Gilbert Puente celebrates his 50th birthday with his 20-year milestone at Digi

17 February 2022

Operations Director, Gilbert Puente reflects on why he’s proud to share this double milestone with his Digi family.

What brought you to Digi 20 years ago?
I received a call from a recruitment agency in Cape Town about Digi when, at the time, I was still in the travel industry on a full-time basis. I was intrigued because, given that the world was experiencing the dotcom crash, I found it interesting that the primary selling point was that it was an internet company. Thinking that there was nothing to lose, and with a heightened sense of curiosity, I attended an interview which was scheduled at the (Forwardslash) offices (in Sea Point). The interviewer explained the role to me, which was an Account Relationship Manager for the affiliate program, where I would be responsible for liaising between technology and business.  
Tell us about your Digi journey.
The thing that struck me the most from day one, was the unashamed expectation to take initiative, to ask questions and take responsibility for one’s own learning. After Induction, I was shown my desk and given my credentials to log in at my assigned beige PC. One of my first tasks was to download the product and understand the customer experience. Before I knew it, I got my head around the business metrics, the technical jargon and was learning from some brilliant, brilliant minds. It was a creative playground and suited my nature to be involved in new initiatives as the years passed. These new initiatives sometimes lead to new projects which in turn, opened opportunities allowing me to explore new roles. 

I often reflect on which role was my favourite, but the truth is that each role had a constructive impact on the next. Each experience builds on and leads to the next experience.  My journey is a weaved and engaging story effectively made of the sum of experiences, which feature many people who collaborated and assisted along the way.  The roles I’ve had through the years afforded me the opportunity to drive and set up new projects, new products, and most recently, set up new global offices in Portugal. All this going on while on a personal front, gaining a deeper appreciation of life lessons. Some of which include, the value of making mistakes is often innovation, that strength of resilience builds character, and that the direct correlation between caring and well-intended honesty creates trust.
Tell us why, 20 years later, you are still working at Digi.
Oh … this is simple to answer: Digi people, they are Digi’s roots – and the ever-changing environment. 
I remember the day I received my first new PC upgrade, a few months after starting in 2002. It felt so sudden that all the beige computers were wiped out by its successor generation of deep-black PCs. Twenty years on, we are now on laptops working from home and customers are interacting from the palm of their hands. As the technology evolves, so do the customer’s needs. It’s in Digi’s DNA that its people understand the art of adapting to remain competitive. I love, not just being a part of it, but having a strong sense of obligation to lead and encourage people through this dynamic company. This ecosystem is like a ‘supply chain’ of fuel which I can’t get enough of.