WINDHOEK - Business Financial Solutions (BFS) held a Women in Finance breakfast on Wednesday to celebrate trailblazers, high achievers, advocates and role models for women in the financial sector.
The breakfast, which was hosted by BFS, formed part of the BFS 10-year celebration. It brought together leading women from across the financial services sector, from business leaders and mentors, to skilled investment managers, client-centric accountants and financial advisers to discuss the challenges faced in the industry and what can be done to mitigate those challenges.
Leading the discussion was Hilya Herman who commended the guests on their commitment and drive to effect lasting change in a very challenging industry. “Being a female executive in the financial sector is challenging enough but receiving recognition for accomplishments in the sector is even more unusual. So, we would like to help cultivate a community in which women in our industry can network with their peers and share their experiences, both professionally and personally,” said Herman.
Historically, the financial services arena has been largely male-dominated. However, recent trends suggest that apart from their traditional roles as mothers, wives and caregivers, women are making great progress in business, politics, academic and economic careers with more and more women reaching top positions.
In 2008, a dream was realised by Kauna Ndilula (managing director), when she started Business Financial Solutions (BFS), a Namibian multi-disciplinary consulting and asset management holding firm that provides access to consulting services for both the public and private sectors, focusing on strategic and tactical corporate advisory facilities, SME development and fund management. Barely a decade later, with over N$1 billion in funds under management, Ndilula is the epitome of an astute businesswoman making inroads in a sector that for long has been predominantly male-oriented.
Also sharing some insights at the breakfast was Anne Juuko, Head of Corporate & Investment Banking at Standard Bank Namibia, who spoke about excellence, saying: “If you are going to do something, give it your all and do it well.” She encouraged the guests to rise above the stereotypes that have long held back many women from reaching the top of the ladder in their careers. Quoting Warren Buffet, Juuko said: “Excellence and integrity are a combination you cannot afford to not possess.”
It was clear from the discussion held, that, despite an increasing number of companies claiming to have diversity initiatives, stereotypes regarding the roles available in the finance industry continue to discourage women from entering the sector.
The breakfast was an opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements, share experiences as well as reflect on the challenges faced in the struggle to gain significant recognition for the important role they continue to play in society.