Doing great things

As the Legal Manager at Old Mutual, Charmaine Burger strives to stay true to who she is and what she believes in.

05 June 2020 | People

Mariselle Stofberg





Charmain Burger is a determined and motivated woman who believes in the power of positivity.

“When you lead positively, others follow in the same positive spirit. Like John Maxwell said, the pessimist complains about the wind, while the optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”

As a leader, Burger believes that sometimes one has to lead from the front and do the work you expect your reporting line to do. “Other times you need to learn to lead from behind and let them control the sails to become an even better leader than you are.”

Burger completed her B. JURIS and LL.B Honours degrees at the University of Namibia. “I am a proudly Namibian product through and through. My legal career started as a public prosecutor at the Gobabis magistrates’ court where I mostly dealt with stock theft matters.”

Thereafter she returned to university at the Justice Training Centre to complete her Practical Legal Studies. She obtained admission as a legal practitioner to the High Court in 2016.

“I have always been driven academically and failing was never an option. I also aimed at improving my social skills through competing on debating platforms in high school and co-presenting NBC’s children’s programme Desert Soul, for two seasons.”

Burger believes that apart from a law degree, some of the key elements essential for a person to become a legal manager is hard work and confidence. “In a financial environment where the only constant is change, it is crucial that you keep abreast of legislative updates and that you are pro-active in the business. Confidence is important to drive hard conversations with subordinates and management.”

Being a manager at just 32, Burger believes that you are never too young or too old to make a difference. “If you have a goal, the ceiling should be your plan C. Never stop evaluating your goals, asking yourself ‘where am I now and where do I want to be a year from now’. I work in a company that values and rewards achievers, regardless of their age. We are asked to treat the business as our own, which really speaks to me and it is a value I strongly believe in,” she adds.

“As a young adult, never doubt yourself, because then you open the door to others doubting you. When applying for a job, live in the light of positivity! Envision yourself as competent, able and equipped. Make the Milky Way your plan A!”

Burger has experience in a variety of legal-related specialisations, such as criminal law, civil law, family law, labour law, administration of estates, trusts and insolvencies, and also in the financial services industry. “It is a very challenging environment with constant uphill battles. During my years as a prosecutor, the greatest feeling of accomplishment was when a complainant thanked you for successfully prosecuting their case and giving them closure.

“In my current position I relish the feeling of accomplishment after solving complex legal scenarios and assisting the business to push beyond boundaries and make a profit.”

Her coping mechanism for dealing with stress and her challenging work environment, is running as much as she can, whenever she can. “There is nothing as beautiful and rewarding as waking up at 05:30 on a Saturday morning and running into the sunrise.”

Burger believes her corporate super power is her intuition, which is fuelled by her being a keen observer as well as her God-given spirit of discernment. She is also an ardent coffee lover. “The best fruit God ever created is the coffee bean and yes, coffee is actually a fruit! I am useless before my first flask of coffee in the morning.”

Burger believes she is a mother first in life, and has two beautiful daughters that are the centre of her existence.

“I encourage others to always live your best life (LYBL) even in difficult times like now when our country and the entire world has to re-adjust due to Covid-19. Life is precious and can be fleeting, so leave your mark every day, every second, regardless of what that might be for you. Live bravely, always be kind and never regard yourself as just another person in the crowd.”

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