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Using your voice to bridge the tech gender gap

Standing up, using her voice and overcoming challenges has made Everlytic's executive head of sales and marketing what she is today

According to Women in Tech, only 23% of tech jobs are held by women in South Africa. Last year’s World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report, states that women hold less than a quarter of global tech leadership positions.

Louise Krog
Louise Krog

Commenting on this, Louise Krog says that these statistics don’t only reflect what is happening in the IT industry, but in many other industries too. “While women still have to break through many barriers and bust through the walls that present themselves, there are signs that things are improving,” she says, citing an example that there are many strong female characters emerging within the gaming and broader tech space.

Louise Krog is the executive head of sales and marketing for Everlytic, a strong female leader with a focus on creating safe and supportive spaces to empower other women in the tech industry in South Africa.

She says exposing young people to the world of tech and enabling innovation and critical thinking skills is critical. While only 16% of computer graduates in the United Kingdom are female, Krog says that this figure is much higher in countries such as India, Malaysia and Nigeria which shows that women are breaking through historical barriers when it comes to tech.

She says it's vital to continue this growth and sees the role of women supporting each other within the industry as key. “Experienced female leaders within the tech space who have been through the journey need to open themselves to coaching, mentoring and enabling younger women. They need to embrace opportunities to show other women that success is possible and to tell them the story of what it takes.”

Krog says as a female in a leadership position, it may not be the norm to stand up and use your voice, but it’s the only way you can create your own platform, progress in your role, and take your team with you.

“I am scared at times, like everybody else, but I go there, I push myself into the uncomfortable spaces which is what you need to progress and expand,” she says.

Her leadership position at Everlytic is the result of over two decades of challenging work, her unique aptitude for sales and her ability to stand up and speak out.

Often thrown in the deep end during her career, with the added pressure of proving herself in a traditionally male-dominated industry, Krog says she was always determined to demonstrate her capability and embrace every change and challenge that came her way.

The assumptions that people make before walking into a room and the conclusions made without asking the questions are just some of the barriers she has had to overcome. “You often have to work harder, do that extra follow up and make that extra phone call to make sure that your dedication and devotion are noticed,” she says.

“I raised my hand, I used my voice and said what needed to be said, however uncomfortable that was, but it is something that I needed to do in order to elevate my position,” she says. “Doing this, makes people start looking at you differently and makes them able to pinpoint you as the person who might succeed in the next role, the next project or the next leadership opportunity.”

A career in tech was never initially on her radar. In fact, her desire to raise her hand and use her voice led to her studying political science after school. Due to a change in circumstances and a brief stint in recruitment, her path led to her first experience in IT when she started at TransUnion in 2001. Here, she says the sales role within the IT, software and data space fitted her like a glove.

“I’m a very goal-oriented person, so in everything I do, whether personal or business, I believe in delivering a quality result, and that’s what drives me. At the end of the day, I want to lie down on my pillow and know that I delivered excellent work that day,” she says.

She says what she brings to the Everlytic team changes as the needs and requirements of the business change, but reading the room and having robust conversations in a graceful manner is key.

“You can have difficult conversations, and face challenging objectives, but you can still do it with grace,” she says, adding that this leadership style results in better buy-in and a quicker response from people who feel respected in the process.

A challenge is what really drives Krog, and living up to the challenge she sets herself is paramount to her work ethic and success. She also thrives on the people side of the business and how people and teams make projects a success, despite the many challenges that might hold them back.

“I get a great sense of satisfaction and motivation to see how people move forward despite the hurdles they face, hourly and daily in South Africa at the moment.”

Her advice to all young women with a desire to succeed is to take the shot, go for it, don’t stand back even when it’s scary, and reach out to other women to mentor you. The essence of success is to encourage the younger generation to delve deeper, stay in it for longer and make decisions based on a broader outlook.

“Your career is not a McDonald's drive-through where your burger lands on your lap.

"There is a process behind it - the agriculture, the production, the packaging and all the other elements needed before it is ready to be consumed. A career takes hard work and dedication, putting in the long hours, getting out of your comfort zone and using your voice,” she says.

Remaining tactical and operationally focused has led to the success and growth of Everlytic within the bulk communication and automation space. Krog says that email has stood the test of time and is the centre point of how we manage our lives and work. The latest Everlytic Email Marketing Benchmark Report confirms that future trends, approaches and opportunities within the email space are shifting in response to changing consumer habits and expectations. “We are at the cusp of behavioural analytics and AI making email more targeted and sophisticated, and I couldn’t be more excited about what’s to come.”

When she’s not motivating and challenging her team, Krog says her choice of relaxation and downtime includes travelling and experiencing other cultures.

“I love exploring East Asian cultures, the languages, the flavours, and the history. It challenges my brain and makes me look at myself and the world differently.” As the mother of two young adult women who is both starting their own respective career paths, Krog has most certainly set an example of what a tenacious spirit and drive to succeed can achieve.

20 Jun 2023 12:07