What Leadership Means to Everlytic’s Women Managers
At a time when women leaders arestepping away from their companies at the highest rate in years, Everlytic’s leadership is mostly made up of women. This is especially exciting in the South African tech industry where women hold only 23% of the roles. Given that it’sWomen’s Month, we feel it’scause to celebrate, especially since government’s theme for this year’s commemoration is gender equality.So, what are some insights into gender diversity in the workplace? Well,a recent study found women are more inclusive and empathetic leaders. In light of this, we asked five of our women managerswhat leadership means to them. Here’s what they had to say.
“We Succeed Together and Fail Together With Genuine Care”
At every hour of her leadership journey, Louise Krog, Executive Head of Sales & Marketing, keeps the words of Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu at heart, “The wicked leader is he who the people despise. The good leader is he who the people revere. The great leader is he who the people say, ‘We did it ourselves.’”
This is because she believes it’s vital to empower those she leads to “shine their own way”. To do this successfully, she says a leader needs to master themselves first. “Leading people from that position allows you to have empathy, clarity, and discipline, which then provides a role model for the tone of the group,” says Louise.
A collective effort is key to the team culture Louise tries to cultivate. “No one in my team is on a journey that drives individual agendas. We succeed together and fail together with genuine care. We are committed to have the uncomfortable conversations, to stay true to our commitments, and allow the bold actions that reshape our own growth and those that we lead in our respective areas.”
She says a great team that can do great work is one that can have difficult, yet respectful, discussions to solve challenges and genuinely cares about how the collective succeeds. She adds there should not be any passive aggressive behaviour that blocks or avoids discomfort. “Only in this state have you reached a level to start mastery in the team performance.”
She also believes answers lie within the team and, in a bid to foster creativity and innovation, she listens as she allows discussions to flow and all voices to be heard. “This flow creates the magic of co-creation, not only for innovation but also for solving the problems that need solving as part of the innovation process.”
Louise is committed to ensuring her team makes strides towards work that shows progress, and so she is emphatic her team should not glorify busyness and the noise of what seems urgent. She supports them in this endeavour by communicating the company’s vision and goals consistently.
She says she’s learnt the critics will always be watching – and that is okay, and so she encourages other women hoping to make their mark in the tech industry not to shy away from failure as there’s bound to be failings along the way. “Continue to lean in to being better tomorrow and so you will win the day, then the week, then the month, and finally the year.”
Louise Krog recently spoke to attendees of the 2023 Everlytic Roadshow about the benefits of email marketing. Read this blog post to find out why she told them email is not “dead”.
“Leadership Doesn’t Come from a Title but from Actions”
For Nazeerah Khan, Head of Technical & Customer Support, leadership is about fostering a safe space for each team member to feel comfortable to be themselves and excel. “When a person is in an environment where they are being pushed to be the best they can be, then the effect can only result in success and moving forward for them, the team, and the business as a whole,” she says.
“We embrace diversity as there is so much we can also learn from each other.”
Nazeerah applies a people-centric approach to leadership in every aspect of her role. “The biggest responsibility of a leader is to be able to understand that, in a team, every person has a different personality, and using this info to effectively lead and engage with a person based on this. This way, you cultivate each person to be the best version of themselves. Great teamwork is built when every person feels heard, respected, and understood.”
She firmly believes leaders should remember they are people first and should share the load with their team. “Leadership does not come from a title but, more so, stems from your actions.” She also feels leaders should not create unrealistic expectations of a so-called ideal employee for their team members to live up to. “Everyone is perfect in their own way, and it is our duty to foster this mindset and culture in order to create an enjoyable and successful team.”
She cultivates creativity and innovation by encouraging her team members to ask questions and think critically. “There is no such thing as a stupid question or idea when it comes to assisting the business to move forward.”
Speaking of business growth, she says she constantly evaluates her team’s career goals, making sure they correspond with the company’s values. In fact, she measures the success of her team by how many personal career goals her employees achieve. “When we are driven to be aligned with the goal of the business within our personal career objectives, success is sure to follow.”
She encourages other women not to shy away from roles in the tech industry, saying, “Women are strong within so many aspects in their own unique ways that you should never let someone tell you that any task is impossible,” she says, adding that women can be successful in business while raising families and achieving any goals they set for themselves.
“Always remember that you are the only person who can define your ability and limitations. Shine like the diamond you were born to be!”
“When One Has a Strong Team Spirit, Anything’s Possible”
Cristelle Snyman, Marketing Manager, believes strongly in a “work hard, play hard” ethos. This is why she cultivates a workplace culture where her employees feel inspired, productive, and free to be themselves, while sharing many laughs.
“I believe my biggest responsibility as a leader is to build the right team with a shared vision to do great things. In addition to that, I need to empower each team member with the knowledge, skills, and equipment to deliver their best performance possible, and to take ownership of each of the areas they lead.”
She also feels it’s important for her team to work well together and get along. “When one has a strong sense of camaraderie and team spirit, anything is possible.”
While she says being a leader can be hard, with many daily challenges, there’s magic in it too. “There’s truly no greater satisfaction than when a team all really pulls together to produce a piece of work or content that performs well and reaches the goals we set out to achieve together.”
In a bid to foster a positive team spirit, she places much importance on the workplace environment. “As we spend most of our day at work and with our colleagues, it’s so important that it’s a place where we feel comfortable and at home but also inspired,” she says.
