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CEO Microsoft South Africa – Lillian Barnard – Women in IT

This week on Womanity-Women in Unity, Dr. Amaleya Goneos-Malka talks to the CEO of Microsoft South Africa Lillian Barnard. Microsoft has a market capitalisation in the region of USD 1.78 trn, ranking second in the world. It owns multiple subsidiaries, including LinkedIn, Skype and Xbox, and approximately 1.4bn people across the globe use one or more Microsoft products or services.

Ms Barnard shares some of her career milestones. She also notes a few of the challenges she experienced working in a male dominated ICT industry, and shares how women can overcome these issues. Her tips include: being confident and finding your voice to make your point; being aware that you are an intellectual equal to your male peers; and seeking help and mentorship to navigate your career path. For example, the South African chapter of Women@Microsoft is a mentorship instrument that spurs a culture which encourages gender equality in the workplace.

We note the importance of IT throughout society with an emphasis on digital transformation and the need for women to pursue careers in IT and take advantage of economic opportunities. It starts with demystifying what it means to have an IT career and exposing young women to technology, letting them touch it, see it and play with it.

Ms Barnard closes with a few words of wisdom:

1. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Don’t let self-doubt hold you back from pursuing your dreams.

2.  Seek out mentors and allies who can support you in your journey. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or guidance.

3.  Embrace challenges and setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning. Remember that failure is not the end, but a steppingstone on the path to success.

4.  Celebrate your successes and the successes of other women around you. Lift each other up and help create a world where all women can thrive.

5.   Finally, never forget the power of your own voice and the impact you can make in the world. You have the ability to shape your own destiny and to make a difference in the lives of those around you. So go out there and make your mark!

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