Sam Wright, from South Africa, is on a mission to empower and engage fellow South African women in the realm of technology.
After freelancing for several tech publications, Wright realized through writing, reviewing and speaking to other women that women consume technology differently than men. As a result, Wright wanted to create a place on the internet that catered to women, girls, moms, etc.
To achieve this, Wright created “Tech Girl“, where she is the editor as well as a content creator. Wright has built “Tech Girl” to be geared towards a mishmash of women – not just the super tech-savvy.
As she explains,
“I wanted to create a space where South African women could come to ask questions, find cool gadgets and generally just have their own personal space relating to tech.”
Ultimately, Wright’s passion behind “Tech Girl” is technology and how it influences South African women.
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Veering Off Her Original Course
Like many, Wright does not work in the field she thought she would back in college. (Personal example: I was a history major in college and thought I would one day work in economic development … Clearly, I am doing nothing related!)
In Wright’s case, she pursued a BA in Journalism before going for an Honors Degree in Communication Science with a focus on Media Studies.
“When I was studying I imagined myself editing a magazine or working in radio. So where I am now isn’t what I planned, but my degrees do still help in a huge way. I am extremely grateful I did study.”
Her original plan upon leaving school was to travel overseas and become a groom. For those who don’t know (like me), a groom is a person who takes care of horses.
“I show jump in my spare time, so this seemed like a viable career move,” Wright explains. Nonetheless, looking back, Wright is glad her parents convinced her otherwise. (I certainly can relate to the old adage, “Parents know best.”)
Chasing A Dream While Working Full Time
As Wright pursues the “Tech Girl” website, she also manages multiple responsibilities (like lots of us). Specifically, Wright works full time for Alien Systems & Technology (AST). AST is a South African company that engineers fire solution technologies. Wright elaborates,
“AST Africa is such a rad company to work for. It’s the only company in South Africa that actually manufactures its own fixed fire protection systems as opposed to just importing them to the country. They’re constantly developing new fire protection solutions for various industrial and mining applications. The company’s innovation touches on engineering, electronics and constantly employs the latest technologies. So it’s an exciting place to be.”
At AST, Wright manages marketing and PR while also assisting in project management for the various innovation projects the company has in development.
“Many of these projects incorporate funding from the Industrial Development Corporation of SA, so I liase with them and make sure we meet our various targets and goals. So while I’m not the brains behind the engineering and tech… it is definitely a big part of my job every day.”
So, while Wright is not deep in the engineering trenches, she is constantly surrounded by technological innovation.
“Tech Girl” Website Goals
As one peruses the “Tech Girl” site, you’ll find a range of topics – but all have technology as their common thread.
“Everything on “Tech Girl” relates directly back to tech. For example, the relationship section features apps, opinion pieces on internet dating, etc. Every story is run with the underlying theme to let the reader know how tech will affect them and make their life easier.”
Looking ahead, one of Wright’s goals is to find a corporate partner to assist in running free basic coding workshops for girls and women in South Africa. She admits, jokingly, that “there is a selfish reason” for wanting to assemble coding workshops – Wright herself wants to learn more.
Advice to Others wishing to build their own blog
When it came to building the “Tech Girl” blog, Wright did the conceptualization. However, she had a designer complete the technical work behind the scenes. As she explains, her web-building skills are basic – but she is always striving to learn more.
More importantly, though, Wright didn’t allow these technical limitations to prevent her from creating “Tech Girl”. She went for it. And asked for help where needed.
Wright advises others hoping to build their own blog or website,
“Just do it. It’s not expensive, it’s not that hard. Get it up and running and then learn as you go along. If you hit a speed bump there is someone online who has hit the same one and got over it.”
And she’s right.
Building a website/blog today is as simple as ever. Whether you decide to go with something more hands-off like Squarespace or get more in the mud with a CMS like WordPress – it’s doable. As as Wright mentions, with the abundance of internet resources, it’s as easy as ever. Someone somewhere has hit a similar problem and overcame it.
You can do the same.
When taking on a new assignment, we frequently get caught up in the planning and busy work and fail to take meaningful action. I’m guilty of it.
For instance, when I began the process of redesigning this website (still in the works at the time of writing) I became so bogged down by sketching out the site before building it. You know, wire-framing in Illustrator, brainstorming ideas, etc. Instead of taking action, I was planning on the action I was going to take.
Fortunately, I experienced a stroke of insight. I realized I was wasting precious time. I just had to get the ball rolling. And when I ran into stumbling blocks, which I have, I had to figure it out or ask for help.
I agree that it’s good to plan to an extent. And I admit that I am basically chained to my calendar. As I say, “If it’s not in my calendar, it doesn’t exist.”
But we can’t let certain limitations prevent us from moving ahead.
In the end, I think Wright is a fantastic example of someone with a strong passion, but limited website coding skills, who took strides regardless. When Wright began “Tech Girl”, she didn’t have every tool in the toolkit. But instead of letting that avert her, she turned to the plethora of resources online to solve the problem. And if that failed, she found someone who had the answer.
Anything’s possible when you put in the work. Sometimes we just have to ask for help. And that’s okay.
What do you think of Sam Wright’s story? Leave a comment below or tell me in a tweet!