Here at Internet Solutions (IS), we don’t just come to work, we come to change.
Our aim remains the same, to drive a legacy of technical excellence that will help us transform the Internet landscape in South Africa and positively affect the lives of the people who live in it. Karen Johnson, Team Leader: Bid Office, is the perfect example and has played her part in contributing to this goal. We took the time to have a chat to her and find out more about her journey with Internet Solutions.
Where were you working before you joined IS?
I started with the Dimension Data Group (at the Oval) straight after completing a one-year diploma course at Allenby College after matric. I was with the Dimension Data networking division for almost 16 years and moved across to Internet Solutions four years ago.
What was your first role when you joined IS?
I started at Dimension Data as a junior sales secretary and at IS as team leader for the bid office.
Tell us about your career journey at IS
I began my journey with Dimension Data in 1997 as a sales secretary and after a year, moved into a sales support role for Network Integration, progressing to senior sales support. I formed lasting relationships with my external clients and with colleagues in various internal departments of the Dimension Data Group. In 2010, I took over the network integration Bid Management role for the Line of Business (LoB). I worked closely with the Dimension Data Central Bid Office to align the LoB submissions to a central standard. At the end of 2012, my portfolio expanded to include the Converged Communications and iMedia LoBs as well, and I presented to and trained sales teams to ensure that standards and criteria were met consistently.
In 2014, I joined the Internet Solutions team as Team Leader for the Bid Office, as part of the IS sales engagement portfolio. I assist with the qualification of opportunities, day-to-day coordination of the team activities, pipeline management, reporting, training and collaboration between Dimension Data and IS on joint bids, as well as managing tenders myself as part of the team.
During my four years at IS, I have completed my Level 1 and 2 management certificates and qualified as a professional life coach in early 2016, obtaining an internationally recognised certification from the NeuroLeadership Institute through IS.
What’s been your main highlight over the years at IS? (If you have more than one, feel free to mention them)
Becoming a qualified coach! And the life-long friends I’ve made.
What do you enjoy most about your job or working at IS?
The people definitely, and the ability and opportunity to grow myself - how much I’ve learnt since I started here.
What do you enjoy the least about your job or role?
Having to “crack the whip” on people who don’t meet their deadlines. LOL
What have you learnt or gained over the years in terms of personal growth?
So much! Apart from who I am and where I want to be, I have learnt to believe in myself and discovered how many more possibilities there are out there than I could ever have imagined – my comfort zone has expanded incredibly. Having someone to look up to, a mentor who looked out for me and appeared to have my best interests at heart, was a massive gain for me and I hope to be able to do that for a colleague/employee one day too.
What would you say to someone who wants to join IS?
Do it! There may be politics or some process-driven adjustments needed, as there are in every organisation, but the people here are amazing. They become your family, and it’s a great place to work – you won’t regret it.