The importance of coaches and mentors, both in business and life, cannot be underestimated.
This is according to Heather Third, COO of Microsoft SA, speaking at Women in IT's networking breakfast held recently in Johannesburg. Third, on her second last day in office, said it was important for women to have someone to share their knowledge and wisdom with.
"There is nothing like experience and to have a mentor or coach within your reach is invaluable. Use them as mirrors – what do they think of a certain obstacle or situation?"
Third shared a number of lessons she had learnt in her business career with the 50 attendees.
"I have found that that there is an opportunity in every obstacle – the trick is to find it. You also need to have the courage to face your fears. You sometimes need to be scared of something to keep learning. Don't be afraid of failure – you can be wrong and learn from your mistakes."
Third stresses that particularly women in business need to find balance.
"In fact, there is no such thing as balance – but there is an ongoing process of balancing. Think of a Bateleur eagle soaring through the sky – it catches the thermals and uses its tail to guide it way through them – never in a straight line, but constantly using checks and balances to keep itself flying."
In conclusion, Third said the most important talent that women have is the ability to listen.
"As a manager, mother, partner – the most important skill that a women has is the ability to listen."
Women in IT is a bursary and mentorship programme that aims to create insight, opportunity, growth and development for women within the information technology sector.
Funded through corporate sponsorship by Axiz, Bytes Technology Group, Fujitsu Siemens, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft and Verizon, Women in IT creates formal and informal networks between women IT students, tertiary institutions, South African IT professionals and corporates.