Carol Ngcamphalala

No short cuts, don't be lazy, keep yourself relevant and evolve with the transformation in the field. I can't emphasize enough the importance of continuous learning.

Country of origin

South Africa

Which company do you work for?

Altron

What is your specific area of specialisation?

Change Management / Organisational Transformation

How long have you been in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) fields?

17 years

As a woman in a male dominated industry, what has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your career, and how did you overcome it?

Discrimination based on gender is like any other form of discrimination really. It can be age, race, personality, language, etc. This is not to say that women don’t face unique challenges in male-dominated industries and in society in general.

Over the years, I have learnt that if I respect my work, value what I can offer and get things done, I can navigate all sorts of challenges.

Nothing beats a person (woman or not) that gets this done, especially if that person has integrity, is collaborative, inspires possibilities for others.

What inspired you to join this industry?

I started my career in IT consulting and although I have worked for a number of organisations in the Financial Services and the Public Sector, leading large scale IT business transformation change management projects has been a common thread.

I am always in awe of the high demand for change management and business transformation capabilities across many organisations. No project is the same, the technology is rapidly evolving and the learning and opportunities to make a real difference are endless.

So, what attracted me to this work and to the industry is the ever-growing demand for the services and products that this industry can offer to society overall. Technology (created and consumed by people) has proven over and over again to contribute meaningfully to society, organisations, economies and give fulfilling careers to many people.

What changes, if any, have you seen in your field with regards to women in your field?

In my 17 years of working with various Information Technology teams, we are gradually getting accustomed to seeing more women sit at those IT leadership team tables. And it’s encouraging. However, we need to see many of these women stay and enjoy the support and confidence of the organisations that they are serving.

I say “stay” because we can do with more support for women to succeed in the industry. I am not saying we should give special treatment to women; I am saying any human being that is committed to getting their job done to make a meaningful impact, deserves to be supported. Let’s use a fair and consistent standard of assessing competence, results, pay and merits for reward and recognition.

How can we attract more women to consider a career in the STEM fields?

Support competent women, build skills for those lacking the skills and exposure, be intentional in building the female talent pipeline (not lip service).

Use a fair and consistent standard of assessing competence, results, pay and merits for reward and recognition. Equally, celebrate & recognise well-deserving women as much as we do for men – this will be a great model for the next generation of female and male leaders. Human beings must thrive, not because of their gender (or race, age, language, etc.), but because of their talent, equal exposure and opportunities, hard work and support.

If you were to advise other young women starting their careers in the tech or within the STEM fields, what is the one thing you would say to them?

  1. It’s important to understand the value of the industries driven by STEM fields. It’s not just a career, it’s an opportunity to grow, learn and make a difference.
  2. Get things done, take responsibility for your growth and what you want to contribute to making a difference.
  3. No shortcuts, don’t be lazy, keep yourself relevant and evolve with the transformation in the field. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of continuous learning.

When not working, what do you do for fun?

I like audiobooks and reading: books have helped me discover so much about so many things in my personal life and career, including about myself -self-mastery, to build resilience, live optimistically, come out of difficult situations really triumphant.

I also love spending time indoors with my family, with friends and I am a die-hard ROMCOM movie fanatic.

Nominate yourself, a friend, colleague or inspiring women in the technology and STEM fields to have their story featured. Let’s collectively join and create a movement of women leaders in the industry. Nominate with a social media handle in the comments of our social post and we will get in touch so we can inspire more women.