• September 22nd, 2018
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From taxi driver to bank manager … Climbing the corporate ladder


Staff Reporter Windhoek-For some people, the phrase “perseverance and hard work pays off” may sound like the ramblings of a broken record, but for Lasarus Shikongo it has been a mantra that has seen him steadily climb the corporate ladder. Shikongo, Standard Bank’s Katutura branch manager, is one of the bank’s longserving employees with over 15 years under his belt, but the climb to the top was not an easy one. “I was born and bred in Ombata village near Elimi Constituency in Omusati Region. I herded cattle and went to school there. Unfortunately, in 1994 I failed my Grade 12 final exams but I did not let that discourage me, so I decided to improve my points the following year,” Shikongo recounted. By his own admission, he was not the most educated man, but he was very persistent about making something of his life, which is what got him to where he is today. “My parents worked hard to put my sibling and I through school, so I didn’t want to be a burden on them financially when I failed matric. It was then that I decided to become a taxi driver in Oshakati, so I could financially support myself while I continued my studies,” he explained. While improving his school marks, he also decided to do a secretarial course, in the course overwhelming his already busy schedule. However, hard work paid off, as he was able to improve his academic results, complete his secretarial course and generate enough income to buy a second car that he turned into his second taxi. He decided to further pursue his studies, applying for an Information Administration course at the then Polytechnic of Namibia in Windhoek, while he continued to drive his taxi as a means of paying for his studies and other financial needs. “I started my journey with Standard Bank in 2001 as a “meet and greet” agent for our clients at the ATMs. It was meant to be a temporary position for three months, but I was offered a permanent position after that as an inquiries clerk. I was in that position for six months before I was promoted to an administrative clerk assistant,” he said. Over the years Shikongo continued to climb the corporate ladder at a superb rate, going on to become customer information officer, salesperson and a courtesy mobile consultant, before going on to become branch manager in Katutura. He was always eager to learn, often volunteering for jobs that kept him on the road for weeks at a time and away from his family, but he knew it was for a good cause. “Initially, when I came to the Katutura Branch I did so with the intention of doing business banking, but I eventually became the branch manager in 2010. I started off with 24 staff members and one agency and now we have grown to 52 staff members and 4 agencies,” Shikongo said. He added that at this point, he feels his branch and the staff are his home and second family and often fails to make a distinction between his real home and family. “The Katutura branch is one of the best performing branches for the bank and we continue to grow annually. We have big plans in store for our branch, because we want to feed our customers’ needs and grow with our community.” He explained that he has mentored many people, who subsequently left the branch because they excelled and climbed the ladder within the bank. He however stressed that it brought him a great deal of joy, because he enjoys helping people reach their goals in life. “There is no weak person in life, because we all have our talents. You just need to know what it is and tap into it. When you work as a team, you need to understand that you are one body with different parts, each with its own respective function. “And a team can only succeed when yo
2017-10-18 10:06:23 11 months ago
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