Tag Archive: women in business


Sandra SwanepoelSandra is the Sales Director at Sage VIP and she is strategically involved in the management of the business as a whole.  She is responsible for business development of new markets by growing Sage VIP’s market share across all market segments.  “My career is jam-packed with many highlights, such as the launch of several innovative products and the growth of Sage VIP from a small family business to a business with 730 employees and a customer base of more than 26 000 customers.”

According to her, women in a corporate environment will always be faced with equality challenges. “However, we should recognise our differences and use it to rather build on the many talents and strengths woman indeed can offer in the workplace. This mind-set has helped me to never really experience the differences as challenges, but rather as opportunities to do things differently.”

Sandra’s secret to a healthy work-life balance: I believe in exercising daily and to also participate in various running and cycling events – small or big. This is something I treasure and it has had an amazing positive impact on my life because it ensured wonderful friends and relationships, something which has kept me well-balanced in my career.

Sandra’s advice to other women in a corporate environment:

·         Be confident and approachable

·         Never stop the learning process, be inquisitive about everything. Ensure you are up to date with business and technology issues by reading regularly

·         Surround yourself with strong, optimistic and positive individuals.

·         Always be true to yourself, no matter what

·         Work hard, always give your best and work as if the business is your own. You will then feel a sense of achievement

·         Be passionate about the company you work for. My passion has really given me an amazing career

Anja Hartman

Anja is the HR Director of Sage VIP and she is responsible for the Human Capital within the company with a specific focus on maintaining Sage VIP’s status as an employer of choice. “I love the feeling when I can help people reach their potential and in my role as head of HR, I have the privilege to see it happen regularly.”

“As women, we tend to take things personally at work, while we should rather aim at having a positive attitude and mind-set. I also rely on the principle of straight talk. One should rather deal with a tough conversation than try to avoid it. I have learnt in life to talk tentatively, makes a huge difference in ensuring that a message is positively received.”

Anja’s secret to a healthy work-life balance: Plan ahead, be prepared and organised. Allowing myself some me-time leisure also ensures I have enough stamina to face all my responsibilities at work. I believe that – ‘life is short, live it’ – one should aim to have balance in all areas of life – body, mind and spirit.

Anja’s advice to other women in a corporate environment:

·         Choose your attitude – It is irrelevant what you face, it is all about how you decide to think and react to the situation

·         Excellence is not a habit; it is a way of life – Do whatever you do to the best of your ability; be it doing homework with the kids or sitting in a meeting at work

·         Define your dreams and take responsibility for making it happen – I also believe in continuous learning, so ensure that you read and grow as a person

Karen Schmikl

Karen Schmikl

Karen is the Business Manager for Sage VIP’s online business. She is responsible for not only designing the software but also needs to manage its marketing, sales and support functions. “I have been part of the Sage VIP team for 12 years and during this time I have had the privilege to work in various departments, giving me exposure to different aspects of the business. My job is fulfilling, with various aspects keeping it interesting and challenging,” says Karen.

“Working in a corporate environment is challenging but you need to take responsibility for ensuring that you have knowledge, expertise and experience in your field of business. This makes it easier to show you can make a difference as a woman and it will also instil a culture of respect amongst fellow colleagues. However you will need patience and perseverance,” says Karen.

According to Karen, the corporate environment is very much driven by a male energy and usually emotions do not have a place in the work environment. “It remains a challenge to stay in touch with your female energy, while managing yourself in your work space. It is not all about being emotional, but rather about tapping into your intuition and making that work.”

Her secret to a healthy work-life balance: It should be as important for you to ‘achieve’ at home, as it is at work. I always ask myself what my kids and husband would say about me if they had to give me an annual performance review. Ensure you have a healthy outlet to stress. You are one person doing different things. The balance is found within yourself – everything that is important to you needs attention. Work is very much part of one’s life, you cannot see it as something separate, so it should form a healthy part of your life.

Karen believes in doing a job that you love and can do well. “Money is important, we need it to survive, but what we do for our money is our choice, so make it a good choice.”

Karen’s advice to other women in a corporate environment:

·         Always remember what your values are and use that as a basis for how you work

·         Look for recognition within yourself – decide what is important for you, what you want to achieve and how you are going to measure it. It can make you miserable waiting for external recognition

·         Be fair, be honest and be true to yourself

·         Always respect other people, and yourself