Deimos: Where Women Make All the Difference
In honour of International Women’s Day, we are spotlighting the women of Deimos who are consistently leading in their respective roles...
08/03/2022 | 12 Minute Read
Happy International Women’s Day
On February 18 2022, at about 6:00 AM, the Deimos Slack channel was abuzz with energy. Oreoluwa Adegbite, Zimuzo Obiechina and Labake Lemboye were giving a talk on Hashitalks. This presentation would excite the company for a long time. The reason for this excitement is not only because it was our first ever external event but also because Zimuzo and Labake, who were barely three months into their SRE internship at the time, stepped up to deliver, and that made all the difference.
How Deimos is Breaking the Bias in the Tech Industry
The Deimos vision is simple: To be the leading cloud-native technology company in Africa. To achieve this, we have a non-discrimination policy on the application for employment where all Martians have equal opportunities to improve themselves. We recognize the importance of having more women in the workplace and, to that end, have worked with organizations to create more opportunities for young women in technology across Africa.
In 2020, Deimos teamed up with She Code Africa to empower and employ more women in tech. Through She Code Africa’s Bootcamp program, we have dedicated time and funds to mentoring and ensuring that women partaking in She Code Africa’s Site Reliability Engineering Bootcamp get the support they need to complete the program and eventually intern with us. Our focus is to continue to encourage young women to pursue and dominate a career within this ever-growing technology industry.
Our SRE team is 43% female, and our leadership team is 45.5% female. We hope to see more women apply to Deimos and assume leadership roles as we grow as a company. While we take pride to mention that we’re intentionally building a company that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive, we recognize that there is still much work to do in this space. We encourage everyone to develop more progressive mindsets and inclusive behaviours to build a world free from bias.
When women take charge of their lives, they break some biases. In honour of International Women’s Day, we are spotlighting the women of Deimos who are consistently leading in their respective roles and controlling their narratives. Each woman shares a personal moment that has influenced her to become the woman she is now.
In my journey, I have felt empowered as a woman.
Meet Roxy Hofer
People Operations Specialist, Cape Town, South Africa.
Even though Roxy Hofer has only been a working woman for two months, this brilliant young woman is already making her mark at Deimos. As a People Operations Specialist, Roxy’s can-do energy inspires everyone around her to work smartly.
“In my journey, I’ve felt empowered as a woman. Sitting in a lecture hall that was 90% female was empowering. I was blessed to be inspired by these powerful and intelligent women everyday. This is not about making women strong; we already are strong, so strong we can be gentle, so educated we can be humble, and so fierce, we can be compassionate.’”
I am in a better place to guide and mentor ladies within my reach.
Meet Praise Adanlawo
Site Reliability Engineer, Lagos, Nigeria.
Praise Adanlawo hasn’t always been a Level 2 Site Reliability Engineer. She joined Deimos as an intern on April 1, 2020, and five months into her internship, Deimos offered her full-time employment. Eight months later, the team promoted her to a level 2 Site Reliability Engineer. In the words of Henri Fourie, a Principal SRE, ‘Praise is always going above and beyond. That is ‘the right stuff.’
“At the start of my career, I had to make some tough choices, some that would’ve been easier if I had the right guidance, unfortunately, I didn’t, and that set me back for a while, trying out different aspects of tech and finding where I could fit in. As I look back at my progress, those choices helped me in true discovery, and I’m in a better place to guide and mentor ladies within my reach. It has become easier to #BreakTheBias.’
In my career, I have personally witnessed women being at the forefront.
Meet Sarah Stanford
Head of Administration, Cape Town, South Africa.
On the Appreciation Station channel on Deimos Slack, Sarah Stanford is called ‘Extraordinary,’ ‘Superhuman,’ ‘I can’t imagine a Deimos without her,’ ‘A superglue who keeps everything together,’ and from Andrew – ‘Sarah’s contribution is big all the time, we see it all the time. You have the right stuff.’
Sarah’s contribution to Deimos is immense, and everyone at Deimos agrees. She ensures there is a proper liaison between the different Deimos stations, and she maintains communications within the company. When there is a project, her unique superpower comes running as she follows up, tracks and sees that project to completion. Sometimes, one does wonder what she is and how she does her job so effortlessly. Little wonder the number of praises from Martians on the Appreciation Station channel.
“In my career, I have personally witnessed women being at the forefront, in the driver’s seat and in the majority of corporate companies, coming from when my mother was the only female in her accounting class in the university, which she found was quite a challenge, and now I’m part of the Deimos women which I am really proud of.”
The pages of my story are still being written, but I have gotten the first word in.
Meet Zimuzo Obiechina
Site Reliability Engineer Intern, Rivers, Nigeria
Zimuzo worked in health as a dentist before deciding to make a career change. She wanted a different kind of challenge and spent the last few years learning programming by herself until she developed an interest in DevOps. She discovered She Code Africa, applied to their Bootcamp and became one of the selected interns for the Deimos internship programme. You know the rest of the story. Barely three months into Zim’s internship programme, she has become the dependable Martian that her teammates love to work with. Everyone has something nice to say about her.
