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Rosario Sam: A career without limits

21 July 2022, Impact of Our Work

From basic administration to international leadership

“You won’t know what it’s like to grow until you try something different … You take on the challenges, you experience what it’s like and the change will come with it.”

If you spend any time at all with Rosario, you will gather pearls of wisdom like this one. She’s full of them. It’s because she has faced challenges in her life, many of them, and only grown stronger for it. 

Rosario’s career began as a press officer to the governor of the Eastern Highlands Province in Papua New Guinea. This was a natural progression after studying journalism at university. Despite this being a dream role, she was forced by her abusive relationship to seek a more stable office job.  

What she found was, in her words, “a very basic admin role” with Save the Children Australia. Nonetheless, hard work and dedication saw Rosario’s potential recognised, and she quickly rose through the organisation. 

However, as Rosario’s career elevated, so too did the violence she and her children were experiencing at home.

“I had to do a bit of hiding and running and chasing and all of that, but the organisation … I was very grateful, you know, they took me out to safe homes and made sure I had so much time to attend court cases … Since 2017, I left my partner… From there it was a boost to see that I could be greater.” 

Rosario and a Child Protection Advisor receiving a donation of toiletries and food
which she will take to the community as part of their staff community service activity.

Finally free to focus on her professional development, Rosario set her sights on the next challenge: the pervasive ceiling on the careers of local staff members working for International NGOs. 

“It was a bit difficult for us national staff as well because you know that you don't have enough room to grow … We had certain roles that we would come up to.”

So, when Rosario saw an opportunity to apply for a job that previously had only been held by international staff, she put her hand up and rallied her team, telling them:

Hey, we cannot move if we're stuck. We need to try out the opportunities and challenge ourselves. Get out of the comfort zone and see if we can lead, see if we can do what our international colleagues are doing.


Rosario has been smashing ceilings and breaking barriers her whole career. From the “very basic admin role”, to becoming the first Pacific staff member to oversee HR for International Programs, she has never stopped growing. For this, she is grateful for the work environment that has allowed her the space and the support to flourish. 

Rosario at the Save the Children country office in Papua New Guinea.

“Save the Children is a very supportive, flexible environment in the story I shared, helping me come out of my very abusive home front. I am now rocking it through my career and it's all because of the support the organisation has given opening the opportunities, and allowing you to try [different roles] and see which ones you want to fit in.

“It's just a wonderful place to work.”

Discover your next career opportunity today.

Photos: Rosario Sam/Save the Children.

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