Redfaire International's Women in Tech | Adéle van der Merwe

Posted by Niamh Vaughan

Meet Adéle van der Merwe, JDE Technical Resource Manager. When she’s not working with her team on the technical details of JDE projects, Adéle enjoys all things creative, baking, crafting and even channelling her inner disco diva.

Redfaire International's Women in Tech | Adéle van der Merwe Image

Tell us about yourself.
I live in Johannesburg, South Africa with my husband of 28 years, Schalk. I love expressing my creativity and I have lots of ‘arty’ hobbies including, painting, cake baking and decorating, crocheting (you will see my beanies in winter), knitting, decoupage, scrapbooking, mosaic, and I even tried teddy-bear making once! I also love reading.

But perhaps my greatest hobby is my kids. I have two boys and a girl and two wonderful daughters-in-law. My boys have ‘flown the nest’ one is moving into a new house with his partner and the second one is studying Psychology at University. My ‘baby’ Monique is in art school, majoring in dance, she is also very active in the Scout movement and will be travelling to South Korea this year for the world scout Jamboree.

Tell us about your role at Redfaire.
I started with Redfaire in 2022 as a JDE Technical CNC consultant. I then got the opportunity to move into a management role with Redfaire Global Support. I am really enjoying this new role, I am learning all the time. Though new to management, an advantage I have is that my technical knowledge and previous experience help me to understand the day-to-day challenges faced by my team. I am also lucky to work with a great bunch of people. I am so proud of the work we have done together so far.

How did you get started with technology?
Originally, I wanted to be a teacher, but my dad encouraged me to get into programming. He saw it as an area with great opportunities. I learned Cobol Programming, (ok so that was a while ago) and I started working with a company that implemented JD Edwards, eventually  moving into a CNC role. I have been working on international projects since 2017. I have had quite a varied career and I often say to myself, “The only constant is change”.

Any advice for women wanting to work in tech?
This is a difficult one to answer. I only started in tech because circumstances pushed me in that direction. As I mentioned, originally, I wanted to be a teacher because I love working with people. However, I love working in tech and I loved being a CNC and sometimes being a manager is a bit like being a teacher so I suppose it has all worked out for me!

A young CNC said to me in November 2022, I believe, "I am in the right place at the right time for things to work out exactly as they should." That made a huge impression on me, and I think of that moment every time I question myself. So, my advice is, just hang in there, follow your dreams. I would tell my 20-year-old self "You are in the right place at the right time for things to work out exactly as they should".

 Any tips on working remotely?
Well, there is no one size fits all approach to working from home, it really depends on your personality. If you are prone to procrastination, you need to set daily goals for yourself. A workaholic? You need to be strict on yourself when it comes to work-life balance. Sometimes, it can be hard to get the balance right. Also, try to get together with your team once or twice a month and don't talk about work. Talk about fun things - like singing in the shower / shovelling snow.

How do you personally destress?
I go for a massage every Saturday morning and try to go out at least once a week with the family just to get away from the "office"
(I work from home, so this is more metaphorical!)  We have 4 dogs and 5 cats. They love attention and cuddling, so that also helps with some stress relief.

What are you most proud of?
My biggest achievement is raising 3 amazing, independent children. I am so proud when I look at them, their achievements and behaviours and then think to myself - "I created and contributed to that". My grandmother used to say, that our children are all we have. One day when we pass on that is all we keep with us.

Tell us more.....
I love to sing, mostly in the shower and I love a good karaoke. I even competed once in a karaoke competition, which was, let’s just say, an epic failure! So now I host my own fun karaoke evenings with little rattle bunnies as microphones and just have fun with some of my girlfriends. Our karaoke theme last year was Queen and ABBA. I have more respect now for Queen than ever before, no matter how hard I tried, I just could not get to the notes.

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