Diksha Somai Pillay

Digital Diva, Founder and Director

The first person in her family to attend university, Diksha received the best education. During the apartheid years, she was born in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. From a very early age, she had a Massive Transformative Purpose, focused on reinvent a better future and a keen interest in chemical engineering. A leading mining company, “Exxaro Resources Limited,” awarded Diksha a bursary to complete her degree. She then pursued a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering at Stellenbosch University in renewable energy. She went on to pursue other technical certifications that earned her the term of “Digital Diva”.

Her family has been a strong pillar of support. As a woman of colour, she has encountered numerous challenges, but that didn’t stop her from achieving a high rank as the Lead of Digital and Innovation.

Passionate about Technology, Education and Climate Change, Diksha has the vision to re-invent a better future. With over a decade of experience in the mining industry, numerous skills, and her rigid passion gave birth to Imagine Engine. Imagine Engine is a navigator in digital technology and gamification with an objective to define, build and solve the right problems in a VUCA world.

Imagine Engine brings a unique design thinking-led approach and a track record of delivery to the industry. Strategic climate change consulting, energy as a service, digital and data transformation and AI led gamification technology are the company’s core focus areas. The startup is currently raising funds to further develop their first Metaverse verse game called “My NetZero” and was also selected to participate in the Financial Times SDG Challenge.

In addition, she founded a Non Profit called The Geek Girls Foundation to enable women and girls to become Powerful Figures creating Exponential Impact, by eliminate the gender divide. According to their research, there’s just a 19% female career mobility rate across industries, leaving the rest with no resources to upskill and forward. The non-profit offers a digital e-learning platform to help to overcome these challenges through courses, technical certifications, support, and coaching.

Diksha has a healthy balance between personal and professional life with a support system built by family, friends, and business associates. The most challenging aspect for her is time; hence, with sufficient sleep and heartfulness meditation, Diksha is energised around the clock. She is a firm believer in prayer and family time, and is a supportive wife.

As an ambitious woman, she has a hunger to achieve greatness and excellence that attracts opportunities. As a goal getter, she sets achievable goals, pushes boundaries, and achieves the impossible. With a solid appetite for connecting and unleashing technology’s power, she aims for her brand to be recognised internationally.

Diksha is passionate about uplifting others through leadership and experience, helping them take on challenges like mental wellbeing and self-esteem. She actively is providing a platform to the youth to help them grow and expand their strengths, improve their weakness, influence them to take up opportunities through Hackathons, and offers them mentorship to steer their career growth in the right direction. She believes leadership is an action not a position.

The pandemic created barriers for businesses however the crisis was favourable to her business; being present in the ITC industry, they were entirely digitised to work remotely and help other enterprises to digitise quickly. They bridged the remote working and communication gap by offering digital workplace solutions to their clients. This strategy helped their company to achieve and improve business resilience. Along with her team, they provide free community Wi-Fi, to support in the Just Transition in Africa. Through The Geek Girls Foundation e-learning platform, they have democratised access to education.

Diksha has been recognised for her professional contribution, and she received the Mail and Guardian Top 200 Young South African Award, Standard Bank Top Young Woman Achiever Award, and Nominated as Strategic African Women in Leadership. She was selected as Hackmakers Regional Ambassador on the Global Data Science and Build with AI Hackathon. She is a registered director at The Institute of Directors in South Africa (IODSA) and actively participates on numerous committees and boards.

Diksha believes in working smarter, focusing on tangible goals, outputs and outcomes. Diksha encourages every individual not to limit themselves with existing knowledge, instead think beyond the box to solve a specific problem. She says, “knowledge is potential power, but applied knowledge is power”.

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Dhanraj Kamdar

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