Colleen Glaeser is the definition of a ‘one woman wonder’ – a self-made millionaire who started her first company at the tender age of twenty-two. Today, Colleen not only owns three companies, but she is the only female to serve on the board of international directors for the Russian Software Company – AxxonSoft. This entrepreneur is known for her dynamic personality, beautiful compassion and strong leadership skills. With a positive outlook and willpower Colleen Glaeser has applied her entrepreneurial skills and sales framework to create her award-winning businesses in the telecoms, security and hospitality industries, all of which she still manages. She holds the role of Managing Director for AxxonSoft Southern Africa, Director for IMC by AxxonSoft. CEO of DCSS South Africa and Managing Director for Karkloof Safari Villas. She is also the Managing Member for CG Telecoms & Data. Under Colleen's leadership, each of these companies have experienced exceptional growth, averaging 200% annually. She has proven time and time again that women can be both powerful leaders and imperative assets in any business - both tactically and strategically.
How did you get into the industry?
My journey with the security and surveillance industry began 25 years ago, when I opened my first telecommunications and CCTV company at the age of 22. CCTV and surveillance has always been a passion of mine, and it has been incredible to be part of an industry that is constantly transforming itself with cutting-edge technology and solutions. It is also my passion to create a safer world through the implementation of world-class security and surveillance software.
Any emerging industry trends?
With new technological advancements coming to the forefront almost daily in the surveillance and security sector, the industry is now entirely based on intelligent and smart software solutions. Working closely with the global AxxonSoft team, we have been able to develop state-of-the-art software to combat many security threats the world currently faces, our anti-poaching solution being one of them.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
We have identified the opportunity to apply our Deep Learning and Neural Network technology to creative a proactive solution against poaching within Southern Africa. This is new and has not been done before. By incorporating this technology into a programme, utilizing the software in various parks and reserves across Southern Africa, we have been able to create a solution that targets poaching in a real time situation. As I have been in the in the security and surveillance industry for the past 25 years, I knew that I had to use my knowledge and expertise to help combat poaching. Due to expansive plains and limited resources, anti-poaching programs in the past have normally been very reactive, with devastating results. We really believe this anti-poaching solution can aid in the war against poaching and drastically bring down the upsetting statistics.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
Coming from South Africa, growing up surrounded by these majestic animals and the exquisite plains of the African continent, seeing the destruction that poaching has imposed on my country and the continent is a gruesome atrocity. Our beautiful wildlife is intertwined in our African heritage and identity. Therefore, the protection of wildlife is very close to my heart. I knew if we didn’t do something drastic soon, the possible threat of extinction would be just around the corner.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
We have many wonderful projects in the pipeline, and are constantly looking for new ways in which we can grow the brand as the world changes. It is an exciting time to be alive, and we look forward to evolving. We are busy developing some exciting new technology and look forward to launching it into the market. Watch this space.
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?
Having directed AxxonSoft Southern Africa as well as serving on the international board of directors for the company, I have become part of the global AxxonSoft family. I truly believe in the brand and what it has to offer the ITC Sector. In my new role, I will be spearheading all global AxxonSoft digital marketing initiatives, propelling the company to the top of the digital space. Innovation is the name of the game and we look forward to growing our brand not only with new and exciting technology, but with revolutionary digital marketing initiatives and experiences.
Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)
The security and surveillance industry has always been a male dominated sector. Starting my own business in the industry, as a female entrepreneur, has been no easy feat. However, the rewards over the past 25 years have been worth every tough moment. I know work alongside some of the world’s brightest minds and have the incredible AxxonSoft team behind me, supporting me as I take the company to new heights. There really are wonderful opportunities for women in this sector. It is our time to shine.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
We really believe in focusing our attention on creating solid relationships with our clientele, both old and new. I believe in taking our offering a step further by harnessing our expertise in the industry to build personalized business relationships with clients. Client happiness is based on cementing long lasting relationships with our valued partners on a one-to-one basis.
