In this feature, we have the spotlight on Kina Bank’s Head of Business Partners Support, Asi Nauna. A go-getter, experienced banker and senior business leader from Central Province, Papua New Guinea.
A banker through-and-through, Asi has built a distinguished career in the banking industry. She graduated from PNG’s University of Technology with a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce (Business Management) and started her professional career the same year with ANZ (PNG) in the cards team. Her first boss, a strong female leader who had “fire in her belly” provided Asi with a clear vision of who she wanted to be as a professional woman in the banking industry – focused, driven and results oriented.
Prior to joining Kina Bank, Asi worked with ANZ (PNG) for about twenty years in various leadership and strategic roles in Retail and Commercial Banking. Whilst with ANZ (PNG), she undertook post-graduate studies at the Massey University specialising in banking. Her knowledge and practical experience as a banker spans across Cards and Electronic Banking Services, Lending Support, Commercial Banking, Research & Analysis, Corporate & Institutional Banking and international borders where she was seconded to ANZ Fiji for 12 months and worked three years in Honiara Solomon Islands as ANZ’s Head of Commercial Banking. In her role there, Asi led a team to build the support unit for the business and electronic banking capacity which resulted in ANZ Solomon Islands receiving strong credit inspection rating’s only eight months into her role.
Having difficult, frank and necessary conversations with customers have been career highlights for Asi over the years. Supporting customers to navigate business decisions during times of opportunities and growth and economic downturns. Her ability to deeply relate to people at all levels of business and build relationships throughout her career is something she describes as ‘gold’ – a valuable skill she utilises frequently in her current role as Kina Bank’s Head of Business Partners Support, where she currently oversees a team of over twenty staff in the Business Partners division.
Here is what Asi Nauna had to say when Kina Bank’s Corporate Affairs caught up with her in an interview…
Q: How do you overcome challenges to reach your goals?
AN: In the early part of my career, it was leaning on the experience and guidance of my leaders and drawing out relevant learnings that would help me overcome challenges. Over time, you just build resilience.
Q: What advice would you give to young women trying to build careers?
AN: To bring your dream to life, you start with your goal and work backwards. Break the pathway into bite size goals that are achievable and throw faith and fun in the mix. Make regular reality checks and adjust as appropriate.
One of Sir Richard Branson’s quotes that comes to mind is, “There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passions – in a way, that serves the world and you.”
Connect with a mentor and people that will influence your career. Something I still find challenging but that can act as a catalyst to your career progression is to network, network and network.
Finally be yourself – authenticity is not a quality that is taught, it is a choice and it defines you.
Q: This year you hosted the Prime Minister’s back to Business breakfast which was a success. What are some career highlights you have had while working at Kina bank?
AN: The PMs Back to Business Breakfast was a great platform to be visible and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The ANZ integration program was the biggest highlight – the program was delivered on time and within budget and I was proud to be a part of that team.
Q: Where do you get your inspiration?
AN: My parents hands down. The sacrifices they made for my siblings and I were invaluable. That in itself inspired me to dream big. I didn’t have a clear definition of what big looked like at that time, but that developed with maturity. Whilst they pushed me, often hard throughout my early life, they also kept me very grounded. I credit my upbringing for preparing me for my professional life. You can learn and pick up skills along the way, but values which drive our behaviors I have found, are essential. Then there are leaders, entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson (net worth USD3.5bn – 2020) who mimics life principals into business, and we see the results come out a hundredfold and more, so inspiring.
Q: What is your message to inspire the women of PNG on international women’s day?
AN: This years’ theme resonated with me #EachforEqual and I thought it was quite powerful. Without creating anything new I wanted to share the opening quote on the International Women’s Day website: an equal world is an enabled world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day. We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world. Let’s all be #EachforEqual.