Letshego Bank, in partnership with Exquisite Conferencing, hosted a celebration event on International Women’s Day at the Windhoek Country Club and Resort.

The gathering served as a platform to reflect on the achievements, progress, and opportunities of women, inspiring solutions for the future.

Phenomenal women from various backgrounds and industries came together for a day of empowerment. Through this event, Letshego Bank seeks to foster positive dialogue and invest in women’s progress for the betterment of communities.

Admiring the progress

Minister in the Presidency, Ms Christine //Hoabes, opened the conference with a reflection on her career journey and the collective achievements of Namibian women, particularly in parliament.

//Hoabes emphasised that “Women have consistently demonstrated resilience, creativity, and determination to drive positive change.  Their voices have been crucial in shaping policies, influencing public opinion, and inspiring future generations to strive for a better tomorrow.”

She also commended Namibia and male leaders for paving the way for qualified women to assume leadership positions, contributing to Namibia’s ranking as one of the top countries globally for female parliamentary representation, ranking 17th worldwide and 2nd in Africa.

Embracing your self

Keynote speaker Ms Karen Abercrombie, a highly respected and award-winning actress, producer, and singer-songwriter known for her iconic role in the acclaimed film War Room, was the highlight of the Letshego Women’s Conference.

Abercrombie took to the stage as the keynote speaker, inspiring women to embrace their God-given gifts.

“One of the best things you can do with the gifts you have been given is to become an expert at it,” Abercrombie encouraged.

Furthermore, Abercrombie urged women to embrace their uniqueness and refrain from comparing themselves to others.  “Let us never compete or compare ourselves; after all, how can a rose compete with a lily or daisy? Impossible! How can an orchid compete with a sunflower?  Impossible! Trust the God of creation that brought you here; just be your true, authentic, amazing, extraordinary self,” the American award-winning actress emphasised.

Recognising where we are

Joining Abercrombie were six remarkable women who shared their expertise and experiences, each offering a unique perspective from their respective industries.

Dr Ester Kali, the CEO of Letshego Bank, emphasised the importance of gender equality and the three pillars of women’s empowerment: wisdom, worth, and wealth.

She highlighted that according to the United Nations Women Initiative, an additional $360 billion per year is required to achieve global gender equality. The potential impact is substantial, as closing gender gaps in employment could boost GDP per capita by 20%.

In addition, she pointed out, closing gaps in care and expanding services with decent jobs could create almost 300 million jobs by 2035.

“Suppose we don’t do anything, and this problem persists. In that case, more than three hundred and forty-two million women and girls could be living in extreme poverty by 2030,” Kali said.

She also emphasised the importance of women recognising and embracing their inherent values, independent of external validation or societal norms. Encouraging women to reflect on their passions and uniqueness, Kali highlighted the significance of recognising one’s worth and authenticity as key anchors to empowerment.

Lead with Integrity

Ms Rosalia Martins-Hausiku, CEO of MVA Fund, delivered a powerful message on leading with integrity.

“Do not wait until you hold a specific title to consider yourself a leader or to make decisions requiring leadership,” she emphasised.

“Leadership begins within our homes, where we already serve,” she added, urging women to recognise and embrace their innate leadership qualities.

Dr. Martha Uumati, the managing director of Erongo Marine Enterprises, spoke on the authentic self as a leader. Through sharing her story of leadership, she emphasised the importance of prayer and living in truth and authenticity as a leader.

Know your purpose

Ms Mutindi Lydia Jacobs, a lawyer and serial entrepreneur, discussed the importance of finding your purpose and gift. She reflected on her journey and how she continuously seeks her purpose and fulfils it through various business ventures.

“Once you are aligned to your purpose, everything else will fall into place. Be mindful of what makes you angry and what upsets you. What you cannot tolerate? The essence of it making you angry is for you to change it and find a solution, so be mindful of that when you are busy identifying your purpose,” she said.

Additionally, Ms. Natalie Russmann, the resident representative of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, spoke on democracy and economic development. “Recognising the important roles women play in shaping Namibia’s social, political, and economic landscape is paramount.  Their natural leadership roles transcend beyond homes into society,” she stated.

Personal brand

Ms Nellie Kangwa centred her discussion on internationalising a brand and cultivating strategic global partnerships. She recounted her journey, highlighting a pivotal moment in her childhood story that became integral to her outlook on life and forming a brand identity as a solutionist.

Kangwa mentioned that women must be intentional about building their brands, as this enables them to connect with the right people, culminating in achieving their ultimate purpose.

She urged women to identify their strengths and invest in honing their talents and overall well-being, emphasising the importance of achieving a balanced distribution of their efforts.

Nurturing your spirituality

Ms Olivia Kangandjela emphasised the significance of nurturing one’s spirituality, highlighting its crucial role in addressing the challenges women encounter daily. “Nurturing our spiritual selves empowers us to live purpose-driven lives. Devoid of purpose is void of meaning. It guides us to align with the will of God, fostering stability amid life’s myriad challenges,” she remarked.

The room overflowed with wisdom as more than 250 influential women from various backgrounds listened actively and attentively to each speaker who took to the podium.

Ms Hilma Tuyenikelago Uudhigu-Shikodhi, one of the conference attendees and the founder and director of Women Positive, shared her reflections on the conference, expressing that, “I am inspired to connect, enhance my brand, and break through limitations. Overall, I am very delighted that I chose to attend this event; the speakers were truly inspiring and informative. Thank you to Letshego and all the sponsors for providing this empowering platform for women.”

The Letshego Women’s Conference stood as a beacon of inspiration and solidarity, providing a platform for women to share their stories, celebrate their achievements, and discuss solutions.

In the photo: Some women who attended the women conference sponsored by Letshego.