‘Even though I did not have the map to the destination, I kept steering until I made my way into starting a career in tech, coming from a speciality in health. The pages of this story are still being written, but at least I have the first word in; to all women, keep moving. Don’t stop till you #BreakTheBias.’
I have worked with fierce and empathetic female leaders who have broken the bias to pave the way for young women like myself.
Meet Lizanne du Toit
Head of People Operations, Cape Town, South Africa
What makes Deimos a great place to work is the people. At Deimos, it’s people first, processes second, and tools third. If you were wondering about the team behind the Deimos people department, it is none other than Lizanne du Toit. Lizanne grew a team of 45 to a team of 70+. She consistently puts strong and consistent processes in place to build a culture at Deimos that enables Martians to do their best work and have fun.
“As an HR professional who worked within the Tech industry for five years, I’ve worked at progressive companies with incredibly smart, fierce and empathetic female leaders who are inspirational and have over the years broken the bias to pave the way for young women like myself. Similarly, I appreciate the male leaders within the tech industry who have proactively acknowledged bias against women in the workplace and have taken deliberate steps to provide a more inclusive workplace where women are empowered to participate and thrive. There is still a lot to do within this space, but today I am positive about the future of work.”
Ten years ago, that was a huge deal. Now? Not so much, and that is the whole point. An equitable and inclusive universe is here.
Meet Tomisin Lalude
Site Reliability Engineer, Ibadan, Nigeria.
Tomisin Lalude was among the second batch of She Code Africa Interns who joined our team in May 2021. In November, she completed her internship, and the Deimos team promoted her to a Level 1 Site Reliability Engineer. According to her manager, David Roos, Tomisin is a smart young woman with lots of potentials.’
“It is safe to say I have been breaking the bias since I was a teenager – when I decided to study Electronic and Electrical Engineering and when I chose to transition my career from core Engineering to Technology. Ten years ago, that was a huge deal. Now? Not so much, and that is the whole point. An equitable and inclusive universe is here.”
Sometimes you are able to face bias head-on and make the change.
Meet Louis Nell
Chief Product Officer, Cape Town, South Africa.
Lu has a wealth of experience in software delivery and project management. A qualified Reiki master, certified Scrum Master and Product Owner, Lu is as amazing as they come. She is happiest when she’s helping teams and individuals do their best work, and her secret sauce is seeing people flourish.
” The year is 1993. I’m at the final stage of an interview for a network technician role. I’m excited and confident.
Interviewer: ‘I don’t think I can give you this job because you wouldn’t be able to carry heavy computer equipment as a woman.’
Me: Jumps up and carries a large computer monitor around the room for a few minutes. Sits down again.
Interviewer: ‘Umm, looks like you’ll be just fine.’
Sometimes in life, you are able to face bias head-on and make the change you need!
I have been lucky to work with incredible women in technology. An engineer who takes a stand for standards she believes in, a UX designer who understands that great UX is more about humanity than simply clicks, a product owner who cements a group of individuals into an amazing delivery team. The list goes on. In celebration of International Women’s Day, I’d like to take a moment to thank each one of these women for the impact they’ve made on my life.”
Who says you can’t be a daughter, sister, professional, slay queen… and excel in each?
Meet Ikeoluwapo Adebowale
People Business Partner for Nigeria, United Kingdom.
Ike is a Chartered Accountant and an Associate of the CIPM; she holds an MBA from Manchester Business School and a GPHR qualification. Ike has over 17 years of experience in Human Resources. As a Business Partner at Deimos, Ike provides and implements people strategies and decisions for Deimos Nigeria and aligns them with Deimos’ overall business objectives.
“Our societies have, for so long, defined who we are and what we can do. Who says you can’t be a daughter, sister, wife, mother, professional, mentor, slay queen… I could go on… and excel in each? We can be anything we choose to be. Remove the limitations and break the bias!”
‘I am a Software Engineer.’ An answer that often gets responded to with raised eyebrows. Although in the last few years, quite a bit less.
Meet Chané Vaughan
Senior Software Engineer, Cape Town, South Africa.
Chané’s career in software engineering began in 2013. She started as an entry-level C# Developer, then a support PHP developer. Nine years later, Chané has grown into a full-stack Senior Software Engineer who is leading teams, interfacing with clients, and deploying projects at Deimos. Alongside being a software master, Chané has a great work ethic and generally great vibes.
“‘I am a Software Engineer.’ An answer that often gets responded to with raised eyebrows. Although in the last few years, quite a bit less. I am proud to be part of the women who embrace the tech industry with excitement and passion.
As a young(ish) mother of two, raising kids while working full-time is not always easy. Working remotely has helped me create a work-life balance that sets me up for success, both as a hands-on mother and a full-stack Software Engineer.”
Breaking bias comes with determination and actual work.
Meet Esther Ninyo
Site Reliability Engineer Intern, Lagos, Nigeria.
Esther started her journey into tech right after university in 2019. In May 2021, she discovered She Code Africa, one of the many journeys that brought her to Deimos in November 2021. A competency required to thrive as an SRE Intern is the willingness to learn and grow, which Esther has demonstrated within this period of being with Deimos.
