Chief Executive Officer
Dennis hails from Tikopia in the eastern Solomon Islands. He started with SICCI as the CEO in May 2016.
Dennis previously worked for the Solomon Islands Government in the Ministry of Finance & Treasury as Chief Policy Analyst in the Economic Reform Unit. Prior to his appointment as CEO, he was Senior Program Manager responsible for managing the Australia Awards Scholarship Program. His interests are in public policy, economic reform, development and growth. Dennis holds a Master of Public Policy from Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) in New Zealand.
Dennis is a young passionate Solomon Islander who wants to see the Solomon Islands economy grow and develop. He believes the private sector plays a key role in growing the economy, but such can only happen if the right kind of business environment is provided so that businesses can grow and prosper.
He sees the importance of the private sector and the government working in partnership, where both parties can discuss issues openly and explore policy solutions that can encourage private sector led growth through a conducive business environment - ultimately where jobs can be created for our growing population, goods and services produced to meet ongoing demand, affordable pricing through competition as more businesses enter the market, and more revenue for the government as more businesses pay taxes and duties to fund fundamental services such as health, education, law and public administration.
Acting Finance Manager
Zeenal joined in February 2016 assisting SICCI with Finance. She fully focuses on the day-to-day finance relating tasks of the organisation involving making payments, bank reconciliations, proper record keeping and filing.
Zeenal Samut was born and raised in Suva, Fiji and has resided in Honiara since December 2014. Zeenal obtained her Bachelor degree from the University of the South Pacific in Suva and is currently studying enrolled with CPA Australia and the University of Southern Queensland to complete a Masters degree. Zeenal previously worked for Ernst & Young as an Auditor and the European Union as a Programme Finance Manager.
Her passion is travelling to new countries and her latest hobby is scuba diving. Zeenal is a current member of Fiji Institute of Accountants and CPA Australia.
Vanessa joined the Chamber of Commerce in November 2015. Her role has changed while she’s been with SICCI, from a mixture of finance and advocacy, to now being fully focused on advocacy issues that members of the Chamber have. She attends consultations and workshops relating to the Chamber advocacy issues; namely Land, Labour, Tax, and Infrastructure (as outlined in SICCI’s Strategic Plan, 2015-19), as well as any others the CEO deems relevant to her role.
Aside from these, her job is to help raise SICCI’s profile within Solomon Islands as the peak representative body for business, through assisting the Board and CEO in research, writing and other tasks to progress the SICCI advocacy agenda.
She grew up in Papua New Guinea/Solomon Islands, and has lived and studied in Fiji and Australia throughout high school and university.
Vanessa is also a licensed pilot (PPL, CPL theory), who studied at the International School of Aviation Australia (ISAA) in Cessnock, NSW; and Australian Wings Academy (AWA) in Coolangatta, QLD.
Previously, Vanessa was part of a youth-centred NGO called [email protected], which is aimed at assisting disengaged young people in Honiara through apprenticeships.
Membership & Services Officer
Neil Nuia is the Chamber's Membership & Services Officer. He joined SICCI in September 2016. Neil is responsible for the SICCI membership programme and takes the lead in organising SICCI events.
Neil started formal work at the age of 19, which he served 9 years designing services in his last three NGO jobs, proceeded to work in an upscale environment as Networking Officer for NGOs under Development Services Exchange. Neil is currently looking at innovative strategies to ensure members are satisfied with the services SICCI offers.
Outside of SICCI, Neil is a passionate theatre maker and a budding photographer. He runs his music studio in his free time, determines to make new friends and acquire new ideas every day.
Media & Communications Officer
Ernest Ta’asi joined in early August 2016 as the Media & Communications Officer. He is responsible for implementing SICCI’s communication strategy and deals with the mainstream media, website and social media administration, sales or marketing and graphics work.
