Mare-Louise Addinall ended up in retail banking, and more specifically Bank Windhoek, in an unconventional way.
Addinall has been with Bank Windhoek for three years. She is a qualified and professionally registered structural engineer. Her role as the manager for property and maintenance is twofold. Addinall is the head of the department that is responsible for all infrastructure projects related to Bank Windhoek’s retail, commercial and retail properties. This involves running the fit-out and renovation projects throughout the project life cycle. This includes Bank branches, ATM installations and office spaces. Her department is also responsible for the maintenance of all the previously mentioned properties.
When asked what a typical day looks like for her, Addinall said: “My typical day is spent with a phone glued to my ear and a laptop to my fingers. It can start with site shoes and a hardhat in the morning for site visits, and then eating my lunch in my car and changing into heels in the afternoon for meetings. Every day is different and some days are definitely more challenging than others.”
And just like in any other line of work, Addinall faces challenges. “As any engineering, project and construction-related careers have traditionally been male dominated, it is challenging to garner the same respect as your male equivalent. Especially when you are young and new to the trade. This remains true today even as we see more females being appointed in manager and executive roles,” she says.
She was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, but relocated to Windhoek when she was three years old. Her family is originally from Namibia and still live here. Addinall doesn’t have any siblings, but was close to her grandparents growing up. She has been married for 8 years.
Addinall matriculated from Windhoek High School and was then fortunate enough to be accepted to the University of Pretoria. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and then specialised in structural engineering. She managed to obtain a bursary during her third year of studies and was obligated to work back her bursary after obtaining her degree.
Addinall became a professionally registered structural engineer in 2015 and were involved in various commercial, residential and hospital building projects in South Africa.
Addinall and her husband relocated to Windhoek in 2017 and after working as a structural engineer in Namibia for a year, she was appointed at Bank Windhoek.
When asked about her proudest moment, Addinall said: “The day I received my degree, the keys to my first house and when I bought my first car.” When it comes to her goals, she says, “I would like to finish the renovations at my house. Professionally, I am busy with some exiting projects at Bank Windhoek that I am looking forward to seeing coming to fruition.”
When asked what message she would give to the youth, Addinall said: “Be unapologetically you. Set your own goals and your own timelines. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small. Work hard as nothing will come to you by doing the bare minimum and put your hand up to do the things other do not want to do. Get yourself a good mentor.”
She adds: “None of what I have achieved was easy. I was never the smartest kid in the class, but I put in the hours. Even with very good matric results, I was not able to obtain a bursary. This was after we applied to almost twenty different companies. We were not in the financial position where I could study at a university without a bursary. We applied for study loans and I kept on applying for a bursary every year, which I finally received in my third year. You really need a never give up attitude to succeed in your professional and personal life.”