Our Candidates 2021
Liu Yunfei is Deputy General Manager of Global Transaction Banking at the Bank of China. She is responsible for the development of RMB internationalisation, foreign exchange management, risk and anti-money laundering compliance management. Having worked in trade finance since 1991, she has vast experience and expertise in this sector.
“Ms Liu is a truly successful leader. She was given opportunities to study and work abroad early on in her career but she didn’t take these for granted. She was dedicated, self-motivated and she is willing to share her experience and encourage young colleagues to learn and be open-minded, providing them with guidance and giving them the opportunity to thrive.”
Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr. Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, all eyes were on Dato Isham as the Minister of Health in Brunei. He has been widely praised and respected for his unerring composure and confidence. He demonstrated honesty and transparency, starting a new norm with daily press conferences. With the consent of His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei, Dato Isham successfully led the Brunei government to flatten the COVID-19 curve.
“It is not often that you find leaders who are kind. Dato Isham is known for both his great leadership and for his kindness towards staff, patients and others. Despite being a senior government official, he is humble and hardworking. Staff who have worked with him in previous organisations still invite him back for events and talk about him with fondness. What was very telling was how he responded to press conference questions during the pandemic. He was never curt or discourteous and was always polite and respectful. By his conduct, he has earned the people of Brunei’s trust and respect.”
Vincent founded the Child Psychoecology Foundation, a registered charity with a mission to improve children’s psychological wellbeing through parent-child and philanthropic activities. Its motto is ‘fulfilling childhoods start with giving’. Vincent has presented on the PhilanthroKids Programme to international conferences in the USA, China, Japan, Korea and Thailand. In 2020, he was named as a First 50 Cohort Leader by GivingTuesday’s Starling Collective.
“A kind leader inspires others to be their best and consider others first. The PhilanthroKids movement seeks to empower children through parent-child and philanthropic activities. Vincent believes the importance of good philanthropic character should be nurtured at a young age. His charity collaborates with kindergartens and provides free professional training, workshops and lessons to teachers, parents and children respectively. Besides chairing a board of professionals and educators, he also volunteers for other international boards including the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Certified Fund Raising Executive.”
As CEO of NRN Infrastructure and Development in Nepal, Usha has secured investment in more than five hydropower projects of national priority. She has also led as a volunteer for Girls in Tech Nepal; served as an Ambassador for Global Tech and engaged as a mentor in various organisations. She has won numerous awards including Conscious Media Company’s World-Changing Women 2020, and listed as one of the most influential women of Nepal by RSTCA.
“Born in a remote village in Nepal and being a woman is challenging enough. Usha is so passionate and dedicated that she has been able to participate in a number of conferences abroad and nationally as a speaker in the USA, France, Netherlands, Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. Usha has actively advocated for youths and female empowerment, especially encouraging girls and women into tech.”
Una is a Director at STEM Education Organization for Cambodia, overseeing all aspects of programme management including resource allocation, budgeting and reporting. Despite the global pandemic, with resilience and effective leadership, Una successfully launched Cambodia’s first virtual STEM festival, with over 63,000 participants from 19 provinces. With strong leadership and a focus on women’s empowerment, she has also created STEM Sisters Cambodia to normalise and encourage women to take on careers in STEM.
“I have never seen a day when Una does not give 100% to her work. She puts her heart and soul into it and all that she wants is to see more females involved in STEM. I know the leader I want to become because of Una. She is inclusive, understanding, resilient and compassionate. Una leads by example. Through her leadership, I’ve witnessed the growth of closeness and inclusivity within the organisation.”
Sukanya is the first female Vice President of Property at National Telecom in Thailand, leading a team of 100 technical professionals. In her three-decade long career, she has received many awards for transformational contributions to her organisation and the industry. She is driven by her personal and professional philosophy of harmony, honesty, commitment, and teamwork and strongly believes in developing talent and empowering teams. Sukanya has fostered a culture of kindness in her business unit which has permeated throughout the organisation.
