The next part in EMC’s Women in Technology series considers the importance of keeping in touch with who one is, and what one brings to the table as women, working in the male-dominated technology sector. It further explores the need to look beyond the immediate deadline, or sales target, or quarter, and take the time to give back to those around you.
Account Manager at EMC Eleanor Masher and Delia Naicker, Senior Project Manager didn’t set out to be heroines, in fact, to their friends and colleagues the sociable pair didn’t seem likely candidates for athletic prowess, at all. Then tragedy struck, and the pair decided to do something exceptional.
For Masher, it was a change in her personal circumstances, and for Naicker, the loss of her best friend, Luresha Govender, and the diagnosis of a fellow EMC colleague with breast cancer.
“When Julia was diagnosed with breast cancer, her husband started recruiting runners to do the 2 Oceans Marathon as part of Runners Against Cancer. I went to the introductory event to support Julia, and suddenly found myself signing up to run,” relates Naicker. Masher decided to join her, partly in support, and partly to lose weight, get fit and give her a change of focus from her personal troubles.
The pair started thinking about training in January, and started actual training in February. They ran the race on 26 March. “We were so nervous,” recalls Masher, “the day before we went out and bought ALL the running aids we could think of - Gu, race food, supplements for speed and distance.”
And they did it. Slowly, but determinedly. And in so doing raised R163 000 for CANSA. For Naicker, her daughters provided the motivation to get through it. “They had had this godmother (Luresha) who they looked up to, and who was the ideal mom, doing all the fun things with them. If I quit, I knew they’d be watching me. I had to show them what you can achieve if you set your mind to it. I ran the race in Luresha’s shoes, and she got me through it.”
“For me it was about pushing my personal boundaries, and showing myself I could do it. The combination of personal challenge and doing it for charity helped me overcome my personal demons,” says Masher.
Would they do it again? “Yes,” says Masher, “and I’d encourage others to do it.
“Maybe,” adds Naicker, who has, since the race, started devoting her time and resources to helping other charities, including organising a blanket drive and a blood drive. “Every bit counts,” she says, “everything we can do for others helps.”
Both women would strongly encourage other women to get out there and do something, anything, to help others. “It doesn’t have to be as big as a marathon,” Naicker says.
“It takes a big person to start and do it, but the satisfaction gained is unbelievable,” concludes Masher.