Working her way to the top

31 January 2020 | People

Justicia Shipena

Having joined the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) in 2005 just after she graduated with a Diploma in Human Resources, strong-minded Mary Ashikoto has had an exciting career so far.

Ashikoto started as a temporary employee in the data and records management division if the operations department. While in this role she enrolled as a part-time law student at the University of Namibia (Unam) with the aim of realising her dream of being part of the dynamic GIPF legal team. While studying she was appointed as a permanent employee of the Fund.

“I kept motivating myself and always reminded myself that no effort can be in vain,” she says.

“Through hard work I obtained a B.Juris (Bachelor of Jurisprudence) and I am currently rounding off my LLB (Literally Legum Baccalaureus) studies with the University of South Africa (Unisa).’’

In 2016 she joined the GIPF legal and compliance department as an assistant to senior legal advisors. Her duties are to ensure that the organisation complies with regulations, to help with contract management in the various departments, to provide legal advice and assist in drafting legal opinions, and to ensure that the administration of the legal and compliance division runs smoothly.

Ashikoto told Careers that her appointment was an opportunity that she will always cherish. It has given her an opportunity to receive training from the Institute of Compliance in Southern Africa as well as the Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA).

The year 2020 started on a high note for Ashikoto, as on 14 January she was selected by the chief executive officer of GIPF, David Nuyoma, to represent the Fund at a panel discussion on the implications of the Financial Institutions and Markets (FIM) Bill for the pension fund industry. The discussion will be held on 6 February at the University of Science and Technology (Nust).

“I am grateful to be granted this opportunity and grateful that our CEO empowers women,” Ashikoto says.

Ashikoto motivates herself by starting her day with the word of God and reminding herself that every day is an opportunity to be a better version of herself. Her future plans involve being a well-rounded and purposeful person. Ashikoto says she is grateful that the father of her two children is a “hands-on dad” who enables her to juggle work, study and motherhood.