One of the ladies I featured in this edition whom I would have loved to meet in person is Ally Angula.
I was introduced to her via the phone by Cynthia Martin. While seeking her time to do this interview, she addressed me as would my one and only sister, Patience.
So warm and so approachable she was. But what shocked me about her during the back and forth texts and emails was she would be at work at crazy times of the day.
I’d be home tucking my kids into bed while she’d be in the office trying to get some work done. For a moment there, I didn’t even think she had kids, let alone married. But yep, she has both.
How does she do it, you may ask, then? By the time we agreed on how to go about this interview, she eventually texted me while still at work at around 9 pm, finishing up a “something” for the board, or something. I don’t remember, sorry; I was in the middle of mommy dutiesJ. She ended the conversation with, “You’re a tonic!” I still don’t know what that meant but I liked the way it sounded when I read it out loud to my daughter.
From the horse’s mouth, meet the co-founder and managing director of Leap Namibia…
“I am a mother to two extremely special human beings – our son is 13 years old and our daughter is 5. I am the managing director of a company my husband and I co-founded called Leap. Leap Holdings (Pty) Ltd has three operating subsidiary companies; Leap Agribusiness (Pty) Ltd, Leap Manufacturing Namibia (Pty) Ltd and Leap Retail (Pty) Ltd. The group is the proud brand owner of the clothing brand “My Republik”.
What kind of character are you?
I would like to say that descriptions regarding character would certainly have words like; ‘unafraid of work’, ‘passionate’, ‘loving’ and I’m very quick to express my joy and certainly my unhappiness with things. So people call me passionate as a nicer character description as opposed to hot-headed.
I have two kids that when they get out of hand, I certainly discipline them but the ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’ bit only creeps in, in times of real extreme cases.
What would you do if your children came home one day to announce that they’re gay?
I don’t know. It’s easy to say one thing until you have to confront the situation head-on. So I don’t know what I would do, really. I mean, my child remains my child, regardless of what may happen. I carried my lovely children for nine months and brought them up with my husband as a team, so nothing they would do would, in any event, we would not handled as a family.
Sometimes I go to bed thinking ‘I had a really great time with my children today’ until I get a long letter from my son the following day, painting me in the most horrible of lights as a mother, and then I’m left wondering, ‘owkaay!’. This could be from just something I might have said while hanging out with them. So the notion may be implied, but perfect mothers do not exist. Loving, caring and nurturing mothers, however, I come across every day.
How do you manage to balance work, being a wife and motherhood, as regards religion, work and family?
Trust you me, my dear, I don’t. But I don’t stop trying.
What does motherhood mean to you as a female leader?
I am born into motherhood, as female, and I decided to play a role in the future of my country in the process and both roles mean a lot to me. My children come first, in terms of their well-being and up bringing and everything else follows. That’s why I put a lot into teaching my kids the value of hard work, compassion for fellow human beings and the belief that absolutely nothing is impossible, especially when dedicate your all into God’s hands. That’s the only thing I’d like them to remember me for.
What do you think the world would look like if all its leaders were female?
I think it would be a skewed world – only by having other people’s perspective can we have a more equal world. That’s why society should encourage women into positions of power. However, I don’t believe we would have a just world if only one sex were in power.
Your thoughts on modern single-motherhood in case of every form of abuse on the mother and children?
Hat’s off to single mothers, they are miracle workers! I mean, I struggle to keep it together whenever my husband is away for a day. So we have to acknowledge the amount of work that goes into bringing up children, especially when you are doing it alone. You must be a miracle worker to make it happen, really. In so far as abuse is concerned, well, there’s only so much one can say about that, as it can arise in any situation and household set-up. It takes some level of professionalism to give a qualified opinion on the issue, you know.
Which life lessons have you learnt as a mother that have had an impact on who you are as a leader?
As a mother, I’ve learnt to live life without being afraid. I have learnt, as a result, to be courageous and take risks at work.
I don’t think so. I like to believe all I have ever done in positive light has been driven by who I am, including being a mother. For instance, I want to only have my businesses operate in environments that build and not destroy; I want my businesses to have a lasting positive impact; I want to create a better future for my children and I think as human beings, that is how we function. I doubt it is because of the mother in me. Or may be it is, I don’t know.
Do you think Prime Minister, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, would make a perfect female president for this country one day?
Of course she would. She is a very driven professional who is very passionate about this country and understands the needs of the everyday Namibian.
What does a normal week look like for you; kids, work and other commitments?
There is no normal week for me, unfortunately. Fortunately, though, I am certainly blessed to have a positive impact on my community, as well as team up with my husband to jointly provide for our family. Every week is different and normal is something we have not known in a pretty long time.
If you had the power to help the less privileged, what would you do with the help of your kids?
I like to think that is exactly what we are doing already, by creating jobs in our companies. My children are involved in helping in this regard every day; my son makes the most amazing contribution even to discussions that he self-invites. My daughter has already declared to be the MD of our companies one day, so we are already doing it together.