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IT PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR 2015 - TOP 10 SHORTLIST

 

Brandon Bekker

MD of Mimecast SA

Brandon BekkerBrandon Bekker, MD of Mimecast SA, has worked in the industry for many years, moving from success to success and now managers one of the fastest growing IT software companies in South Africa. Having grown Mimecast's sales exponentially as sales director, it was suitable for him to be selected as MD to help take the business forward. Whilst networking with some of the most influential people in the industry, Bekker can be proud to not only call them equals but also customers as Mimecast continues to dominate in the cloud based email security sector.

Aside from the library of leadership books that Bekker has ploughed through, he has his own natural leadership style which makes him both a respected and personable leader at Mimecast. His focus on keeping staff connected, confident and in control of their responsibilities within the business is inspirational. He motivates staff to set goals in their personal and professional lives and encourages high performance and support to reach those goals.

He also has a strong belief in the body and the mind working in alignment and that both should be healthy, and literally lead a pack of Mimecasters at this year's JP Morgan running race, before doing the same at the London Marathon.

With a firm belief in protecting our environment and supporting those who are in need, Bekker is passionate about his charitable causes - raises thousands of rands for rhino conservation through his London Marathon fund raising, and thousands more in a burpee challenge for Mandela Day to help support a school in need.

Carel du Toit

MD, Mint Management Technologies

Carel du ToitWhen Carel du Toit met Mint's original founders in 2000, fresh out of Stellenbosch University, he'd already founded - and sold - his own software company. This entrepreneurial spirit has stuck with him throughout his career, earning him an early directorship and ultimately the role of MD of Mint Management Technologies at the age of 33.

Mint's collaborative partnerships, multiple mobile patents, breakthrough CRM, cloud, mobile & ECM technologies have pushed the digital envelope and earned a great deal of respect – and revenue – for the business. The company grew more than 35% in the last year alone, established a presence in the Western Cape and scooped multiple awards and nominations including membership into Microsoft's President's Club (Top 5% Global Partner) and being named as a finalist in the Best HR Industry Innovation and Corporate Creativity category with Careers24 & The Future of HR Awards.

Mint's DotUnity programme, co-founded by du Toit in 2011 to provide employees with a meaningful way of addressing social issues earned Mint the recognition of Microsoft SA Social Responsibility Partner of the Year.

Under du Toit's leadership Mint has created IT Internships for disadvantaged graduates, partnered with eDeaf to enable hearing-impaired candidates to acquire and apply IT skills at a tertiary education level, initiated an exchange programme with the Netherlands, and even recruited and re-skilled talent from outside the IT sector as part of a structured apprenticeship to acquire desired skill-sets.

Du Toit's holistic leadership approach looks beyond core technology to address strategic business issues like agility and security. It has just seeded an entirely new delivery model not previously seen in the South African ICT space which has influenced the way IT projects are structured and managed to be more efficient and effective.

Alan Knott-Craig

CEO Project Isizwe

Alan Knott-CraigCEO of Project Isizwe, Alan Knott-Craig (jnr) is a highly successful businessman, best selling author and social entrepreneur. Originally from Pretoria, he studied at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (formerly UPE) and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2002.

In 2003 he founded Cellfind, one of South Africa's first mobile location-based service providers, and served as CEO until 2005. In 2006 he was appointed as CEO of iBurst and succeeded in building one of South Africa's largest wireless broadband networks. In 2010, he founded and became CEO of World of Avatar, an investment house for apps for Africa and was later also appointed as CEO of Mxit after acquiring the company in 2011. At the time Mxit was Africa's biggest social network.

After leaving Mxit in 2012, Knott-Craig founded and became CEO of Project Isizwe, a non-profit company managing the deployment of the largest public free Wi-Fi network in Africa. He is also chairman of HeroTel, a wireless broadband provider, Happimo NPC, a non-profit focused on GovTech, and Ever Africa, an mobile app development company.
Between 2003 and 2013 he co-founded and/or funded 17 companies in the technology, media and telecommunications sector in Africa.

Knott-Craig was named as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2009. Forbes listed him as one of the top 10 young African millionaires to watch. He was also included in "100 Choiseul Africa", a list of top 100 young African business leaders in 2014.

Project Isizwe was formed to address social, economic and healthcare inequality through free WiFi. The initiative aims to provide the continent with access to the Internet through an infrastructural solution that is both easy to deploy and cost-effective. It is deployed in partnership with local municipalities. The initial rollout happened in the city of Tshwane, and is now being rolled out to the Eastern Cape.

Lorraine Steyn

CEO and founder of Khanyisa Real Systems

Lorraine SteynLorraine Steyn founded Khanyisa Real Systems (KRS) in 1987, at the age of 24. She has continued to grow KRS since then, and now has over 50 technical staff in Cape Town and Gauteng. Previously, she was IT director for one of SA's large retailers, and chairman of Mensa Cape 2010 - 2012.

Lorraine was the first woman outside of America to be a Delphi Certified Developer and has continued to stay abreast of new technology even as the business grew. She completed a Bachelors of Business Administration from Unisa just before her 50th birthday, part of her belief that constant learning is an important aspect of life.

