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Leadership of Self

Is there an ideal role model or leader? What is an ideal role model or leader?

My personal journey and inspiration to join Voices of our Future has stemmed from many years of individual growth and development in my pursuit of leadership positions, during which I constantly searched for a role model to emulate, or the perfect definition of a leader to measure my capability gaps against. At the age of 35, I attained the position of Managing Director for the Bank of the Cook Islands (which I have now held for 2 years), and being the first Cook Islands woman to hold the CEO position of any of the retail banks operating in the Cook Islands, my journey is often “termed” a “success” and I am often described with leadership qualities. These recognitions are humbling and when acknowledged and most especially thanked for the contributions I have made to the careers and personal growth of those I have taught/advised/counselled, the struggles that have added to the experiences I have accumulated along the way are all WORTH IT. The Cook Islands (and for that matter the Pacific) culture is one of Christianity, Family and Community. In the Cook Islands, with a small population of approximately only 15,000 the business community is very small and “everyone” knows “everyones business”. Personality conflicts are high, especially in Government and State enterprises. Therefore I feel a solid reputation is imperative for a woman to be held in high regard. Perceptions I have learned must be delicately managed and actions definitely speaks louder than words. Therefore I feel that personally, there is no ideal role model, or leader. Rather, one must become a “Leader of Self” and undergo a personal transformation to enable change.

I believe from Voices of the Future (VOF) I will be able to take a multitude of collective experiences and relate that to the human rights of the collective, individual, child, women, disadvantaged that must be addressed here in the Cook Islands and the Asia Pacific region. More importantly, VOF will help me characterise “Independence”, whilst addressing the issue of equality that might be heavily ingrained in tradition, culture and general practice. The experience of learning from, sharing with, and receiving feedback of the wider VOF community, I gather greater experiences and personal insights from this community which can help me “structure” my approaches to tackling local issues whilst feeding on a wealth of international knowledge.

My personal vision and mission is for “A financially secure Cook Islands” and I feel this applies equally on an individual level as it does on a country level. I believe VOF can facilitate an integral part of this mission which is help me gather strength in my VOICE.


laurabstull's picture

Well Done

Hi there!

I've enjoyed reading your posting this week, your vision for the Cook Islands is an important one. I agree wholeheartedly that each one of us must be a "leader of self" and strive to achieve as much good as we can.

Best of luck on your mission, I look forward to reading more of your posts!


Aida Dervishi's picture

Dear Vaine, I think there are

Dear Vaine,

I think there are not recipes on how to be a good leader but a lot can be achieved through personal transformation and self-motivation. My personal view is that there is not ideal role model but there is an achievable and constant building up role model in accordance with our needs and the reflection from our societies.


Rachael Maddock-Hughes's picture

Dear Vaine, It sounds like

Dear Vaine,

It sounds like you are quite the leader already in your community and I commend you for that! Having mentored and worked with other business people, it sounds like your vision is moving towards more community development, am I right? What specific problems do people in the Cook Island face financially, and how are these problems being addressed? Great assignment and I look forward to reading your next one!

Kind regards,


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