomes the burden of operational issues and establishes a clear vision for all those who cross your daily path.