Serving country rather than self brings satisfaction and joy to the hearts of patriots and nationalists. But, the sad story about such people is that only a few patriots and nationalists worldwide are paid their respect and publicly honored by society.
The National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) over the weekend decided to right a wrong that perennially (perpetually, like forever) has denied many a historical figure or patriot, even, the honor and respect due them while they are still around to enjoy them. On Saturday night, Nocal honored two of Liberia’s brightest females who have serve the company and their country and people with distinction.
Mrs. Marie E. Leigh-Parker, senior vice president and vice president of finance of NOCAL and her long time friend Mrs. Ophelia Hoff-Saytumah, vice president corporate social responsibilities (CRS) of NOCAL, were honorably retired over the weekend for their dedicated services to the oil company and the people of Liberia.
The two dynamic and energetic women were honored at a well-attended retirement and farewell dinner hosted in their honor by the Management of NOCAL at the Executive Pavilion on Broad Street. On the theme: “A Road to a New Beginning,” the retirement dinner was the first-ever by NOCAL.
Mrs. Parker joined NOCAL in 2004 taking her first assignment as vice president for administration and finance.
In 2009, she was promoted to the position of senior vice president, vice president for finance, where she served up to her retirement.
Mrs. Parker, who holds an MBA in Economics from Southern Illinois University in the US, joined the oil company at the time when the name NOCAL was not even known.
She came to the job with 30 years of senior level experience in personnel management, budgeting and corporate administration, and 25 years of first and second level supervisory experience in recruiting, screening, interviewing and placement of personnel.
The NOCAL retiree also has 15 years of government experience (Liberia Development Corporation, Ministry of Commerce &Industry, the Executive Mansion, the Central Bank of Liberia and Contracts & Monopolies, amongst others.
In her position as senior vice president and vice president of finance of NOCAL, Mrs. Parker was responsible to plan, develop, and enforce policies and objectives for the division of finance and the company to ensure it maintained and met established goals; she also oversaw and maintained the financial budget and financial statements for the company, amongst other responsibilities.
Mrs. Parker’s friend, Mrs. Ophelia Hoff-Saytumah, joined NOCAL in 2009 after the expiration of her two terms tenure as Mayor of the City of Monrovia.
Mrs. Saytumah’s first position at NOCAL was vice president for administration under the presidency of former NOCAL chief executive officer Dr. Fodee Kromah.
In May, 2012, the retiree became vice president for Corporate Social Relations of NOCAL, a position she so cherished because, according to her, it allowed her the opportunity to touch the lives of the most-needy in the country.
As vice president for CSR which is considered the face of NOCAL, Mrs. Saytumah was able to approve and implement several NOCAL-sponsored community-based and youth empowerment programs including the provision of local and international scholarships to deserving students, giving daily assistance to various youth groupings across the country, and most importantly, the NOCAL housing projects in Lofa, Grand Bassa and other counties, for low-income earners.
Mrs. Saytumah holds a Bsc. degree in Education from Cuttington University.
She is a career airline marketer, a dream she pursue in the US and graduated from the Grace Downs Air Career School in Glen Cove, Long Island, New York.
Speaking at the honoring ceremony of these two women, NOCAL’s Acting Chairman Fred Bass Golokeh said he was pleased to be a part program because “the two women have honorably served their country.”
Mr. Golokeh thanked the two women for bringing NOCAL into the limelight. “We want to say ‘thank you’ for making NOCAL what it is today,” he said.
Earlier, NOCAL’s president and CEO Dr. Randolph A. K.W. McClain spoke highly of the uniqueness of the honoring ceremony and praised the honorees for their astuteness in the discharge of their duties.
“They have helped me with the foundation needed and the historical perspectives in the areas of finance and CSR. I am very grateful to these two strong ladies for that,” the NOCAL CEO said.
Dr. McClain explained how the two honorees respected the core values of NOCAL which include safety, health, transparency and accountability, and sustainability.
He expressed the hope that the new petroleum law will be sustainable enough for the petroleum sector.
The National Legislature is currently holding a nation-wide public hearing on the draft petroleum law of Liberia.
The hearing, according to sources on Capitol Hill, is intended to generate input from locals in promulgating (publicizing, circulating) the new petroleum law so that it would address the needs of the broader masses of the Liberian people.
Dr. McClain, for his part, welcomed the consultation and said “it is inclusiveness.” He also expressed the hope that Liberia soon begins mining for oil.
In her response, honoree Mrs. Marie Parker said she is retiring from NOCAL, but she is not tired yet. “I am not tire yet,” she said. Mrs. Parker thanked the NOCAL family for the honor, but left this message behind for the staff and for the Liberian people: “Love your country and do what is good for it.”
She also urged those working on the petroleum law to ensure that the law is good and in the interest of the country.
As for Mrs. Saytumah “It was a pleasure being a part of making NOCAL what it is today.” I am happy that NOCAL is known everywhere in Liberia,” she said.