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Meet the Team - Dean Jooste

7 months ago · 6 min read
From Cape Town to Cumbria, telecoms has brought Dean around the world, and after being water boy for the late, great Sir Nelson Mandela he now has the pleasure of working with the great team at Fibrus!
Meet the Team - Dean Jooste
  • Give a brief outline of your career to date. 

I started out as a Structural Design Engineer in Johannesburg, South Africa, and enjoyed a one year scholarship during this time, working in Cardiff (courtesy of the Confederation of British Industries). This allowed to gain the experience required to become registered as a Professional Engineer.

The appeal of Mobile Telecoms lured me away from my profession in 1995 and I joined Vodacom (a Vodafone subsidiary), where I enjoyed an exciting and diverse 20 year career. My various roles covered Operations, Engineering, Sales, Marketing, Customer Care and Strategy. We delivered and supported products and services in the mobile (4G) and fixed (FTTP & Wireless) space.

The most challenging and rewarding time was in the Congo DRC, where I was the Chief Operating Officer and a Board of Directors member for the new, fast growing business. I moved to another mobile company CellC, for 3 years as a regional Managing Executive based in Durban and enjoyed the different strategies as a challenger brand, being a much smaller third operator.

Having emigrated to the UK late last year, I have now been part of the amazing Fibrus family since March 2021.

  • What was your favourite subject at school? 

Maths – I had a great passionate teacher who made it come alive!

  • Did you go on to further/higher education? If so, what did you study and where? 

After high school in East London (South Africa), I went to university and attained a BSc (Civil) Engineering degree from the University of Cape Town. After a few years of working I returned to my alma mater and gained a Master of Business Administration degree as well.

  • How did you get into your area of work? And is it always what you wanted to do?

I was a reluctant Engineer and my wife spotted a job advert in the smalls column of the local newspaper. I left the professional life for a much more exciting, early days, mobile telecoms industry and have been in telecoms ever since. I have always wanted to enjoy a fast paced, meaningful career, working with like-minded people to enhance the lives of others. Telecoms (mobile and fixed) has certainly ticked those boxes for me!

  • What are the main skills your job requires? 

Think global and act local would be the over arching skill set. Within that mantra, the management of stakeholders, projects and commercial aspects are key, for an end to end view of the business.

  • What does a typical day entail?

There are not many typical days, which makes this role fun and exciting. From dealing with the nitty gritty of site builds, contractors, sales and marketing strategies, planning the future roll-out to engaging with customers, investors and Councillors, this role has it all.

  • What are the best and most challenging aspects of the job? 

Being a ‘start-up’ business in GB, it has many challenges, all which have been enjoyable – deciding the strategy, recruiting the best team, finding offices, securing funding, engaging with the design and build teams and building the network.

  • How has COVID-19 impacted your role? 

I joined during covid restrictions, so I suppose I can’t exactly answer this as I don’t know what normal is … having key worker status has definitely helped me with the much needed travelling aspects. I do miss the camaraderie off a high performing office environment and the social interactions that go with this.

  • What adjustments have you had to make? 

Dedicating a working space at home would be the biggest adjustment, but the time saved in travelling to work is a huge benefit as it allows more time for surfing and running in the mornings!

  • Why is what you do important? 

Improving people’s quality of life with a high speed, full fibre connection is fundamentally changing their lives for the good, especially in the more rural Northern England communities. 

  • What is the one piece of advice you would give yourself on your first day? 

Always be yourself, because there is no ‘other’ you.

  • Tell us one interesting fact about you that might surprise us....

I was honoured and humbled to meet and shake the hand of the great Nelson Mandela. It happened at a book launch that Vodacom had sponsored and I sat on stage just behind him during the ceremony and was his ‘unofficial’ water-boy, looking after his water bottle and passing it to him when he needed to take a sip!