Beautifully tenacious in a male-dominated field

Paulina Iyambo is a senior manager in energy trading at NamPower who strongly believes that hard work, education and passion can create endless opportunities if you have the will to succeed.

09 August 2019 | People

Mariselle Stofberg

A jaguar is perceived as intimidating, tenacious, beautiful, elegant, energetic and driven, and this is why the strong and determined Paulina Iyambo resonates so much with this feline species.

Iyambo is the senior manager of the energy trading department of NamPower in Windhoek who strongly believes in the importance of working hard to achieve your goals, educating yourself, and striving to make the most of every moment that you are given.

Not only is she a qualified electrical engineer, she has various other qualifications under her belt.

Iyambo grew up in Oniipa, a village near Ondangwa with her parents and eight siblings. She completed her high school at Mweshipandeka High School and then pursued a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust).

Iyambo then began her journey towards attaining her Master’s degree in electrical engineering in Cape Town which she completed in 2007. Thereafter she completed her B-Juris (Law) at the University of Namibia and afterwards, completed her Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) at the University of Stellenbosch.

Being a bursary student of NamPower, she started working as a trader for the company in 2008. “This is the lowest technical position in this department. I continued to work hard and then moved up in the ranks to become a senior trader, then a commercial analyst and eventually the senior manager of energy trading.”

Iyambo manages traders, commercial analysts and account custodians, and is responsible for short-, medium- and long-term electricity demand forecasts and makes sure the electricity demand of Namibia is met at all times. This comes with immense responsibility as Iyambo’s duties can have a ripple effect on the economy. “My work is visible and what I do can be manifested and seen. When I do not deliver on my duties, others are affected. My work is an enabler for others to complete theirs.”

The drought the country is currently experiencing has created some challenges for Iyambo in her career, seeing that NamPower’s Ruacana hydro power station is reliant on the run of the river, which forces the company to make use of alternative energy sources to meet the demand. “At times you need to work extended hours to make sure you meet your mandate. My career was tested during the drought to make sure we still meet our energy demands, and when power is received from other countries we need to make sure all our agreements are watertight, and that the country’s interests are protected at all times.”

Not only is Iyambo devoted to providing quality work, but, as a single mother, she is also devoted to her three children. “It is rare to have a mother of three studying and working simultaneously, but I believe that where there is a will you can create a way.”

This motivated and hard worker strives to not only complete her duties, but to always make sure she takes care of the people she works with. “I believe in knowing the people you work with and the importance of understanding who they are outside the scope of their work as it fosters a conducive working environment.”

Iyambo encourages the youth to never take anything for granted and to do as much as possible for your career while you are still young. “Nothing is too difficult and one never stops learning. You need to find something that will differentiate you from others and by studying further you can master content and information and that will set you apart from the rest.”

Being a female in a management position in an industry that historically has been male-dominated, Iyambo believes in empowering and encouraging females to be whoever they want and to pursue their dreams.

“Women are perceived as being on a lower scale than their male counterparts, however this is definitely not the case. Over the years there has been a mass shift in empowering women to partake in industries of their choice and NamPower is no exception. Women can be anything and do anything. I specifically wanted to venture into the electrical engineering field as it is my passion but additionally to challenge the social norms of it being perceived as a male-dominated field. It is the combination of set goals and visions that build upon the success of individual women around the world that become the basis of inspiration for young girls. It is important that young women know their value and power as we are equal and we should treat each other as such in all avenues of life.”

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