With a career marked by “dynamic versatility”, Diageo South Africa e-commerce head Carryn Gabriels has excelled in sales leadership, communication, and digital and technology innovation.
From steering communication strategies in rewards banking to pioneering marketing in South Africa’s proptech industry and spearheading e-retail revenue initiatives, she says she brings a “unique blend of skills to drive growth and success in today’s digital business landscape”.
TechCentral asked Gabriels a few questions for its IT Leadership Series.
What does your company do?
Diageo specialises in premium beverage production and holds the top global position in the industry.
What do you see as the IT leader’s top priorities in 2023?
One of the top priorities for IT leaders is to put people at the forefront of our strategic focus. The reason for this is the breakneck speed at which technology is advancing. It’s not enough for AI, digital tools and emerging technologies to be buzzwords within our organisation. They should be seamlessly integrated into our workflows, making our jobs more efficient and effective.
My top priority is nurturing and empowering our people, ensuring they have the knowledge, skills and confidence to embrace technology. By doing so, we can minimise resistance, foster innovation and create a workforce that not only keeps pace with technology but drives our organisation forward in the digital era.
Who do you most admire in business and why?
I admire women in business who are also mothers. Balancing the demands of work with the responsibilities of motherhood requires exceptional organisational skills, time management, resilience and a knack for finding (sometimes very) innovative solutions to problems.
How do you attract and retain talent?
We attract talent by leveraging our brand reputation. To retain talent, we prioritise recognising and rewarding their significant contributions, ensuring they see their impact on our company’s continued success.
If you could go back and give your 18-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Your ability to attain the thing that you want is directly correlated to how willing you are to experience its opposite.
What’s your favourite productivity hack?
Oliver Burkeman’s 3:3:3 Method.
What occupation (other than your own) would you like to try?
Where do you see the technology industry heading in the next three to five years?
In e-commerce, the one thing the past five years has taught us is that we can’t accurately predict where tech is headed. Adapting to trends and staying agile are essential for businesses and professionals in the tech sector.
What is one book you’d recommend to our audience and why?
In today’s fast-paced world, having the ability to effectively influence and persuade others is a valuable skill. I would highly recommend The Little Book of Yes by Noah Goldstein, Steve Martin and Robert Cialdini. Whether you’re in business, leadership, sales, negotiation, or simply seeking to improve your communication and persuasion skills, this book offers concise and actionable strategies that deliver results. – © 2023 NewsCentral Media
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