Spotlight On Zimbabwean Women In Tech: Alana Chinhara
Let’s face it, ladies. The tech industry has been a boy’s club for far too long.
But times are changin’!
Even though women have a long history in the industry, it’s taken decades to get a seat at the table. Today we’re developers, team leads, and CEOs. Of course, there are still miles to go in the march for equality. But with women in Zimbabwe raising their voices to make tech companies more inclusive, it’s hard not to get just a tiny bit excited for the next generation of female go-getters.
The majority of businesses have now recognized that balanced and diversified work environment brings the best productivity. It also implies harmonious joint work of men and women. However, still, a small percentage of women consider the IT sphere for the future employment. Therefore, at Techunzipped we launched a new series of interviews with women in technology to show that women are making a big change in technology and IT.
Techunzipped had a chance for a one-on-one with Alana Chinhara.
Techunzipped: Tell us about your role at ZOL
Alana: I Lead the global retail marketing strategy and program execution for the Liquid group, working in partnership with local marketing teams, customer service teams and sales teams. I also develop and direct all aspects of marketing management for all retail activity. This includes strategic planning, product development, marketing research, budgeting, pricing and advertising/promotional/www development.
Techunzipped: What do you value most in your work? What excites you most?
Alana: I am a creative marketing professional, quality content lover and a curious soul and in my work particularly in ICTs, I get to explore and live in that mind space daily. I love interacting with the exceptional minds that are ‘techies’ and after understanding their vision, translating that to language that every day people understand, so that they may share in and benefit from the brilliance that I get to experience.
Techunzipped: What Would You Advise Young Girls Who Are Just Deciding On Their Career?
Alana: The trends tell me that there will be tens of millions of jobs for people with advanced digital skills in the coming years. Despite the obvious benefits, many girls never even consider a career in ICTs. And yet at the same time, many companies are looking to increase the number of women in the sector. The ICT sector is a growing sector for employment in both developed and developing countries. This means that highly qualified women in technical fields around the world have significant opportunities available to them. Any young lady would do well to take advantage of such an exceptional opportunity. And being a woman in ICTs is so special and outstanding, that they can only shine.
Techunzipped: What’s the best way to find a senior female mentor?
Alana: Often the question ‘ will you be my mentor? ’ is met with resistance especially by women who are not only career women but are also career moms and wives. That questions simply says to them ‘ I would like a piece of the precious time that you seldom have ‘. The immediate reaction to that is ‘not now’, or ‘later’ or ‘yes’…but the mentor does not commit. So what to do?
I advise that young ladies looks for a mentor in an environment that they are already in e.g. the workplace. They then offer themselves to the prospective mentor by participating in a project or activity that the mentor is leading or is involved in. The best way (and often the only way) to get to spend time with a busy person is by being involved in their busy schedule. It follows that you will obviously take tea breaks together and sit with them at lunch. These are the moments that you can then take advantage of, to ask personal questions and create a relationship. All this accomplished without creating a ‘heavy ‘ expectation which is more often than not met in a formal mentoring arrangement. With time, the senior female will then realize that she is mentoring you and will embrace the role.