SICCI CEO designate, Ms Natalina Hong (centre front row) is welcomed by the SICCI Board and Secretariat staff during a Business After 5 networking event on Friday 4 September, 2020.

The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) will bring on board another young emerging woman leader to the helm of the peak body representing private sector in the country, it was announced on September 4, 2020.

Ms Natalina Hong will begin her job as SICCI’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on September 14.

Ms Hong is an economic, governance and human development specialist with more than five years of experience in aid program management and seven years of experience in public administration with the Solomon Islands Government.

She graduated with a Masters of Public Policy in Development policy at the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University in 2014. She had completed her undergrad in Sociology and History/Politics from the University of the South Pacific (USP) in 2005.

After USP she worked with ministries of provincial government, and of national planning from 2007 to 2011, and then with National Parliament from 2012. She joined Australian High Commission in 2015 and up until her SICCI appointment, managed programs within the health, education and democratic governance sectors.  

SICCI Board Chairman, Jay Bartlett made the announcement at a Business After 5 (BA5) networking event the Chamber hosted on Friday 4th September for its members to have an opportunity to meet the CEO designate.

 “After a competitive interview process, the SICCI Board is confident that we have selected the right leader at a time when the Chamber is in a very strong position.

 “It is encouraging to see another woman take up this leadership role and I believe Ms Hong will add great value to the work of the Chamber,” Mr Bartlett said.

 “Building on the Chamber growth over the past years, we’re focused on providing more value to our members with greater access to information and services, ongoing advocacy on their behalf, and more support and opportunities to expand our efforts for a vibrant private sector leading to better lives for our people. Ms Hong’s leadership and her experience will be integral in supporting the Chamber to achieve this vision,” the SICCI Board Chair added.

SICCI CEO designate, Ms Natalina Hong is excited to join the Chamber and to get out into the business community and hear from SICCI members.  

“Having worked for eight years in public service, and for five years in development work with the Australian High Commission as a program manager where I developed my leadership skills, I intend to share my expertise at every opportunity to help and support our members’ business goals and be their voice on issues that concern them,” she said.

“My focus over the past 10 years when building my experience and skill is to contribute as much as I can to improving the development outcome of Solomon Islands, in whichever sector.

“I am looking forward to working with the members closely to build healthy relationships with our government and communities so there is an enabling environment for businesses and the private sector to drive our growing economy,” she added.

Ms Hong replaces Ms Atenasi Ata, who will complete her contract this month after serving as SICCI’s CEO for two (2) years.

Mr Bartlett thanked outgoing CEO, Ms Ata for her commitment, hard work and passion for not only the Chamber but as one of the woman leaders in Solomon Islands.

“Over the last two years, your leadership is characterized by strategic thinking and, most valuably, your tireless efforts to increase the credibility and visibility of the Chamber both nationally and regionally.

“By all measures, under your watch the Chamber continues to cement the confidence of important stakeholders including Government, and build a growing team of young and committed professionals to be able to enhance the quality and impact of the Secretariat and its core functions.”

“The SICCI Board and members thank Atenasi for her dedication and the great job she has have accomplished in her two years as CEO.

“We wish her, husband Evan and family, all the very best in their future endeavors,” Mr Bartlett said.

Additional words of appreciation were raised by long-time businessman, Mr Wayne Morris of accounting firm, Morris & Sojnocki, who also thanked on behalf of members, Ms Ata for the work achieved in her tenure. 

Speaking at the event, outgoing CEO Ms Ata said: “I wish to express my deepest appreciation for you (SICCI members), who through the Board, have given me a chance to work as CEO for SICCI. I feel that this has been the turning point in my career in terms of professional development, as well as personally. And that from here onwards, literally anything is possible for me.”

The BA5 event was attended with more than eighty (80) business leaders and some Government officials present.

The SICCI Secretariat also used the evening to update all members and stakeholders on the activities of the Secretariat for 2020.

About the author

Philip Lilomo is the Chamber's Media & Communications Officer. Philip writes most of the Chamber's media releases. He also manages the website contents, designs the Chamber's monthly newsletter, brochures and maintains the organisation's visual branding. 

Philip can be contacted on email: media@solomonchamber.com.sb 

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