While most would be quick to adopt lavish lifestyles that often form as the reward for academic accomplishment, Zoe Nambahu, the Corporate Legal Advisor at Nampower, chose a strategic path towards a career that now has her executing vital functions at the power utility.
Nambahu, the University of Stellenbosch law graduate, tells Prime Focus Magazine that young female professionals vying to have meaningful careers immediately after teriary education need not lose focus of what is really important in that process.
“The best advice I can give to young women, is to initially not focus on the salary once you are done with your studies but rather jump for opportunities that will enable you to grow in specialized fields,” she said while adding, “another lesson is to always be willing to learn and understand the environment you are operating in. Take some time out to sit with colleagues that understand the industry you are in and learn as much as you can. Finally, and this is a note to myself as well, we should ensure to not only perform a supporting role as women but ensure we are employed in the core business units of corporates. This can only be done if we continuously grab opportunities presented to us to understand all facets of the business we operate in.”
In outlining the long road that lies ahead in achieving gender equity in strategic positions both in the corporate and private sector, Nambahu explained that implementation of notions such as gender-equity is paramount in this transformative process.
“We have a long way to go. There is [still] a minority representation of women in Executive Committees throughout corporates and much [still] needs to be done to ensure an adequate gender balance. We cannot pay lip service to these ideals, as women do possess the necessary skills to fulfill these roles,” Nambahu opines.
The energy sector is filled with many bright women who are up to the task of fulfilling key positions within it. This has been illustrated by the appointment of Ms. Foibe Namene as CEO of the Regulator. One of the key lessons I learnt from her journey is that potential was identified in her and she was moved to a core business unit during her time at NamPower.
What we need to ensure is that we have leadership that identify potential and give opportunity to women to fill these key positions, because without the requisite support the values of women empowerment will be a superfluous ideal,” she adds.
Tasked with rendering legal advice to the Nampower, participating in negotiations and drafting of Power Purchase Agreements among others, Nambahu attributes her ability to seamlessly execute these duties to the support she receives when not at the office from her primary support system; her family.
“I make sure to always have time for my husband and children especially over the weekends. I would however not be effective at it if not for the support of my husband, my parents and our siblings, who are always willing to extend a helping hand when required.”
Nambahu, who is an admitted legal practitioner of the High Court of Namibia, and one who has worked for Weder Kauta and Hoveka (WKH) as well as Telecom Namibia, concludes by reaffirming her wish for women to continue the fight for gender equity in the corporate sector through hard-work and dedication.
“As a professional woman, I think we always have to work harder and smarter to continuously prove ourselves to our male counterparts. One of the challenges I continuously have to face is fulfilling my role in the company, without fear, favour or prejudice and this is naturally sometimes viewed as unpopular by many.”