She talks glowingly of a fulfilling career with one of the country’s leading banks, having seen how empowering working for the institution has been. Bella Masiapeto joined Standard Chartered Bank Botswana in her mid-twenties, 30 years down the line she is still with the bank. She has touched and changed lives of many and is content with life that she is considering retiring soon. Now 56, Masiapeto works as the Personal Assistant to the Executive Director (Financial Markets) and relishes the many opportunities that she has been given by the bank. She considers it a place she can call home. She was married three years after getting a job with bank, and as a young working wife and a mother back then she says without the support of her colleagues she couldn’t have done it. “I acquired a lot through perseverance. Despite the challenges I never gave up and like a soldier I kept moving,” she says.
She attributes her success and long service to the different treasurers of the bank that she served as Personal Assistant to over the years. She is happy that almost all of them are still doing well in life and holding high positions in different institutions. “One is the Executive Director Financial Markets Standard Chartered Africa, the other one is Standard Chartered Treasurer Southern Africa while others hold big positions in other banks locally,” she says. By virtue of being part of the bank for such a long time, she bears testimony to the many lives changed by her employer, hers included.
As one of the eldest and long serving members of the bank, Masiapeto says it almost comes naturally that she is often forced to play the mother figure to most in the bank. Demanding as it may seem, she explains that she considers it her duty to provide a shoulder to cry on, guide, counsel and advise others using the wisdom she has acquired over the years. As a proactive member of staff, Masiapeto has offered her services to her employer and colleagues through participation in support and empowerment structures such as the health and safety team and the HIV/AIDS committee.
When she joined Standard Chartered Bank back in 1986, she earned P333 monthly, but says though it might seem little she managed to see her family through, make a number of investments and run a functional home efficiently. She urges other women, especially youngsters, to believe in their dream, be resilient and always know that hard work pays. As a married mother, Masiapeto says she will forever feel indebted to her family for allowing her a chance to pursue a successful career and supporting her through it all.