Retro Rabbit's "Level Up" RR.Conf '24

It was the 2nd of February 2024, and I had just arrived at Diep in die Berg Conference Center. I could feel the energy in the air as I was walking up to the venue, it was palpable and full of excitement. It was clear that everyone could sense the “Level Up” attitude in the atmosphere. As I got closer , I could hear the murmur and laughter of fellow rabbits and a smile swept across my face! Due to the remote structure of the company at Retro Rabbit, I don’t need an excuse to see more rabbits in their natural habitat of Pretoria, however attending the annual internal conference is a really good one! 

The morning started off with some updates from our CEO, Dion Nair and a panel discussion featuring one of the company's founders and the managers representing each division. It was great to touch base with the different faces of the company and interrogate the panel on the various ways they aimed to be better, improve on the company, and most importantly level up. This is a great way to begin the year as we reflect on the lessons learnt in the previous year, and how we can move forward in the year ahead as individual rabbits, and also as a company. This set the stage for every talk to come in the conference, as each speaker spoke to the idea of making the tech industry, and the rabbits within it, better.

Alfi Oloo, Self-taught Product Designer and Thought Leader

However, if I am frank with you, while I was sitting there listening to Dion and the panel I was struggling to contain my anticipation of our very first external speaker, Alfi Oloo. This wasn’t the first time that I had crossed paths with Alfi, which only increased my excitement to listen and participate in his talk on Thought Leadership. Alfi displayed his amazing skills in storytelling and captivated the audience as he began to liken the development of an apprentice, a journeyman, and an expert to the expected career growth of UX/UI designers and software developers. I really enjoyed how he was able to reframe the concept of career growth from the old idea of climbing a corporate ladder and becoming a manager to those below you, to that of becoming a specialist in your field where you are able to keep learning, but also encouraged to share your skills with those below you. It was inspiring to hear that there is more than one way to advance in my career, as I too could only see the way forward as a step on a ladder, and that by being a thought leader you can consistently empower others to improve in their own craft too. It is a win/win situation for everyone really, as we all strive to be better as a collective.

Irmi Le Roux, The Founder of Clarity Studios.

Our next external speaker was Irmi Le Roux who is the founder and director of Clarity Studios. Interestingly though, she stood before us on Friday as the founder and an advocate for Root Cause Care which is a company that focuses on health and nutrition. In my opinion, her talk on how to combat burnout could not have come at a better time as we all try to hit the ground running in the new year. I took away a lot from her talk, specifically the 5 pillars of health that we can focus on in order to combat the stresses in our lives and reduce the chance of reaching a state of burnout. The five pillars are quite simple, and they focus on sleep health, eating habits, levels of exercise, stress management, and lastly our feelings of belonging. Unfortunately, if one of these pillars is not being looked after, then we are at more risk of being stressed out. Therefore, the biggest lesson that I think we all learnt in that conference room was to take good care of ourselves and by doing that we can strive to perform at our best more consistently.

Nyari Samushonga. The CEO of WeThinkCode

The last, but certainly not least, external speaker of the day was the CEO of WeThinkCode_, Nyari Samushonga. I think her spot on the agenda was perfect, because after this talk I believe that everyone left the conference venue feeling a lot more inspired than when they walked in that morning. Nyari took us all on a journey that highlighted the shortcomings of South Africa that we are all aware of, like the high level of unemployed youth, the crumbling education system, and our worse for wear economy. However, like every good journey, there was a brighter future to look forward to. Nyari continued to display the ways in which educating members of the youth about the tech industry, and then changing the criteria for employment within that same industry, could successfully increase the funds available within the South African economy. This may seem way out of our job descriptions and quite unachievable, but sitting there in front of Nyari for just a short period of time made me wonder how we could all play a more active role in changing the state of our country. Similarly to the way Alfi explained how being a thought leader in the tech industry can enable those less skilled than you to improve on their craft, Nyari emphasised how change is possible with just a little more focus on education.

Overall, I feel that RR Conf ’24 was a hit! Not only were the external speakers that I mentioned above a brilliant addition to the day, but our brave rabbits (who displayed their own skills and achievements to us all) definitely left their mics on the stage and created something to be proud of. Personally, I can confidently say that this conference left a lasting impression on me and may have even changed my attitude towards the work I will do in the future; particularly the role I wish to play in the lives of others, as a thought leader, or an educator, or even just a very passionate designer. So, thank you to all of the speakers who shared their thoughts, and to everyone who was involved in making sure that this event was an outstanding success!

About the author

Tammy Craggs profile picture

Tammy Craggs