He grew up in Honiara and started his journalism career at Island Sun Newspaper at the age of 18. In a span of over six years with the paper, Ernest made his way up the newsroom department to become a senior writer in the newspaper’s feature and commentary columns. He was also a graphics designer for the paper. He earned two national awards along the way. He was awarded ‘Young Journalist of the Year 2013’ by an Australian Broadcasting Corporation-led media assistance scheme and the following year the Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI) recognized his work by naming him the ‘Most Improved Journalist’ award, backdating improved performance from 2012- 2014.
Ernest comes from the Polynesian province Rennell and Bellona.
Export Industry Development Officer
Samantha joined SICCI in November 2015 as a result of SICCI-Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Program (PHAMA) partnership. PHAMA’s approach is to develop strong public-private partnerships (PPPs) between the private sector and government on primary products export development. Its scope is on market access and the key export sectors it focuses on are Coconut, Cocoa, Sawn Timber, Sea Food and Horticulture. Its strategy is the establishment of five Industry Working Groups (IWGs): Sea Food IWG, Cocoa IWG, Coconut IWG, Sawn Timber IWG and Horticulture IWG, where the private sector is the key implementing partner.
As the Export Industry Development Officer, Samantha’s role is to develop these IWGs into representatives and sustainable industry bodies to progress relevant market access related activities to assist export industry growth. As the key contact point for the IWGs, Samantha provides secretarial support and coordinates capacity building support for the IWGs; assists with development/review of IWG sector strategies, implementation plans and corresponding budgets; promotes the role of each IWG to key stakeholders including the government, grower-producer and exporters associations, and national regulatory agencies and is a contact point for Solomon Islands Government/development partners designed programs. Samantha envisages that through the work that she does, commerce and the export industry throughout the Solomon Islands is promoted and protected ultimately leading to better lives for Solomon Islanders and encouraging sustainable development into the future.
Samantha attended the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education, Solomon Islands (2009-10); University of the South Pacific, Fiji (2005); Fujen Catholic University, Taiwan (2008) and; Murdoch University, Australia (2012-2015). Her background is in the field of Climate Change Management, Business Finance, Physics and Mathematics. She was a recipient of the SIG Scholarship, ROC Taiwan Scholarship, British American Tobacco Scholarship and Australian Awards.
Samantha had worked as the accounts payable officer at Kolombangara Forest Products Limited, Administrative/Medical Assistant at Sea Lark Medical Consultants and Executive Assistant to the General Manager at Bank of South Pacific.
Samantha is from Western Province, Solomon Islands.
Administrative Manager & Finance Assistant Officer
Shaun Konaga started with SICCI on September 2015 as an intern under the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) [email protected] internship programme. She manages the SICCI Office administration through reception, office and printing supplies, events management as well as assisting financial duties on salaries and finance records.
Before she came to SICCI she was an assistant administration officer with the events company Mac Group and made her potential known during Mac Group’s preparation of the SICCI Business Excellent Awards in 2015. She worked closely with Mac Group’s event manager while at the same time on internship with SICCI. After three months of internship, Shaun was called for an interview with the SICCI CEO who offered a full time position of her current role.
In previous engagements, Shaun did volunteer work for the government sector with the Ministry of Fisheries & Marine Resources and the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management & Meteorology.
Shaun graduated with a Certificate in Tropical Plantation Forestry and a Certificate in Environmental Science at the then Solomon Islands College of Higher Education (SICHE) now known as the Solomon Islands National University.
Shaun grew up in the capital Honiara and is from Malaita and Western provinces.
Charles has been lucky to have lived and worked in a number of great locations in Australia, with his career taking him to Italy, South Africa, Taiwan and Malaysia. His background includes working in the energy efficiency, renewable energy, and building and construction industries in project, operations and general management. His arena is quick start greenfield projects, high volume, low cost production and manufacturing and field based activities.
He has a bachelor degree in civil engineering and a graduate diploma in strategic marketing.
Charles’ current role with the Chamber is as Business Analyst, working closely with management and the Board on planning and strategy, and specifically on organisational and financial modelling. He is here in Honiara for 12 months on assignment with Australian Volunteers International, funded by DFAT.