“In a technology company in a highly competitive environment, continuous improvement of staff capabilities and teamwork is critical. These are amongst several of Sukanya’s leadership priorities. She constantly encourages staff to study advanced subjects to stay abreast of communications technology. She spends a considerable proportion of her time coaching and mentoring staff and promoting a culture of teamwork based on the principles of respect, transparency and trust.”
Steve was CEO for NTT Australia and retired in September 2020 after over 30 years spent at the cutting-edge of the local and international IT industry. He is passionate about sharing his experiences and inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs. In 2010, he was inducted into the ARN Hall of Fame for his pioneering work in the ICT industry and his entrepreneurial flair.
“Steve is an ardent supporter of startups and organisations that will become the core drivers of ethical innovation, profitable growth, and job creation in the digital age. Throughout his career, he has focused on building strong, kind cultures in the teams he has led and inspired future leaders to do the same. Core to his ethos is that building a strong corporate culture is critical for successful execution, and that ongoing learning is fundamental to personal, professional, and organisational development.”
Shelina is Joint Managing Director of TechNova Imaging Systems, India’s largest manufacturer of imaging products and print solutions, and the fifth largest in the world. Passionate about innovation, technology and nurturing individuals, Shelina has been instrumental in consolidating TechNova’s leadership position and strengthening its distinct corporate culture. She considers the workplace as an ‘ashram’, where TechNova employees value zero-ego, humility, trust, transparency, compassion. This ethos has not only positively impacted the lives of two thousand TechNova team members but also established a successful, vibrant and innovative organisation that is recognised as a global leader in the imaging industry.
“Shelina believes that ‘the business of business is not business; but the business of business is self-actualisation’ – this is the ultimate journey of life. She considers her own personal leadership goal as not about profits, but to help each employee undertake this journey of self-actualisation. Shelina has a nurturing style of leadership that exudes empathy, sensitivity, kindness and compassion. Her greatest gift is her ability to combine soft and intangible spiritual values with tangible performance-driven metrics of excellence in manufacturing, marketing and business processes.”
With almost two decades of conservation experience, Santi is the Country Program Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in Laos. During his tenure at WCS he has contributed to securing the largest funding to date and has expanded the WCS Laos portfolio to support terrestrial and wetland biodiversity conservation. He currently leads a growing team of 83 staff with competence and kindness.
“Santi leads by example. Instead of pressuring employees, he shows how an ideal employee under his leadership should be and has always set himself as a good role model for staff. His trustworthiness, kindness and compassion have shined through in the way he treats all employees equally and equitably. His qualities and personality make WCS Laos an attractive, productive and safe working environment which accelerates teamwork and performance.”
Rosanna is Founder and Executive Director of EQUAL GROUND, the only LGBTIQ advocacy organisation pursuing LGBTIQ rights as part of the larger human rights framework in Sri Lanka. Rosanna served two terms as Co-Secretary General for the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association and is Co-Founder and current Chair of the Commonwealth Equality Network. She was also Co-Founder of the Women’s Support Group in Sri Lanka, advocating for equality for lesbian and bisexual women and trans men.
“Rosanna is a promoter of ‘synergies’. She is well connected with international platforms but never forgets to stand in solidarity and create platforms for local, rural activists and organisations with less opportunities. There are a number of local organisations who are nurtured by the leadership of Rosanna. She is ardent and strict when it comes to core values and professional conduct and, as a result, a number of international donor agencies, diplomatic missions in Sri Lanka and well-known corporate companies have been in partnership with EQUAL GROUND for years.”
Richard is an established businessman, currently heading up Elite Security Lanka. He has always believed in paying high wages – the best in industry – attracting the best recruits. He keeps abreast of the latest technology and is in the process of introducing a high-tech security systems company. He is currently working on a security manual which will be the benchmark of industrial and commercial security in Sri Lanka. His leadership qualities are well known, always volunteering to make the difference, particularly in crisis situations.
