Australia Day 4 – Q&A with Ronna Pastorizo-Sekiguchi

Ronna Pastorizo-Sekiguchi is the managing and creative director of The Greenhouse Studio, a boutique multidisciplinary creative design and communications studio based in Fiji. Below are her reflections from the first four days at the Global Ambassadors Program in Australia.

Q: What has been the most valuable part of the program thus far?

A: I can’t believe the connections I’m making – not just in the personal sense as women and women business leaders. That’s the most valuable thing. It’s opening up literally a world of possibilities.

Q: What was it like to work with Janet Lamkin?

A: Janet comes from a different background – she’s in finance operations. But with all of the points she has made looking at my challenges and goals, she has really surprised me with all the advice. Some of it I’ve never heard before. Maybe it’s because I’m always with other creative people. But Janet’s experience is so much wider and she’s worked with many other women as well, and as a mentor to other people. She focused and listened to what I really needed. We have a prioritized list of next steps.

Q: What is the first thing you will do when you get back to Fiji?

A: The first thing I need to do is have a debriefing with my staff. My whole staff. I need to lay down a structure to tell them that an effective CEO spends 30-40 percent of her time on specific constraints of the company. I’ve practiced this already with Janet. I’m going to say to Karen, who is my marketing and events manager, “Karen I’m empowering you to make decisions when it comes to this and this and this.” To Lisa, my studio manager, I’ll say “I’m empowering you to make approvals when it comes to this.” I need to shift my focus in specific areas to grow the business.

Q: Why are programs like the Global Ambassadors Program important in regions like Asia Pacific?

A: Well specifically in the Pacific let me tell you I know there are no female mentorship programs. In fact, there are no mentorship programs in Fiji or in the Pacific, excluding Australia and New Zealand of course, but in the island countries we don’t have anything. We don’t. There aren’t any mentoring programs and most of the young women graduates need guidance because they don’t know, and they can’t get jobs. It is so hard because there are so many young graduate women. They need connections. They need advice and we don’t have that in place even now.