The Curious Mind of Beverley

Mini Biography

Beverley Coussement is a seasoned professional with over a decade of experience in public relations and communications, spanning the tourism and diamond industries in both midstream and downstream sectors.
She consistently demonstrates exceptional skills, fostering collaboration among colleagues and bringing a diverse and adaptable approach to communication. Possessing an Honours Bachelor of Communication from the Namibia University of Science and Technology, Beverley commences the year by returning to school to pursue her MBA studies in Management Strategy.
In her role as the inaugural Public Relations and Communications Practitioner at NAMDIA, Beverley established foundational processes, frameworks, and strategies, significantly impacting the organization’s external brand identity and appeal. Notable achievements include developing and implementing a comprehensive Stakeholder Identification and Engagement Plan, the company’s Crisis Communication Strategy, and initiating “Diamond Talks,” an industry-first panel discussion series aimed at fostering transparency within the industry.
In her secondary role as the Coordinator of the NAMDIA Foundation, Beverley played a pivotal role in directing NAMDIA’s CSI impact program, making a meaningful impact in the community. Her efforts went beyond steering the foundation; she also spearheaded the establishment of crucial systems and processes, elevating the foundation’s effectiveness and transforming it into one of Namibia’s most recognized CSR brands.
This wealth of experience showcases Beverley’s ability to excel in any position, creating impactful strategies aligned with organizational goals. Beyond her professional success, Beverley identifies her roles as a wife and mother as pillars that contribute to her strong identity in the corporate world. A versatile individual with diverse interests, spanning from public speaking, interior design, to traveling, fitness, and community empowerment, Beverley is fluent in English, Italian, Afrikaans, and Otjiherero. She is currently in the process of reconnecting with her matriarchal heritage in the Oshiwambo language and has embraced her spousal language of Flemish.
Beverley’s favorite quote is “Nothing changes if nothing changes.” Simply put, if we want to see change in our lives, we need to start by making the necessary changes within ourselves and our environment.

Who is Beverley Coussement?
I am an energetic individual fueled by my passion for personal growth and guided by my love for God. A dedicated career professional who stives to juggle the demands of family life while pursuing excellence in my professional endeavors. I am a wife and a mother to an insightful 4-year-old toddler. Beyond these roles, I am also a sister and a loyal friend who values the bonds and connections that enrich my life.

How has your background and upbringing influenced your personal and professional development?
Being raised by a resilient Omuwambo woman, my mother, who exemplified the principles of hard work and discipline, has profoundly shaped my approach to professionalism. Witnessing her unwavering commitment to her nursing career, spanning over 40 years since the age of 16, left an indelible mark on my understanding of dedication and work ethic.
In the backdrop of very limited opportunities during our upbringing, my mother imparted a crucial lesson—to pursue our aspirations despite the challenges. She instilled in us the drive to go after what we want, to strive for success, and to cultivate independence. Her guidance during those formative years became a driving force in my professional journey, instilling a resilient spirit that propels me to navigate challenges and seek opportunities.
Moreover, my mother’s influence goes beyond mere work ethic. She is an independent woman who, from an early age, assumed the responsibility of being a secondary mother to her siblings. This early display of responsibility further shaped my understanding of the importance of independence, leadership and taking initiative.
Her influence, coupled with the values of hard work, commitment, discipline, independence, and responsibility, has become the cornerstone of my professional identity. In my career, I carry forward the lessons learned from her, approaching every task with a strong work ethic and the discipline to navigate challenges effectively.
My mother’s wisdom, resilience, and early sense of responsibility continue to inspire me to strive for excellence, contribute positively to the workplace, and embrace every opportunity for professional growth.
Academic accomplishments seem to be a significant part of your journey.

Was education always emphasized in your family, and how do you think your academic achievements have contributed to your success?
In my upbringing, the age-old saying, “education is the greatest equalizer,” echoed consistently. My mother enthusiastically stressed the significance of education and, even more so, the importance of personal development. Her passion for reading, closely rivaling her love for music, was evident in the collection of books that adorned our home.
Beneath her emphasis on education, there resonated a profound belief in the importance of personal development and the advantages of striving to become the best version of oneself. This philosophy instilled in me the aspiration to rise above the confines of my hometown, Grootfontein. I yearned for more and felt compelled to seek out places where the prospect of “more” was attainable.

Recognizing the correlation between education and career success, I pursued my opportunities for academic achievement as a steppingstone toward realizing my professional goals. The impact of my academic accomplishments has been profound on my career and do not believe I would be where I am today, had I not prioritised my academic journey.
As I am about to commence with my MBA in Management Strategy, I eagerly anticipate further enriching my knowledge and skills to navigate the complexities of the business world, and to continue the journey of personal and professional development.

As a PR and Communications expert, was this career path always your dream?
I realized early on that my true passion lies in fostering meaningful interactions and engagements with people. However, initially, this passion took a backseat to my love for travel, eventually leading me to the tourism industry. While working in tourism, I had the chance to engage in PR and Marketing activities, reigniting my enthusiasm for the profession. I made the decision to actively pursue my passion, and everything else fell into place.

