“It changed everything for me”, Lorian Finau-Groves from Samoa

Noumea

Lorian Finau-Groves attended the Pacific Fisheries Leadership Programme (PFLP) which aims to strengthen the leadership capabilities and capacities of emerging female and male leaders in the Pacific fisheries sector. 

I was newly appointed as a Principal Fisheries Officer for the Fisheries Division Competent Authority under the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in Samoa, so the timing for enrolling in the Pacific Fisheries Leadership Programme was perfect for me. I was encouraged by my supervisor, and I took the opportunity.

It changed everything for me, it opened my eyes to new ways of seeing and understanding what leadership is. It was a whole new mindset, I never thought about how far I could go or the significant role that women can play in the fisheries sector. I am in a leadership role now and the course offered guidance that can only help me go up from here. 

The course helped me to understand myself better and to understand my colleagues and how they work. It enabled me to be more sensitive but also to lead effectively. I learned different ways of building a team that works well together - now we do better planning, set realistic goals, and communicate clearly and openly. The programme gave me many tools that I continue to use every day. 

During the course programme, we had many educational group activities. I found out that only a few of us – myself included - were extroverts while many of the other participants in the Pacific were introverts. It’s good to be able to speak up and to feel confident in participating. It was enlightening, I was able to analyse the way I behave, how I can strengthen my confidence and improve the way I work with others. 

The coaching was a delightful and unique part of the programme. I felt pampered to be honest and it was good to have someone looking out for me, checking in on me, supporting me, and saying “You can do this”. I think we all need coaches in our lives.

Many years ago, Samoa Fisheries used to be male dominated. People would say “only men fish and men do the fieldwork” but now with acknowledgement of equal opportunity everyone appreciates having women on board. There is a great number of women like me now working in Samoa Fisheries, which has almost achieved gender equality. I’ve had the chance to be on a boat deploying Fish Aggregating Devices (FADS) with other women colleagues and participate on surveillance programmes on-board patrol boats. We are breaking down the old stereotype that only men can do this job, and fisheries women are acknowledged and respected.  It is indeed a great change for the Samoa Fisheries.

Since PFLP is now done online due to Covid19, this can be a challenge in balancing course and study time with the many obligations of our work in fisheries. Sometimes we feel pulled in different directions but what you learn in PFLP helps you to manage these challenges. 

I would like to make the time to do more courses and workshops down the road. There are many colleagues in our division who have done PFLP, and this is indeed very helpful because the more people do the programme, the easier it is to put these new ideas in place.

The Pacific Fisheries Leadership Programme:
The Pacific Fisheries Leadership Programme (PFLP) offers a unique customised programme for current and emerging Pacific fisheries leaders to develop additional skills relevant to mobilising change on national and regional fisheries priorities. Selected participants will engage in online modules and workshops to complete Leadership for Effectiveness; Leadership for Change; Leadership in Times of Uncertainty; Contextualised Mini Workshops and Personalised Coaching Support to enhance learning.
PFLP is funded by the New Zealand Government and implemented by a consortium led by the Pacific Community (SPC) with the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), University of Queensland (UQ), and the Centre for Adaptive Leadership (CLA).

For more information, visit this page

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