Mother-of-three celebrates degree

It was all smiles and hugs as Lihirian, Mathilda Lusan, and her young family walked out of Divine Word University’s packed hall with her hard-earned Bachelor of Management.

After two years of determination, effort and study discipline, Lusan proudly celebrated her achievement on March 8th, which was, coincidentally, International Women’s Day as well.

This is an accomplishment of a resilient woman and mother, a full-time employee in one of the world’s largest gold mines, and recently a student, who defied odds to grow professionally. It is also an achievement of a daughter – one who would have made the hearts of her late parents dance with pride and joy.

One of eight siblings born to Lihirian mother Casilda and father, Thomas Lusan, from the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Lusan and two of her sisters work for Newmont’s Lihir gold operation in New Ireland, contributing to PNG’s economy each day through the safe production of gold.

Lusan is an advisor with Newmont PNG’s human resources department; a role she took up in 2022 after a year-long break from work to spend more time with her family.

Lusan previously worked with the department’s administration team for ten years – a job she excitedly took up after completing Lihir’s secretarial training program at age 22.

She attained her diploma in human resources before the pandemic. In 2022, she took a bold step to pursue a bachelor’s degree as part of her career development plan. This meant re-adjusting daily commitments to her young family, reviewing and adjusting work plans to deliver timely and quality outcomes and strategising on how to support her team while studying and sometimes, working remotely.

“When I was pursuing my diploma, I had only Casilda and Eugene and that was manageable. When I started my bachelor program, Gerald Jr had already joined our family and was still a toddler demanding my attention - that was a huge challenge,” said the soft-spoken Lusan.

“Another challenge was to get my young family to fully understand why I had to pursue further studies because it was more than just a personal goal. It took a while to convince them.”

Despite the many challenges, the decision to pursue a Bachelor of Management was one of Lusan’s best decisions in life; not only did it equip her with skills in managing human resources but also broadened her knowledge of finance.

The skills she acquired spanned key areas in strategic planning and implementation, business research, marketing management and research, operations and quality management, and entrepreneurship and small-medium-enterprise development.

“This achievement is important to me and my family and community for many reasons. With these new skills, I am now able to meet business expectations in my current role and provide more support and guidance to my team,” she said.

“I am also grateful that I now have skills that are setting me up for life after mining. I strongly think that professional growth is a key part of sustainability; it is far more than ticking a box and more about creating value and improving lives.”

Lusan is among an increasing number of local Lihirians who are embracing opportunities, breaking barriers and making their mark in our competitive world.

“As a Lihirian, I hope that my achievement inspires other Lihirians and Papua New Guineans to grab opportunities with zeal; visualise their future and be determined and deliberate in raising the bar for themselves, their families and communities,” she said.

Lusan highlighted that her success was also a result of the great support she received from her people leaders at work and from the university.

“Attaining my Bachelor of Management would not have been possible without the great leadership and support from my people leaders within Newmont and lecturers at the university. I thank them for supporting, mentoring and coaching me through my studies,” Lusan said.

Newmont PNG’s Head of People, Sadia Imran, and Head of Social Performance, Felix Tavil, congratulated Lusan for her outstanding accomplishment, especially as a local Lihirian employee with years of contribution to the business.

Loop Author