The sun was shining on the 10’th of March 2023, as 195 members of the Retro Rabbit team made their way “Diep in die Berg” to attend our first self-hosted conference in three years! We were beyond excited to come together, learn from each other, and focus on how we as individuals, a company, and an industry can improve at every stage, through our underpinning theme of "LEVEL UP".
The conference began with a warm welcome address from our CEO Dion Nair. His speech set the tone for the day's events, which were filled with informative and thought-provoking talks from external industry leaders, as well as our own Rabbits!
A panel discussion, featuring members of the Retro support team including Caslyn Swartz, Operations Officer; Dory Hanekom, Head of People; James Stewart, Head of Journey; and Sam Divett, Brand Manager; as well as Dion Nair, CEO; Theo Crous, Founder. The panel looked at our recently revised culture - emphasizing Retro’s core values of CHALLENGING norms, each other and the industry at large; BUILDING exceptional talent, epic software, and a vibrant community, and MOTIVATING each other to BE BETTER. They also discussed Retro's commitment to supporting our Rabbits through programs like ICAS, and the impressive growth and commitment of the People and Journey departments, and our recently introduced Mentorship Program.
On to our keynote speaker! Thulani Dube gave a highly engaging talk on problem-solving. He emphasized the importance of putting the customer first and shared his experiences as a Design Lead at Nedbank. His talk highlighted the importance of taking a customer-centric approach to arrive at the right solution.
Next up was had the pleasure of listening to our very own Mohit Sooka, whose insightful topic was: Practice in praxis - the transformative power of informal design practices.
Onalerona Mosimege, a software engineer and mental health advocate, gave a unique and meaningful talk on "Error Logging” exploring the intersection of computer science principles and mental health. Onalerona's talk was a reminder that we can apply our knowledge in unexpected ways and make a difference in people's lives.
Priya Govender, a leadership coach and expert on mentoring, spoke about the benefits of mentorship in the workplace. She shared her insights on how mentorship can and should be a mutually beneficial relationship, with both parties learning from each other. We are very excited to have Priya assisting us with our Mentorship Program that has been recently introduced to the company.
Phlippie Bosman spoke on the topic of A wider lens, which was followed by our lightning talks by Tirzah Strobos, Tammy Craggs, and Fred Ehlers, who provided a unique perspective on various topics. Tirzah talked about project planning and time management for the neurodivergent brain, while Tammy shared her insights on standardizing a UX approach to chatbots, with specific reference to her most recent work with Standard Bank. Fred's talk centered around mobile security on Flutter.
Marie Pretorius spoke on "Inspired by Experience," where she shared her experiences in the industry and how they have shaped her. Her talk was a reminder that our experiences can provide valuable insights that can be applied in the workplace. The conference ended with a humorous and thought-provoking talk by Christo Erasmus and Cilliers Naude on the role of artificial intelligence in the workplace. They spoke about how AI can complement human efforts, and not necessarily replace them.
Overall, the conference was a hugely enlightening and valuable day for everyone involved. The team at Retro Rabbit gained valuable insights into various topics, which we will apply in our work going forward. The conference was a reminder of the importance of coming together, learning from each other, and striving to LEVEL UP at every stage.