Written by Amber Hawkins @ambbamm_
YV Media introduces our newest Power Moves highlight, Business Director of
Aspire Solutions & Aspire Technologies
Mushfiqoh Samodien is the most recent Standard Bank Top Women in Tech Winner 2020, nominee in the Womandla Foundation Women in STEAM Awards 2021, and Business Director of Aspire Solutions and Aspire Technologies. Her work experience spans across FMCG, Oil and Gas, Finance, Business consulting and change and transition management.
This experience has effectively equipped her to play an integral role in the design aspect of business transformation and the applied use of business systems. With 16 years of experience in the IT environment, she has worked on both local and international enterprise information technology projects, in both private and public sectors.
She is a formidable force in the IT space and has been involved as a speaker at numerous events, including Lifecheq Masterclass, Africa.Com, Africa Tech Week and more. During her time as implementation Director at Aspire the company significantly expanded in the development space. Aspire Solutions now offers learnerships and have launched an internal internship program based on the Aspire Technology template which they have developed. Aspire Solutions has also been a proud sponsor of the annual Women in ICT Seminar since 2019, where Mushfiqoh has been a panelist for three successive years. Other developmental collaborations include partnering with networks such as the Womandla Foundation, in driving technology awareness, women empowerment and with RB6 Football teams which forms part of her community upliftment.
It is Mushfiqoh’s ambition to use her role and experience to empower young women, to “take up space” in this male-dominated sector, by illustrating the value and impact of women in leadership.
Read Mushfiqoh's Interview with YV Media below.
What are some of the major obstacles minority women face in the tech industry? How have you overcome these obstacles?
The first obstacle is the acceptance of woman and their ability to shine with natural empathy and instinct. Society and the inheritance of patriarchy have defined women in a box, neglecting the skill attain in the simplest form of being a mother and a partner to someone, it's why we created in pairs. A lot of what we faced is the assumption of not being able to manage the pressure and men wanting women to focus more on family life. Yes, it's a challenge we take in our stride, however, the reward of seeing something through within Tech gives us not only the fulfillment but to push ahead.
Personally, my journey to overcome this was three things, courage, commitment, and confidence. All of which you are only able to identify once you are passionate enough to make your voice heard. Initially, I was overwhelmed in the boardroom dominated by males, however, I’ve come to realize that if you are comfortable within your capability no form of gender, age or race should stand in your way.
Who or what would you consider to be your greatest inspiration? What is your greatest achievement?
My greatest inspiration comes from pushing the boundaries ‘so called’ defined and making sure that failure is seen as an opportunity. My family, being parents and grandparents but more so my kids inspire me, having 3 girls I owe it to them to showcase life by means of choices and being true to oneself. Regarding achievement, being grateful for today and with the opportunity to have a voice in society, so being named, 'Standard Bank Top Women' in Tech Winner 2020 and first runner up, 2021, was unreal. To be named within a category of renowned companies not expecting to win proves that anything is possible. To look back and tell my younger self well done and keep going, even though I started working at an early age my commitment to myself and the will to make a difference has proven to go beyond the limits I set for myself.
What advice would you give to women who have an interest in the tech industry or are currently entering the tech industry? Anything you wish you had known?
Do not think you are boxed, ICT = Information, Communication, and Technology, find your passion to make a difference. Every need enabled is based on an idea and requires execution, so find your passion and give it a try. My one wish would be that when I was in matric and enquired about tech, the assumption was manual labor, network cables, and machines. The unknown factor, you make the machine run. So, I definitely would have found my passion sooner.
Goals for the remainder of the year and next?
To successfully launch Aspire Technologies, a sister company to Aspire Solutions focused on products and to assist with formalizing the Aspire Academy to open up to more who are willing to change the narrative on development within Tech.
What changes would you like to see within the tech industry?
Key for me is less push on buzz words and concepts but more on the reality that technology is a problem solver and for institutions to establish a bottom-up approach with a shorter timeline of goals and objectives generally defined within the top structure. This will truly change the nature of organizations and people need to transition. If anything, the current Pandemic proved that we cannot have a one-dimensional plan for operations.
Photographer @Ramiieg; MUA @lindylin.mua