Lighting the way for others

Jakes Enssle, the store manager of the Food Lover’s Market branch in Wernhil Park, believes you have the responsibility to share your skills and knowledge with those around you, in order to help them to reach their full potential.

06 September 2019 | Business

Mariselle Stofberg

The grace of God, the unconditional support of his wife and children and the opportunity to witness growth and pride within his team, are some of the things that Jakes Enssle values most in life.

Life is what you make of it and Enssle has proven that with the right attitude and will to succeed, your possibilities are endless.

He was born on 30 October 1987 in Swakopmund and grew up with a single parent and two siblings. Due to circumstances, he was raised by his grandparents in Rehoboth until the age of 10.

“They taught me a lot about respecting your elders, being honest, having integrity and being a hard worker,” he said.

His grandfather was a builder and Enssle’s hardworking nature was instilled in him by the example his grandfather set.

After moving back to his mother, he would visit the video shop in the main street in Swakopmund every day.

“I just went to look at the VHS cassette covers and the owner one day asked me if I wanted to work there. I was 13 years old and that was the first time I started working.”

While his friends would play during the holidays and on weekends, Enssle worked, while showing determination, perseverance and dedication, even at such a young age.

He went to school at English High, known today as Westside High, and continued his work at the video shop.

“I had wonderful teachers and one specific teacher helped me to get a bursary at Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT). This was, however, a time when I learnt a valuable life lesson: Don’t make hasty or rash decisions.”

He decided to apply to the Polytechnic of Namibia in Windhoek and was sure he would get in. He therefore told his teacher to give the bursary to someone else.

“Unfortunately I did not get in and that forced me to improvise.”

Enssle stayed at the video shop, while he figured out what his next plan would be.

“I was working at that shop for almost five years when the owner promoted me to become the manager. I was a big movie fanatic and having the opportunity to work with movies and films was great.”

Enssle is inspired by actors who are able to completely invest themselves in the characters they portray and create magical moments on screen.

Movies that really had an impact on his life are The Dark Knight, The Shawshank Redemption, Escape from Alcatraz and The Green Mile. His favourite actors include Timothy Dalton, Sean Connery and Clint Eastwood.

He loves the films created by Ridley Scott, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, but his favourite director is Michael Bay.

Enssle continued to work at the video shop for 10 years, when the owner decided to sell. “I wanted to try something new and a friend told me to come work at Fruit and Veg because it was awesome. I was hired as a security guard at the receiving department and that is where my journey with the company started.”

His curious nature and willingness to learn had Enssle asking his manager if he could learn about other aspects of the company. “He saw how quickly I would pick up new things and I was eventually given more responsibilities. I moved up through the ranks and within a year I was in charge of receiving.”

From IT, to admin to orders, Enssle did everything, and within two years he was a trainee assistant manager at the Food Lover’s Market store in Swakopmund.

He was asked to join the team at the new Windhoek branch this year and Enssle is celebrating his first year as the store manager at the Wernhil branch.

“The pace and competition within the city is different to that of the coast. Here you need to become the quickest person with the best prices and best quality products, in order to compete,” he said.

Enssle also launched and introduced Project Lean for the company, which achieved great success in Maerua Mall, Metro and Wernhil.

“Being a manager is not only about wheeling and dealing, but teaching your staff/team members. They should know what you know, to allow them the opportunity to do that as well. I absorb things and learn from those around me and I want to help others obtain that same knowledge and skills.”

At the company they have many diverse people and cultures, and Enssle truly believes one should know and respect those working with you.

“If you understand their cultures you will know what will offend people and that will prevent you from overreacting. You need to know who you are working with and take them into consideration to become a cohesive team.”

Enssle is inspired by the joy of his team when they do well.

“I love the smiles on my team’s faces when we have good results and to see the growth within your people and team. The challenge comes when you see your team’s potential, but they still have trouble seeing that. You need to do what you can to help them to reach that potential.”

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