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Dear CEO, an authentic voice makes you reach your stakeholders

Dear CEO, an authentic voice makes you reach your stakeholders

By Natasja Beyleveld, Managing Director of NaMedia.

I recently had a discussion with one of my friends in industry, regarding how the public image, or lack thereof, of the Executives (especially CEOs) impacts on a company’s reputation. If we are perceived for the way we are led, public leadership becomes the tonality of your public image.

Developing a good share of voice for your company can either be CEO-dependent (for example the GIPF), or you could only use your CEO as ‘crisis control’, and rely on a diversified spokesperson model for your brand(s). Whichever way, if you are appointed as an executive, then in today’s world, you are by default required to become a confident public speaker.

The only way to maintain this confidence and to have a voice with impact is to ensure that you are relevant to your stakeholders, and that you have built relationships that support your vision.

Ultimately, each stakeholder has the ability to influence your public reputation, whether we like it or not. Traditional and digital media, word of mouth (peer influence) and personal experiences are heard louder than generic public relation efforts. The latter was something that could sustain a business in the past, but no more.

We were drawn to ‘key message repetition’ in the past, but now it has become a constant adaptation based on trend-reads and customer preference. It’s like having sold school uniforms in the past, just changing the size of the message, whereas now we have a more refined audience requiring bespoke or tailored messages, which are required to be fit for comfort and purpose.

How has this impacted the way we not only present our business models but also our products to our clients?

It has become a cross-shopping exercise where one category is not sufficient for comparison, but the client wants to shop from budget, premium, gold and platinum all at the same time. They want a package that speaks to their budget – and it’s eating from a pap-to-prawns buffet. This asks for careful listening, planning, and communications.

When leaders start conversing with stakeholders and communicate through strategic partnerships or mutually beneficial causes (corporate to community, or politics to community) and we believe them; then the support and momentum develop to a good speed. If the CEOs or Executives do not believe the message or the cause they are communicating, the disconnect between audience and speaker quickly escalates into open mistrust. This trust is not regained easily.

Our job is: be a good human. Communicate in congruence to your values and keep it simple. Ask yourself: do others understand your message and purpose – and can they resonate with your CEO and leadership? Find what it is that really works in the voice and the voice will work for the stakeholder because it delivers a message which is authentic and talks shop.

Sometimes it takes modelling some person-appropriate-spokesperson models (there is no shame in learning from experts). In the end, it remains crucial that you find your true self clearly and confidently in the public voice you are coached for, and check whether your ethos is in congruence with your shop talk. Then we are talking. And your listeners will notice.

Onda Mana




About The Author

Natasja Beyleveld

Natasja Beyleveled, the Managing Director of Namedia (Namibia Media Monitoring) has her finger on the pulse of many large corporations and leading institutions. It is her job to track her clients' media profiles, advising them on PR strategies to either boost positive developments or contain public image damage. She first became a prominent figure as the Young Namibian Businesswoman of the Year 2013.

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.