Karen Nadasen

Karen Nadasen, CEO of PayU South Africa, a passionate advocate for women in technology, leads diversity and inclusion for PayU Africa and is the Chair for the Ecommerce Forum of South Africa (EFSA).


She did not waste time on her road to the top; she was hired straight out of Rhodes University as a Java developer by a small Cape Town company. She spent the years that followed not only earning a B Com Hons in Information Systems Management from the University of Cape Town, but also fine-tuning her knowledge and Industry experience locally and abroad at companies including Shoprite, Microsoft and BP.


Karen Nadasen is routinely hailed as one of the country’s most inspiring women in tech, who has walked the talk. Four years after becoming head of what was then an ailing company, she has been nominated for IT Personality of the Year 2017, was listed among the 100 Most Influential Young South Africans the same year and the Regional Winner (SADC) of Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government 2018.


Since taking the helm 5 years ago, PayU has dramatically grown its total ecommerce processing volume and revenue, whilst costs have reduced significantly during her tenure. All this whilst balancing her personal life – Karen started her position as CEO having just returned from maternity leave after 4 months; and has since had her second child whilst PayU continued their dramatic growth trajectory.


In the background Karen gets involved with in a myriad of community and social initiatives aimed at drawing awareness to and dispelling previously held beliefs to empower disadvantaged communities and particularly women in technology. These initiatives include speaking at global and local Women in Technology events discussing unconscious bias and Diversity and Inclusion. She also works with Kgalema Motlanthe “AI in Africa” Technology Bootcamps, in which high school girls from different schools go through a ‘design thinking’ programme to empower them. As well as working with the Bryan Habana Foundation to fund and distribute food in disadvantaged communities, with a focus on gender-based violence refuge centres for women and children, orphanages and educational institutions.