“Age and success are not always related,” says 33-year-old Intel head

Why do so many working women’s careers stall when they reach middle management? In the second part of our interview with Videsha Proothveerajh, the country manager for IT firm Intel South Africa, she shares her experience on how to effectively manage a career and progress at the workplace.

Videsha Proothveerajh

Videsha Proothveerajh

“Being a woman in the ICT sector at this time is exciting and rewarding. The sector will continue to drive economic growth and leapfrog Africa into the knowledge economy. My vision is to be a role model and champion of the possibilities and opportunities in the sector to ultimately achieve gender parity in the sector.

“I have learned to be comfortable in my own skin and I don’t try to mimic the personality traits of my male colleagues and managers, which was previously expected in order to be seen as a ‘driver’. I have learned that I have all it takes to do a phenomenal job in whatever role I fulfil and that it is the results that count. I have perfected the art of situational leadership, which allows me to be chameleon-like, depending on what situation I find myself in. But I always resort back to my own amiable and expressive nature. It is very energy draining and stressful to be someone you are not – so work on your strengths and believe in yourself.”

On mentoring…

“The lack of mentors in the ICT field is a huge problem but they do exist, so take the time to track them down and learn from their mistakes and get their guidance on how to build a plan for your future. However, the most amazing mentors I have had are men who are passionate about growing and supporting the talent in their organisations, irrespective of gender. So find mentors who are passionate about developing talent and stick to them like glue.”

On age…

“On the numerous occasions that I have been introduced as Intel’s country manager for South Africa, the response I get is – how old are you? [Proothveeraj is 33] I have learned not to get my hackles up about it but rather take it as a compliment as I am confident in my abilities and I know the trails that I have endured to get to where I am. Age and success are not always related – success is dependent on your results, attitude and work ethic. Focus on this during these types of conversations.”

On managing work and personal life…

“The term ‘work life balance’, is an anomaly in itself. It means that we see the two roles as very separate. I identify myself not through roles but through what I achieve in life as a whole – I am a mother, country manager, daughter, wife, sister and friend. My intention is to always do a fantastic job at all roles that I fulfil. In doing this it is important for me that in whichever role I am engaging that I give a 100%. I may not be able to do this in parallel for all roles and at all times, but my intention is set and the people in my life know that I am sincere in whatever I say and do. I plan a lot and I set up my environment to be able to support my needs at all times.”

Read the first part of our interview with Proothveerajh.