Chasing your dream

Aina Johannes is a 21-year-old student at the International University of Management, a mother, an entrepreneur and a Southern Africa Startup Awards nominee. She is also a partner and marketing advisor at Manpower Development Centre, a consultancy firm that focuses on Human Capital Development and Organizational Effectiveness.

06 August 2019 | People

Ester Kamati

Aina Johannes completed her matric at Windhoek High School in 2015 and is currently pursuing her studies in marketing management at the International University of Management (IUM). The young woman is focused on developing marketing strategies for businesses, including SMEs, and has developed other skills along the way in, for example, graphic designing, which aids her to excel in her career.

She currently works on a part-time basis for UGO Activations, which is a Namibian experiential marketing company within The Sign Shop Group of Companies. Johannes developed a passion for marketing and grew as a leader, through her interaction with the UGO team.

“The interactions with the UGO team allowed me to understand the connection between client briefs and execution, which results in sales,” she said.

Her experience in the marketing industry includes having led the marketing team of Dawn Water Solutions for two years, as well as having worked as a marketing advisor for Grans IT (Investment) - a start-up firm located in Oshakati. She currently works as a creative director for Kern Investments, after her appointment in February this year. Her proudest moment in her career was being nominated for best water crisis management solution and best female role model of the year at the Southern Africa Startup Awards in 2018. She was a finalist in both categories.

Johannes was also actively involved in marketing Erica Gatawa’s public speaking book titled ‘It’s Your Turn to Speak’.

“Marketing her book has been amazing because a salesperson always needs to relate to the product and needs to be passionate about it,” said Johannes.

She also co-founded a project called ‘Louder’ that she works with in conjunction with two other phenomenal women, Raynel Kahenge and Eva Asheeke.

The project is focused on empowering women to start their own businesses and not be dependent on anybody else.

The main idea behind its establishment was to help other teenage mothers, who are going through the same challenges she faced when she became a teenage mom.

“My dream was to have enough money to establish a daycare centre where young mothers can leave their children, while going back to school to matriculate.”

She said there are young mothers who are abandoned and sometimes quit school because they don’t have anyone to care for their baby.

She wanted to give these young women a support system and make them realise that their dreams are still attainable.

Johannes is motivated by her son and loves to learn and experience new challenges.

She believes in the power of motivation and lives by Lee Iacocca’s famous quote: “Motivation is everything; you can do the work of two people, but you can’t be two people. Instead you have to inspire the next person to inspire other people.” When she is not reading up a storm in a free time, you will find Johannes watching her favourite series.

She mentioned The Garden Inn as one of her favourite places to visit and just take a breather.

Age and gender discrimination were some of the biggest challenges she has faced in the business world. After high school, she started a business and had a part-time job, but it was difficult for her to sell her brand because she was so young.

“You need to believe in yourself,” she said, adding she had to overcome several challenges, learn from her mistakes and never give up.

Johannes is constantly trying to improve herself and wants to be an example for other young women.

Fun facts about Aina:

She is a sociable character;

She is spontaneous;

She is likeable and easy to relate to;

She is not afraid to take charge; and

Has a great sense of humour.

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