In order to promote women’s empowerment and to generate awareness of the importance of gender equality, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek celebrates women and their accomplishments each Wednesday. For this week’s #WednesdayCelebrateWomen, UNIC Windhoek celebrates Ally Angula, the Group Managing Director of Leap Holdings (Pty) Ltd and its subsidiaries.
Ally Angula, who started her career off as a chartered accountant, became a partner at age 26 and currently serves a council member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Namibia (ICAN) and as a board member of the National Qualifications Authority appointed by the Minister of Education.
She continued to reach for the stars, starting Leap Holdings (Pty) Ltd in 2013, a company which runs Leap Agribusiness, Leap Manufacturing (Pty) Ltd, My Greens and Namibia’s first commercial clothing brands My Republik and M&A. Besides her own businesses, she serves on the board of various companies and was appointed by the Minister of Finance in 2013 as a Financial Reporting Expert.
With her immense success and the positive impact she has had on Namibia’s economy, Angula was selected as one of the Young Global Leaders (YGL) from Sub Saharan Africa by the World Economic Forum in 2015 and is serving a second year within the programme. As an impressive leader in many diverse sectors who was also named a Desmond Tutu Fellow, Angula shares her thoughts on what makes a strong leader.
“Leaders are people, regardless of age, gender and position, that are able to get people to follow them and have people respect their views such that they have team buy in for their proposed plans and actions,” Angula says.
She continues, “Strong leaders listen to their people but also act when it is in the best interest of the people.”
In terms of leadership in Namibia, Angula says that it is developing quickly, in all spheres, and thus emphasizes that, “We need to continue to build capacity within the different sectors and build a culture of accountability and ownership and through this, more leaders will emerge.”
Leap Holdings (Pty) Ltd group of companies produces and sells Namibian made products. Angula stresses the importance of supporting products made in the Land of the Brave.
“No country has grown its economy with production of goods. With consumption of locally produced items and goods we are able to reduce our import bill. Sustaining a high import bill means we need to hold significant foreign currency in our reserves which is actually expensive for our economy,” Angula explains.
Emphasizing that women make up half of the global population, she says that they must be part of what is happening in society. She says, “We are progressing well in terms of women’s empowerment but it’s the societal norms that label the leader.”
She continues, saying that female leaders are labelled by their gender, which is something that needs to change.
“I have learned to fight my way through almost everything and with this comes labels, while men aren’t labelled when they fight for what they believe in,” Angula says, sharing her experience with gender inequality throughout her career.
Echoing the same idea, Angula stresses the importance of removing these labels and promoting understanding of gender equality in the work place. She stresses the importance of, “[Building up the] confidence of our men to [be able to] accept that the female voice is important and to not label the female voice, because the male voice is just accepted and not labelled.”
Angula lives each day by her life motto which is that, “The follow through is just as important as the first action, if not more important!”
Her advice to young girls is to, “Back your dreams with action, stand up for what you know is right and don’t let anyone tell you that it cannot be done.”