By staff writer
September 2016
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It is not every day that ordinary employees of any organisation are given a shot at the lime light or are appreciated publicly but Magdalena Garises, a Messenger at Sanlam Namibia for the past 12 years is a true embodiment of hard work commitment and professionalism.

In fact her daily routine that many might take for granted needs a lot of planning dedication and precision to be executed and in the past five years she has positioned herself into a vital cog in the company in such a way that many young, old and middle aged professionals in her department have become envious of.
Born and raised in Windhoek, Garises says she started her career at Berco cleaning and later got employed at Sanlam Investments.

The 59-year old married and grandmother of 10 kids explains that, “I have four children and ten grandchildren and my responsibilities at Sanlam are to make sure that the office is always neat and tidy and that all guests receive refreshments and do small deliveries”.

Ilke Plat Akwenye

Senior Marketing and Communication  consultant Ilke Akwenye who is a well-known radio and television presenter also tells Prime Focus Magazine that she has managed to climb the cooperate ladder  through family support and determination.

Akwenye who is responsible for the Sanlam’s internal and external communications, stakeholder relationships, Brand and Corporate Social Investments says, “I started my career in the broadcasting industry. After 13 years of being in this industry, I have stepped into the corporate world, which has led me to Sanlam, one of the giants in the insurance industry.”

Akwenye who has managed to make a name for herself through the media industry explains that, her inspirations came from her parents saying that, “my father (late Dr. Hendrik Gert Platt) relocated to the United States of America (Cincinnati, Ohio) where my brother and I attended Fairview German Language School. We then moved to South Africa, after my father completed his PHD (Theology)”.

With the aim of being qualified as her farther, she then attended one year of Primary School in SA until they settled back in Namibia. After completing her high school at the Windhoek International School, she later completed her BA in Media at the University of Namibia and is currently completing her MA in communications at UNAM.

In outlining the long road that lies ahead in achieving gender equity in strategic positions both in cooperate and private sector, Akwenye explains that, Many times women who are classified as “successful corporates or inspiring” are those that are published in the Media.

“I tend to notice those who deserve the same recognition but who do not get that media attention. Corporate women can also be classified as that single mother juggling more than one job to support her family, that woman that has recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness but still remains positive, that woman that has made a huge impact within her community (rural or urban). Those are the corporate women that I look up to,” she says.

Shirley Nell

Shirley Nell who is the Head of Operations at Sanlam also collaborated on Akwenye’s statement mentioning that women in society should be given the opportunity to prove themselves.
Being tasked to make sure that operations of the company run smooth, Nell says, “I work closely with the Chief Executive Officer and make sure we look at areas of the business”.
She further reveals that shecompleted her high school at Academia High and furthered her studies at the University of Namibia (UNAM).

Currently, the young woman is equipped with a B. accounting degree and emphasises the importance of education.

Elma Cathleen Nell

Elma Cathleen Nell who is the right hand to the CEO Of Sanlam Investment Management as the Office administrator and Personnel Assistant also