It’s Women’s Month and here at Telkom we want to celebrate the women who clear the paths for other women to walk on. We are excited to give you a look into the life and thoughts of Beauty Apleni. She has paved her way up to the position she is now, from being an intern in the year 2000 to being the Chief Technology and Information Officer at Telkom. Read on to learn more about what she does and her experiences in this field as a woman.
Please give us a short introduction of yourself
My name is Beauty Apleni, I am originally from PE but I’ve been in Pretoria forever. I work for Telkom South Africa and I am the Chief Technology and Information Officer
What’s a day in your life like at Telkom?
Day to day operations include checking the performance of systems - are customers getting the service they want on the network. In my scope is also defining the future roadmap. Secondly, how do we take the new technologies in the industry to enable the business to go into a new direction. Then probably the most important part, leading and developing a team of technically competent people in the business that can run and enable the rest of the business, that’s my day to day
What excites you the most about your job?
I’m a problem solver at heart, I love fixing problems, any part of my job that allows me to fix problems makes me happy, because I feel like I got something, and I moulded it and I fixed it, so my job enables me to do that, that’s why I’m in the technical space. Problems will never finish, because if they finish, we won’t have jobs and as the world changes itself, new problems come up, new opportunities come up, so being in a space where you can constantly find things to fix, motivates me.
Are there expectations placed on you as a woman?
It differs, there’s a whole host of people that expect you to fail, then there are a certain group of people that give you the opportunity, and know you have the capabilities within you, so they expect you to perform a little higher. Then there’s what I call a woman challenge, where whatever you do as a woman, you have to know that you represent hundreds of other women. My failure is their failure, so you need to say, I need to make this a success so that the rest of the women behind me can be given the same opportunity.
How do you get to be a CTIO?
Your motivation to do this job must be something that comes from within, because it is not a very thankful job. The qualification is an entry point, once you’re in, how then do you stay relevant? All these new technologies that are coming in, you need to teach yourself so you can stay relevant within the industry. Then you also need to learn management skills because nobody is born leading people, you learn these things then you start structuring and building your career to finally get to the position you want to be in.
What do you think defines a great leader?
A leader must be able to say I can build teams, I can create a vision for my team, I can then be able to motivate and inspire this team to deliver this vision.
What advice can you give to women in the working world?
Accept that part of this journey is failure, don’t make it be the thing that demotivates you, let it be the thing that motivates you further. The more I fail, the better I learn and the better I become.