“I believe that team-building activities can contribute to a stronger team bond, and encourage my team to share stories from their daily lives, their likes and dislikes, and what makes them feel alive. The times when we meet in person, I try and encourage some ice-breaker activities and friendly banter, or just having a meal together as a team – all while managing our strict looming deadlines, of course!”
Cristelle identifies each of her team members’ strengths, and then sets achievable goals and activities for them to push their own limits, think critically, and try something new. “Our weekly team planning meetings are a great space where each person is encouraged to share ideas that will contribute to our marketing goals and to encourage us as a team to try new things, or try things in a different way.”
Success means so much more to Cristelle than her team members achieving their selected key performance indicators and goals. “It’s also really important for me that each team member is excited to show up for work, to feel like their tasks are challenging enough to grow, but achievable enough to not feel overwhelmed. I am happiest when my team is feeling happy, excited, and inspired, and I believe this is where the sweet spot for success lies.”
On the other end of the spectrum lies failure – something most leaders fear, yet Cristelle has found her greatest lesson from understanding it’s okay to fail, despite how hard that can be. “The important thing is to keep on trying, and to keep on trying new things.”
She encourages other women hoping to make their mark in the tech industry to look for other like-minded women to help, guide, and mentor them. “I have learnt most of what I know from other strong and inspiring women. I strongly believe that women should work really hard to support other women. When you find the right mentors it makes it so much easier to learn from your mistakes, to find the courage to keep going, and to never give up.”
We recently published our latest marketing report to give you top tips to boost your email engagement in travel and tourism. Download it for free here.
“I Run a Team of Inclusivity that Gives a Sense of Belonging”
The greatest lesson Zuraida Smail, Head of Channel Sales, has learnt about leadership is to remain humble and lead from the back while empowering her team. “Do not be afraid to unlearn what you have learnt, and learn new ways of doing things more effectively,” she advises.
For Zuraida, leadership means cultivating strong relationships with her team members in a bid to harness their full potential. “I run a team of inclusivity that gives everyone a sense of belonging.” She also believes in being empathetic and communicating effectively.
With communication a key part of her leadership style, Zuraida says she shares as much information as possible with her team. “This ensures we are all aligned and understand the entire plan for success.” She adds this creates an inclusive eco-system while the team sets about achieving the company’s objectives.
Zuraida feels her responsibility as a leader is to listen to her team members, believe in them, and she constantly drives sentiments of positivity and self-awareness. “When we started as a team, I spent time with my team members, sharing what my ‘why’ is, and they each shared theirs. Throughout our journey, we circle back to our individual ‘whys’ and it’s amazing how it fosters a culture of success, even when challenges seem to pop up.”
In a bid to nurture innovation, she welcomes her team to contribute unique inputs. “I am an advocate for individuality and diverse points of views, so I welcome creativity, openness, as well as plain old honesty.”
Zuraida has some advice for other women hoping to achieve success in the tech space too. “Understand your industry, have balance in your life, and – most importantly – don’t put anything off that should and can be done today.” She also advises to stay focused on your goals, and embrace your femininity.
Leadership: “To Inspire Through Meaningful Relationships”
The ability to inspire is what separates effective leaders from the rest. This is according to data collected by Harvard Business Review, and something we here at Everlytic can attest to since it’s the leadership skill our very own Wilene van Greunen, Head of Client Services, lives by.
Wilene believes her greatest responsibility as a leader is “to inspire and empower through building meaningful relationships”. She says, “When you empower and inspire by leading with humility, gratitude, empathy, and accountability, you will succeed.”
However, what about when things don’t go to plan? Building resilience is Wilene’s answer, and she does this through creating connection, giving direction, allowing for adaptability, and nurturing her team’s attitude in how they approach failure and setbacks. “Regardless of the adversity that this team faces, they stay focused and execute.”
She says her team culture is best described as extreme ownership, accountability, and belonging, and she creates this by takingcare of the people in her charge and allowing for flexibility that’s underpinned by accountability.
“It is really important that a team feels that they are given agency and control over their roles and responsibilities, and the power to make the right decisions. Through meaningful relationships, we have a deep level of trust and respect within our team.”
She aims to foster creativity and innovation among her team members by inspiring constant collaboration, but she takes a “balanced, hands-off approach”. She explains she spends time creating a space where each team member feels heard, allowing them to be their authentic selves, and constantly ensuring they know their opinions matter.
This plays into her greatest lesson as a leader, which is, “Understanding the value of the people in your care – as much as you are leading the way, you are only as strong as the people in your team.” She also believes anyone can be a leader when they understand they’ll always be a work in progress. “The way you react and learn from your mistakes says a lot about you as a person and a leader.”
In a bid to ensure her team is both aligned with the company’s goals and stays true to their own values, she shares the overall vision and aims to create an emotional connection for her team members to find their “why”.
For other women looking to succeed in the tech industry, she advises, “Be an infinite player that does not just strive to win or excel, but to persevere and outlast. Our ultimate successes are embedded in tough and challenging times – have the courage to lead with intensity and consistency.”
Our Women Leaders Create a Safe Space for Employees
Just as the findings of the Women in the Workplace 2022 reportfound women are inclusive and empathetic leaders, Everlytic’s women leadersare caring andpeople-centric. They aim to create asense of togethernesswhile allowing for individualism within their teams. With a focus on the future,they build a safe working environment where employees can become teammates who meet their personal goals while pursuing the company’s objectives.In these ways, our women leaders take strides towards success without letting the fear of failure hold them back.