As a Responsible Business, we’re committed to a communities-driven culture and doing right by those around us. Our people bring those principles to life – and one such ambassador is Lorraine Tshuma, Microsoft Technical Support and Presales Lead at Westcon-Comstor. Inspired by her story and ability to make positive change, we talked to Lorraine to discover how the company empowers her activism.
Thanks so much for joining us, Lorraine! Can you tell us about your role at Westcon-Comstor and the personality traits you think make you successful in this role?
Sure! So, I manage a team of nine people across Microsoft technical support and presales. Together, we take care of licences, managing tools, handling orders, and providing first and second-level support after a sale.
My background in operations management helps me succeed in my role because it’s made me very process- and procedure-driven. I’m also a team player – I love to get my hands dirty – and a great communicator who likes to bring out the best in people.
I’m also a fast learner, so I was able to gain the technical skills needed in this role quickly. Of course, it helped that I was so well-supported – I was offered training, an induction, learning platforms, and the ability to ask anyone a question if needed. I would love to give my boss Michelle Themelis credit for her amazing support, as it’s a pleasure working with her. Thank you so much!
Your personal and career journey have been challenging at times. Would you mind sharing some of the hurdles you’ve faced and how you’ve overcome them?
Of course. Firstly, I am a single mother raising two children alone, which is a challenge. Sometimes, I would find myself thinking: how am I going to get through the day?
I was also unemployed for a period. I spent five years looking for a job, which made it even harder by the fact that my field can be so male dominated.
So, at times, it definitely felt like everything was crumbling down in front of me. But my faith got me through it, as well as the fact that I had to be there for my children.
In the end, I believe and understand that everything happens for a reason – and being exposed to these challenges is how I became an activist.
What does activism mean to you and how do you practice this at Westcon-Comstor?
For me, activism is about changing a narrative and be a voice for the voiceless. As the mother of a child with albinism, activism is extremely important to me – I don’t think I can just keep quiet. It involves education, participation, and supporting those in need.
I proudly advocate for people with disabilities and provide education to raise awareness. I also take part in webinars to share my experiences and advocate for change.
At Westcon-Comstor, we’re always working towards positive changes, with an emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion and understanding each other. I admire the company’s commitment to developing its staff and providing the learning platforms to do that – it’s very well-organised. The charity drives that we have are awesome too – I took part in one for an old age home in Tembisa, where we sang for the residents. Charity is very close to my heart, and Westcon-Comstor gives me an avenue to make a meaningful contribution.
How does Westcon-Comstor support and empower you as a single mother, an activist, and a team lead?
I remember when I felt joined the company, I was blown away by the resources they had, such as our learning platform. In fact, I even call that platform a ‘university’ because it’s just so comprehensive!
The warmth and compassion of the people at the company is also amazing. I often think about Louise Taute, our Managing Director in South Africa, who shared how she regrets missing important moments in her child’s life and has encouraged us to be present for our kids. You hardly get that in companies these days.
She, like many others in the business, has an open-door policy, so I can reach out any time and hear words of wisdom. Westcon-Comstor is here to push peoples’ potential and help them get the most out of their career here.
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