Lena Florry - Area Manager: Damaraland, Damaraland Adventurer, Doro Nawas and Desert Rhino Camps.
Pascolena Florry, fondly known as Lena here at Wilderness, was born in South Africa and grew up on a farm in the Torra Conservancy in Namibia. From humble beginnings, Lena joined Wilderness Safaris as a waitress in 1997 and has since gone from success to success. She is currently the Area Manager representing four camps in the north-west of Namibia and was the first black Namibian to be appointed as a manager of a guest lodge after the country’s independence.
When Namibia gained independence in 1990, Lena was a barefoot goat herder in the country’s dry, desolate northern savannah. Her unpaid and hazardous job was to protect her parents’ livestock from preying jackals and leopards. During her three years of herding she constantly dreamt about a job that would enable her to break free from poverty and to make a success of her life.
An opportunity to join Wilderness Safaris as a waitress cropped up soon after and from her first day with the company, some 16 years ago, she has felt part of the family. She is full of energy and passion and her excitement is reflected in her work no matter what it entails. In her early years with Wilderness she also worked and trained as a chef, a housekeeper, an assistant manager and much more before becoming General Manager of Damaraland Camp, a position she held for 11 years.
Noted for her outstanding work contribution, in 2003 Lena won the Hospitality Association Namibia (HAN) Personality Award which is awarded to a person within the tourism sector who has rendered exceptional service towards the promotion of the hospitality sector and tourism image in general.
Lena also worked and studied in the US for three years as part of an international student exchange programme which was offered to her by Noble Hospitality Inc. She worked at the Ramada Plaza Hotel where she gained experience as a chef, a restaurant manager, a housekeeping manager, in both sales and reservations and ran banquet functions. Alongside this Lena studied other hotel and hospitality courses with Noble Hospitality.
Today Lena provides the critical link between Wilderness Safaris and the local communities who are the joint venture partners at Damaraland, Damaraland Adventurer, Doro Nawas and Desert Rhino Camps. She initiates local projects, hosts journalists and agents and attends the community meetings. She takes great pride in informing the communities about the camp operations and how they can participate meaningfully as stakeholders.
Lena believes that the joint ventures between Wilderness Safaris and the local communities is a huge success story. She says that the communities are happy about the work being done and are proud to manage their own conservancy lodges. “The conservancies have become role models for reducing poverty and protecting the wildlife and environment in Namibia. It has helped a lot of women who previously simply raised children in the villages,” Lena added.
Working for Wilderness Safaris is still an ongoing dream for Lena. The difficulties she faced as a child and young woman make her fully appreciate her current position in life. She endeavours to help others who have been in a similar position and wherever she can, she aims to educate, train, exchange knowledge and build successful teams. She also respects other people and their views and even in the most difficult moments her smile remains the same. With a very strong desire to succeed, Lena provides nothing but excellence and as such is an outstanding ambassador for not only the company but Namibia as a whole.