The transformation champion

Passionate about promoting female empowerment, Dell Technologies’ Natasha Reuben is punting inclusion and diversity from the inside. 

If you ask Natasha Reuben, head of transformation at Dell Technologies South Africa, what her role entails it’s clear that her work is multipronged. From designing programmes that bridge technology gaps at a basic education level to creating initiatives that expose school leavers and university graduates to the world of high performance tech and computing to develop the girl child. We caught up with Reuben to find out more about these strategic programmes and to ask why she’s so passionate about driving sustainable transformation and change across South Africa.

How does nurturing female talent in tech combat gender inequality?

When we nurture women, we ensure that women are represented at all levels of society, creating strong and dynamic future leaders in the process. These programmes and efforts have to be supported by all leaders across the business, not only HR. Organisations that don’t proactively nurture women for leadership roles are overlooking an opportunity to grow capable employees and, ultimately, boost their talent pool.

In your opinion, what is the broader impact of having more women in tech spaces?

There have been so many studies that show that the more diverse the team, the greater the results. If everyone in the room approaches the problem in the same way, there’s very little room for innovation, which is what tech is all about. By including women in these spaces, you’re creating an environment for greater creativity and out-of-the-box thinking to flow. Corporate SA needs to create a culture where everyone has a voice so that we can consider the ideas and views of those who don’t typically dominate boardrooms or meetings. If we want decision making to represent what our society actually looks like, our teams need to be more diverse.

Is this sort of thing measurable? If so, how?

South Africa has the willingness to do this but we need to put measurements and metrics in place. And, importantly, we need to share this data so that we as a business community collectively drive change. Luckily for us, within BEE there is legislation that allows us to track employment equity. These metrics can be compared with our competitors to see how our business is faring against industry standards and to assess if we are making any real progress. 

Why is female representation in tech important for SA?

It’s no secret that our economy is struggling. To help us improve, we’re going to need active participation from everyone, including women. Women make up 51% of our total population. We, as a country, can’t afford to leave this talent resource untapped.

We’re making strides to improve gender parity but what more can be done?

I think we really need to focus on promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers. We need to make sure that the girl child is being introduced to these careers from an early age. As part of this, we need to be intentional about getting girls excited about the opportunities and possibilities of taking up these careers. 

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