The event was hosted by past WOW businesswoman of the Year award winner Susil Nelson.
This year, 21 women who contribute daily to the improvement of Papua New Guinea were recognised as finalists; from gynaecologists helping to prevent women’s cancers, to women fighting for equal pay and salary packages in a traditionally male-dominated field.
Over 100 nominations were received for the WOW awards in 2016, which marks the 10th anniversary of Westpac’s flagship awards program.
“Ten years ago, there was no annual gathering of this kind, but there was certainly a growing class of high achieving women making strides across Papua New Guinea,” said Nelson. “Westpac noticed these female trailblazers. And they wanted to thank them and put them up on a pedestal – honouring their individual achievements, but more than that, providing role models for other women and girls.”
Westpac’s Adrian Hughes, standing in for the bank’s Regional Head for South Asia and the Pacific Greg Pawson, said: “It’s through the WOW women we will hear about and recognise tonight, those who went before them and those to come; that positive change will come for all people – for women and men, boys and girls.”
General manager of IT at Telikom, Bosa Togs, was announced as the overall 2016 Westpac Outstanding Woman, following the footsteps of Janet Sape (2015 winner) and Lesieli Taviri (2014 winner).
2016 WOW Winners:
The PricewaterhouseCoopers Private Sector Award (and overall Westpac Outstanding Woman of the Year winner)
Bosa Togs is general manager for IT at Telikom PNG and oversees the whole of Telikom’s technology infrastructure, applications, data and the teams who drive new developments and innovations. She regularly achieves what others believe impossible, is both courageous and humble and an equality champion. Bosa stood up against entrenched inequalities at Telikom, resulting in benefits, allowances and salary packages now being equal for male and female colleagues in the same roles across the organisation.
Pacific Assurance Group Public Sector Award
Recognises outstanding achievement by a female manager in the public sector who has contributed significantly to the performance of any government service.
Dr Lutty Amos
Dr Lutty Amos leads Women’s Health Programs across NCD, including the maternal health, gynaecology, youth, family planning and women’s wellbeing programs at Gerehu Hospital and 23 urban clinics. She started the first-ever public campaign on cervical cancer and is leading the first comprehensive women’s cancer and lifestyle disease screening in PNG. Lutty is the first female medical doctor in the Southern Highlands Province.
The Steamships Not for Profit Award
Recognises outstanding achievement by a female in the not for profit sector, either in a voluntary position or through a role with an organisation.
Dorothy Lamin Koch-Waluta
Working for Port Moresby City Mission, Dorothy Koch-Waluta believes deeply in the need to empower young men and women across Papua New Guinea. As the victim of an abusive relationship herself, Dorothy has devoted her life to helping others and empowering them to create a better future. She has worked across a number of functions at City Mission, including fundraising, marketing and administrative services.
The SP Brewery Entrepreneur Award
Recognises outstanding achievement by a women with at least a 50 percent shareholding in an organisation in the field of innovation for new products or services.
Rita Jaima Paru
Rita Jaima Paru started Dial-A-Lunch services from scratch in 2014, working out of a bedsitter. Dial-A-Lunch is now one of the country’s best known catering operations, with clients like Coca-Cola Amatil and World Vision, and Rita herself is well-known for her entrepreneurial success and for raising the bar when it comes to service, integrity and food safety. Rita was runner-up in the entrepreneur category in 2014.
The Trukai Community Award
Recognises outstanding achievement by a female working to improve conditions in the community.
Annastascia Wanasawo has been President of the Nuku District Women’s Network for 20 years. During this time, she has committed to ensuring that women and girls across PNG live in an equitable and fair society and achieve their goals. One of Annastascia’s greatest achievements in this role is conceiving and then building a women’s resource centre, which runs frequent literacy and business training.
The IBBM Young Achievers Award
Recognises outstanding achievement by a young woman under the age of 30.
Jacqueline Joseph founded Equal Playing field to tackle the domestic violence crisis in Papua New Guinea through generational and cultural change. Equal Playing Field offers an eight-week respectful relationships program that involves mixed gender sports competitions, alongside educational and development lessons. The program is seeing great success with more than 80 percent of participants committing to making change and being the generation that ends violence against women.
The Moore Printing Sports Award
Recognises outstanding achievement by a woman in the development and/or success of a sport or sporting body.
Julienne Leka-Maliaki is a lifelong athlete, with a 16-year netball career, and President of Netball PNG. Under her leadership, Netball PNG has developed its first-ever school outreach program and social and community inclusion has become one of the organisation’s key strategic goals. Julienne is also a career professional and is program manager in the Economic Governance and Private Sector Development Program at the Australian High Commission.
Caption: The winners of this year's Westpac Outstanding Women Awards are (from left): president of Netball PNG, Julienne Leka-Maliaki (Moore Printing Sports Award); owner of Dial-a-Lunch catering business, Rita Jaima Paru (SP Brewery Entrepreneur Award); women's health campaigner, Dr Lutty Amos (Pacific Assurance Group Public Sector Award); Telikom PNG general manager of IT, Bosa Togs (PricewaterhouseCoopers Private Sector Award & overall winner of the WOW Woman of the Year 2016 Award); president of the Nuku District Women’s Network in Sandaun, Annastascia Wanasawo (Trukai Community Award); senior officer at Port Moresby City Mission, Dorothy Koch-Waluta (Steamships Not-for-Profit Award); and Stella Joseph, who accepted the IBBM Young Achiever Award on behalf of her younger sister Jacqueline Joseph, the country program manager for youth development organisation Equal Playing Field. Jacqui was in Los Angeles on her way back from a laureate fellowship program in Costa Rica and could not make the ceremony.