Friday, August 12, 2022

A few minutes with Botswana’s best Secretary…

Winning the BOCCIM Secretary of the year award is not only a public statement of recognition but also is also motivation to work harder, wrapping the mind around new things, so says Tidimalo Dibotelo, this year’s winner.

Tidimalo Dibotelo of Banc ABC has just been crowned BOCCIM Secretary of the Year Award winner, an event staged at the Gaborone Sun Hotel a couple of weeks ago.

Dibotelo, the Office Manager at the African Banking Corporation (Banc ABC Botswana), says that she has worked as a secretary for 14 years, having started off as a receptionist at Stockbrokers Botswana in 1996 and, later on in the same year, started work as a secretary.

The theme for this year’s convention was “Becoming a Team Player for Superior Delivery”.

Dibotelo told Sunday Standard that when the call for submissions was made this year, she decided to enter.

“I knew about the convention but never was interested until this year; I wanted to see if I was as good as I thought I was,” she said.

On 18 April, she said, participants submitted essays to the panelists. The essays were written by the participants to show why they should be the Secretary of the Year. She said after submitting the essay, 11 candidates were selected who would then present the essay on PowerPoint on April 22nd, after which they were tasked with a case study on how they would build team spirit and morale in the work place.

She says that the transformation the work a secretary has undergone is remarkable, especially from using typewriters to the age of computers. She wants people to know that being a secretary is not only about sitting at a desk and painting your nails all day. Professional secretaries, she says, do not do that.

“As a secretary you are the ‘go to’ person; you are the front line and buffer between your boss and the rest of the world. Your boss relies on you to do things for them. You become a travel agent, a typist, an event manager, all in one,” she says. “A secretary knows all about the company and its employees along with whatever information the company and the bosses want from outside. A secretary can never say ‘I don’t know’.”

Dibotelo pointed out that her eagerness to learn new things has kept her going in her line of work.
“I started off using the typewriter but never took any courses to learn how to use a computer. I would use the time at the office when my boss went to meetings to poke around and learn how Word, Excel and PowerPoint worked,” she said.

The self taught Office manager says she only attained a certificate in Secretarial Studies and another certificate in Office Management, but also did other short in-house courses while working.
She, however, said that, though education helped her acquire some skills, the main thing that has kept her going for the past 14 years is the love she has for her work.

She refers to her line of work as a calling and says that she hopes winning the award brings better things for her.

“I hope it gives me even more motivation to do what I do better. I love being a helper and that is why I have been here so long,” she said.

Winning the award enabled her to reconnect with long lost friends and former colleagues who saw her picture in local newspapers. It has also made her family proud, especially her mother who made it her mission to collect all newspapers she had appeared in.

It also made her boss and colleagues proud, she revealed.
“I don’t want it to end,” she said.

Being a mother, she says a good support structure also makes her world go round.
“I am a hands-on kind of mother and homemaker. I knock off at around 5:30 and prepare dinner and see to it that my son’s home work is done. Fortunately, I have a sweet man who picks my son up after school,” she gushed.

The BOCCIM Convention is designed to meet the needs of secretaries, receptionists, office managers, administrative clerks, and other supporting personnel.  It is also aimed at creating a positive and memorable learning experience that stimulates the desire for exchange and application of team skills.

It’s also designed to give universal knowledge of current and future happenings and topics, such as achieving High Performance through team work, being a team player in delivering excellent customer service, and achieving goals through teams, amongst others.

She concedes that there are some secretaries who give their profession a bad name, like the famed fingernail addicts, but says that there are many deserving and hard working secretaries out there.
“Many secretaries are not getting the credit they deserve but there are excellent professionals out there. I just happened to be better but I know the competition that exists. It is a very noble and interesting profession. I enjoy it so much.”


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