Lautimuia Vaai: Taking calculated risks
Lautimuia Afoa Vaai needs little or no introduction at all.
As the new Chief Executive of the Samoa Shipping Services, Lautimuia is no stranger to top management and decision-making roles.
For the past 20 years, the meticulous, quiet, calculative Accountant by profession has silently served the country with distinction.
He has held senior management positions in the public service as an Accountant Reporting and Management Accountant with the Ministry of Finance (6 years), Director of Corporate and Strategic Services at Ministry of Police and Prisons (10 years), and Assistant Regulator/Manager Electricity at the Office of the Regulator (2 years).
And while with the Ministry of Finance, he represented the Financial Secretary on boards of various State Owned Enterprises and Companies including the Samoa Housing Corporation, Samoa Shipping Corporation, National Pacific Insurance (N.P.I.) and Computer Services Limited (C.S.L.). He is a humbled and a blessed man.
“As a certified accountant and senior manager, I believe that there is no limitation to learning and evolution of concepts and ideas. I am an advocate of the idea that ‘I was hired for my thinking’ and it is why I am always exploring new and better ways of doing things,” he said.
He sees himself as a ‘calculated’ risk-taker.
“I believe that everyone has a left hand column which are things left unsaid. However I know that if I am not giving my best to what I believe will make positive changes to the organization’s performance; the organisation is not getting the best of me.”
“And I usually bring forward more of my ‘left hand column’ in a positive manner that supports an enabling work environment where different views and opinions are not only appreciated, but encouraged.”
“There are infinite solutions and alternatives to everyday challenges and I would like to think that I have championed these in my areas of work.”
“I have played leading roles in team strategy formulation to stay competitive. In this regard, it is critical to have sound knowledge of organizational internal capabilities and resources nurtured in an efficient and effective manner as a key strength i.e. people management.”
Lautimuia holds a Bachelor’s Degree with double majors in Accounting and Financial Management, and Management and Public Administration from the University of the South Pacific, Fiji.
He also completed Diploma in Business with the Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand as well as a member of the Samoa Institute of Accountants and an associate member of the Samoa Institute of Directors.
His community role includes service to his home village of Magiagi where he holds the ‘Lautimuia’ title. His Afoa title is from Vaisala, Savaii.
He is an active matai on the village council of Magiagi, chairman of the board of trustees of the Magiagi pre-school, deacon and treasurer of the E.F.K.S. church Magiagi, and President of the Lupe o le Soaga (Magiagi) rugby club.
The son of Lautimuia Afoa Vaai Sr. of Vaisala and Auala and Sua Papali’i of Sapapali’i, Lautimuia is married with three children.