“Richard’s theory of paying the highest salaries reduces staff turnover tremendously. Recruiting the cream of security personnel affords him the opportunity of giving his clients effective coverage. Always willing to share his expertise, he organised a security seminar in close conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka. Known in his wide circle of friends as a man for any crisis, he is in the shadows when all else is well and good.”
Rhonda is Co-Founder and CEO of Ohmyhome. Armed with the clarity of vision, tenacity and deep industry knowledge, Rhonda has created a unique housing transaction solution that is transforming the way people buy, sell and rent properties. Rhonda’s many accomplishments include leading Ohmyhome to become Singapore’s number one housing and development app in 2017. To date, Ohmyhome has transacted over 7,000 homes and rendered a total of over 8,000 services in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.
“Rhonda believes that a leader can’t just be a leader at work, but needs to be a mentor too. Throughout COVID-19, Rhonda has understood that her teams are going through tough times, especially those in the Philippines. Apart from having to abide by strict timings for their supply runs, there were typhoons and floods. One team member had no place to stay and Rhonda provided a home for months. To Rhonda, these aren’t times to discuss productivity, these are times of survival when empathy and genuine care triumph above all.”
2)Regular check-ins of team members as a group and on an individual basis
3) Sharing snippets of your life over social media in not an overly curated way
4) Sharing your passion and common goals with colleagues such as doing charity drives and
5) Your business goals and strategies is in alignment with your personal values
Princess Diya Kumari
Princess Diya Kumari is a member of the royal family of Jaipur. While contesting for the elections of the Legislative Assembly, she visited Sawai Madhopur and observed the conditions of women there who lacked opportunities to work or access to education. She has sought to bring change to the lives of these women and empower underprivileged women and girls who face cultural, gender bias and economic barriers. It is for this reason that she launched the Princess Diya Kumari Foundation in 2013.
“Princess Diya Kumari is the guiding force of the organisation, seeking to focus on building skills to create sustainable livelihoods for women. She sponsors underprivileged girls through scholarships, digital literacy and academic assistance. From guiding the women, reaching out to them and supporting them, she has helped the women of Rajasthan and inspired them to work for themselves and find ways to be self-sufficient. She continues to do so by opening new centres and supporting women in Rajasthan.”
Prashan De Visser
Prashan is Founder and President of Sri Lanka Unites, a youth movement for hope and reconciliation. He is also Founder and President of Global Unites, a nonprofit that seeks to inspire, connect and equip youth to transform global societies through movements that promote non-violence and reconciliation to transform conflict. Prashan has been responsible for casting a bold vision for both organisations, inspiring gifted and capable members to join, raising resources, and developing young and talented leaders to take the movement forward, all over the world.
“Working in the context of violence and division, Prashan has been a bridge-builder empathising with various communities and winning their trust. Since founding Sri Lanka Unites 14 years ago, he has consistently engaged on issues of peace and reconciliation in the midst of volatile conditions in Sri Lanka and around the world. Violent extremist and terror groups and political extremist groups have threatened, attempted to sabotage, and discredit their efforts over the years. Yet the movement remains resilient, vibrant, and consistently expanding under his leadership.”
Pranee is a Senior Employee Development Manager at PCS. She heads up the induction programme for newcomers and motivates, inspires and encourages all employees at all levels, ensuring they understand how important and valuable they are to the organisation. Pranee is well known for always seeking opportunities for others and for encouraging others to achieve their full potential and gain self-worth.
“Love, mercy and care to all employees and communities is what describes Pranee’s consistent
behaviour. She speaks and communicates to everyone politely and with respect. Pranee used to spend her weekends as a voluntary teacher in the Khong-Toi community for several years and also spent her own money hiring trainers for those in the community too. Every weekend nowadays she goes home to Nakhon-Nayok, and teaches English to village children, working with friends to gather funds and necessary donations for those in need.”
