March was a month-long celebration of outstanding Papua New Guinean women at Kina Bank through the Women of Influence Series. In this final edition, Joyce Kunjip Kina Bank’s Head of Legal and Procurement is in the spotlight to inspire us beyond the month of March and International Women’s Day.
From Mt. Hagen in the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea, Joyce is a corporate lawyer and an avid explorer of the outdoors. She grew up on the outskirts of Mt Hagen on her family’s Mt. Ambra coffee plantation. Her father, an entrepreneur and former educator, understood the value and importance of a good quality education and challenged the cultural norm of his tribe and his community – and most Papua New Guinean communities – by providing Joyce and her sisters equal opportunities to attend international schools and overseas studies as he did for his sons. With the support of her parents, Joyce carved her own path in the field of Law. Since admission to the Supreme Court of Queensland, Australia as Solicitor and then to the National & Supreme Court of PNG, Joyce has built a successful career as a corporate lawyer with over twenty years of practice.
At the start of her career, she worked for renowned law firms Blake Dawson Waldron Lawyers, now known as Ashurts and Arthur Robinson Lawyers, now known as Allens. It was during her time with these two law firms in Port Moresby that she developed a career path in commercial corporate law. She then moved on to join Mainland Holdings Limited in the role of in-house counsel and company secretary where she served for ten years. She also served as company secretary to the various subsidiary companies of Mainland Holdings during her tenure. Joyce holds a post-graduate diploma in legal practice from Queensland University of Technology; undergraduate law degree from the University of Papua New Guinea; Diploma in Financial Marketing from Securities Institute in Sydney and has undertaken various directorship courses with the Papua New Guinea Institute of Directors (PNGID).
As Kina Bank’s Head of Legal and Procurement, Joyce leads the in-house counsel team who are responsible for mitigating reputational and financial risk for Kina Bank by providing legal advice to the executive management team and ensuring Kina Bank is in compliance with laws.
Here is what Joyce Kunjip had to say in this final interview with Kina Bank’s Corporate Affairs for the Women of Influence Series…
Q: Where do you get your inspiration?
JK: I am inspired by those people that share their success and reach down to lend a hand, pulling others up the ladder of success with them. Successful people that make a positive difference to other lives inspire me the most. This includes people making a positive change, a difference not only to their own family members, tribe, village, but going an extra mile in sharing their success with others outside those boundaries, these people I believe contribute to make this world a better place. I am truly inspired by their deeds and actions.
I am also inspired by people who know what they want in life, have goals and do what they have to do to get there or to achieve those goals. And to get there, they do so with honesty, integrity and hard work. They overcome challenges because they believe in themselves and in their own capacity to achieve their goals.
“Enjoy going to work and putting every effort to your work but at the same time,
maintain a healthy work –life balance, have interests outside of work …”
Q: As a Lawyer, what advice would you give to young female lawyers trying to build their careers?
JK: Own Your Own Life & Professional Development: Take ownership of your own journey and this extends to your professional development. Don’t just wait around for a mentor or for opportunities to come to you for your advancement. You take the lead and when opportunities do come, it’s an added bonus to you, take it and make full use of such opportunities.
Run your own race. Never compete with anyone else. Embrace the individual inside you and be the best version of you. I learnt at an early stage of my life to never let others define the terms or guidelines for my race. However that does not mean you don’t reach out to mentors or look up to people that inspire you.
Networking: Make every relationship count, treat everyone you meet in your life with appropriate respect; whether at work or outside of work. You never know how one of them can influence your success. Balance your Life with good health, family and friends: Enjoy going to work and putting every effort to your work but at the same time, maintain a healthy work –life balance, have interests outside of work to make you a more rounded and interesting person. One thing I realized early is that I needed my own sense of happiness, wellbeing and health to pursue and achieve my goals.
Never stop learning and growing. The beauty about life is that it presents you with opportunities to grow, to learn new skills and techniques and the opportunity to learn new things every day about life in general. Continuous learning will add value to yourself and may also help you further your career. Also give yourself the opportunity to invent yourself, rather than feeling constrained to the traditional mindset of doing things
Q: How do you overcome challenges to reach your goals?
