Saturday 15 May 2021
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Who is Afra Schimming-Chase?



I am not sure how to respond. I am me. On a more serious note, I am 43, and doing my best to be true to the best version of myself. This can be highly entertaining at times.

Give us a brief background journey of your education background.
I started school at St. George’s in 1978 and completed my Primary School before moving to St. Paul’s College. After completing Std. 6, we relocated to Geneva, Switzerland where I finished high school at College du Leman, International School in Versoix, Geneva, Switzerland.

After high school, I was too afraid to take a year out and went straight to University in France to study Law.  At the time, Namibia had just become independent, so I could no longer benefit with a scholarship as a “Victim of Apartheid” as would have been the case before.  I was however, extremely lucky in securing a full scholarship with the French Government through the Ministry of Cooperation, a scholarship I maintained until the end of my studies.  I remain very grateful to the French, and France is certainly my adoptive home.  I hold an LLB, LLB, Post Graduate Diploma in International and Comparative Law. I am also a Certified Financial Planner, Professional, registered with the Financial Planning Institute of South Africa. I am a certified facilitator in a number of FranklinCovey product sets including Leadership, Productivity and Trust.
Briefly take us through your professional career.
I returned to Namibia in 1998 and started working for Old Mutual as a legal advisor. I was very privileged to work in many different areas of the business and in different capacities and left as Executive Manager Client Service. Since then, I have been self-employed and operating in the areas of Financial Planning and Coaching, Consulting and Facilitation in Management and Leadership Training.  In fact, in 2013, I joined two amazing women and we started the Namibian franchise for the International leadership Organisation, FranklinCovey. We are now in our 3rd year of operation and am extremely privileged to be part of this team as well as to positively influence the Namibian performance improvement landscape.Who inspires you in business? And why?

Hmmm…tough question, I cannot think of anyone off hand.

Which Boards do you serve on?
I am an Independent Director on the boards of Nedbank Namibia Limited and Nedbank Namibia Holdings Limited. I also serve as an Independent Trustee of the Benchmark Retirement Fund as well as current Chairperson of the Death Claims Subcommittee. In addition, I also serve as an External Investment Advisor and a Member of the Investment Committee of Namibia Post and Telecom Holdings Limited.

The retirement Industry has always been a passion of mine and it forms part of the Financial Planning Industry. It is a very natural fit for me. I am humbled to work with a team of dedicated professionals (all male – although now you may start asking me about gender balance). I admire the work ethic at the administrator, Retirement Fund Solutions and of course it warms my heart that this truly Namibian entity, started by Namibians for Namibians. Serving on the Investment Committee for NPTH was really my first big “corporate” investment opportunity. Interestingly though, I am not a broker for this entity and sit on the Investment Committee in conjunction with the other 4 members.  This has probably been my biggest learning curve to date and I continue to learn about how SOEs operate.
What is your view on Corporate Governance in Namibia?
Corporate governance is important for any country.  I applaud and welcome the Introduction of the NamCode, necessitated by changes to the governance landscape internationally, as well as through the Companies Act In 2004.
What is your preferred management style?
Collaborative is definitely my preferred style. I am however sometimes called upon to be more assertive/authoritative depending on the matter at hand. So I would rather say that I am authentic, what you see is what you get, and my face unfortunately does not lie. My facial expression sometimes (if not always), gives me away.

What do you do when you are not working?
I cook, make chillies, hang out with my trusted crowd, practise Pilates and HIITcamp, connect with my adorable son and travel the world.

What are you reading at the moment?
A few books. I am challenged to deliver on a number of fronts currently so I am reading: “How Much Is Enough” – on Financial Wellness, “Dying to be Me” by Anita Moorjani, the “5 Choices to Extraordinary Productivity”, “You are not so Smart”.  I pick them up and drop them depending on what I am focusing on most.  The plan is to finish them all soon!
What is your favourite leadership quote?“You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate for.”

“Living the 7 Habits [and all success in human behaviour] requires us to learn, commit, and do on increasingly higher planes.  We deceive ourselves if we think any one of these is sufficient.  To keep progressing, we must learn, commit, and do – learn, commit, and do – and learn, commit, and do again.”

– Stephen R Covey

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