Insights from Jacobina Lungameni
As a young child in her early years growing up in northern Namibia, one of the activities that Jacobina Lungameni most looked forward to was going to Continental No. 1 for some soft-serve ice-cream on a cone. New at the time, unlike regular ice lollies, softserve was the talk of the town; and the name of the renowned owner of Continental Enterprises – Frans Aupa Indongo – remained imprinted on the impressionable mind of a young Jacobina. Little did she know, that about 30 years later, she would have direct access to this inspiring national legend, as the woman charged with managing the finances of the Frans Indongo Group, and that she would be working to nurture and sustain his legacy.
A big believer of the adage that ‘it’s what you leave behind that matters’, Jacobina says, “I want to see his legacy carried forward, and to see this indigenous, homegrown corporate Group living beyond Dr. Frans and beyond the current leadership, for generations to come. I want to see it continue to grow its footprint within society and different communities. And I want for our descendants to experience FIG beyond our own imaginations.”
With this objective in mind as she tends to the important work of managing the Group’s finances, Jacobina has been diligent and focused in applying her knowledge and skills. Joining the Group in 2015, soon after completing her articles at PWC Namibia and qualifying as a Chartered Accountant (CA), Jacobina says the transition to Group Financial Manager of an entity with a highly diverse portfolio across five industries presented a major shift in her career growth. This shift, however, has been incredibly rewarding.
Fast forward 6 years, and while she says she continues to learn on the job through her daily engagements with leadership and the directors of FIG, Jacobina has undoubtedly become a seasoned finance professional with a unique set of skills in dealing with a growing conglomerate with broad industrial, national and social reach. “The Group has a truly diversified portfolio, and this has given me a great deal of exposure across different industries. I benefit immensely from meeting different people, from engaging with my colleagues, and from being exposed to the diverse and knowledgeable board of directors, board of trustees and industry experts across the Group. I’ve grown as a person and as a leader beyond anything I would’ve anticipated 6 years ago, and I’m excited about the future opportunities for growth. It really is an honour and a privilege to work at FIG.”
The personal and professional growth that Jacobina has experienced at FIG is something she cherishes, and which the Group’s leadership works hard to nurture amongst employees at large. “Something that stands out for me, having gone through that transition, is that our core success is built around our people. The Group’s philosophy is centered on investing and believing in our people. We know that with the right people and the right talent, everything else comes easy.” FIG also supports employees on their quests for growth. “We believe that personal development is the sole responsibility of the individual – the Group endeavours to support employees in their quest for personal development.”
This approach to encouraging employees to lead from within – alongside concerted efforts to ensure that employees feel as happy at work as they do at home – is reflected not only in the talent pool at FIG, but also in the way the companies within it function. “The Group has various investments, and these companies function autonomously, with their boards being more strategic than operational.” Independence and autonomous thinking are promoted, and the results speak for themselves in demonstrating that this is a recipe to success. As Jacobina states, “The proof is in the pudding!”
From the little girl frequenting Continental No. 1 for ice cream, to the dynamic Group Financial Manager committed to cement the legacy and longevity of the Group, Jacobina highlights the potential of truly homegrown corporate enterprises with humble beginnings, and, moreover, reflects the promise of Namibia and our bright future.