Pro-Ma clocks 25 years in PNG

Weekender
BUSINESS

PRO-MA Systems reached the shores of Papua New Guinea in 1994. It was when Pastor Charles Lapa from the Life Outreach Ministries invited Brian Cameron-Smith who was a lay pastor and a businessman to preach at the Easter Camp in Port Moresby. After the camp Cameron-Smith and Pastor Lapa were in discussions about funding the charity arm of Life Outreach Ministries – Halfway House, a rehabilitation center for ex-criminals, ex-prostitutes and troubled teenagers.
Cameron-Smith introduced Pro-Ma Systems as a solution to assist with funding. This now birthed the partnership with Pro-Ma (short for Professional Marketing) Systems Australia and Halfway House. Halfway House board chairman Sir Rabbie Namaliu at that time signed an agreement with Pro-Ma Systems Australia.
Using this model each one would purchase products for personal consumption and or to sell to earn extra income.
Pro-Ma Systems was incorporated with Investment Promotion Authority as Pro-Ma Systems (PNG) Ltd in 1996.
Throughout the last 25 years Papua New Guineans across the nation have benefited from using the products, earning extra cash from the sales of the products or receiving monthly bonus cheques from Pro-Ma.
Founder Val Fittler started the company 36 years ago, after being introduced to the products by a friend in Dallas Texas. A trained mechanic he immediately liked the ‘performance products’ for engine efficiency and signed for exclusive distribution rights to market the products in Australia, New Zealand PNG.
Pro-Ma’s current range of products include performance products, Grace skin care products, nutrient supplements and perfumes.
It recently acquired Australian TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) approval for its Aloe juice products. Fittler was in the country last week for the Pro-Ma PNG business conference and silver jubilee celebrations at the Hilton Hotel, Port Moresby.
Many have gained not only the tangible benefits but also intangible benefits such as self-confidence, simple sales skills, public speaking skills, personal grooming, personal care, and leadership skills, to name a few.
Pro-Ma Systems is one of Australia’s largest, privately owned, family operated, direct sales companies.
Testimony of Reay Sialis
In 1995 I was an unemployed university graduate looking for an opportunity to make money for myself. At that time I lived with my younger brother, his couch was my bed at night.

Reay Sialis in a wheelchair helped by his mother, Dr Amelia Homba.

During that year a Pro-Ma Systems business launch was going to be conducted at the Life Line Centre in Waigani, to which I was invited to, by my mother. At that time I had been unemployed for a few years. I had no idea about what I should do in life. One thing was sure I did not want a job as I could not see myself working for other people all my life.
I went along to that meeting not sure what to expect and also to please my mother as she had been continually talking to me to do something with my life.
The business launch was conducted by Brian and Jana Cameron-Smith who were distributors of Pro-Ma Systems from Gold Coast in Australia.
They shared about Pro-Ma Systems and especially about the industry of direct sales and network marketing.
The industry at the time was booming around the world and many professionals like doctors, dentists, lawyers and accountants etc, were starting part-time home-based businesses and building empires through networking.

Some advantages of starting this type of business are: Small startup capital; no need for business experience or qualifications; no geographical boundaries; no employees; residual income from active network and the business can be inherited by your next of kin.
After listening to that presentation I was convinced and excited but did not have the cash to start. My family came to my assistancelthey registered my business with Pro-Ma and bought me a carton of Aloe Juice.
Over the next few months I would study the industry and the Pro-Ma Systems manuals at night and then go out and sell the products and the business opportunity during the day.
In the following months I built a network through friends and family and I started to have a fast growing network.
There were many challenges along the way as we had to order our products from Australia, in Australian dollars. We had to wait for two to three weeks to receive our products after clearing the products with customs.
I made the sacrifice for my team by using my time to do all the logistics for my growing team. My team would order from Australia and I would do all the custom clearances and transportation of the cartons of products from the wharf to my brother’s house. My team would pick up their products from me.

Reay Sialis (right) with Pro-Ma founder Val Fittler at the business conference last Friday.

I studied the manuals about the business and the products and later conveyed the information to my network mostly in Port Moresby through training meetings. As the network grew my income grew. This was so encouraging.
In October 1995 I had a stroke. I lost my speech and was paralysed down the left side of my body. I was hospitalised in Port Moresby for two weeks then medivaced to Brisbane Royal Hospital in Australia for more investigations and treatment.
When my medical condition stabilised the doctors at the hospital told me that unless I got specialised treatment at a rehabilitation hospital I would be bound to a wheel chair for the rest of my life.
My brother organised through a family friend in Australia for me to go to St Vincent’s Rehabilitation Hospital in Lismore. I was admitted into that hospital and started a long hard painstaking daily exercise of getting therapy every day.
I went through physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy for nine months. It was the most difficult thing I have ever gone through in my life. Every day I cried and I was depressed and when it got so tough some days I even thought of committing suicide.
I thought to myself, I am only 29 years old and now I am going to be bound to a wheelchair for the rest of my life! I did not want to be a liability and a burden to my family, so the thought to commit suicide would surface every so often.
It was more depressing for me knowing that I had just started a business and now could not continue to build my business due to the physical challenges I was in.
The turning point for me was when Pro-Ma Systems sent me my commission cheque from the activity of my network back in Papua New Guinea.
When I opened the envelope I saw that it was for a couple of thousand Australian dollars. I shed tears of joy and got excited that my life was not over yet.
I was amazed that though I was physically not here in Papua New Guinea, I was receiving residual income from my expanding network whilst I was in a hospital bed recovering in Australia.
Receiving those monthly commission cheques in the months that followed helped me believe in myself that I could become an asset to my family and society.
After nine months of rehabilitation I was strong enough to move about myself using a walking stick, in addition my speech had returned too.
When the doctors were satisfied with my progress, my mother and I returned home to Papua New Guinea.
The Aloe Vera super juice has greatly helped me in my recovery from the effects of the stroke.
One of the many positives about Pro-Ma Systems Networking side of the business is that you can help other people build their distribution business too.
A lady I mentored 23 years ago in building her Pro-Ma business was, Heather Yaninen. She is from East Sepik and she used to sell ice blocks and meri blouses at Waigani market for many years.
When she became a member of Pro-Ma Systems she had already developed her sales skills from many years of selling in the informal sector.
Due to being diligent and a hard worker she rose to the highest level in Pro-Ma Systems Marketing and Profit Plan. The highest level being – Gold Executive Director. There are a few others I have mentored.
As the company celebrates 25 years of impacting and changing ordinary lives of Papua New Guineans, I am truly grateful to the owners of Pro-ma Systems Val and Sandra Fittler. Thank you for giving me hope and so many others!
Brian and Jana Cameron-Smith were the original distributors that brought the Pro-Ma to Papua New Guinea I am deeply grateful to this for their tireless efforts in those early years.
To Pastor Charles Lapa, thank you for facilitating the introduction of Pro-Ma Systems into Papua New Guinea.
I am forever grateful to my network around the four corners of our country for being in business partnership with my family and I.
Pro-Ma Systems PNG, 25 years and still going strong!

Leave a Reply