JK: Life is a journey, and as we embark on that journey, we all have goals and dreams we desire to achieve, but sometimes we may fail to achieve them because of unexpected obstacles and setbacks that get in our way. The following have helped me overcome challenges:
1. Set Practical Goals. Break large goals up into smaller short-term goals and reward yourself along the way.
2. Accept Failure. It’s okay to fail, but never give up. Failure builds you up, makes you stronger and more determined, failure makes you become successful, victorious as long as you get back on your feet and keep reaching for your goal. You will only Succeed and achieve your Goal if you never Quit
3. Have a Plan and be Consistent, Have Discipline. A big part of achieving goals is coming up with a plan of action to achieve those goals, without any action, the goals are meaningless, they are just dreams. Always remain focus, be consistent and have discipline in everything you do.
Q: Since the ANZ Integration Kina bank has grown significantly. What has that meant for you & what are some career highlights you have had while working at Kina bank?
JK: My role has expanded since the integration and I have a trusting team that I believe delivers the services required for the Bank. Since the acquisition, there has been an increase in volume of work for my team. We have had challenges in meeting deadlines and at the same time not compromising the quality of work, I believe my team and I have continued to deliver to the best of our ability and will continue to provide the standard and quality required from us all around.
My Department has always been responsible for providing legal advice to ensure the Bank is in compliance with the laws. Understanding regulatory and compliance contributes towards a business’s success, hence we assist the business ultimately leaving the EGMs more time to focus on what really matters.
Our role is to help mitigate the risk and help shield the Bank from infractions that may lead to lawsuits, sanctions, financial loss and damage to reputation.
I have had a number of career highlights with Kina Bank and they include obtaining the BPNG approval for the ANZ acquisition and the ICCC approval for the ANZ acquisition. Apart from obtaining the statutory approvals, ensuring that most of the legal work required pre- acquisition and post-acquisition were all handled in- house. Under the acquisition, Kina Bank acquired the retail and commercial/SME banking business carried on by ANZ PNG in PNG.
Other highlights would be assisting with the project which saw Asian Development Bank making a $10 million equity investment into Kina Securities Limited.
“I am inspired by those people that share their success and reach
down to lend a hand, pulling others up the ladder of success
with them. Successful people that make a positive difference
to other lives inspire me the most.”
Q: What is your message to inspire the women of PNG on international women’s day?
JK: It is important to have values in life, your values are the things that you believe are important and will ultimately shape the way you live, behave and work, ultimately those values will shape your career and determine the person you become.
Values determine our priorities, and influence our goals, values shape our career path and the life we live. When the life you live compliments the values you have, you feel good, you feel happy, you feel content and that is what life is about.
That is why I wish to share the values that have shaped my life and my career on this occasion with others and hope that they may relate and be inspired as well.
Humility. Be humble. Humility is a sign of strength, not weakness. Treat everyone with dignity and respect. Being successful does not make you a better person. As John Wooden said, “Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”
Integrity. Live a life based on integrity, your character is what you really are, your reputation is merely someone’s opinion of you. Build a character based on integrity, honesty and hard work, a person with good character always shines, inspires those around her at work and outside of work and leaves a mark behind.
Gratitude- Have gratitude, it can transform your life because it makes you appreciate what you have rather than what you don’t have. I have learnt along the way that having gratitude is a powerful tool of inspiration, as it makes me pay attention to what I have in life and allows me to make allowances, and to never take everything for granted.
Care. Show people you care in your words and your actions (small random acts of kindness go a long way). Give genuine smiles and positive energy and if you don’t have anything positive to say, don’t say it at all. In today’s world, everyone is busy and most often we forget the qualities and values of life that makes us human. Have time to include the simple human acts of being kind, sensitive and empathetic.
Share your success. Find ways to give or share the success with others and pull people up the ladder of success along with you. “Don’t just aspire to make a living but aspire to make a difference.” This quote is from an inspirational speech that Denzel Washington gave to a graduating class and this quote has truly challenged me and my purpose in life. I truly believe our destiny is not only to aspire to make a living, but to aspire to bless other lives with our success.