These inspiring stories should be torn out of our pages and given to young women across the country, in secondary schools and universities and in women’s groups. This text should be pinned to bulletin boards and passed around on social media. We encourage local newsletters, bulletins, consumer sheets and others to reproduce the stories about these women to spread the news. Their stories can be the story of anyone who wants to work hard, do the right things in life, learn new things, master skills and perform on the job.
The Windhoek Observer (WO) continues its Namdeb diamond women series with Emmarencia Shanglee (ES), Assistant Plant Superintendent.
WO: Tell us about YOU…briefly. How many kids do you have; are you married; where were you born, do you have a large family? What are TWO of your favourite hobbies; how do you spend your non-working hours?
ES: I grew up in Walvis Bay and moved to Oranjemund after completing my studies in Cape Town. My husband and I got married 7 years ago and we have 2 beautiful children aged 4 years and 5 months. My non-working hours are extremely precious to me and are therefore dedicated to spending quality time with my family.
WO: How long have you worked at Namdeb?
ES: I joined Namdeb in 2005 as a bursar and started my career at Namdeb as a graduate metallurgist in 2008, making this year the 9th year in Namdeb’s service.
WO: Why did you choose to work at Namdeb?
ES: Growing up, Namdeb has always had a reputation of being the best mining company to work for. Fortunately, Namdeb invested in me by sponsoring me with a bursary to study chemical engineering, which guaranteed me a job upon completion of my studies. The exposure and opportunities I received to date are the reasons I’m still working for Namdeb.
WO: What is your educational, training or life experience background that helps you in your work at Namdeb?
ES: My degree in chemical engineering equipped me with skills to be able to function as a metallurgist. To further enhance one’s ability as a metallurgist at Namdeb, a metallurgist in training (MIT) program is followed. As a young professional in the metallurgical field one expects to start out designing, managing and optimizing processes, but the key lesson I learned during the MIT program was that human resources are the key to successfully design, manage and optimize metallurgical processes.
WO: What have you learned about yourself and about the industry while working at Namdeb?
ES: I have learned that I have good interpersonal skills which I believe has been developed through my experience in working with people on various levels of the organization.
On the industry’s side, I’ve learned that the diamond mining industry is challenging yet exciting with consumer demand for jewelry being one of the main drivers of value.
WO: What are TWO of the highlights in working at Namdeb?
ES: 1) Leading a project where new technology had to be tested at Namdeb which was of great importance for all De Beers operations.
2) Another highlight was being able to visit other Anglo American operations abroad.
WO: What are TWO of the challenges in working at Namdeb?
ES: One of the challenges I think most of us working for Namdeb have is separating our lives from our work, i.e. maintaining a work-life balance. Majority of people living in Oranjemund are either employed by Namdeb or provide a service to Namdeb, making it so easy to have work related discussions at social gatherings where we are meant to relax.
WO: In general, what are the top TWO challenges for ANY working woman in today’s world, especially the mining sector?
ES: Once again, maintaining a good work life balance. Raising children while achieving your career goals,is achievable but can be challenging.
WO: If another woman were considering coming to work at Namdeb in the same area where you work, what advice would you give her?
ES: Showcase your technical ability and prove that you can add value to the business. Having self-confidence and a positive attitude is vital. Ensure that you have a mentor early in your career.
WO: Our article wants to focus on YOU; your story and that of Namdeb and women working on their team. We want to let our readers understand YOU better – to that end, answer this: If you could wave a magic wand and have the career/position/job that you most would like – whether it is at Namdeb or not- what would it be and why?
ES: I’m passionate about project management and business improvement. Eventually occupying a top leadership position involving these two business areas would be ideal.
WO: In answering these questions, is there any other thought or idea that has occurred to you that you would like to share?
ES: Although mining is still a male-dominated industry, the percentage of women working in the mining industry is on the rise. With time, I believe more women will occupy top leadership positions in the Namibian mining industry. The difference we as women in the mining industry make today will inspire the younger generation of females to join the industry in the future.