By Kelvin Chiringa
September 2016
Women in Business


Humble, amicable and perceptive, perhaps Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for PowerCom Alisa Amupolo is a living embodiment of how wielding resilience and ambition can prop one to unimaginable heights and landing the top job no-matter one’s age, sex or social background.
A proudly Namibian millennial leader, born and bred in rural northern Namibia, where she attended both primary and high school and a product of Oshigambo High School, Amupolo’s worldview of success is constructed neither on thinking inside or outside the box, but out rightly kicking the box away and in her own words, thus projecting “a path to fulling my God given potential.”
Seated at the helm of PowerCom, Amupolo has a portfolio of towers infrastructures, servicing the market particularly telecommunications operators, TV and radio broadcasters as well as other players in the transmission space.
Young at heart and full of ideas in steering the ship of PowerCom through the tide of a highly competitive stormy environment, Amupolo describes her transformational leadership approach as profoundly characterised by,”  letting individuals have the freedom to apply themselves in the best way they know but most importantly accounting for their time.”
“Yes, my passion for communications technology draws back to high school, where my real first interface with communication technology became a reality in the a fully-fledged English lab with a digital  main controller, student cubicles with microphones. It   was absolutely awe inspiring, that we can communicate remotely with our teacher and read English comprehension exercises, without the traditional methods of having to raise a hand or stand up,” she enthuses.
Yet by then as she herself echoes with a sense of reminiscence, the mobile phone technology had not yet arrived yet she was completely sold away in purposing a career that had everything to do with how technology powers the world’s communications.
“Today I can proudly say I have worked across the entire value chain of the industry from policies, regulatory, enterprise and commercial both on the back end and front end, spurred by both success and failures,” Amupolo puts in.
Perhaps what is outstanding about her personality is how she wields humility with professionalism to bring out a complete 21st century woman leader who is always ready to share ideas and taking time to stoop to the lowest ground, interacting with tech-CEO wannabes.
Her intellectual capacity supersedes narrow limits and behind the sparkly eyes that seem to penetrate into those of whoever she converses with, the PowerCom boss holds a MA in International Communications from the prestigious University of Leeds and a BA in Media Studies from the University of Namibia.  
Add to that her being an Emerging Leaders Programme alumni of London Business School, it becomes succinctly clear that her rise to the top is a meritocratic phenomenon powered by forces of opportunities and the desire to seize them with both hands.
“At PowerCom it was a pure incident of an ideal opportunity opening up in the market that matched with my portfolio and a matter of cutting out that newspaper Advert and submitting the application,” she submits.
Post her masters, she has also worked for the Commonwealth Secretariat HQ in London where she served the Commonwealth Connects programme, which was providing financing to member countries to accelerate their ICT update.
She then returned to Namibia to oversee the transformation between the old regulatory dispensations under Namibia Communications Commission (NCC) to a new regime under Namibia Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN).
“My role was ensuring the transformation project team successfully established a fully-fledged dynamic entity that was going to drive sector reform and grow the ICT industry,” she adds.
Thereafter, she joined MTC as a non-executive Director for nearly three years where she also served as a Deputy-Chairperson of the Board for a stunt before joining PowerCom as CEO and prior to that she had been actively involved in her own tech startup venture in a web and digital communications space, servicing the front end of the market.  
“I am motivated by ordinary people doing extraordinary things in everyday life. My vision is that PowerCom become a fully-fledged infraco that is also providing value added services through a plug and play model. I would like to see the entities fostering long term partnerships that would see it grow from telecommunication tower entity to serving a wide market at every price point,” Amupolo explains her motivation.
While for her it takes an enormous preparation, her journey has prepared her as it was one poised with both challenges and opportunities for growth and with a top job, Amupolo is continuously learning even in this new undertaking.
 “Stereotypes are quite common in the market where gender equity in leadership is yet to be attained, let alone in the ICT industry,” she tells Prime Focus, “First there tends to be a perception that women are more interested on the front end of the business, such administration and operation, because of this stereotype it is not peculiar to find men comfortably pushing trivial assignments that may not require intellectual capacity.”