Lise Hagan

Lise Hagen is a PhD candidate, management research consultant and the Founder and  Director of Herding Cats Innovarium, a technology insight and innovation advisory firm in South Africa. She has over 20 years’ experience applying socio-political, economic, and ICT mega trend insights to business problems.

As part of our spotlight series on the faces behind ALX, we spoke with Lise – who applies her vast skill set to the Global Brand team as a project consultant – to find out about her learning journey and unique perspective on the world of tech, discovering nuggets of wisdom for women looking to pursue a career in the industry.

Can you share a bit about your background and how it led you to your current role at ALX?

My background is eclectic. While my professional background is in consulting and research, my academic background is in literature, anthropology, and business studies. I think my ability to combine a strategic top-down view with an emphasis on bottom-up representation got me to where I am.

What motivated you to enter the tech field and pursue a career in this space? 

I didn’t so much as enter the tech field as that it was the expansion of the tech field that made it  inseparable from every business. Moreover, I wanted to understand how things work and how they are put together, which are two skills that the tech field values.

What are some of your key responsibilities at ALX?

In my role as a project consultant, I support highly-talented creatives to do what they do best: dazzle and delight us by making the brands under ALI the best they can be.

What do you love most about your work?

Working with fabulous creatives on interesting projects whilst contributing to ALX and unlocking our incredible African talent.

Why do you believe it’s important for more women to get into tech and gain skills that will enable them to pursue careers in the industry?

I feel that women need to reclaim their close connection to high technology, whether it is in hardware manufacturing or coding, because technology is just a tool; it is how one uses the tool that makes one powerful. Empowered individuals make a difference in the world, and we must be the change we want to see.

What value do you think women bring to the tech industry, and how have you seen that play out in your own career?

I think every individual brings along their own perspective, and it is in the richness and depth of varied perspectives that new and exciting opportunities become possible. I don’t have a technical background, but I am a divergent thinker and insatiably curious. As a result I provide a different point of view.

What barriers or challenges have you encountered in your career journey, and how did you overcome them?

The challenges in my career have almost never been about hard skills, but rather on how self-limiting beliefs narrowed my options to what I believed was possible. It is when one throws those insecurities aside that career magic happens.

Have you had any mentors or role models who have impacted your career journey?

I never had a mentor when I started out; I never even thought it was relevant until I found out what genuine support, a safe space to articulate one’s thoughts and frustrations, and tough love can do to spur one on to unforeseen heights. A mentoring relationship can be as brief as a profound conversation; it needn’t be a relationship that lasts for years.

What excites you about the future of technology and innovation in Africa?

The incredible potential of a whole continent! I am a firm believer that Africa already has answers to questions that are asked globally.

What mindset do you believe is critical for women in tech to succeed in their journeys?

Determination, focus, empathy and a sense of humour.

What message or advice would you give to young women considering a career in tech?

Generally, people just jump at any job that becomes available and that’s what I did out of necessity. When I just started out, I never even considered that one can create a career, but once you recognise that you have that power, it is vital that there is a common theme that ties your career decisions together. For me, it is that I always need to do something that I find interesting.


​​ALX is proud to support its learners and graduates throughout their career journeys. Find out more about how ALX is creating the next generation of African women in tech.

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