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Two Pasifika graduates have taken their management skills to the next level, with the completion of the Careerforce Level 5 Diploma in Business – Leadership & Management.

Louise Fuimaono and Daphne Amataga are Service Managers for the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) in Auckland and have over 20 years’ experience between them. They’re both passionate leaders.

“What I enjoy about management/leadership is being able to see all the big picture stuff, having a positive influence and being able to help others grow and develop,” said Daphne.

“I like getting the mahi done,” explains Louise. “It gives me satisfaction when we are successful through working together and helping clients.”

Louise and Daphne smiling

Ministry of Social Development Service Managers, Louise Fuimaono (left) and Daphne Amataga

When MSD encouraged Louise and Daphne to take on the Business Diploma in 2019, they took it as an opportunity to be reassured of the knowledge they had gained by working their way up through the Ministry.

“Doing the qualification gave me reassurance that I’m doing what I am meant to be doing. It was good to have it all on paper,” said Daphne.

Other than the added pressure of the COVID-19 lockdown, the women said they found it challenging when the programme required them to talk about their own successes within the workplace. Louise explained that it’s harder to talk about the stuff she’s good at because, as a Pasifika woman, she doesn’t like to ‘brag’.

“When it comes to talking about my success, I can only go so far and then stop. Then my manager will say ‘but you have done all this other stuff!’”

As much as they remain humble, Louise and Daphne are forthcoming when flying the flag for Pasifika. They are heavily involved in MSD’s Auckland Pacific staff network ‘Leo Tanoa’, and the Ministry’s wider Pacific Strategy and Action Plan. This is something Daphne holds close to her heart.

“Being a Pacific leader in a big organisation like MSD means a lot to our families and communities. It means that we are able to bring ourselves to work and be able to make an impact for not only our staff and clients, but also for our Māori and Pacific people,” she said.

Since completing the Business Diploma, Daphne has been working on a project called Project Fale, which is all around workplace culture, connectivity and engagement within MSD’s Housing Processing Hubs in Auckland and Wellington. Louise has 11 direct reports and leads other staff through various portfolios that she holds within the Youth Services Support Unit. She’s also learning Te Reo Māori and Gagana Sāmoa.

Although the Pacific duo are kept busy at MSD, they put the completion of their Business Diploma down to the support of their manager and colleagues, and their Careerforce Assessor, Jeannie Walker.

“I have to give it up for Jeannie. She’s very understanding, and I loved how she worked with us. She would guide us through, was always open and available, and the fact that we could reach out to her helped me a lot,” said Louise.

Jeannie expressed that it was simply a privilege to share the journey with the duo.

“They are both so humble and provided each other unified support from start to finish. Working through the Diploma programme together they created impressive portfolios of the amazing work that they have led and managed at MSD,” she said.

Daphne said completing the Business Diploma has given her more confidence in her leadership. It’s also something that she carries outside of work.

“I’m the youngest child of four and am the main provider for my 73-year-old dad who’s retired. I’m proud to know that my dad and family can rely on me whenever they need anything, it is all part of who I am and my servant leadership – within the home and within the workplace.”

Louise said the Business Diploma helped her in many ways: “I specifically enjoyed the learning in the areas of contributing to innovation and change, and problem solving and decision making,” she said.

“My advice to any Pasifika trainee who may be considering the programme is go for it!”

Daphne agrees: “You won’t know until you try. We are capable of doing amazing things, and more.”

More information

The Careerforce Level 5 Diploma in Business – Leadership & Management is for leaders and operational managers with direct reports. It has been developed specifically for those working in the health, mental health, aged support, disability, social services, youth work, cleaning and urban pest management industries.

Find out more about the New Zealand Diploma in Business (Level 5) Leadership and Management.