… Looks back on 20-year career path
ABBELENE Boer (AB) recently stepped into the hot, yet exciting seat, of MultiChoice Namibia Marketing Manager.
The massive company is known for its much-loved brands, namely MultiChoice, DStv and GOtv, of which Abbelene is the marketing custodian.
Abbelene, who is affectionately known as Abby, is a mother of twins, and has an impressive career path, having worked for Agra and MTC in managerial positions.
She has also lectured at the University of Namibia (Unam).
Confidente’s Marianne Nghidengwa (MN) caught up with Abbelene, to talk about her career and her advice to aspiring students in the field.
MN: Give us a snapshot of who you are.
AB: I’m a 40-year-old Namibian female and mother of boy and girl twins, born in December 2016. I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, listening to hip-hop music and interacting on social media. I’m fascinated by digital platforms and have a keen interest in how digital media influences our lives. I enjoy cleaning, organising my home and travelling to interesting and unknown places on the continent and abroad.
On a professional level, my formal experience spans over a 20-year period, across the following industries: journalism and mass media communication, financial services, information and communication technology (ICT), fast-moving consumer goods, agriculture, and now video entertainment. The disciplines I have worked in encompass project management, strategic planning, marketing and public relations management. I have lectured and written tertiary course materials in the fields of strategic marketing, advertising, consumer behaviour, corporate communication and public relations at the University of Namibia (Unam). I am a seasoned speaker and a Masters in Business Management, with International Marketing, graduate.
MN: Briefly tell us about your upbringing.
AB: I grew up in Khomasdal, with my parents and two brothers. My mother was a teacher and my father worked in construction. My maternal grandfather and mother, being in the teaching profession, emphasised education throughout my childhood, and made great sacrifices to send me to good schools in Windhoek, and later tertiary education in Grahamstown, South Africa. In high school I contributed to the school newsletters and enjoyed creative subjects, such as art and design, and excelled in English literature and history subjects. I have always had a talent for writing and interpretation, which showcased my strengths in communication and led to my first career choice being journalism.
My mother is my biggest cheerleader and encourages me to pursue every opportunity presented to me. It is her encouragement that led to me to apply for the British Chevening Scholarship, which I was awarded in 2005, through which I could complete a Master’s degree in the United Kingdom.
My family play a central role in my upbringing and are involved in almost every facet of my life – every achievement is shared with them and they provide an enormous and stable support system to me, that provides a great deal of balance between my personal and professional lives.
MN: Congratulations on your appointment as MultiChoice Head of Marketing. How did that come about?
AB: The opportunity at MultiChoice Namibia came about whilst I was on maternity leave. The position presented a new experience and an avenue to be more creative in the television and video industry. I started at MultiChoice Namibia as marketing manager on 3 July.
MN: In layman’s terms, what does the job of head of marketing entail?
AB: The role of marketing manager at MultiChoice is to be the custodian of the MultiChoice brands, namely MultiChoice, DStv and GOtv. To be a custodian means to guard and maintain the brands in the market, in which the company operates, towards the best interests of the company’s stakeholders. Operationally this involves outdoor, print, broadcast and digital advertising, media planning, managing marketing suppliers and developing strategies that support the brands and the business.
MN: What do you plan to do differently in your position?
AB: The industry in which MultiChoice Namibia operates is an innovative space, and through MultiChoice’s wider network in Africa, there is an immense capacity for new innovation through this diverse network. The various African countries contribute to each other’s success and new thinking is constantly encouraged in the working environment. MultiChoice is a highly customer-centric company, and working for a customer-centric business, it is important for me to keep listening to our customers and understand their changing lives and challenges, and what matters to them, and base innovation on ways of enriching their lives through every step of the customer journey.
MN: What advice do you have for youngsters aspiring to follow in your footsteps?
AB: Never stop learning and practicing your craft. The fields of marketing and communication are always changing, with so many new innovations that build upon the fundamentals. Keep reading to always expand your knowledge, and keep up-to-date with the constantly changing environment. Never take other people’s experience for granted and grasp opportunities to learn from others, who are more experienced in any field you pursue. The value of a good mentor is priceless. Whatever work you do, always do your best. Do not give just enough to pass a standard; always try to surpass the standard. Don’t be afraid to be creative and develop new thinking and products.
MN: What don’t people know about you?
AB: Despite being an extrovert, with an outgoing and friendly demeanour, I am painfully shy, which sometimes makes me appear unfriendly or standoffish, when I meet people in public unexpectedly.
MN: What do you do for a little fun?
AB: I love music and I enjoy live music or just listening to music in my home. I enjoy dancing and performing private dance routines for my children.
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