Peewee is an experienced brand developer, creator, and marketing specialist with 18 years of experience in the development of campaigns and brand strategies for Unilever, Shiseido and Dole Packaged Foods. She has led diverse teams across North America, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East and has demonstrated an ability to lead and thrive in highly complex organisations. Peewee is passionate about health, nutrition and wellness and is the ideal marketing lead when it comes to developing new ideas in this space.
“Peewee looks for the good in people and often acts as a ‘bridge’, connecting, engaging, and driving collaboration first and foremost, across the organisation. This is most notable in how she supports and encourages her team members, especially those who may be relatively junior in the organisation. A fellow champion for female-leadership in the organisation – she creates a team culture and a business that is flexible enough and encouraging enough to invite individuals to be themselves at work.”
Patria has spent over 30 years in the hospitality industry and 22 of those at IHG. She is currently General Manager in Dubai and first and the only Asian/Filipino to have achieved this position. Hard work and perseverance are always top of mind but the most important thing for Patria is leadership through nurture and inclusiveness. Patria spearheaded the pre-opening of the 510 room brand-defining Holiday Inn in Dubai.
“When decisions are made in the business it is always done with the wellbeing of the majority top of mind. Fairness and inclusion are the foundation of her leadership. In a pandemic, the easiest solution for a lot of leaders was to let people go in order to allow the business to survive, what Patria did was find other business streams to increase revenue to ensure teams were supported financially.”
Nicole is a professional Filipino volleyball player. She is Founder and Managing Director of Spike and Serve Philippines, a nonprofit organisation that uses volleyball and outreach to help communities. She is also Founder and Managing Director of Spike and Serve Volleyball Academy, a volleyball development and training institution. A member of the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Youth and Sport Task Force, she’s determined to use sport to make a difference in the Asia-Pacific region.
“Despite being in the limelight as a professional volleyball player, Nicole never makes anything her organisations achieve be about her, but rather emphasises the advocacy and the team behind her. From being a one-man team to establishing two organisations, she brings people together who have the same passion and commitment to advocacy. She is the epitome of a servant leader who puts others first.”
Nick is a number one bestselling author and Managing Director of EGN Singapore. He has identified that feelings of isolation and depression – personal struggles that he has had to grapple with and conquer – are much more widespread than we think and so he is dedicated to raising awareness and eliminating the stigma around the phenomenon of executive loneliness. Modern work culture encourages executives to project success and achievement when, in fact, thousands actually suffer in silence and denial. This topic is close to Nick’s heart which he shares with his 24 employees and 426 members of EGN Singapore.
“Nick’s kindness in leadership extends beyond the company he runs and spills into a network of over 400 people that he oversees, his vendors, and his audiences. At work, Nick’s leadership style is one of listening, understanding and empathising, and then of taking mutually agreed, appropriate action. He hires equally and without bias, as evidenced by the diversity of nationalities, learning and talent within the company. In the public realm, Nick consistently conveys messages about executive loneliness and how it affects leaders.”
With 13 years of experience in finance, Neha founded Femtech Partners, with the aim to bring more women into fintech. As a seasoned CEO, she has played major roles in fintech, being the Team Lead for the Financial Sector and Intellectual Property (FSIP) Programme with £1.2 billion prosperity fund for Southeast Asia, and working with PYXERA Global alongside BlackRock on financial inclusion for migrant workers.
“Leadership for Neha is about being a team player and making social impact all the way. Femtech Partners provides its services in seven countries across the globe. In order to help the underprivileged in these difficult times, she has taken up a project as a Financial Inclusion Specialist with Voluntary Service Overseas, making field visits to remote areas of Bangladesh to meet women and youth in order to understand the current landscape and make recommendations to enable faster and cheaper access to finance.”
Founder and Chair of the Aditya Birla Education Trust, Neerja is an advocate in the field of education. Under the Trust, she has set up the Aditya Birla World Academy, a pioneering international school and the Aditya Birla Integrated School, which takes care of the learning needs of children with intellectual and learning difficulties. With a vision to foster positive change in the attitudes towards mental health, she founded Mpower to promote mental health and wellbeing. She has also founded the Aditya Birla Education Academy, to nurture the aspirations of educators.
