She’s the co-founder of two companies and one nonprofit organisation, volunteers at two other organisations, dabbles a bit with open-source hardware and still has time for single-player games on her PlayStation 4 and Xbox 360.
Johannesburg-based Palesa Sibeko is part of a trio who started Girls Invent Tomorrow back in 2013, a nonprofit organisation that aims to empower, educate and mentor high-school girls.
"We started our organisation as a response to a global drive to get more women into technology and science careers," says Sibeko.
Global chip maker Intel came on board as a sponsor for some of its projects in the past. This year it will partner with Ladies That UX (a meet-up of professional female designers in Joburg) and the Girls Fly Programme in Africa, which has a similar mission in the aviation and space sectors.
The 36-year-old is also passionate about gaming, and started playing games at a young age. "I think I started when I was five or six years old; we were very fortunate to have a personal computer in the house way back in the 1980s because my dad was an electronics engineer."
One of the first games she played with her family was Digger, a Pac-Man-like puzzle game.
It’s all a far cry from where she is today. Sibeko holds a BSc from Wits University, with majors in microbiology and biotechnology, and genetics and developmental biology. She also studied contemporary music.
"I think I’m done with formal studies; I now learn through high-quality online courses and practical application at work.
"It’s harder but more fun."
Sibeko worked at social media agency Cerebra. But by the end of 2011, she began her new journey as director of employee experience design firm Inquisition, followed by creative technology company SiGNL, both of which she co-founded.
She oversees general operations and designs interactive work experiences at both companies and at SiGNL is also involved in conceptualisation.
Both firms have since transformed, with an emphasis on design.
"We are focused on applying design methods to improving the way people experience work.
"To do so, we coach creative teams, build strategy tools to support creative work and help organisations explore new ways to deliver value to their clients."
Working on WeChat helped Sibeko learn about chatbots, computer programs which conduct conversations with users using audio or text. For SA, this is an area yet to see the growth that has taken place elsewhere.
"You learn a lot about people in those spaces," says Sibeko.
"This experience has helped me quite a bit in some of the work we’ve been doing in the chatbot and voice-user interface spaces," she says.
Despite having so much on her plate, Sibeko still manages to find time to volunteer as an organiser for the Joburg chapter of OpenIDEO, a social impact platform, and the GoodWork Society, which she co-founded.