The drive to exceed expectations

Taschiona Gawaxab took over the role as the head of the IT department at Nedbank Namibia on 1 May 2021.

14 May 2021 | People

Staff reporter

Before joining Nedbank, Taschiona Gawaxab held a senior IT role in the banking industry, leading a team of 42 people in her department.

She was born in Windhoek and attended St Paul’s College before working in the United Kingdom at an IT company in networking and systems administration, Gawaxab is excited and humbled by this new opportunity.

“I have a passion to help the company achieve its strategic objectives, to drive and exceed expectations and to get things done through others.

“It is about innovating and creating new value and experiences for Nedbank and its customers. It is not about tech, but about people.

“So, to get people to embrace changes and partner businesses to achieve their objectives, we create value for shareholders and customers and we provide peace of mind to regulators.”

One of her objectives is to rally employees around the vision of Nedbank, driving a high- performance culture, prioritising what gets done and inspiring and motivating people.

This will be made possible through people management – “how we recruit them, train them, reward, develop and retain them. When we recruit, we need to bring in top talent, develop them and make it worthwhile for them to stay with us. It's fine to let go of under-performers because it allows us to bring in new blood and talent. “

Gawaxab describes information and communication technology as the heart and centre of the business, where she will manage data and processes to create value for the company.

“It is about gaining efficiency, eliminating redundancies and de-risking the business by automating manual processes and partnering business units to achieve their objectives,” she says.

However, ICT is male dominated and there are many cultural biases. Women have to work twice as hard as men to prove themselves, which has been the most significant barrier in Gawaxab’s career.

Her advice to other young women who want to join the industry is that they need to move fast and learn to embrace change, “and not to play catch up all the time”. One of her inspirations is an American businesswoman and investor, Marissa Ann Mayer, who became president and CEO of Yahoo in 2012 at the age of 37.

While analysing and assessing the impact of the coronavirus on businesses and the economy, Gawaxab says this is the new normal, as the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technology. Many manual jobs will be automated and people need to upskill and re-skill to remain relevant.

For those in the IT sector, the picture looks different, as data analysts, scientists, software developers and people able to ‘code’ and write algorithms are in huge demand.

Her motto: “Failure is never permanent. So, it is a mindset. It is not about what went wrong, but about learning from what went wrong and applying those lessons in the next project. Only people who do nothing don’t make mistakes. Mistakes are part and parcel of learning. Just don’t make stupid mistakes.”

Gawaxab has vast experience in the IT sector and is a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA), Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE), Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS), Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP).

She is also skilled in Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology (COBIT), Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), Agile software management and development, and CIO Digital-Certified.

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