Elizabeth V Kitè is the Founder and President of Tonga Youth Leaders and the Pacific Regional Representative for the Commonwealth Youth Council.
Elizabeth, tell us, what do you love about what you do?
I love that every day I get to work with, and learn from, the most inspiring and passionate young leaders of the Pacific and from across the Commonwealth. The solidarity we have to address our common issues, guarantees a future that is prosperous for us all, one where nobody is left behind.
How do these roles play to your strengths?
I’ve always been leading. While the roles that I’m in right now are quite demanding, and I’m often challenged with various issues, it is these challenges that help me to develop and improve every day. This constant learning, and evolving, allows me to do my best in leading these initiatives.
What would you say are the top five things that you have learned to be a success in your job?
- Stay true to your values.
- Have fun.
- Surround yourself with only the best – that also includes those best at challenging you.
- Self-care! If you don’t look after yourself, you can’t look after anybody else.
Who do you look to for inspiration in your career? Where do you go to learn more to progress in your work?
For guidance, I turn to God. I believe that we are his vehicles for the necessary changes in our communities and countries, and so His guidance and blessings are necessary in our pursuit to serve.
My mentors are my main source of inspiration for my career. Their journeys and wisdom help keep me motivated, and hopeful for what I can achieve, in the roles that I am currently in and the roles I aspire to be in in the future.
As a Queen’s Young Leader (QYL), I had completed the Leading ChangeCourse at Cambridge University. When it finished, in this its final year, the course was left open to the QYL Alumni in case any of us felt we wanted to touch on particular modules again, or fine tune a particular area of our leadership. This was a very useful source for me in establishing Tonga Youth Leaders and the learnings continue to be useful in our organisation’s growth. TheLeading ChangeCourse, and the QYL program, ends at the end of this year which is very sad, but I’m happy to see that the Director of the course, the incredible Frances Brown, remains committed to helping young global changemakers by launching WE – @WeWillNow. I know that I will find this educational website very helpful moving forward.
If someone wanted to pursue this career, what advice would you give them?
Stay true to your values, take nothing personally, commit yourself and always remain focussed on the bigger picture.
What was your journey to get here? And where do you see yourself in ten years?
I’m asked this all the time, and I still don’t have a solid answer to give, because I feel that I’m still very much on my journey, I’m still evolving – ‘Becoming’ if you will (Thank you Michelle Obama!).
My journey to where I am now was completely unexpected. If you asked me five years ago where I saw myself in ten years, I would’ve confidently told you I’d be somewhere in the fashion Industry.
That’s where I was, and I would never have thought that I’d ever be where I am today. In saying this, there has been one consistent thing in my life, in that I would always make time for those things which I’m now doing full-time, through Tonga Youth Leaders, in my role with the Commonwealth Youth Council and in various other projects.
From as far back as the age of four, I was always passionate about helping others, those less fortunate and advocating for those whose voices are so often left unheard. My first ever award was at the age of four in Reception, when I won the badge of “Leading by Example” at the school assembly and I would regularly win it after that first time.
In ten years, I see myself helping more people than I am today, and to calm the nerves of my Mum, Aunts, and friends reading this, I also see myself with my own family. In Tonga most Senior and CEO positions, in law and in the general workforce, are taken up by women. Women raising families of their own. They are all living tributes to women being able to have it all, and I aspire to be one of these women.