The recent appointment of Risna Steenkamp as the General Manager: ESM Division at Networks Unlimited Africa underscores her rise through the ranks within this hard-working IT company, which also recently celebrated its 25th anniversary.

Steenkamp is well-known in the industry for taking a strongly personal approach in her business dealings, and always has a very focused and human-centric purpose in her engagements. She explains, “I approach partners as individual entities – their livelihood is my goal. I am firmly of the opinion that, from a distribution perspective, businesses need to have a longevity. My aim is to take the journey with my partners and my customers in order to solve business-related challenges – not simply to sell products.”

Steenkamp was promoted after just six months from her position as the company’s Western Cape Regional Channel Manager, an appointment which she took up in July last year. This career move also entailed a geographical move from the Western Cape to Gauteng, to manage a team of eight people. Her employment history includes the likes of Mustek Electronics, Tarsus, Neotel and Juniper, with experience within distribution as well as in the service provider and vendor spheres.

Steenkamp continues, “The solutions offered by Networks Unlimited are always particularly chosen to add value and/or sort out or solve a problem. Our vendor partners in my division currently include NETSCOUT (which incorporates NETSCOUT Arbor, formerly Arbor Networks), Rubrik, Altaro, Uplogix and SevOne, and they are all geared to solve specific business problems and challenges. This means that applying a ‘shotgun approach’ with our distribution is not the right fit for Networks Unlimited – rather than being happy when we ‘get a bite’, we pride ourselves on understanding the customer’s pain points and providing the right products to solve the challenge.”

Steenkamp is passionate about sharing knowledge within her team, as well as providing the right solution to the customer. “My management style is direct but also democratic – it’s important to me to make sure that everyone’s voice is heard. It is also vital to me to share knowledge and experience.

“Having always had access to wonderful mentors throughout my career, it is now my responsibility in turn to be the best mentor possible to my team members,” she explains. “I love seeing them grow both in their knowledge and also as individuals – it’s a real win for me to believe that I have made a difference in someone’s life.”

The solutions offered by Networks Unlimited Africa address key areas such as cloud networking and integration, WAN optimisation, application performance management, application delivery networking, wi-fi-, mobile- and networking security, load balancing, techie-in-a-box, and storage for virtual machines. Its solutions are sold through an extensive, reputable and solution-focused partner base across the African continent.