Women of Influence Series: Melissa Jojoga
What inspires you? What is your message to PNG women for International Women’s Day?
The Kina Bank Women of Influence series has the spotlight on four senior female leaders; Melissa Jojoga, Asi Nauna, Joyce Kunjip and Rei Vagi, their distinguished careers, their inspirations, career advice and their International Women’s Day message to Papua New Guinean women.
On March 8, 2020, businesses joined the global community to celebrate International Women’s Day and this year’s theme ‘Each for Equal’. Kina Bank is continuing to celebrate women’s achievements through the Women of Influence series throughout the month of March.
As the fight for a more equal and enabled world continues, we proudly feature four outstanding Papua New Guinean women who are influential leaders, distinguished professionals, mothers and our colleagues who are great role models for young women and girls aspiring to build successful careers in the banking and finance industry.
In this feature, we shine the spot light on Kina Banks Chief Compliance Officer Melissa Jojoga. From Oro Province in southern Papua New Guinea, Melissa is a senior corporate executive, passionate advocate for gender equity and mother to her three beautiful children.
A lawyer by profession, Melissa was admitted to practise in the Papua New Guinea Supreme and National Court Bar in 2002. Melissa has since worked in various industries and has built a distinguished career in the financial services industry in Papua New Guinea.
As Kina Bank’s Chief Compliance Officer, Melissa is responsible for maintaining Kina Bank’s robust, effective compliance and operational risk management frameworks, reporting into the Chief Risk Officer function. She also provides strategic direction and focus, ensuring Kina Bank meets regulatory and prudential obligations.
Prior to joining Kina Bank, Melissa was Head of Group Compliance and Anti-Money Laundering for Bank South Pacific and the former Head of Legal and Compliance for ANZ (PNG). In the role of ANZ’s Head of Legal and Compliance, she also performed the role of Company Secretary, reporting directly to the Managing Director, ANZ (PNG).
Whilst with ANZ (PNG), she participated at the 2015 PNG Gender Parity Symposium in Australia where she brought to the discussions her diversity in experience across different industries with a practical understanding of the challenges that a Melanesian woman living and working in Papua New Guinea endures in the changing commercial and social environment.
Another hat Jojoga wears is Culture Change Coach at Kina Bank. A key role in modelling Kina Bank’s corporate values and influencing organisational culture change. Melissa talks purpose, compliance and shares her International Women’s Day message to women and girls.
Here is what Melissa Jojoja 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?
MJ: Resilience. I have not yet met a Papua New Guinean woman who is unable to provide and support her family and still excel in all she puts her heart and mind to, despite the odds stacked up against her. We are resilient. Whatever the circumstances, we keep on keeping on, rolling with the punches.
I have had the good fortune of having a strong support network starting with my family, friends and colleagues (including Managers) that keep me focused and hopeful. For me personally, I find that connecting with my support network regularly, helps me to see past the obstacles, be objective, assess alternative perspectives and re-adjust my approach to reach my goals.
“I have not yet met a Papua New Guinean woman who is unable to provide and support her family and still excel in all she puts her heart and mind to, despite the odds stacked up against her – we are resilient”
Q: Where do you get your inspiration?
MJ: My children. Blessed with three lovely children early in life and reflecting on this question I realize that my motivation to love, nurture, shelter, care for and be the best parent I can be for them evolved over the years and became a purpose: to counsel, teach, empower, guide and instil in them values that my parents passed on to me – so that they may live purpose-filled lives.
It is in fulfilling that purpose that I am inspired to extend this to my interaction with my extended family, friends and colleagues with a message to never be content with maintaining the status quo and just existing – but to find deep satisfaction in your existence.
“..our [Kina Bank] focus is documenting efficient processes for Kina Bank that suits the nature of our business, geographical location and regulatory environment being cognizant of the challenges our customers face when it comes to satisfying the requirements driven by laws.”
– CCO, Kina Bank
Q: Since the ANZ Integration, Kina bank has grown significantly. What has that meant for you from a compliance perspective (standard controls tighter…compliance etc.)?
MJ: In terms of compliance, the practices in all banks and financial institutions are driven by regulations and prudential standards. Essentially most practices are similar in both institutions so our focus is documenting efficient processes for Kina Bank that suits the nature of our business, geographical location and regulatory environment being cognizant of the challenges our customers face when it comes to satisfying the requirements driven by laws.
Q: What advice would you give to young women trying to build their careers?
- Don’t limit yourself – Be aware not to label yourself or speak (even think) that somethings are unattainable or unachievable. Allow your thoughts, perceptions and beliefs to be challenged, that’s learning in action.
- Find your purpose – Ask yourself what your motivation(s) is and whether that motivation gives you satisfaction.
- Be authentic – Understand what drives you and what inhibits you. Recognise what is required to bring out the best version of you and work on that. Embrace your uniqueness.
- Be respectful – You may disagree with opinions or be faced with challenges that try to destabilise you but it is in how you manage yourself and how you resolve issues that speaks to the person you are.
- Live to learn – Be honest enough to recognise that you do not know everything and do not have all the answers. Be accepting to learn from everyone you interact with at work regardless of status.
- Mind your own business – What others think about you and say about you is none of your business. And don’t make it your business. Focus on your purpose. Everyone that matters are still in your corner supporting you and wanting to see you prevail.
“You have a choice today and every day to live a purpose-filled life. So my challenge to you today is to sit back and think about what motivates you and ask yourself whether the things that motivate you also satisfy you or give you a sense of accomplishment “
Q: What is your message to inspire the women of PNG on international women’s day?
MJ: You are wonderfully and fearfully created. You are precious in God’s eyes. You are unique. You are worthy. Life, I feel, is like a conveyor belt. Time waits for no one, the minute we are born, the clock starts ticking and the conveyor belt starts moving in one direction. What your motivations are in life determines how enjoyable the ride is for you.
Why do I ask you to self-reflect? Because there is a distinct difference between motivation and purpose: your motivations are the reasons for your choices, your actions and your behaviours; your purpose, on the other hand, is the reason for your existence.
When you know your purpose, you understand that your actions today will affect tomorrow and so you must learn from your past and your present to give you the foresight to shape your tomorrows. I am a reflection of my parents and the mentors who greatly influenced my life. The measure of my success in this life will be determined by the impact I have on my children, family, friends, colleagues, the community and the institutions that I’ve worked with. Success is not always measured by material things, fancy titles and the size of your bank account or assets. When all is said and done and I’ve removed myself from that conveyor belt of life, I hope to have left behind footprints on that conveyor belt that are loud and bright for those that come after me to be inspired to follow. So now that you’ve reflected on your motivations make it your business to work on bringing your purpose to life.