Face adversaries, create greatness

From a small-town girl to an innovator, Lizette Feris fought all odds to claim her place in the corporate jungle.

12 October 2018 | Youth

Elizabeth Joseph

After matriculating from Namib High School, Lizette Feris immediately set her career in stone and went on to study international marketing in Cape Town.

She moved back to her hometown of Swakopmund and was immediately employed at the Swakopmund Hotel and Entertainment Centre for some time until she relocated to London, in the United Kingdom to further her studies with the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

There she honed her skills further whilst being employed at four-star hotels in in the city. “Since returning to Namibia eight years ago, I was involved in many short training courses, and was selected as a 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow, attending Dartmouth College in America. I'm now a student of the Media and Information Literacy Learning Initiative (MiLLi*) at the College of the Arts completing my certificate in MIL,” she says.

Feris was recruited by DW Akademie, an international media development organisation in July 2016, as their project associate to assist with the implementation of their Media and Information Literacy (MIL) project in Namibia.

“In 2017 I was promoted to project manager, where I continued working on MIL and additionally assisted at the community information project line where DW Akademie partnered with the Namibia Community Broadcasters Association to develop the capacities of community radio presenters.”

As if that was not proof enough that she was the author of her own destiny, Feris took another great leap in her career and established herself even further at the DW Akademie.

Seeing that there are always several dominant constraints that hold the company’s growth from reaching its potential, we asked her how she plans to overcome these constraints at DW Akademie Namibia and she had this to say: “Namibia is one of eight African focus countries DW Akademie works in, and the Namibia office took five years to establish. Back when the office started out, there was one staff member with a briefcase and a laptop.

Today they have three full-time staff members and one volunteer to assist with the work they do in media information literacy and community information in Namibia. At the moment the DW Akademie is stabilised and focusing on their partners reaching their potential.

Some of the DW Akademie’s short term goals include continuing the support they already have for MiLLi* the local MIL initiative in Namibia, implemented by College of the Arts.

“To date, MiLLi* has reached 506 young people in ten regions. We are impressed with this result and will continue to focus on MIL, working with the College of the Arts, to train Namibians the knowledge, skills and review their attitude to reading and writing media and information messages,” Feris adds.

A day in the office

“There is no such thing as a typical day for a project manager. As I implement several projects, working with the project partners, I will usually take stock of what is urgent on my daily task sheet, encounter challenges which requires my problem solving skills, and also round off with payments or checking budgets, or other activities that are required from a project manager.

Most, if not all, of her time is dedicated to MiLLi*, where Feris now trains staff and volunteers at the MiLLi* Coordination Centre to implement the core activities which are summer school, youth projects and the certification course. Typically, her day includes a lot of coffee, telephone calls, email correspondence, and media technology.

Fact Box

1. God is my oath (I live up to the actual Hebrew meaning of my name)

2. She has 22 years working experience in six countries

3. Feris is direct, and like people who are the same

4. “I like laughing, and have a great sense of humour,” she says.

5. I am a mentor, and a student at the same time

6. My passion is working with children

7. I'm always on a 'see food - eat food' diet

8. I love music and dancing, and taking road trips

9. I used to be a stage performer and a radio presenter

10. I'm an advocate for human rights

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