Mother inspires daughters

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday September 23rd, 2015

 MARY Handen upset a trend in the Papua New Guinea workforce when she was appointed general manager of human resources for Steamship Trading Company in 2001. 

The only Papua New Guinean woman to enter the company’s male-dominated senior management team then, Handen became a role model for many PNG women – and most importantly for her daughters.

Handen’s daughter Lesieli Taviri is the first woman general manager of Origin Energy PNG and chairperson of the Papua New Guinea Business Coalition for Women. 

Her other daughter, the late Captain Jannie Moala, was one of PNG’s first women pilots, carving out a career in an industry with one of the lowest rates of woman participation globally, only six per cent..

At the 2009 Westpac Outstanding Women Awards, Handen was named the PricewaterhouseCoopers Private Sector Award winner, nominated by Steamships because of the immense positive impact she had made on the company through input to the management team. 

Last year, Taviri followed in her mother’s footsteps to win the same award, as well as taking out the overall crown of Westpac Outstanding Woman of the Year of which The National is a sponsor.

“Seeing two WOW winners in one family symbolises the importance of recognition, role-modelling and generational inspiration in making important societal change,” said Alison Judd, a partner with PwC. 

“Being a female private sector leader is about seeing opportunities, setting the vision and making change happen.” 

Handen now runs her own online business as an Independent Business Opportunity Agent for bhipglobal, which tries to give women from all walks of life the confidence needed to take control of their health, wealth and personal development.