Can you provide an overview of your professional background and how it led you to your current role as Public Relations and Communications Practitioner at NAMDIA?
My first employment was as a Tour Consultant for a local company specializing in Italian tourists. Enamored with the language, I recognized the career advantages of acquiring fluency in a foreign language. I embarked on a two-year stay in Milan, Italy, where I enrolled for an Italian language course. Upon my return, I joined the Italian department at Wilderness Safaris, one of biggest Tour Operators at the time. Progressing from Assistant Consultant to Senior Consultant overseeing a team of two, my proficiency in Italian opened avenues within the Marketing department. Here, I immersed myself in PR and Marketing, gaining substantial experience.
To complement my professional journey, I decided to formalize my expertise, pursuing a Bachelors in Communications, swiftly followed by Honours qualifications. Concurrently pursuing my studies, I seized an opportunity as a Public Relations Officer at Diamond Works, a South African owned diamond retail store. It was during this period that I developed a profound appreciation for diamonds, possibly fuelled by my enduring fascination with our country’s natural resources. Having transitioned from Namibia’s breathtaking landscapes to diamonds, I garnered invaluable experience at The Diamond Works. After nearly six years, I chose to further my PR career by taking on my current role at NAMDIA.

Can you take us through the key milestones and challenges in your journey?
I had to overcome self-doubt and fear, delving deep into understanding my God-given strengths. My most significant milestone is when I made the courageous decision to undergo a complete career change after almost 10 years in the Tourism industry. I returned to school, pursued my studies, and embarked on a career aligned with my long-standing passion which is PR.

How do you apply your qualifications on a daily basis in your professional role as a Public Relations & Communications Practioner?
My qualifications in communications play a pivotal role in shaping my daily activities as a Public Relations & Communications Practitioner. With a foundation in strategic communication planning, media relations and crisis communication strategies, I leverage my academic background to navigate the complex landscape of public relations. This includes crafting targeted content aligned with organizational goals, engaging effectively with stakeholders and incorporating digital communication trends. My education forms the bedrock of a strategic and informed approach, allowing me to apply theoretical knowledge to practical scenarios in my professional role.

Is Public Relations and Communications something you would recommend for anyone considering a career in the Diamond Industry?
Certainly. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a noticeable increase in the demand for PR and Communication. Given that the diamond industry thrives on trust and relationships, the role of PR is pivotal in establishing and sustaining these connections with clients and stakeholders. Historically, the diamond industry has been characterized as opaque with limited readily available information for the public. However, there has been a significant shift, driven particularly by changes in consumer behaviour. In today’s landscape, conscious consumers place greater emphasis on the provenance of products, including diamonds. It falls upon PR professionals to craft and disseminate the narrative, telling the story behind the diamonds and driving transparency.

As a Public Relations and Communications, what is your personal opinion about the current state of the profession in our country?
There has been an increase in the presence of PR professionals in the country with more companies recognizing the significance of having this role, whether in-house or through consultation. However, the impact of this role transcends mere operational considerations, and it becomes truly invaluable when positioned strategically. In such a capacity, PR professionals play a crucial role in guiding companies and shaping their PR and communication strategies.

With regard to gender and representation, do you think women are well-represented in that profession?
Certainly. One notable advantage of this profession is its lack of gender specificity compared to certain historically gendered roles. I know a number of women in the profession who are doing great things and achieving success in their careers.

As a Public Relations and Communications at NAMDIA, what are your key responsibilities and functions that define your role within the organization?
At NAMDIA, I currently wear two hats. In my role as the PR and Communications Practitioner, my primary responsibilities involve elevating the NAMDIA brand through various channels and engagements. The goal is to align the brand with the company’s strategic direction and ensure its recognition as a well-known entity not only locally but also internationally, given our substantial international trade. Since joining the company, we have made significant strides in reshaping the brand narrative, aligning it with superior corporate governance and positioning it as a standard of excellence and our recent award as the Public Enterprise of the Year 2023 is a testament of our achievement.
As the NAMDIA Foundation Coordinator, my focus is on ensuring that the impactful programs and projects we undertake bring tangible benefits to fellow Namibians. This involves implementing processes to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the NAMDIA Foundation, ensuring it lives up to our company promise that “every diamond is a promise fulfilled.” Essentially, this means directing the proceeds from our diamonds back into the communities that are the true owners of our natural resources.

Could you walk us through your decision-making process when it comes to PR & Communications strategy and planning?
Public Relations is a forward-thinking profession that demands a nearly futuristic perspective on a company’s operations, sustainability, and viability. Therefore, it is crucial not only to evaluate the current state of the company but also to assess its future objectives. PR essentially serves as the guiding force, determining the “how” of the institution — the tool that propels the company from its present position to its desired destination while anticipating and navigating any potential obstacles along the journey.
The execution of PR strategies involves a composition of communication channels, messaging, and stakeholder engagement. It requires a proactive approach to building and maintaining relationships with various stakeholders, both internally and externally. Through strategic communication and planning, PR professionals not only convey the current narrative of the company but also shape a compelling vision for its future. This involves addressing challenges, leveraging opportunities, and ensuring that every communication aligns with the overarching goals of the company.

What drives your passion for your profession?
I thrive in the dynamic nature of the profession where the pace consistently keeps me on my toes, providing valuable learning opportunities for someone with a passion for growth. The field of public relations is inherently fast-paced and ever-evolving, demanding adaptability and a proactive mindset. Each day brings new challenges and opportunities, from managing communication strategies to navigating crises. This dynamic environment fosters continuous learning and ensures that no two days are the same, making it an exhilarating and fulfilling journey for me.

You have a special connection to Italy. Can talk to us about that?
I lived in Milan for two years and I believe that’s where I was initially exposed to a transformative experience. My sense of self was profoundly cultivated and evolved significantly during that period. My time in Italy not only shaped me as an individual but also cemented a passion for travel and a curiosity to learn about diverse cultures and explore the vast and beautiful world that God has blessed us with.

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