YAPS

José Soares, creating a digitally safe environment

José was born and raised in the north of Joburg. His parents had emigrated to South Africa in the 1960s, along with a sizeable community of Portuguese that settled in the middle of Nigel, a small gold mining town in Gauteng. When he came into the picture in the 80s, his parents had moved to the North of Johannesburg, where he grew up surrounded by love, family, friends, and food!

Much of his family was in the restaurant business, Manjerico (Greenside), Tasca do Sol (Westdene), Senhor Prego (Kensington), so he really grew up around the kitchen, experiencing the tastes and sounds of Portugal. This early exposure shaped his understanding and appreciation of the hospitality industry.
His schooling was filled with great memories, and after high school, he took a gap year to figure out his next steps before enrolling at the University of Johannesburg (formerly Rand Afrikaans University (RAU)) to undertake a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Information Technology.
Early in his career, he was fortunate to be offered the opportunity to become part of a startup, thanks to some of the relationships he had forged at varsity. They built mobile applications and supported mobile telecom operators throughout Africa. Over the years, this business blossomed into a true success, and as a founding member, it catapulted his career through multiple roles, from Head of Web Development and Head of UX and Design to the Chief Marketing Officer as it became part of a listed blue-chip entity in South Africa. It was a real roller coaster ride, but he hasn’t looked back since. He’s experienced both successes and failures along the way, but he has always been fortunate and determined enough to find another opportunity on the road ahead.
Which is why he leapt at the opportunity to join The Capital Hotel and Apartments, a disruptor in the hospitality industry with a growing footprint of properties in South Africa, where he is today the Director of IT, a dynamic group that sees the potential in disrupting the hotel industry through the use of AI, Technology, and passionate people, striving for innovation!
José stepped into the hospitality industry just a few months before the COVID pandemic hit, and it was devastating! The business had to pivot quickly, tighten its belts, and push to survive. This experience taught him the true value of being prepared. Although no one saw it coming, the leadership of The Capital, driven by a culture of preparation, gave them the resilience to see the pandemic through and seize amazing opportunities amidst the turmoil. From a technology standpoint, the hospitality sector pushed forward aggressively; many businesses sought out new ways to generate revenue in the absence of travel, while others used the time to focus uninterrupted on their digital transformation. This has created an ecosystem filled with new and upcoming innovations, making it an exciting time in the industry.
José credits his dad as his greatest inspiration. He noted, “I wasn’t the greatest of sportsmen, so technology was something that felt natural or easy to me in comparison. Back then, it wasn’t as mainstream as it is today, so in a way, it felt unique and ‘all mine.’ My dad, consumed with being a restaurateur at the time, had a real affinity for technology, and through his interest and exposure, my brothers and I were lucky to have evolved through almost every type of computer or gaming system, from a Sinclair ZX-81 and Commodore 64 to experiencing the transition from 8-bit to the mind-numbing expanse of tech we have at our fingertips today. He helped me find ‘the something’ that I was really good at and enjoyed, and in a way, it inspired me to constantly have an edge in this area, to be more knowledgeable, smarter, and sharper than the person next to me – a keenness to learn, adapt, and grow.”
As José reflects, he notes that his career would truly mean nothing without the love and support of his wife, son, and family, who are the reason he pushes so hard and goes so far!
YAPS would like to congratulate José for his resilience and bravery in turning his dreams into a reality, especially during such a turbulent time amidst a global pandemic.
More information about José can be found on his LinkedIn page:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jos%C3%A9-soares-a4a31656/

Ricardo de Freitas
YAPS Chairperson

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