“Kindness isn’t measured in kind; it’s an expression of compassion and respect, grace and humility. This embodies the very essence of Neerja’s persona. She believes in the inherent goodness of people which helps build a sense of commitment, camaraderie and a positive work culture. It strengthens the belief that we belong to an extended family, wherein at the helm is a lady of grit, sensitivity, strength and grace. She strikes a balance between being gentle yet never compromising on the fabric of values.”
Nayantara has the ability to rally people to a common selfless purpose with initiatives that inspire. As a Promoter in Inox Group, she has taken up projects and successfully delivered them, including water conservation projects; building homes for farmer’s widows, and teaching self-defence techniques to women. For 22 years, Nayantara has promoted the work of the Friends of Tribals Society, an organisation dealing with basic functional literacy in rural India. During this time, more than 1 million children have completed pre-primary education.
“When Nayantara heard about the plight of the tribals in our country, she was quick to understand the importance of not only protecting but educating them so that their exploitation could stop. One such organisation, the Friends of Tribals Society, provided her with the platform to achieve her goals. We have together been instrumental in raising awareness and monetary support to the tune of £250,000 per annum for the past four years. This has directly impacted the lives of more than 100,000 children.”
Monika has been Country Manager for Visa in Cambodia since 2018, leading a team to engage with small and large businesses to make and receive digital payments. Monika works with banks and fintechs to promote a digital economy and, most importantly, financial inclusion too. Over the past 12 months, this has included promoting financial inclusion for women and women entrepreneurs, and heading up forums and training on financial literacy. Monika also has an excellent reputation with the regulator and partners with the National Bank of Cambodia to accelerate the growth of digital payments and financial inclusion.
“Monika has navigated through her growing leadership responsibilities with a mix of strength, self-awareness, empathy and resolve. She transcends borders with her engaging style of leadership. She operates at 50,000 feet one minute, and gets down to the weeds the next. She hand-holds clients, colleagues and other partners to accelerate the growth of financial inclusion and digital commerce in Cambodia. Due to her efforts and inspiration, there has been a dramatic growth in small businesses included in the financial system and they’re able to perform digital commerce.”
Mollie Jean De Dieu
Mollie is General Manager of the French fashion and accessory company, Longchamp, in Singapore and Malaysia. She is also a keynote speaker and Founder of the nonprofit organisation, Emotional Inclusion, aimed at breaking down archaic business stereotypes and leading the way to a better emotionally acceptant corporate ecosystem. She hosts the Emotional Inclusion podcast, where she invites global leaders with a voice to destigmatize mental health in the workforce.
“Mollie embodies kindness and compassion in everything she does. She is a purpose-driven leader who is passionate about her role at Longchamp. She cares deeply about the company and her employees’ development and wellbeing. In fact, she has taken her calling a step further by launching the Emotional Inclusion podcast to mobilise leaders in many industries around inclusion and empathy.”
Melissa is Founder and Executive Director of Project PEARLS, a nonprofit organisation on a mission to help children and families break the cycle of poverty in the Philippines. Under her leadership, Project PEARLS has grown from a simple advocacy group to helping over 600 scholars and serving more than 6,000 meals every week. The organisation reaches out to hundreds of children and families through its different programmes on education, healthcare, nutrition and empowerment.
“Melissa is more than a boss, she is a leader, mentor and friend. Her leadership style inspires us to give our best in the work that we do. She influences our team to always look for the best in other people and to see the potential in changing lives for the better. Melissa is truly an epitome of a woman who breathes her passion into her life and takes action to turn her crazy dreams into reality.”
May has volunteered to support cancer patients at the National Cancer Institute, widely known as the Maharagama Cancer Hospital, for the past 18 years and continues to do so as a mark of gratitude for the excellent service accorded to her sister who was treated there. She is a member of a small informal team of independent volunteers who provide emotional and material support to patients in need.