How do you motivate others?
I talk about the power of confidence on a daily basis. Without confidence, I would not be a successful business woman, nor would I have the ability to take on new and exciting projects. I have had to stand up in front of thousands of people and sell my services. I can do this with ease because a) I believe in what I have to offer and b) I have the confidence to do it. We all have it within us, believe in yourself and the world will believe in you too.
Career advice to those in your industry?
Whilst we face many obstacles and challenges in this industry, it’s important to see these so called ‘hiccups’ as valuable lessons and an adventure in some sense. As mentioned before, the security and surveillance industry is predominately male-dominated. Therefore, I appeal to all women looking to enter into the industry, it’s our time to shine. We bring so much to the table, and if you believe in yourself and have the confidence to showcase your unique offering to the world, go ahead and do it.
What do I do best?
Over the past two decades, I have been lucky enough to embark on an incredible journey. One that I hope continues into my future, helping me grow as a woman, entrepreneur, wife and mother. This journey that I speak of pertains to the empire I have built and will continue to grow year-on-year. This empire doesn’t necessarily relate to the companies I own, but to the empire that has become my life. ‘Empire’ is an extremely powerful word and I am using it here as I do believe the use of powerful rhetoric can influence power in our lives.
As this “little empire” has grown, so has the influence that comes with it. From speaking on international stages and commanding a board room of top executives to motivating those who work with me and guiding my beautiful daughter on how she grows up and interprets the world, influence is an authoritative yet fundamental power that can shape and change the world. This is what I believe I do best.
What makes me the best version of myself?
Confidence is my personal motto, it is part of my identity. It prescribes how I conduct business and engage with friends, family, colleagues and employees. Let me say this, it’s the one rule I absolutely live by and advocate to others all the time. Confidence factors into every single minute of my day, whether it be confidence at work, confidence on a stage as I am speaking in front of thousands of people, many of them powerful business men, and confidence in my personal life.
What are my aspirations?
I am very lucky to have wonderful people to surround myself with. They are my inspiration and drive my aspirations. Whether it is my husband and beautiful daughter who bring so much joy to my life, or my incredible team of staff across all my companies, they are all my support system and help keep me motivated in everything I do.
My Biggest Success?
Finding the balance in life. Being a boss, a wife and a mother can be tricky but combined, they are all my greatest successes.
My Most Challenging Moment?
Taking on a new business or company, while extremely rewarding, can be very daunting and challenging. I however, take advantage of these so-called challenging moments to learn and relish in the opportunities I have been afforded. Any challenge in life can be seen as one’s greatest opportunity. It is just how you choose to see it.
Nothing is possible without confidence.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
I am a big fan of Princess Charlene of Monaco. Apart from being a South African, what she is doing with her foundation to raise awareness of drowning in Southern Africa is commendable. This is something very close to her heart, and has been dedicated to raising awareness and funds to help prevent children from drowning. Further to this, she is the epitome of humanitarian and lady boss, combined into one.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
I have been fortunate to travel to many wonderful destinations around the world. Just last year, I visited Bulgaria and Russia for work. I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent there, meeting wonderful people while truly experiencing the culture.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
I am currently working with Meerhof Private Wine Cellar, a beautiful wine farm based in the Western Cape, South Africa. We are busy developing a limited edition bottle for the Lady Colleen Glaeser brand, and cant wait to share what’s in store for this initiative.
My Current Passions?
I love spending time at Karkloof Safari Villas, a magnificent 5-star retreat I own in the Kwa-Zulu Natal countryside. I love taking my husband daughter there for weekends, or being there while entertaining guests or hosting functions. It truly is a magical destination, an urban escape. I am also extremely fervent about sharing motivational advice with my followers on social media. It has been wonderful to utilize my platforms to share stories and experiences with women around the world. Motivational speaking is one of my biggest passions, and I have been fortunate enough to share the stage with global industry leaders.