Women at the helm: Senele Goba soars to the top at IITPSA
The Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA) again has women serving as both President and Vice-President.
Following the institute’s recent AGM, and the subsequent IITPSA board meeting, Senele Goba, previous Vice-President of the IITPSA, deputy chairperson of its KwaZulu-Natal Chapter and a committee member of the IITPSA Women in IT Chapter, was elected as the new IITPSA President and Board Chairperson for the 2023/24 term.
Pearl Pasi, chairperson of the IITPSA Western Cape Chapter and a committee member of the IITPSA Women in IT Chapter, was named IITPSA Vice-President and Board Vice-Chairperson, and Karel Matthee was re-elected as the IITPSA Treasurer. Immediate Past President Admire Gwanzura, John Singh, Kudzayi Chipidza and Rimmon Kisten were all re-elected to the board at the AGM.
For the new President, the rise to the top has been a rapid one. Goba first joined the institute in April 2019 and was elected to the board the following year. She acted as Vice-President under Gwanzura from 2022-23, during which time she also played an active role in the IITPSA’s KwaZulu-Natal Chapter and Women in IT Chapter.
Active involvement is standard procedure for the new President – she has a history of successfully managing her own business and NPC, furthering her own professional development and taking on myriad family and community responsibilities.
As a business owner and a young industry leader, Goba is a founder and director at 4IR Innovations, which specialises in industrial automation, technology innovation as well as educational technology and computer science education. Here, she leads industrial automation consulting and the design and development of STEM education materials such as coding games, STEM kits and robotics simulation kits.
Her passion for STEM education informed the founding of the Ososayensi Education Advancement community development NPC, which works to expose young learners in under-served communities to STEMI and the use of science, technology and innovation to solve problems.
Goba holds an Honour's degree in Computer Science and a Certificate for Strategic Integration of Technology in Education. She previously worked in the food and beverage industry for 14 years, in control and automation and manufacturing systems management, where she continued her professional development by completing a management development programme at SABMiller and led successful business improvement programmes to reduce losses and improve efficiencies in several business units around the country. She is an alumnus of the TechWomen programme and was among the 108 women selected as emerging leaders in STEM globally as part of the TechWomen 2020-2021 programme, based in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, USA.
She was named one of 50 most inspiring South African women in STEM as awarded by CoCreateSANL in 2020.
Goba is a wife, mother to two boys, a sister to 10 siblings and an aunt to many. As a soccer mom, she also volunteers as a public relations officer at the local football club.
Accepting her new appointment, Goba said: “I may be the first black woman to be elected as chairperson of the board, but I aim to unveil the talent that exists in many black women in the IT profession, who make immense contributions to the advancement of our society. I also want to inspire young women and men to take interest and pursue successful careers in IT. I stand on the shoulders of giants: the past presidents, who have led the institute thus far, and I am honoured to serve with fellow board members that are dedicated and committed to the cause.”
Congratulating her on her appointment, Gwanzura said: “Senele has been a dynamic addition to our membership and to the board since she joined the IITPSA. Her passion for skills development aligns perfectly with the IITPSA’s mandate, and we have no doubt she will bring new energy and ideas to our education, awareness and skills development programmes. The last time women filled the roles of both President and Vice-President at the same time was when Ulandi Exner, current Africa ICT Alliance (AfICTA) Board Member and Vice-Chair for Southern Africa, was President from 2015-2019. Ulandi’s Vice-Presidents included Mabongi Ngidi and Adrian Schofield. Sanele also follows in the footsteps of former female President, Moira de Roche (2008-2012), who is the current Vice-President of the International Federation for Information Processing.”