Loving without limits

The power of compassion

31 January 2020 | People

Mariselle Stofberg

Drienie Ellis has compassion, the ability to be strict when needed and the ability to lift up those around her to become the best version of themselves.

Ellis has the ability to influence the lives of those around her every day. “One of my temporary staff walked up to me one day and said that I gave them a chance to work at events and with that money he could study and support his wife and baby. He said I pushed them hard but that encouraged him to be where he is today. We need to realise the impact we have on the lives of others.”

Not only does her compassion drive her every day, but she also has the perseverance and determination needed to never back down from a challenge. “Never overcommit and under-deliver, and never say ‘never’ or ‘I cannot sort this out’.”

Ellis is a value-added services (VAS) manager at Pick n Pay (PnP) Namibia. She is responsible for managing the relationships between PnP and various service providers, ensuring that they provide a variety of extras when a person does their shopping at their stores.

“I provide guidance and mentorship to the PnP frontline staff and store management with relevant training. I also assist with new business for Webtickets Namibia and sometimes work at the gates to ensure proper access control.”

Ellis is also a part of PnP’s marketing department, and assists the team in planning and coordinating PnP brand events or sponsorship projects. In 2019 she was part of the organising team for the Pick n Pay Cycle Classic which was a great success.

“I believe customer experience is one of the most important areas to focus on. Our customers will never buy something because I like it. They buy things because they like or need them. Trust is a pillar of great customer experience.”

Before her journey at the O&L family started she was one of the two founding members of Webtickets Namibia, a Namibian ticketing company that is now working in partnership with Pick n Pay providing event organisers a platform to sell their tickets online and at all PnP supermarkets.

“I was also the Namibian manager for Computicket for five years, where my passion for the events industry started. I attended courses in managing conflict, time management and effective negotiation skills, which was valuable to my job.”

Ellis was moulded at FNB Namibia for 13 years and started as a receptionist, from where she worked herself up to being a SME business analyst. “During that period I studied at the Institute of Banking and did various courses like basic financial statements, introduction to credit, banking, business accounting, business plan and funding proposal.”

Ellis was born at Aranos and completed high school at Jan Mohr in Windhoek. “Some of my childhood memories include jumping from a water tank into a cement dam and trying to explain to my dad why his dam burst and our yard was under water. We used to camp out in an outside room and fake-braaied potato slices with Aromat.”

As a manager, Ellis believes that any person in a leadership position should have a passion for their job and commit to achieve above and beyond. “A manager must focus on employees’ strengths and help them to develop their careers. You need to be able to handle pressure well, have an open and honest communication channel, inspire others and take accountability for decisions made.”

Her greatest accomplishment in life is her three children and being able to see how they are becoming adults. “It is difficult sometimes to juggle between family and business but you always find your balance. Being part of the O & L family allows me the opportunity to grow myself. I truly believe in the values and vision that the company has for us: ‘Creating a Future, Enhancing Life’.”

It was not easy to become a manager in a retail company where most of the managers were men, she says. “After 13 years in a banking environment, I had to prove to everybody that I could make a success of a new business, and I did, but it took hard work. Looking back at the experience gained and satisfied clients, everything is worth it.

“What inspires me is to surround myself with the right people who have the same beliefs and values as I have and trusting in my God to stay true to his word. I appreciate what I have and I am thankful every day. I don’t sit back and wait for something to make me happy, because I create my own journey.