Mary Handen, bHIP Global, PNG

Mary Handen
Independent Business Opportunity Agent, bHIP Global

Winner, Pricewaterhouse Coopers Private Sector Award
Westpac Outstanding Women Awards (2009)

In 2001, Mary Handen was appointed General Manager of Human Resources for the Steamship Trading Company in Port Moresby. As the only female to have broken into the company’s expatriate and male-dominated senior management team, she became a role model for a new generation of women in PNG – including her daughters.

Mary was the winner of the Pricewaterhouse Coopers Private Sector Award in the 2009 Westpac Outstanding Women awards. In 2014, Mary’s daughter, Lesieli Taviri, followed in her footsteps to win the same award as well as being crowned as the Westpac Outstanding Woman of the Year.

As the first female boss of Origin Energy PNG and Chair of the PNG Business Coalition for Women, Lesieli is one of the country’s most high-profile businesswomen. She credits her mother as her greatest inspiration and supporter saying, “Inspiration and change always starts from home and seeing my mother excel as a single mother was the motivation for me and my younger sister who eventually became a pilot – we are not bound by professional limits or gender stereotypes”.

Lesieli’s sister, the late Captain Jannie Moala, also carved out a successful career in a male-dominated industry as one of the country’s first female pilots. Women represent only around six percent of the world’s 130,000 commercial airline pilots, and with less than 500 female pilots in the skies only a few women make it to the top job.

Mary now runs her own online business as an Independent Business Opportunity Agent for health and wellness product manufacturer, bHIP Global.

“I’m very proud to think that some of my actions and achievements have helped my daughters to extend their own horizons, think out of the box and see that there are a lot of ways that one can impact our women folk and truly make a difference for future generations,” Mary said.

Snapshot Lesieli Taviri

Seconding this, Westpac’s Regional Head for South Asia and the Pacific, Greg Pawson, said “Westpac prides itself on ‘banking for generations’ in the Pacific and seeing two winners in one family shows that the WOW awards are doing their job – inspiring generations of women and making important societal change.”

In 2016, the Westpac Outstanding Women will celebrate a decade as PNG’s premier awards for women.

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