Alexandra Margull joined Wilderness Safaris in July 2005 as the HR Manager for Namibia, bringing with her a wealth of experience in business coaching and people management skills. She moved into a Group role in 2011 and was subsequently promoted to the Executive Committee as Chief HR Officer in 2013.
As the only qualified HR practitioner in the company at the time, Alexandra played an instrumental role in formulating all the company’s policies, procedures and processes and ensuring their strategic implementation across the Group. Alexandra made sure that HR was once again placed high on the EXCO’s agenda to ensure that Wilderness Safaris’ most important assets – its people – were not only well looked after, but also trained and encouraged to achieve their full potential, and more.
In addition to ongoing talent management and people development across the Group, Alexandra set up the Wilderness Safaris Business School in 2011, with the first intake of 29 participants starting in November 2011. This created a powerful forum for the company’s leaders and management staff to gain a holistic understanding of the business, learn new leadership and business skills and encourage change management to drive the business forward.
Since 2011, 58 talented staff members have graduated from the Business School, not only acquiring a whole new perspective of the business, but also equipped with a valuable ‘toolbox’ of how to effectively manage various situations. This will ensure that they too are able to support their own teams to realise their full potential, helping the company retain the right people, with the right skills, at the right time.
Alexandra doesn’t waste any time, and gets things done quickly, efficiently and properly – from union negotiations to setting up performance appraisal processes and pension schemes. She also launched an annual Employment Engagement Survey, gathering information from approximately 2 000 employees. All results and feedback are taken seriously and actions implemented to ensure the right change take place.
With an Industrial Psychology degree from UNISA and a qualification in Executive Coaching, Alexandra spent five years consulting to KPMG and various private clients before joining Wilderness Safaris. This experience has proved invaluable in her current role as the Group’s Chief HR Officer. She was also a lecturer at the Polytech Namibia, helping them establish its BTech HR degree course and spent many hours doing private training and development for an array of companies.
She is passionate about the people in the business, as well as talent and performance management. “I love the business, and growing and developing people to help them realise their full potential”, she says. “No business can function today without people and we have to get this element right, especially at Wilderness Safaris where our whole business revolves around our people – both internally and externally. I am looking forward to growing our HR teams across the business, taking the Business School to the next level and making sure that HR remains on the EXCO’s top priority list.”