Retuura: Inspired by human development

She is intelligent, focused and speaks with a crystal clear voice and oozes with confidence decades ahead of her age.

Despite her tender age, she is made of stern stuff and is poised for greater things in Namibia and beyond and that is Retuura Ballotti; the newly appointed human resource manager at Meatco Namibia.

The youngest of seven siblings, Retuura was born in Leicester in the United Kingdom where her parents were for studies. Retuura is grateful that the bold move by her parents enabled them to build an empire from nothing, thus creating a foundation upon which her life is built.

At five years, she and her parents returned to Namibia and settled in Swakopmund as her parents worked in Rössing Uranium Mine.

Later, Retuura started school at Emma Hoogenhout Primary, then later attended Delta Secondary School, a German school. After matriculating, she went to Rhodes University for her first degree in Organisational Psychology. Thereafter, she went to UCT for her Honours degree in Organisational Psychology specialising in Change Management.

“I had always wanted to understand how people think and behave, I did not want to go the clinical psychology way but the business route,” she boldly declared.

In 2008, she contemplated taking a break to figure out the direction her life was to take. While contemplating, the next step, a Meatco advert came her way and the outcome conceived a relationship with the company, which has since extracted the best out of her life.

“I am grateful for Pascale Paulsmeier; she is a strong woman, she saw something in me others could not see and took me under her wings, she is my coach and mentor,” she says.

She adds, “I am proud of myself for this promotion, I am aware that this is the first step, being recognised for doing the right things proved my point.”

Retuura is proud of Kobus DuPlessis, the Chief Executive Officer who she says gave her the tools to work her way up the corporate ladder in the company.

In 2011, she took sabbatical leave to go to UCT for a Master’s degree in Organisational Psychology. She undertook this degree as a step towards entrenching personal growth; a concept she strongly believes in.

Retuura feels HR is a lucrative career, as human resources managers are in demand for the smooth running of any successful organisation. The draw card lately, she asserts, is that the career is a transition from playing a mere administrative role to becoming more strategic, which comes with making key decision, determining the future of the company in the short and long-term levels.

In her new role, Retuura currently does not think of making any radical changes but she’d rather work with what is already there; more importantly, trying to understand her purpose and her role. Experience has taught her that trying to make changes too soon risks brewing resistance, eventually scuttling all noble efforts.

However, she is driven towards seeing HR as having its place in the ‘sun’, “I would like to see HR being pushed to the forefront,” she states.

Retuura holds her parents in high esteem as her biggest inspiration; her mother, Angela Katjimune is the HR Manager at Puma Energy formerly BP Namibia and her dad, Gersom Katjimune worked at Mutual & Federal as the Managing Director for 13years.

She sees herself as a very good judge of character and hence avoids negative people; those who always say they can’t.

Her vision is to create an empowering platform where employees are allowed to grow and develop into the best they can be.

“Skills are scarce. If we don’t grow our own people, we will not go anywhere,” she says.

Retuura said she has had strong support from mentors within Meatco. Her biggest inspiration, however, were her parents and husband who supported her all the way.

She has set her eyes on making her department a success and that is enough work for her, at least for now.

On what her typical day looks like, she says, “Every day is a different day, I don’t have a routine here. I deal with the issues as they come and problems don’t just plant themselves.”

The dynamics of HR often force her to stay behind to accomplish what she has planned for the day as her day can literally be gobbled up by various issues she has to attend to.

In helping her company move forward to higher levels, Retuura sees herself as a change agent and is gearing herself towards organisational development.

Retuura explained that she has already laid out a strategy to develop a culture of Organisational Development within Meatco. The first steps in the implementation thereof have also already been completed and Retuura is excited about the future.

Retuura is driven by success and to her success, means a lot of things; it means meeting set goals - both small and big. In addition, it means being efficient and effective - getting the job done.

She says she is a big lover of music as it makes her relax. Spending time at home with her husband Dino Ballotti, family and friends just add into the mix, “I am a family person and I enjoy spending quality time with my family, it always makes my day,”

Her word to the women out there is that they should not be limited by the boxes they have been put into.

There are greater examples of strong women, she says, who have made it despite the many challenges they face and they too can write their own stories.

“Even if you have made it, you still need to work ten times harder. Be prepared to work hard and prove who you are with or without a qualification,” she advised.

Addressing the youth, she acknowledges that they (the youth) wish to succeed but they should be realistic and plan their lives well.

She warns them though, “Do not wait for things to land on your lap, otherwise, you will wait forever.”

Her favourite quote is, “Such is life” - people are capable of doing anything,

“ life will throw challenges your way but you cannot feel sorry for yourself but rather dust yourself off and keep on moving upwards and onwards” she says.

Retuura’s favourite book is Paulo Coehlo’s, The, Alchemist “It’s a great book and a must-read,” she emphasised.

She added, “One of the many quotes that I have taken from this book is “When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream”. As what you think and believe will come to fruition,” She concluded. PF