Pacific Women Leaders: highlighting Pacific women’s contributions to humanity

By Gail Brown, wife of US Ambassador Scott Brown

With my husband, US Ambassador Scott Brown.
With my husband, US Ambassador Scott Brown.

New Zealand and Samoa, known for their natural beauty, vibrant cultures, and thriving societies, was top of my husband’s list to serve our country as United States Ambassador abroad. New Zealand is home to some of the largest Pacific people’s diasporas, and a gate-way to South Pacific Island nations. One of the highlights from my career in broadcast journalism is sharing inspiring, and often untold, stories of unsung heroes. Visiting women from these two great countries in my short time here demonstrated how many Pacific women leaders are working to better their communities. Motivated by their commitment, and the Embassy’s previous Wahine Toa project, I am proud to share the stories of Pacific Island women leaders in this corner of the world.

Gail Brown

Entitled ‘Pacific Women Leaders’, this two-year project will use a blog series to highlight Pacific women for their innovation, leadership and excellence. I started the Pacific Women Leaders project on my inaugural visit to Samoa when my husband presented his credentials to the Government of Samoa. l was fortunate enough to host four amazing women, Fealofani Bruun, Verona Parker, Mele Mauala, and Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson at a reception at the Taumeasina Island Resort, forming relationships, and learning more about their communities, work and cultural traditions, in the lead up to our interviews.

First meeting of Pacific Women Leaders.
First meeting of Pacific Women Leaders.

Scott and I took the opportunity to formally acknowledge their work in the fields of traditional navigation, broadcasting, women’s development, environment and health issues, by presenting a Certificate of Appreciation for their contributions to Samoa.

Certificate of Appreciation presented to Verona Parker, Mele Mauala, and Cherelle Jackson.
Certificate of Appreciation presented to Verona Parker, Mele Mauala, and Cherelle Jackson.
With Ms. Fealofani Bruun’s certificate.
With Ms. Fealofani Bruun’s certificate.

I am absolutely thrilled to have the chance to share their stories in the upcoming Pacific Women Leaders project series. Please stay tuned for their in-depth interviews, and stories of more women into the future. I hope each interview may serve to inspire a new generation of innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders.

I would love to hear your suggestions of influential Pacific women to be interviewed in the near future. Please reach out to the Public Affairs team at publicaffairsusnz@state.gov.