12 Tips From 12 Girl Bosses

It has been exactly one year since I was admitted as a barrister and solicitor in the High Court so I’m celebrating one year of being a big gal. I started my career as a lawyer full of self doubt, with absolutely no confidence and in a constant state of panic and fear. Now one year later, I have persisted, I have learned and I have overcome (…just!)

To celebrate this wee milestone, I’ve asked these outrageously successful Girl Bosses to share their best tips for ladies who are just taking their first few steps in the big bad world. These are some amazing tips that I wish I had known before I started working. Thank you to all these incredible Pacific women for their valuable insight, we are so lucky to have such fantastic role models.

Girl Boss Tip 1#: Your input is valuable – speak up! Healthy discussions lead to better outcomes for your organisation. If you have experience on a topic, offer it. If you don’t, an outside perspective can be refreshing. In group meetings, remember there are many ways you can contribute. New ideas are great, but you can also add value by asking questions, agreeing/disagreeing with ideas already on the table, or encouraging others to participate.

Tupe Solomon-Tanoa’i, Deputy Director, New Zealand Commerce and Industry Office in Taipei. 

Girl Boss Tip 2#: Make sure you define success for yourself. Often we adopt what we think is the definition of success whether it’s attaining a certain job, salary or status and we set off chasing that in the belief that attaining it will fulfil us and make us successful and proud.

What I’ve learnt is the reverse is true, when you focus on doing work that fulfils you and can be proud of, success follows. If it fulfils you, if it’s something you are proud of, you are successful.

Filifotu Vaai-Tinitali, Country Manager of Bluesky, American Samoa.

Girl Boss Tip 3#: Don’t do it on your own- take your family and others with you on your new career journey. Let them know what you’re doing. Be real about your experiences.
The greatest support I have had at the beginning of my career was from those closest to me. My parents were my greatest support. They often didn’t understand what I was doing, but they believed in me and always encouraged me and prayed continuously for me.  My Dad is now 91 years old and he still prays for me daily.

Matafanua Hilda Fa’asalele, Chief Advisor of Pacific Health to the Ministry of Health in New Zealand. 

Girl Boss Tip 4#:

“It starts with an IDEA…

add FAITH, you get VISION…
add WISDOM, you get DIRECTION…
add ACTION, you get a PLAN…
lastly add JOY, and you get COMPLETE SATISFACTION”

Ivy, Businesswoman: Owner of My Heart Follows Photography (https://www.facebook.com/myheartfollows/?fref=ts) and Confetti Love Boutique: Event Design + Styling (https://www.facebook.com/confettiloveboutique/?fref=ts).

Girl Boss Tip 5#: Believe in yourself and be confident! Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and be outside of your comfort zone because that’s when you’re evolving.

Karina Kaufusi, Civil Engineer at Beca.

Girl Boss Tip 6#: Have a teachable spirit because you won’t know it all. Know your limits but be keen to gain new knowledge and new skills. Read widely and not only about subjects that interest you. If you don’t have a personal mentor, be mentored by books written by someone, living or dead, who inspires you. I find that in my line of work being teachable takes you a long way. You’re acknowledging you don’t know it all and want to learn. Being arrogant and not willing to listen to others, can be dangerous and may compromise patient care.

Dr Arieta Fa’asalele -retrieval doctor by road, helicopter or plane with NSW NETS (Newborn and Paediatric Emergency Transport Service), Australia.

Girl Boss Tip 7#: Always make time for those who put you where you are. Your attitude, hard work, efforts, and ultimately, successes, are meaningless without your loved ones. If there is anything I am grateful for, it is my family. They are what I look forward to coming home to at the end of the day so treasure your time with them and maximise it if possible. It really is true when they say everything begins from/at home, and so that would be my advice or tip to anyone else – make time to not only be with those close to you, to not only love them but to learn from them. They will always remind you of who you are, your priorities, and what you are capable of. Everything else should follow accordingly.

‘Ana Tupou Panuve, Research & Financial Analyst, National Reserve Bank of Tonga, instagram: @go.pou/@lifeontheislandphotography.

Girl Boss Tip #8: You should explore the things that you are passionate about and don’t be afraid to find out where these things will lead you because you can achieve anything you set your mind on. If you’re not sure about what you are passionate about, that’s ok. It took me years to find the path that God was truly leading me to. Just be brave and keep searching, you’ll get there.

Ema Piutau, Lawyer – Public Defence Service, Manukau. 

Girl Boss Tip #9: Always take initiative. Always greet others with a good morning smile.

Sela Jane Aholelei, Teacher in South Korea/Travelling Journalist.

Girl Boss Tip #10: If its something you love or are passionate about then go for it; don’t regret not attempting to have pursued what you’ve always wanted to do just because the odds seem against you. Some of my closest friends in medicine came from the lowest decile schools, government housing, had worked in Mcdonalds. I used to be a cleaner and now we are Doctors; circumstances don’t dictate your life, your choices do.

Dr. Jordan Maea, Middlemore Hospital. 

Girl Boss Tip #11: If the opportunity arises, go live somewhere outside your usual environment for a time. Some people go on an O.E., or study in another city, or maybe a work offer comes up where you go get a posting overseas. A lot of my friends and family members have gone on a 2 year mission for our church (we’re Mormon) and because you don’t choose where you get sent, some people have gone to some pretty far out places (Samoans in Ghana! Tongan/Niueans in Mongolia!).

Leone, Collection Technician, Pacific Access Collections Project, Auckland War Memorial Museum. Readers are welcome to register and follow updates by clicking through to the link here – www.aucklandmuseum.com/pacific-connections.

Girl Boss Tip #12: Have regular showers and brush your teeth.

My mum. 


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