As our 2018 African Women in Technology (AWIT) Conference, Nairobi Chapter, draws close, we are excited to share perspectives, principles and needs of our esteemed female leaders and guests – panelists, speakers, moderators and mentors – with the aim of highlighting the challenges and triumphs African women in technology face in their careers and businesses.
These women have proven commitment to building and scaling technology businesses on the continent and they come from diverse backgrounds and sectors with different levels of experience.
It is our hope that these short interviews show a glimpse into the everyday reality of doing business as an African woman and helps build bridges between organizations and individuals who are looking to partner, fund, mentor or simply interact with our African women in technology.
Today we shine the spotlight on Mary Job as she shares her journey into technology with the AWIT team.
Welcome Mary, it’s our pleasure to have you. Tell us a little about yourself and background.
As the only girl among three boys, I was known for being curious and inquisitive. My family said I exhibited character beyond my age and were not surprised when I chose Philosophy as my first degree. My passion for technology grew in 2002 when cybercafes sprung up in Lagos where I grew up.
My love for diversity and the internet did not diminish as I gained experience in sectors ranging from human resources to hospitality and even automobiles. I started freelance writing as I went back to school to get a postgraduate diploma in Mass Communications and a Masters degree in Information Resources Management with a focus in Knowledge Management.
I researched remote work then but found I couldn’t get good jobs because I did not have a programming background. I then discovered WordPress and knew I had come “home.”
Now I am a WordPress community builder and fondly called the mother of WordPress in Nigeria by my friends. If there is one thing I am great at, it is breaking stereotypes. I love classical music and I love rap too. I play video games, take photography seriously, and travelling to experience new cultures.
I was once told tech does not go with gele (an African head gear) so don’t be surprised if you meet me tying one at a tech conference.
What’s one message you want to share with other women in tech/business?
Amitabh Bachchan captured it well: “Because we are women, people will force their thinking and boundaries on us. They will tell us how to dress, how to behave, who we can meet and where we can go. We should not live in the shadows of people’s judgement. We should make our own choices in the light of our own wisdom.”
As women, we owe it to ourselves and generations to come, to work wholeheartedly towards coming together with the deliberate intention to lift Africa up and remake our society.
What areas in your career do you need more boldness to succeed? This question is based on the theme of this AWIT Summit “Be Bold”
Becoming a WordPress community organizer meant I had to overcome my phobia of public speaking. I went from being terrified of speaking to a crowd of three or more (yes, I saw three as a crowd) to reaching out to people and speaking whether I liked it or not.
I still shy away when I can and delegate speaking when I have the opportunity or an excuse but I know my career will always have speaking engagements within it so I have to get better, more effective and be bold when it comes to sharing my knowledge and passion with other young women and men in technology and business.
You can watch my WordCamp talk at this link.