Vivo Energy has every reason to be proud of Uganda’s, Josephine Namatovu, retailer at the Shell Malindi-Mukono service station. Vivo energy is a Shell licensee in 14 African markets, responsible for distribution and marketing of Shell-branded fuels and lubricants. 

Josephine was recently crowned “Best Retailer in a Licensee market” at the 2013 Shell Smiling Stars gala event held in Barcelona, Spain.

The event, part of Shell’s “People Make the Difference Real (PMTDR)” reward and recognition programme, recognises the best retailers in each country around the world (Shell direct or Licensee operators), and saw Vivo Energy represented by 20 of its top retailers from 11 countries, including the top-four Territory Managers (TMs) and the top District Manager (DM).

Josephine walked away with one of the most prestigious prizes handed out at the glittering awards ceremony, recognition not just for the site’s superb business results, but for the way she manages and inspires her staff, and impeccably maintains the site’s standards at all times.

Understandably excited, Josephine admits that the award came as somewhat of a surprise.

“Never in my mind did I think or even dream that my name would be called. I couldn’t wait to call my site staff, Retail Sales Manager and the trainer at home to inform them of the good news. This has been an unforgettable experience!”

The award marks the latest step of a remarkable journey for Josephine who began as  a pump attendant at the site, before becoming a young dealer and later being taken on as a full retailer. She now runs a cluster of three retail sites. Nevertheless, she humbly defers credit for the award, paying tribute to those back home who supported her from the start.

“This recognition is the epitome of my success as a retailer, but it is a win not only for the site, but for the country, and comes as a result of the constant advice and support I have received from the Vivo Energy head office team and especially from my Territory Manager, Caroline Asio. The award is my dedication to the Operating Unit, and I feel so proud of it!”

Perhaps the most striking aspect of Josephine’s performance as a retailer is the manner in which she goes about getting the best out of her site staff. She nurtures a personal relationship with each of her employees, which, she explains, makes it easy for them to approach her – whether for business or personal reasons.

“I am there for them in both good times and bad, and when they are going through a rough patch – for example, mourning the loss of a loved one or suffering an illness – I provide them with moral and financial support as necessary.

“I understand the importance of making my staff feel valued, and I treat them with respect and dignity. I make them feel a part of the business because they are the ones who look the customer in the eye every day.”

Josephine is most fastidious when it comes to recognising and rewarding staff for their contributions, rewarding top performers on a monthly basis, conferring bonuses when the business has surpassed its targets and even surprising staff with packages during public holidays.

She also ensures staff are trained on a weekly basis to enable them to maintain top performance across all aspects of the business.

“I actively participate in these training sessions and look to provide practical mentorship at all times – and most importantly, I lead by example!”

Taking into account these factors, it’s no surprise that since taking over the site, Josephine has quadrupled sales volumes from 40 000 litres per month to, currently, 160 000 litres per month, in just ten years – an annual growth rate of more than 20%, far exceeding the industry average (around 7%). Her site is also among the cleanest in the district, recently receiving a certificate to this effect from the district’s mayor.

Yet despite these achievements, Josephine isn’t about to get complacent.

“The award has motivated me and my staff to even work harder. Together, we will continue to uphold the values and work ethics that have put us where we are, and we will continue to treat our customers as our guests at every visit, every day.”

As for right now though, the team are enjoying their celebrations.

“We had a special festive dinner on the day I arrived back from Barcelona, and we will soon be heading off to one of the beaches out of town for a grand celebration!”

Pramodh Huneewooth, Vivo Energy Uganda’s Retail Manager, was unable to disguise his delight at Josephine’s win.

“We are all enormously proud of Josephine for winning this award, and for flying both Uganda’s flag and that of Vivo Energy at this high-profile global event. Through her all-round outstanding efforts as a retailer, she is not just a Shining Star but a shining example for other Vivo Energy retailers to follow.”

Ivan Kyayonka, MD of Vivo Energy Uganda, shares these sentiments.

“For Josephine to be the standout retailer among what could be between seven or eight thousand sites worldwide is an enormous accolade,” he says in closing. “And from what we’ve seen and heard concerning her relationship with her staff, and her site’s exceptional performance and unyielding standards, the award was richly deserved.”

For more details, Contact Cerinah Zalwango, [email protected], +256 772 754001
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