SIOD Professional Programme for Aspiring Board Members a Success


The Samoa Institute of Directors (SIOD) have completed yet another successful Professional Program for Directors, targeting Samoan women aspiring to become board members on government state owned enterprises. 

Supported by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) under WILS (Women in Leadership Samoa) the initiative aims to increase the participation of women at higher levels of leadership, and build capacity to ensure they’re able to effectively rrapond when called upon. 

Speaking to Samoa Global News, Chief Executive Officer of SIOD Funemalafai Onosefulu Fuatai says the workshop focuses on the details of the role.

“The course is tailored to the specific skills needed to be an effective board director,” said Funemalafai.

Managing Officer of Samoa Institute of Directors – Funemalafai Ono Fuatai

The CEO of SIOD said the motive behind the short course, is to empower women to be confident to take up leadership roles in Samoa.

“The driven message of the program is really to promote and empower our women to have the confidence to apply for any leadership position,” she said.

“I also strongly advise our participants to apply, and increase the number of women serving as board directors,” she added. 

The government has recently moved to apply a one-size-fits-all approach to Boards of State Owned Enterprsises, now all required to have 5 sitting members, but there is still some way to go before the ratio of women to men on boards reaches the ideal 50:50.

Funemalafai says women from all backgrounds and various areas of expertise, knowledge and experience can serve as a board director.

“They are learning and being trained under this program on the various roles of a director, but there is a wealth of experience amongst them.. they have been incredible participants in the last three days,” added Funemalafai. 

Reverend Dr Siaosi Salesulu delivers the Strategic Planning module.

One such participant was agricultural specialist and plant scientist Malaeolela Sili Valerie Saena-Tuia who returned to Samoa in 2017 after serving as Officer in Charge of the Genetic Resources at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees for over 15 years.

The Masters in Agriculture and Root Crop Researcher was one of the participants and she says the program was useful, and commended the SIOD coordinators and administration support team for their hard work over the three days.

“I recommend the SIOD Professional Program for Directors to any woman aspiring to become a board director;

“I was blessed to be part of this training; and there was great bonding with our fellow women members”, added Malaeoleala Sili.


Malaeolela Sili says “getting to know other participants is an added benefit of the course”

The SIOD CEO thanked UNDP for sponsoring the 3-day program, that delivers 8 modules including the areas of Strategic Planning, Directors Duties, Understanding Financial Reports and CEO-Board Relationships. Different presenters are coordinated by SIOD to deliver each module. 

“Under this program we asked UNDP if they could help us and they did. They have been a great partner and I want to thank them for sponsoring the program”, said Funemalafai. 

The WILS Project is a three year project jointly implemented by the United Nations Development Progamme (UNDP) and UN Women with funding from the Australian Government in partnership with the Government of Samoa.

The training first started in 2018 and the Samoa Institute of Directors has run multiple sessions over the past four years, preparing over 100 participants for effective participation at the board level.

A certificate ceremony was held at 4pm Friday afternoon at the Development Bank of Samoa conference room.

Jaleen Tupai