By KELVIN JOE
JENNIFER Kaeyo was six in 1984 when her parents brought her to Port Moresby from their Yango village in Lagaip-Porgera in Enga to be educated in the capital city.
It is why she calls Port Moresby home because she has been living in the city for nearly 40 years.
She made her family proud by completing her schooling and getting a job at the PNG Fire Service in 2005.
“I didn’t think I would wear a uniform like this after completing my studies at the University of PNG. But God had his own plan for everyone. I ended up serving the people through the Fire Service.”
Jennifer, 43, is the Deputy Chief Fire Officer (Policy) who oversees the corporate service section which supports human resource management, finance and accounts.
Husband Larson Thomas who she met at UPNG holds a similar position in another organisation. They have three daughters.
Jennifer completed Grade Six in 1990 at the Hohola Demonstration Community School. She completed Grade Seven to Grade Ten at Gordon Secondary School and Grade 12 in 1996.
In 1997, she started a four-year Bachelor of Business Management degree course majoring in Business Economics at UPNG. She graduated in 2004.
She was recruited as the PNG Fire Service Human Resource Officer. She made her way up the ladder until she was recently appointed as the second-in-command to Chief Fire Officer Bill Roo.
“ Women can go out and do the jobs men do instead of standing back and using the excuse of being a female to get special consideration.”
Jennifer is currently serving a second term as the Deputy Chief Fire Officer (Policy). She was appointed in 2018, the same year she graduated with a Master in Business Administration degree.
Working in the fire service was never in her original career plan. But she was glad to do administration work there.
“I did not see me being in a fire service uniform when I completed tertiary education. But (it is always wise to appreciate what little one has and work hard at it.”
When she was the human resource manager, she ensured that the Fire Service had the best manpower, that there was adequate training available to them and that their welfare was well looked after.
She did not undergo any firefighting training but understands the basics of the profession.
“Without actually going out there and fighting fire, I know the language spoken, and have a fair idea about what’s going to be done during emergencies.”
Jennifer also understands how to handle duties in the operation division.
“I can do a submission for budgets and deal with other operational matters because I am in a position to know what is happening there.”
Jennifer is not afraid of hard work because she believes God blesses those who work hard and honestly.
She tries to address gender-based violence as an HR officer and believes women have the capability to be as good as men in the workplace.
“Women can go out and do the jobs men do instead of just standing back and using the excuse of being a female to get special consideration.”
She believes in being committed to any task, no matter how small it may seem.
“You need to plant to harvest. Things don’t just come easily to you. You reap what you sow.”