KRS runs a self-funded internship for 12 developers each year. Lorraine believes that software companies need to help build the skills pool in the Western Cape, and actively support our youth in bridging university or college education and the needs of the business world. Always willing to take a risk and try something new, Lorraine is a glider pilot, karate and Aikido student, keen hiker, and has even spent a year sailing the Mediterranean with her husband and young son.

Barbara Mallinson

Founder and CEO of Obami

Barbara MallinsonBarbara Mallinson is the founder and CEO of Obami, a social learning platform being used by hundreds of schools across Africa, Europe and the US. Obami was recognised as one of the "Top 10 Most Innovative Technologies in the World" in 2011 by Netexplo, UNESCO and partners, and was identified as one of the "Top 20 Startups in Africa" by Forbes a year later. 

Mallinson has been branded an IT Hero, and one of Cape Town's top 10 Women in Business, by the Cape IT Initiative. Over the past four years, she has presented her views on social media, social learning and social entrepreneurship across the globe. In 2010, she took part in Old Mutual's "Do Great Things" campaign and was also identified as one of the Mail & Guardian's "Top 200 Young People to Take to Lunch".

She has contributed to the UNESCO Courier as one of 21 young people changing the world and is the only African sitting on the advisory board for the Mobile World Capital, a global initiative driven by the city of Barcelona and the GSMA. 

Mallinson believes we're going through one of the most exciting times in African history - so much change is taking place across the continent because of technology. To one day look back and say that she played just a small role in driving that change, will be more than enough of a "legacy" for her.

Koketso Moeti

Co-founder and campaigner at amandla.mobi

Koketso MoetiKoketso Moeti is co-founder at campaigner at amandla.mobi, an independent social justice organisation in SA that is committed to building a more just people-powered Mzansi. To do this, the organisation is working to turn every cell phone into a democracy building tool so that no matter where someone lives, and irrespective of the language they speak, or the issues close to their heart, they can take action with others.

In the past, Moeti was withActivate! Change Drivers, Local Government Action, Medecins Sans Frontieres / Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

She has several awards and honours. The Mail & Guardian Book of South African Women 2012, Drivers of Change Awards nominee in 2012, and Mail & Guardian and Southern African Trust Drivers of Change Awards nominee in the individual category. In addition, she was a Johnny Walker/Sunday Times Nation's Greatest Community Leader nominee in 2013.

Moeti is also a founder and project co-ordinator of Operation: ROOIGROND. The aim of this project is to establish a library in the community to encourage learning, education and access to information and, she hopes, will lead to a mental shift within the community.

She believe this is an important part of eradicating the problems in the area, as through education, knowledge and information the negative cycles within the community can be broken.

Greg Reis

Founder and CEO of BSG

Greg ReisGreg Reis founded niche consulting and technology company BSG in 1997 and has been instrumental in its continued success and ongoing growth. Under his leadership, BSG has grown to over 200 employees across two geographic regions, with aggressive expansion plans for the coming years.

BSG has been awarded the following accolades: Proudly South African (PSA) Innovator of the year award (2007), PSA Service of the Year award (2008), Deloitte Best Company to Work for (Company and IT Industry Categories) (2008), Discovery Healthiest Company (Overall winner) (2011), Discovery Healthiest Company to Work for and Healthiest Employees (small business category) (2012), Runners up Discovery Healthiest Company (2014) • BSG now works with leading South African banks, retailers, insurers, oil and gas companies and telecommunications organisations.

Reis spearheads BSG's support of education, specifically in maths and science education in underprivileged areas in South Africa. As a result of his belief in every child's birth right to a decent education, BSG has adopted LEAP Science and Maths Schools as the primary beneficiary of its CSR initiatives. This, coupled with his passion for sport, has seen hundreds of BSG employees and affiliates participate in various BSG-sponsored triathlons and cycling events in support of LEAP, raising in excess of half a million rand over the last five years. In addition to driving BSG's CSR initiatives, Reis's passion for education is evident in his commitment to top quality tertiary education. In support of this, he chairs or sits on faculty advisory boards at all major universities across South Africa. Reis also gives generously to Rhino conservation, ecological conservation and endurance sport development initiatives.

Niel Schoeman

Founder and CEO of Vumatel

Niel SchoemanNiel Schoeman is the founder and CEO of Vumatel and has a longstanding IT business heritage. He was the chairman of Conduct, the last-mile provide which was bought out by Dark Fibre Africa. Vumatel was the first company to bring fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) to non- gated communities in Johannesburg in 2014 and the roll-out has been highly successful.

Schoeman has been described as a visionary, disruptor and innovator, and sees opportunity where others see obstacles. He is prepared to tackle apparently insurmountable challenges inventively to create value by re-imagining conventional and outdated systems, practices and frameworks. He asks 'why not?' instead of ‘why?' and starts with an ideal scenario and reverse engineers the solution. He makes valuable connections between seemingly disparate things.

