Traci Maynard, general manager of Acer at Tarsus Technologies has made a name for herself in the IT workplace over the past 17 years – and now she’s using that name to drive change.
While the technology industry has for the longest time been dominated by men, paradigms are shifting, boundaries are lifting and women are steadily beginning to make their mark in this vibrant market sector.
Traci Maynard is one of those confident, capable women making a mark on the South African IT industry. And the impact she’s making at her company and in the industry as a whole is paving the way for a very different future.
With more than 17 years’ experience in the IT distribution market – and about two thirds of that time spent creating magic for Tarsus Technologies – Maynard was the person behind her company’s success in driving the market’s adoption of the Acer, Cisco and Dell brands when they were fresh arrivals in South Africa.
Aside from creating the initial demand for these brands, Maynard’s expertise stretched into creating a robust foundation and instilling a steadfast loyalty for these brands in the channel.
Her positive attitude and all-encompassing experience in everything from the notebook, desktop, server and networking arenas has proved invaluable in this regard.
A true role model for other women in conventionally male-dominated industries, she believes that the workplace should be not about the battle of the sexes.
“It’s about who’s best prepared,” she says.
“It’s about the person who always has a plan up their sleeve and is ready to execute that plan, given a moment’s notice,” she adds.
Maynard believes that if you’re always well prepared and can adapt to any situation, there’s little that can go wrong for you.
Maynard’s decision to become involved in the IT industry, specifically in the area of hardware distribution, came after having completed a diploma in Marketing and Sales Management because, as she says, it seemed to be the industry that offered the best combination of everything: hard work, spiced with interesting challenges and tempered with a fair amount of fun.
And it seems that by all accounts, she found that to be true.
In terms of gender equality issues in the IT space, Maynard says she has noticed that an increasing number of women are holding top titles in South African companies and that senior management positions are held by both men and women, thereby creating a better balance and a happier working environment.
“This,” she says, “is noticeable because staff want to talk to someone they feel they can relate to, and sometimes men forget this.
“While time is usually limited and everyone has a busy agenda, lending an ear to your staff and taking the time to listen, generally works in the company’s favour – and this is undoubtedly an area where a woman’s ability to nurture and support can be beneficial,” she adds.
While gender equality has become less of a concern in the industry of late, Maynard believes there are a number of other issues that still need to be addressed and she considers empowerment to be an ongoing process.
“More commitment is needed to ensure the true empowerment of women and previously disadvantaged individuals. South Africa is like a first world and third world country all rolled into one. A solid realistic plan is what’s needed for job creation to reduce poverty, which also necessitates addressing basic human rights in some areas – including housing, clean water, education and learnership programmes,” she says.
On the topic of green issues and being more environmentally responsible, Maynard believes that even though it hasn’t yet been legislated in South Africa, recycling should be a priority and environmentally-friendly modes of business ought to become the norm.
In terms of her vision for the future, Maynard hopes that the cohesion of vendor and distributor relationships can be solidified, and she believes that this requires the vendor to see the distributor as a vital link in the supply chain – not a place to dump stock and move on.
Additionally, she would also like to see more open communication between competitive distributors when it comes to resellers that are bad payers or non-payers.
With her pragmatic approach and her unfaltering determination, Traci Maynard has proven time and time again that she’s a woman worth keeping an eye on.
And if she can act as an inspiration to other young and vibrant women, and attract them to the IT industry, all the better.