Ihuhua soars in petroleum industry

Charmaine Ihuhua, the retail manager at Vivo Energy Namibia, says her faith is her biggest motivator.

31 August 2018 | People

huhua is a St Pauls College alumnus. She completed her tertiary education through the University of South Africa (Unisa) at Varsity College in Cape Town.

Ihuhua obtained a bachelor of business administration degree, with specialisation in strategic management and marketing.

“I have also completed various management certificates, including the management development programme at the University of Stellenbosch Business School, and I’m currently pursuing my masters’ degree,” Ihuhua said.

She is the retail manager at Vivo Energy.

She started her career at an NGO, the Lazarus Shinyemba Ipangelwa Foundation, where she served as programme coordinator.

She reported directly to the board of trustees, CEOs of different organisations, and ultimately to the then board chairperson and the country’s current mines minister, Tom Alweendo.

During her tenure, she oversaw the smooth operations of the entity, and actively managed interactions with high-profile corporations and their representatives in the business sector, as well as governmental institutions and embassies.

“I was empowered and mentored by Anna Ipangelwa, who provided me with guidance during my early career days,” she adds.

Most of Ihuhua’s professional experience has been within the petroleum industry, having spent over eight years initially with Shell Namibia, and now Vivo Energy Namibia, a multinational company that distributes and markets Shell fuels and lubricants across Africa.

As the retail manager and an overall marketer, her core function is retail network expansion.

She develops plans and executes initiatives that support the short- and long-term sales and marketing strategies of the business.

In addition, Ihuhua works in collaboration with other external and internal stakeholders to ensure that the brand remains relevant to consumers and that all initiatives elevate and strengthen the customer value proposition for the group.

“I started off as a marketing implementer, focusing on retail business expansion and later the commercial part of the business. Soon after this role, I was identified and developed for the role of the marketing manager. Within a year and a half I was moved into a further development programme, where I was prepared for the role of retail manager,” she adds.

Her inspiration

Ihuhua’s faith is her biggest motivator.

“My parents are my rock; they have laid a good foundation in my life, and they have taught me to remain grounded and mostly respectful.”

She has great relationships that inspire her daily.

“One of those are my awesome friends; they have held me up through it all, and have made sure I remain at my best, while reminding me to laugh at myself and take things easy.”

Her relationship with her fiancé also gives her great joy.

One of the highlights of Ihuhua’s career is the accelerated growth she has experienced at Vivo Energy Namibia.

This has helped her develop exponentially on a mental, emotional and professional level.

“Through my various promotions, my career aspirations have been opened to even more greatness. I am especially grateful that I have been developed as a female business leader, and hope to sow the same seeds of development for my team,” she says.

She works in a fast-paced environment, and is available 24 hours a day, non-stop.

“I need to remain available to the retailers across the country at all times,” she says. Her day starts at 06:30. Before she leaves for the office she checks her emails and catches up with her sales teams.

“Once I get to work, I have to attend business review meetings and review finalised contracts and maintenance issues at our sites.”

A significant portion of her day is spent in meetings and teleconferences, liaising with various stakeholders.

Her job requires her to travel throughout Namibian.

“One thing I have learnt about my job is to remain calm, patient and solution-driven; this sees me through the week.”

Seven facts about Ihuhua

1.She believes in leading by example, by achieving authority rather than power.

2.She strives to always consider and promote the wellbeing of those around her, in both her personal and professional life.

3.Her motivation is the mantra: “I have not yet arrived.” This always reminds her that she is still learning and growing.

4.Ihuhua makes it a priority to constantly improve herself and her performance.

5.She is a pragmatist; she does not believe in complicating situations, but rather in finding practical and efficient solutions to problems.

6.She has an artistic flair and has a certificate in interior design. She loves pottery and other artistic exploits.

7.She is passionate about music and travel “ I am a plaas meisie”

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