He understood the need to set a new standard for the rollout of telecoms infrastructure, making access to affordable and reliable high-speed internet a possibility for communities across the country. Vumatel's open access model encourages competition and has changed the FTTH landscape in SA.

Bringing FTTH to ordinary South Africans is helping to build a new broadband network which will contribute significantly to economic development and growth which benefits all South Africans. Vumatel only installs its FTTH network in communities in which the majority of consumers indicate their interest in the project, thus ensuring that democratic principles are retained. Schools in the areas are the first non-residents to benefit - for example Vumatel has provided a free fibre connection to Parkhurst Primary, with more such programmes to be put in place.

Lex van Wyk

CEO and founder, Teraco

Lex van WykFounder of Teraco, Lex van Wyk built Africa's only vendor-neutral data centre facilities, that he says will be the largest in Africa in 2017. He also spearheaded the company's management buyout in 2014, funded by global investment firm Permira - their first-ever African investment. He is an independent thinker, and has developed plans with a vision of a future most don't foresee.

When Teraco launched, the majority of the market did not believe, understand or value the model around vendor-neutral co-location. However, Lex has demonstrated the value and benefit of open access and infrastructure sharing, leading to Teraco becoming the primary interconnection point for all undersea cables and African network operators. Due to Van Wyk's initiatives, a massive change in how African people operate online has occurred.

He is also involved in three key CSI initiatives: Foundation for Internet Development (FID), which was formed by UniForum SA, ISPA, WAPA and ISOC-ZA, and aims to consolidate the enterprise development efforts of the ICT industry and maximise the impact of contributions and activities in pursuit of answering the call of the President. In addition, van Wyk is involved in Women of Value SA (WOVSA), whose objective is to facilitate and coordinate the empowerment programmes including capacity building. The third initiative, Soweto Wireless User Group (SOWUG), is a registered NPO that provides free wireless to residents of Soweto. Teraco's donation played a significant role in the formation and launch of SOWUG.

Derek Wilcocks

CEO, Dimension Data Middle East & Africa

Derek WilcocksDerek Wilcocks is CEO Middle East & Africa at Dimension Data. He joined the Dimension Data Group in 1995 as founding MD of Internet Solutions' subsidiary, Trusted Network Solutions, and joined Internet Solutions a year later (1996), becoming a board member. He was appointed MD in October 2009. Wilcox has said that the bulk of Didata's acquisitions over the last ten years, has been in developing markets. He says the company has gone from being in zero countries on the African continent to ten as the DiData brand, and has also moved into South America, large parts of South East Asia, and Eastern Europe on a smaller scale.

Wilcocks has held numerous executive positions during his sixteen years with the Group. In 2001, he was appointed executive: Strategy & Technology for Dimension Data Middle East & Africa. He was a key figure in steering Dimension Data Middle East & Africa through the 2002/03 ICT sector downturn, and also in developing and executing the Group's growth strategy post this period, which has delivered seven years of year on year growth.

In August this year DiData announced that Grant Bodley will take over as MEA CEO and Derek Wilcocks will takes up an executive position within the global Dimension Data group.

Wilcocks believes strongly in value-based leadership and conscious capitalism. He introduced these concepts to Dimension Data MEA in conjunction with consulting firm Cebano in 2013. As part of this approach, 320 top leaders in the organisation have a portion of their remuneration based on working with emerging talent. For the past four years Wilcocks has been the executive sponsor of the Dimension Data Saturday School, which works with pupils from 14 township schools for 40 Saturdays each year. Wilcocks has also supported numerous programs aimed at socio-economic upliftment through education and in his personal capacity he supports Girls & Boys Town.


 

Event sponsor

Telkom

Telkom Business is part of Telkom SA SOC Limited, one of Africa's largest telecommunications companies, providing integrated communication solutions to business customers across various sectors. With its combined offering of fixed voice, data, cloud and mobile capabilities, it is well positioned to be the converged ICT market leader. For more information, please visit www.telkom.co.za


Awards announcement

The 2015 winners of both awards will be announced at the IITPSA President's Awards breakfast event on 12 November 2015 at the Hilton Hotel in Sandton.

Click here to book your seat today!

2014 AWARDS

2014 Winners
Click here to view the IITPSA President's Awards 2014 gallery

Previous Winners

IT Personality 2015

Gian Visser Gian Visser (2014)
Barry Dwolatzky Mteto Nyati
Barry Dwolatzky & Mteto Nyati (2013)
Rob StokesRob Stokes (2012) Asher BohbotAsher Bohbot (2011)
Rob StokesMark Levy (2010) Rob StokesIvan Epstein (2009)

Visionary CIO

Tshifhiwa Ramuthaga Tshifhiwa Ramuthaga (2014)
Sal Laher Sal Laher (2013) Sello Mmakau Sello Mmakau (2012)
Sandi Macfie Sandi Macfie (2011) Patrick Monyeki Patrick Monyeki (2010)
Carl Louw Carl Louw (2009) Rabelani Dagada Rabelani Dagada (2008)

THE PANEL OF JUDGES