Passionate, Powerful, Professional

The Ballito MagazineDecember 19, 2023

No matter the field of work, local women are making strides and achieving great things, breaking the glass ceiling while doing so. Get to know four successful women in various professions, what inspires them, and their advice for aspiring female professionals.

 

DRIVING INNOVATION 

Who is Seshni Doorsamy?

I am a digital strategist and owner of software development house ZonkeTech. I have over 10 years of experience in digital marketing and website development and a passion for innovation.

 

Why software development? 

My passion for software development stems from my fascination with technology and people. We spend so much of our time trying to navigate business day-to-day tasks in the same way generations before us did, not realising that we are able to minimise these tasks with the right software tools. Technology has improved the time it takes to get a message across while reaching a larger audience.

 

How did you end up where you are today?

It has been 14 long years (I sound like the old lady in the Titanic movie!). Digital marketing was becoming a “must-have” in the business game, so decided to learn more about it. I found a disconnect between software and the people wanting to use it. In 2016, I co-founded ZonkeTech. I had this vision of radically changing the way the world works by automating businesses, connecting people, and eradicating the digital gender divide.

 

What is it like working as a female in this profession?

It has taken a large amount of sacrifice, dedication and resilience to become an entrepreneur in the tech industry. Nothing prepared me for rejection and the mental capacity it took to become part of an industry that was thought to be male-dominant. The truth is women have always been at the forefront of technology, but we were not given the opportunity or platform to showcase our talents.

 

What inspires you to work hard in your field, pushing boundaries and making strides?

My passion and drive for technology and innovation. I love turning clients’ ideas into business processes that enhance productivity. I want to help businesses control technology without technology controlling them.

 

What advice would you give other women starting out in your field of work?

There is no problem in existence that cannot be solved by human ingenuity, willpower, and resilience. You are a human being with a passion and skillset that should not diminish just because societal constructs depict how women are perceived.

www.zonketech.co.za

 

Photo by Erna Van Schoor

BEAUTIFUL INSIDE AND OUT 

Who is Dr Kayla Andrew? 

I am a medical doctor and run my own private practice, Derma Lab, in Salt Rock. We specialise in medical aesthetics and anti-aging interventions. I grew up in the farming town of Underberg, and this has shaped me as a person and doctor. I value community, authenticity and natural beauty deeply.

 

Why medical aesthetics?

Medical aesthetics has been a natural path for my creative spirit as it is a field where true skill respects the balance between medicine, science and art. I have always had an artistic eye and love for details which has helped me excel.

 

How did you end up where you are today? 

I received my medical degree at the University of Pretoria and qualified with a bachelor of surgery and medicine. During my community service year, I completed a course in aesthetic dermatology and found a field of medicine that I absolutely loved! I spent the next four years doing GP work and then full-time medical aesthetics work before taking the big step to open my own practice.

 

What is it like working as a female in this profession?

I love being a woman working in this profession! Don’t get me wrong – it’s been hard to get here and the medical world is still traditionally a bit patriarchal. But I feel that women have a natural affinity for aesthetics, beauty and being detail-orientated, all of which makes for a good aesthetic physician!

 

Photo by Erna Van Schoor

What inspires you to work hard in your field, pushing boundaries and making strides?

Seeing a patient’s boosted confidence and self-esteem after a successful treatment is the most rewarding thing to me. Another aspect that drives me is educating my patients on aesthetic treatments and their options. Social media, celebrities, and over-injected faces sometimes portray a ‘fake look’ and have created a stigma around cosmetic treatments. We can age gracefully but just slower with micro-optimisations that retain our natural look.

 

What advice would you give other women starting out in your field of work?

Invest in training and education so that you can take pride in your patients and your work. Aesthetics is growing and evolving so there is always something new to learn! Respecting a patient’s individuality is critical to achieving elegant, natural results that enhance already beautiful features – the best treatments are barely detectable.

www.dermalab.co.za

 

DREAMING OF DESIGNS 

Who is Julia Rutherfoord?

I have been a resident of Salt Rock since 2006 and am married with three boys. Our family cherishes the community and all share a passion for surfing and admiring Ballito’s stunning coastline. I am an architect and have built an impressive portfolio of luxury residential properties since establishing Julia Rutherfoord Architect.

 

Why architecture? 

I have always been interested in how sustainable luxury architecture can minimise environmental impact while upholding exclusivity, modernity, and superior standards. I firmly believe in the boundless potential of architecture and endeavour to create bespoke spaces that embody and promote sustainability while celebrating my client’s individuality.

 

How did you end up where you are today?

My passion for sculpture and fine art sparked my interest in architecture, leading me on a journey encompassing studying in KZN, work experience in Budapest Hungary at the Journeyman School under Imre Makovecz, and the opportunity to exhibit my work at the ECC-Venice Biennial! I started Julia Rutherfoord Architect in 2010 when I was pregnant with my second son and wanted to work from home. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. It’s hard work, but I am forever grateful for the support of my clients and team.

 

Photo by Chris Allan Photography

What inspires you to work hard in your field, pushing boundaries and making strides?

My focus lies in designing with an unwavering commitment to preserving the magnificent environment of Ballito, projecting its timeless beauty for the next 50 to 100 years. My primary aim is to minimise the ecological footprint of my designs, striving to create a lasting legacy that not only safeguards the environment but also nurtures a healthy future for generations to come.

 

What advice would you give other women starting out in your field of work?

Work hard, be better every day, and treat others with kindness, as one never knows who might provide invaluable assistance along the way. It is also so important to maintain a curious mindset to continually explore and develop sustainable building methods and designs.

www.rutherfoordarchitect.co.za

 

THE ART OF MOVEMENT

Who is Stella Schröder?

Having been in the field of physiotherapy for over 15 years, my life recently became richer when I became a mom to my beautiful daughter, Kenzie. When I’m not treating patients or attending to other practice matters at Schröder & Macquet Physiotherapy, it fills my cup to spend time with my little family and close friends.

 

Why physiotherapy?

Each person is unique in their build and biomechanics, so this provides a constant challenge when getting them back to their optimal function, which is wonderful! It seems that it was always in me to work in a “helping profession”, as my Grade 2 self thought she wanted to be a nurse to help people walk. A few years later, I decided I wanted to be a physiotherapist.

 

How did you end up where you are today?

After completing my studies at UCT and my community service year at Emmaus Hospital in the Drakensberg, I joined a practice in Ballito and started up its hospital branch. Seeing predominantly orthopaedic patients and having a variety of sports injuries, headaches, muscle tears and joint pains in the rooms makes for a wonderful array of patients to treat. A few years down the track, I became a partner in the practice and took over the running of it.

 

What is it like working as a female in this profession?

Surprisingly, physiotherapy is actually a female-dominated profession! We do work alongside many male healthcare professionals and doctors comprising the multi-disciplinary team. I have never experienced not being respected or appreciated because of my gender.

 

What inspires you to work hard in your field, pushing boundaries and making strides?

The world is ever-changing and research is always ongoing, so we always keep learning and moving forward to hopefully better ourselves and our profession. This inspires me and makes me want to be an example for my daughter. to live a well-balanced life, be adaptable, keep learning, and take opportunities when they come my way.

 

What advice would you give other women starting out in your field of work?

Physiotherapy is a truly wonderful career where science and art meet. There is clearly a strong scientific backbone, but I do believe there is an element of art in how techniques are performed – every physio has their own way. It is also very broad in scope, so the option to diversify or develop a special area of interest is always there.

www.ballitophysio.co.za

Opening photo by Erna Van Schoor