WOMEN are rapidly climbing the corporate ladder by taking up positions at the executive, senior and middle management levels at Standard Bank Namibia.
Highlighting this trend, Standard Bank Namibia’s Head of Human Resources, Isdor Angula, said: “In Standard Bank Namibia women are the majority across all levels of work including managerial levels.” According to Angula, above 60 per cent of Standard Bank Namibia’s workforce is comprised of women. “This clearly creates confidence in women to excel in their careers, while at the same time living up to our values of growing our people as a bank,” said Angula.
The Standard Bank Group has taken the development of women further by introducing the Global Standard Bank Group Women in Leadership programme, which is specifically aimed at high potential women at management level to accelerate their development and equip them for some of the challenges that lie ahead.
The Head of Personal and Business Banking, Baronice Hans, and Head of Credit for South and Central Africa, Piere Clarke, serve alongside three male colleagues at executive director level.
Looking at the bank’s workforce profile women are the overall majority. Angula cites that this is mainly due to the bank’s many development initiatives such as the Women in Leadership Development Programme, Management Essential, Foundation Leadership and Team Leader programmes that aim to accelerate staff development.
“Through our three-months Women in Leadership Development Programme, it is all about empowering and creating opportunities for our female staff to grow and develop themselves as leaders. Skills development, training and career development therefore play an important role in honing those exceptional leadership skills. We have built a great team of people over the past few years and we continue to make our bank the best bank to work for through inspired leadership,” added Angula.
Saara Shivute, Manager Operations Shared Services at Standard Bank Namibia, is pleased with the way the Women in Leadership Development Programme has enhanced her managerial skills and her personal brand. With 27 staff reporting to her Shivute is responsible for a wide-ranging portfolio, namely procurement, administration, security and premises. “Leadership is earned and a true leader takes care of her people, so I strive by all means to make it a point to plough back the knowledge I have gained with my team mates,” said Shivute.
Echoing the same sentiment Standard Bank’s Manager of Operations Control Uanjengua Katjiuanjo said the programme was worthwhile as it gave her insight into leadership and the importance of networking. “Networking on all levels is also a value tool to keep in mind,” said Katjiuanjo. She added that the key take away points for her were the five true characteristics of good leaders, namely flexibility and agility, courage, tenacity and patience, humility and presence and lastly responsibility.
Standard Bank’s Head of Legal Services, Magano Erkana, who is currently undergoing the programme, said the experience not only adds value to her career at the bank, but also gave her leadership skills in enhancing her personal growth. “It is helping me focus more on the managerial and leadership aspects of my job. With the 360 assessment, which consisted of feedback from line managers, colleagues and direct reports, I not only have a better understanding of my core strengths and how they can be applied differently. I also know how I am being perceived in order to consciously manage my personal branding,” explained Erkana.
The legacy of women empowerment at the bank dates way back to 98 years ago. History tells us that Standard Bank Namibia employed the first woman back in November 1915. At the time women were employed in branches to add value to work in the absence of men who were more engaged in the military.
In his concluding remarks Head of HR, Angula, added: “Let everyone of us as leaders have the courage and determination to do what we know we have to do to make a success of our blue bank. The reality is that there is huge talent in our bank – all that is necessary is to develop and hone those skills and through well-thought thorough learning and development programmes we can take raw talent as a base to develop from.”