Executive Class: Up-and-coming professionals from Papua New Guinea [part 2]


We talk about leadership and success with Philip Dotana Hehonah, general secretary and chief legal officer of the Teachers Savings and Loan Society. He is the second interviewee in our six-part series featuring Papua New Guineans under 40 leading the next generation.

Philip Dotana Hehonah of the Teachers Savings and Loan Society Credit: Godfreemam Kaptigau

What is the most important quality of a leader?

He or she must lead by example and be able to motivate others. It must be someone that others want to follow, despite their age or experience. You can only be a leader if you are followed.

If you were to hire someone for a job today, what are the top qualities you would be looking for?

I would be looking for a trustworthy person.

What are the forces driving the industry or space you work in?

Lately, it’s digitization and new technologies. The increase in access to mobile phones and the Internet has brought opportunities to improve services and provide financial products to people. However, it also has its challenges, such as internet reliability, power outages, and cybercrime.

How did your parents influence your work?

They taught me that success is not defined by position, level of education or silver and gold. Success is knowing your incompetence by seeking to fill your gaps with God‘s wisdom found in the Bible.

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How has COVID-19 changed business?

COVID-19 has accelerated changes in the business world, with people moving to an online/virtual environment and working from home.

What are your top tips for success in business and in life?

Godly Christian character helps overcome limited experience. People matter. Show respect to everyone, even when you’re busy. Be ready and willing to take calculated risks.

This is an excerpt from the article “Executive class”, which first appeared in the October-December 2022 edition of PNG Now, Papua New Guinea’s leading lifestyle magazine. Read the emag here.


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