Fascinated by consumers

Rozanne van der Merwe has been the managing director at Ogilvy Namibia for three years.

19 July 2019 | Business

Evany van Wyk



Rozanne van der Merwe comes across as being the epitome of female empowerment and friendliness. And this is exactly who she is.

After a firm handshake we make ourselves comfortable in the Ogilvy boardroom for the interview.

“I was born in Windhoek in 1985, I am the proud mom of two beautiful children, I am married to an extremely supportive partner and I hold the position of managing director at Ogilvy,” she says.

The first thought that comes to mind is about how she is able to juggle all these responsibilities and still reach the level of success she has at such a young age.

Growing up, Rozanne dreamt of becoming a paediatrician. Career options were limited in the 1990s and advertising was also never really on the cards.

That changed when she realised in high school that she loved the psychology behind consumer behaviour, consumer preferences and the motives behind ­this.

She also excelled in sport and has her Namibian colours in netball. After completing her grade 12, she studied at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) in Cape Town, South Africa, where she obtained her degree in marketing management, graduating cum laude.

Van der Merwe decided that she needed a change of scenery and moved to London to pursue a career in marketing and see the world. London was her home for two years, after which she returned to Namibia.

“The transition was tough, I won’t lie, after living away for six years. After I got back I urgently needed a job and that’s when I applied to Ogilvy for an account executive position.”

For the last nine years Van der Merwe has called Ogilvy home.

Three years ago she was appointed as the managing director of the agency. She admits that her job thus far has been quite challenging, but the rewards have also been immense.

“The most exciting thing about my job is seeing how the team and company have grown since I started here. It all comes down to great strategy, teamwork and good client relationships,” Van der Merwe explained.

She enjoys travelling and makes a point of doing it at least once every two years, if she has the time.

Places she has visited include Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Turkey, France, Italy and Amsterdam. Next year she looks forward to visiting Japan.

“Keeping my family and work balance has been the hardest obstacle, but if you have a support system, nothing should stand in your way,” explained Van der Merwe.

It is clear that her passion is not only that of a career woman, but juggling the role of mother, wife, boss, colleague and friend. One of the things she likes most is spending quality time with her loved ones.

When it comes to work, she ensures that she maintains good relationships with employees and clients, because this builds a good understanding.

Like David Ogilvy, the father of modern advertising and the founder of the advertising agency, she also believes that “like a midwife, I make my living bringing new babies into the world, except that mine are new advertising campaigns”.

“It is our job to take care of brands and grow them into their best self,” explained Van der Merwe

When asked what advice she would give her 18-year-old self, she said: “You need to ask yourself one simple question: Will you be able to do this every day of your adult life.” According to her passion, drive and confidence are key in making career decisions.

She explained if you do what you love, and believe in yourself, anything is possible. “If you’re not sure, take a gap year and figure it out, but most importantly follow your gut.”

Being a 33-year-old woman, a managing director and a shareholder at a great company, she can’t help but be proud and grateful for her accomplishments. Her plans for the future are to continue building and growing the agency and her team, but most importantly to make brands matter in Namibia.

She is currently reading a book called ‘Start with Why’ by Simon Sinek. She admits that she does not read a lot, but when it is related to business, she always finds the time. “This book is about how to be a good leader and inspiring people to take action,” explained Van der Merwe.

Building strategic client relationships, empowering the team and adapting to change is what she takes pride in.

Photos: Evany van Wyk

Similar News

 

Meatco gets bulk of Norwegian quota

2 days ago - 05 December 2019 | Business

The Meat Board of Namibia has allocated next year's 1 600-tonne Norwegian beef export quota to Meatco and the Brukkaros abattoir. Meatco received a 1...

Synthetic diamonds pose a threat

2 days ago - 05 December 2019 | Business

Namdeb managing director Riaan Burger says although synthetic diamonds are a threat to his company; it is not something he is losing sleep over.He made...

PwC Namibia Walvis Bay office offers more than just...

3 days ago - 04 December 2019 | Business

Ansie Rossouw - As we approach the end of a very busy year, it is customary to reflect on the year gone by, as well...

Focus on people as well as profit

3 days ago - 04 December 2019 | Business

Zoe Tabary - Consumers have the power to make companies behave better and look beyond the bottom line, business leaders and activists said on Wednesday,...

Saudi Arabia’s Aramco casts IPO net

3 days ago - 04 December 2019 | Business

Anuj Chopra - From taboo-busting religious support to easy credit and fervent jingoism, Saudi Arabia pulled out all the stops to prop up Aramco's IPO...

Key zones saved from mining

5 days ago - 02 December 2019 | Business

With about 75% of mining revenue generated in protected areas, a policy has been developed that identifies nine areas in the country where prospecting and...

Finding the law

1 week ago - 29 November 2019 | Business

Elizabeth JosephPull Quote: “Hard work and integrity go hand in hand; you can’t have one and not the other.” –Ray Silungwe, founder of Silungwe Legal...

Building dreams and futures through football

1 week ago - 29 November 2019 | Business

Evany van WykFranklin-Luke Philander from Tsumeb is the night security supervisor at the Strand Hotel in Swakopmund, where he grew up. In 2011 he matriculated...

Knowledge knows no gender

1 week ago - 29 November 2019 | Business

Mariselle StofbergMaking your mark as a woman in a male-dominated industry is not for the faint-hearted, but Anel Wasserfall has proven that the tide is...

Perseverance is key

1 week ago - 29 November 2019 | Business

Evany van WykDeciding to become an entrepreneur is a huge step in anybody’s life. You take responsibility for your own future and that of others,...

Latest News

Creating a digital mindset for...

1 day - 06 December 2019 | Opinion

Jason AverbookDo you ever look back on your New Year’s resolutions (if you make them)? Do you even remember what they were? Maybe you resolve...

Article 47 bites back at...

1 day - 06 December 2019 | Politics

The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) has approached attorney-general Albert Kawana for legal advice on how to deal with the situation arising from its enforcement...

Retrenched fishermen narrate ordeal

1 day - 06 December 2019 | Fishing

“My car was repossessed by the bank as I could no longer honour my payment obligations,” Sylvester Mbadi, a former employee of Namsov, has told...

Economic misery fuels suicides

1 day - 06 December 2019 | Health

Close to 400 people died by suicide between January and September 2019 and experts warn that Namibia's economic crisis, lack of jobs and the crippling...

Highly mechanised

1 day - 06 December 2019 | People

Justicia Shipena Vivacious Marco Swart is a mechanical technician in the packaging engineering department at Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) - a subsidiary of the Ohlthaver...

Compassion is the new fashion

1 day - 06 December 2019 | People

Evany van WykMarizelle Pienaar lives by the motto, “the more you have to do, the more you get done.” She believes in being a balanced...

Never say never

1 day - 06 December 2019 | People

Mariselle StofbergHester Uushona is a firm believer that being average in life is not an option. She strives towards making her mark while providing others...

Not all with be festive

1 day - 06 December 2019 | Columns

As the festive season approaches in full-force, many are yearning to spend time with their loved ones away from the stress work and the accompanying...

Talent knows no borders

1 day - 06 December 2019 | Cultural

Ester Kamati Still digesting the news after receiving his award on 30 November in Burkina Faso, Visagie is passionate about ensuring that the arts are...

Load More