This year, Bridge Labs commemorates #Women’s month through honoring five generations (5G) of women in technology. Women have been in the front lines of fighting for the rights and freedom for themselves and others who are oppressed. They have always carved out their own paths and shaped culture.
This week we feature: Kume Luvhani, we had the honor of interviewing this powerhouse of note who not only breaks ceilings in her industry but makes a difference in her sphere.
Read the powerful interview below that we had with Kume Luvhani,
BL: What do you currently do?
Kume Luvhani: I run my own company Vaxowave, which I co-founded in 2018. We specialize in Cloud Technology services and products with specific focus on enterprises.
BL: Did you study any tech related courses prior?
Kume Luvhani: No, I did not study any Tech related courses. I studied Accounting, Management Finance and Strategy which culminated in me qualifying as a Chartered Management Accountant with the professional body CIMA.
BL: Why did you change your carrier trajectory?
Kume Luvhani: I took a brave jump from Accounting Finance to IT and I have never looked back. I always had an entrepreneurial flair in me, and I saw my career in corporate as a base for me to “pay my school fees”, learn as much as I can and build meaningful networks so I could successfully branch out.
BL: What made you go into the tech space?
Kume Luvhani: While working in the technology space, I realized that one can be a technologist without having a background in coding. Technology is multifaceted and cannot be boxed into one singular aspect. Although I may not be a coder or have any desire to code, what I DO have is a hunger and desire to be successful in the field and there are many other avenues to do that. Technology is in everything we do and use on a daily basis and I wanted to be part of the value chain.
With my background being Accounting, Management Finance and Strategy, I have applied it to all Technological aspects and that is how I am able to be successful in the field. Everything in Technology needs a goal (does it solve a need?), execution road map and understanding of how much it will cost to run and whether there is any return on that investment. This is where I use my core skills and I work with a great team of system developers, cloud solutions architects etc. who do the actual execution of the bigger picture.
BL: Have you dealt with gender bias in the tech space if so, how did you handle it.
Kume Luvhani: Gender bias is everywhere in my view and the Technology space is no different to that, unfortunately.
My career trajectory was fast and as a result most of the men I worked with were many years older than me. World view and upbringing is important to contextualize how people treat you because of your gender. Do not get me wrong, I am not condoning it but this way of thinking helped me to disprove the biases and to still succeed in an environment where I would ordinarily be viewed as “the help” rather than a leader.
I always chose to break down stereotypes via excellence, I truly believe over a certain time period, any bias can be broken down and it is in how one engages on that bias that brings the difference.
I know who I am, I own my voice and I stay authentic to who I am and as a result my power (self-belief) is my currency. I use my voice and ensure my work output is second to none so that I can effectively disprove gender biases. It is not easy and to be honest I sometimes get very discouraged but that is all part of my journey.
I truly believe there is no better time than now for all women to find their voices and to use them with effectively to break down gender stereotypes.
BL: What advice would you give to a young woman wanting to enter the tech space?
Kume Luvhani: Find an ally who does not look like you and keep them close. To be successful in technology, do not confine yourself to what you see as aspirational, learn from the greats so that you can avoid their mistakes and use their achievements to catapult you on days when you do not feel like getting up because these days will be there.
BL: How would you increase the number of women in tech
Kume Luvhani: We are starting to see quite an influx of young women into the Tech space and this is very refreshing. To increase this even more, we need to ensure we give opportunities to our girl children whilst there are still in school so they can be exposed to the different areas of Technology.
Representation is important and we need to ensure that the women who have made it in Computer Sciences, Data Engineering, Artificial Intelligence etc. are exposed to as many young girls as possible so they can have the self-belief that it IS possible.
BL: How would you suggest retaining strong women in tech in their positions?
Kume Luvhani: It all boils down to good sponsorship and a support system that is focused on ensuring you are successful. No woman is an island and to retain a strong woman in their positions, the majority of the ecosystem must agree to this.
As Bridge Labs we celebrate you this woman’s month for doing the #dohardthings.