NBL takes the gender lead

Driven by an insatiable belief in woman empowerment and as an advocate for education, Rosemary Shippiki is the first ever Namibian woman to be appointed as Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL)’s marketing manager.

Shippiki is not new to the NBL and O&L family as she has been there since 1996 after completing high school. Over the years, she has risen through the ranks from being a marketing assistant; junior brand manager; senior brand manager to recently being promoted to national marketing manager.

Born in Oshakati, Shippiki is a single mother of two and holds a master’s degree in Marketing from the University of Middlesex, London, United Kingdom.

“Being the only woman in the senior leadership team, I believe in community development and women empowerment. I am an advocate for education, most importantly, to girls and women. I think it is important for women with high positions to advocate and help young girls in becoming leaders of tomorrow,” she emphasises.

The biggest highlight in her life has been the promotion she never thought she would get; taking seats with big company executives or being at the top leadership platform in her life, let alone being the only female in top management at NBL.

Shippiki is nothing but full of praise for her recent promotion and her company, “We are a very big company as we are merged with the O&L Group. I am deeply thankful for they have shaped my career; the company has invested in me.”

From the company’s perspective, the most important high-light is the globalisation of the beer brand, Windhoek Lager, in terms of it becoming an export brand available in over 30 countries, as it puts Namibia at par with international standards.

Her department is there to ensure business is created, thereby creating job opportunities and reducing poverty.

Shippiki describes herself as an introvert but friendly, open-hearted and very reflective, “My life revolves around my children and my work. I am also involved in church and I have a very strong Christian background and faith. I am result-driven and can be tough on myself sometimes, which is very important in success but I am also very down-to-earth.”

Her day-to-day job entails developing strategic plans for the whole company’s portfolio, which is both long and short-term; leading and mentoring the team; developing strategies for the company and creating an element of innovation.

“I sit on the strategic portfolio that contributes to the shaping of NBL. We set different targets per annum for both brand and financial performances. We also help in supporting export activities,” she explains, adding that they have elements of managing agencies and suppliers, to manage the marketing concept.

According to Shippiki, they make sure they draw key consumers and know their consumers’ needs or issues. Everything they do, she says, is meant to be profitable.

“This career is very productive, the world has moved from when companies would just produce what they produced and sold to marketing-based career people who have always been in demand as the job is very rewarding. I encourage people to branch into marketing,” she points out.

She reckons that having people-management skills is important in order to mentor and lead individuals to help them reach their goals.

Her promotion, she states, was characterised by fear, insecurities and doubt but she calls it a threshold; for a shy person to have a position that puts them on a spotlight, “At first, I thought I would end up being a psychologist.”

Her family has had a huge impact on her life, especially her father who was once a businessman with 20 employees, “The business culture and hard work has always been a part of me, as I grew up in a business-orientated family that has ignited my love and passion for marketing and business.”

According to Shippiki, a leader is someone who inspires and creates connections; someone who’s honest and authentic, “A successful leader in the business world today holds bold, strong empathy for people and has to be willing to learn. It is a journey one has to be open-minded about, honest and determined to contribute to make a difference.”

Success to her lies on three key elements: Having a good support system to work on interdependency and interpersonal skills; making sure that one has crafted development plans for their team; being close to one’s consumers and being humble, authentic and never compromising the results that define success.

Being the only female in the management team makes her proud as she feels as if she represents her fellow women within the management entity. She tries to balance discussions that are made during meetings while adding feminine strength to the team.

Her long-term ambition is to own her own business and become an employer but for now, she wants Windhoek Lager to be the next Heineken.

“My biggest pride elements include the attainment of my master’s degree. Club Shandy was my baby; the whole brand idea was mine, so I am very proud of that too. Windhoek Lager promotion would be the third one while being a great mother to both my kids - as a single mother - is a huge accomplishment for me.”

Shippiki would like to be remembered for a well respected and highly performing marketing department with a very strong and profitable portfolio of brands.

“I do not take anything for granted and this opportunity that I have is a blessing and I am very grateful to God, my family and O&L,” she concludes. PF