“Breaking bias comes with determination and actual work. I can say emphatically that I started breaking the bias the moment I put in the actual work to transition into tech. It doesn’t stop there; you have to keep breaking bias to remain relevant, and that is the path I’ve chosen. I will always #BreakTheBias.”
Be the person who supports women on this journey and continue to break the bias!
Meet Naeema Tofie
Senior Project Manager, Cape Town, South Africa.
As a Project Manager, Naeema understands the value of communicating with teams and stakeholders. At Deimos, our principle is ‘communicate, communicate, communicate.’ You can’t go wrong with over-communicating. As a remote company, we value communication because it is how we thrive in business. Naeema’s responsibilities include leading technical projects, driving project delivery and ensuring projects are resourced and communicated promptly. Even though she only joined the team last September, Naeema has garnered nothing but praises from everyone. According to Jaco, Deimos Chief Technology Officer, ‘Naeema’s project and stakeholder management skills are amazing. Never do I feel like I am left in the dark on any of your projects.’
“Once, as an IT Project Manager, there was a time I needed to be onsite and in the trenches managing infrastructure-related projects. I had a few people who believed in me and gave me the opportunity, even though, to most, I did not fit the profile. Every challenge became an opportunity, and through every opportunity, there was growth. Be the person who supports women on this journey and continue to break the bias!”
After college, a friend told me to open a grocery store instead of going into tech.
Meet Tolulope Adedoyin
Software Engineer, Lagos, Nigeria.
Tolulope and her team are the code maestri behind the Deimos website. Every change, iteration, design that you see on the Deimos website, she contributes immensely to it. Alongside the Deimos website project, Tolulope also works on other client projects that need her attention.
“After college, a friend told me to open a grocery store instead of going into tech. It did not occur to them that I could make it as a programmer. I resolved to break that bias, which explains why I’m here today, and I will continue to push the boundaries. Here’s to breaking more biases.”
Being in tech for ten years has allowed me the opportunity to see the space change.
Meet Jana Schoeman
User Experience Designer, Cape Town, South Africa.
” Being in tech for ten years has allowed me the opportunity to see the space change. It is encouraging to work in an environment that not only understands the importance of different voices and viewpoints but actively embraces and seeks out the diversity and opportunity this brings.
I feel inspired and privileged to work with strong and passionate women who not only command the space they are in but welcome others who want to join. Thank you to everyone and especially the women who have created and sometimes had to fight for this wonderful space that feels like home.”
My journey in the tech world has not always been easy, but that’s the best part of it.
Meet Iyanuoluwa Solomon
Site Reliability Engineer, Ogun, Nigeria
Iyanuoluwa was among the second batch of She Code Africa Interns who joined our team in May 2021. In November, she completed her internship, and the Deimos team promoted her to a Level 1 Site Reliability Engineer. According to her manager, David Roos, ‘Iyanu works hard, asks questions and listens to advise. She is open to suggestions and can research complex tasks on her own which is very impressive at this stage of her SRE career.’
“While I was growing up, I always heard stories that women could not succeed in a ‘male-dominated’ discipline, but I always believed that a woman could do better whatever a man can do. My journey in the tech world has not always been easy, but that’s the best part of it. I love the challenging aspect of being in tech because I get to learn new things, and it gives me a chance to push myself to new heights every day. With the advent of more women in technology, I believe gender bias would decline.”
Who would have thought that I could be a woman in tech with my background?
Meet Paulina Gomado
Project Administrator, Greater Accra, Ghana.
Paulina was an Administrator in a private school in Ghana. She believes in teamwork and ensuring all communication channels are open to work effectively. Now, Paulina leads projects at Deimos. She plays a vital role in ensuring the completeness and accuracy of resource schedules, capacity plans, forecasts and various financial reports, which empowers the Deimos executives to make sound business decisions.
“Growing up, I realized women around me had to put more effort to achieve their goals. Certain careers and jobs were deemed to be for men, and if a woman dreamt of a “male-dominated” profession, she was considered difficult and to be wasting her time.
Today, I am ecstatic to see women breaking barriers and being at the helm of affairs, be it in tech, science, politics or whichever industry. Who would have thought that I could be a woman in tech with my background?
Indeed, as a woman, challenges and hurdles will arise at every step of our way, but the power of a woman can never be subdued! We will forever rise above all and continue to #BreakTheBias.”
These women that I talk about, I don’t have to hear about them because I work with them.
Our women are making it happen at Deimos, and I am happy to be part of those who are here. As a woman, I have felt discriminated against many times; I have felt the word ‘woman’ used in a demeaning sense.
I won’t go into details, but I am proud of where we are. We are making progress, but we still have a great distance to go. I am thankful to the women who have fought for our rights and freedom; these women walked before us so that we could fly.
I am glad that I work in a progressive workplace where women are leading in their roles; these women that I talk about, I don’t have to hear about them because I work with them.
This International Women’s Day, let us work towards a more diverse, equitable and inclusive world. Let us continue speaking up and creating change. To the women who keep fighting the status quo, who keep going above and beyond in their roles, keep going.
To those who still think a woman cannot run it, read the stories of the women we profiled on this post and now, go #BreakTheBias.