Karen SmitPrincipal Specialist: Specific Needs at Vodacom
With more than 21 years’ experience within a leading global telecommunications company, Karen has become an expert in accessible mobile communication for disabled persons and seniors. Her passion for ensuring that persons with disabilities is not excluded from digital exclusion has established her as an industry expert in accessible information communication technology.
Karen’s main role is to design and lead the Disabled and Elderly Specific Needs Strategy for Vodacom South Africa after establishing this division ten years ago. Her ground-breaking work in accessible mobile communication is regarded by the Vodafone group as a centre of excellence.
She influences the telecoms industry and play a leading role to provide guidance to the South African regulator and industry forums to focus on the digital inclusion of disabled consumer segments. She has won numerous awards and is one of very few disabled women in the ICT industry to spearhead the inclusion of persons with disabilities.
Her PhD is currently in progress at the University of Cape Town. Her topic is about understanding how Mobile Network Operator’s processes promote the communication participation of visually impaired persons through digital inclusion.
Karen has delivered numerous keynote speeches and motivational speeches; locally as well as internationally.