“May embodies kindness in leadership through the good will and network support she has built at the National Cancer Institute. She is appreciated for her support of needy patients as well as being an inspiration to the hospital medical personnel. She visits patients at least three times a week, covering a full day from 8am to 4pm. She also regularly visits the Cancer Society Hospice for Palliative Care. She has built a reliable group of donors who readily trust and support her.”
Marini de Livera
In a patriarchal legal system in Sri Lanka, Marini has created a gender-friendly law chamber where she trains intern and junior lawyers on human rights issues and the provision of legal aid to marginalised people. With the advent of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act in 2005, there was a need for shelters for vulnerable women and girls. Her organisation provides victims with a safe haven where they are given counselling and income generation training. Marini represents victims of human rights violations in the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka.
“Marini’s business stands out as an organisation with heart, where vulnerable people have their concerns addressed by a people-friendly team. Marini is proactive in advocating and lobbying for legal reform in the areas of the deinstitutionalization of children in orphanages and issues relating to the realisation of the right to access justice. There are countless success stories where the poor and the hopeless have been given a new lease of life and can face their future with dignity – all thanks to Marini.”
Jolly is Founder of EVOL, an organisation that raises awareness of plastic sustainability in several regions across Vietnam. Jolly has a history of working in the nonprofit sector and has a passion for narrowing the gap between ethnic groups. She also founded the Ha Giang Highland Community (EHC) and Education for Vietnam Organic Lifestyle. EHC was set up to tackle persistent public education issues as well as to empower the ethnic youth who face many disadvantages in the Hà Giang province.
“With her optimism, Jolly embodies kindness in leadership and demonstrates it even in small actions. Jolly has meticulously guided me to manage the community house, and to work with the ethnic youth and international volunteers. She has a brilliant capability to motivate others and encourage them to embrace their uniqueness and be confident. Her deep empathy has inspired dozens of volunteers to join her mission and to support each other.”
Jimmy founded KOTO as a sandwich shop in 1999 to provide training for disadvantaged young people in Vietnam. Since then, he has led the organisation to become the first social enterprise in Vietnam that provides internationally-accredited hospitality training. He has transformed the lives of 1,000 underprivileged young people, their families and communities. Jimmy’s founding philosophy, ‘know one teach one’, is reflected in the name of his business, as he seeks to bring a better future to marginalised youth.
“Jimmy founded KOTO to create a better life for others and, for over 20 years, this has been the guiding principle of his leadership and KOTO’s work. Understanding that disadvantaged youth need a family first, he has created a family environment that teaches vocational skills, life skills and promotes a community-oriented mindset, transforming underprivileged youth into independent and active citizens.”
Jen is Founder and CEO of JEN International People and Leadership Development, where she has inspired people from over 30 countries with one-on-one coaching, six published books, a 10,000-strong community and over 1,000 personal and leadership development speeches. At BK Holdings, Jen has been a community champion connecting government, businesses and universities nationally and internationally.
“Jen embodies kindness in her leadership by caring about her team members’ dreams, growth and happiness. The result is a strong culture characterised by joy, growth and contribution. We’re all together because leading by example is key to motivating others. The more engaged team members are also more productive, as evidenced by volunteering when working in community projects and going the extra mile to achieve excellence.”
Jahanzeb is a Barrister of Lincoln’s Inn and an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. He heads up the litigation practice at Haidermota & Co and the firm’s Islamabad office. He appears before the superior courts and various regulatory bodies and tribunals across Pakistan in a range of civil and criminal matters. Jahanzeb has a diverse and high-profile clientele including the State Bank of Pakistan, Pakistan Stock Exchange, and various insurance firms and telecom companies. He is also Australia’s Honorary Consul General for the province of Sindh.
“Jahanzeb’s leadership style is premised on respect for all individuals irrespective of rank and file. His friendly demeanor and open-door policy create a congenial office environment where his associates can individually and collectively thrive. Jahanzeb takes a personal interest in the growth and professional development of his team members and, from an early stage, gives them responsibility as well as the comfort that they can always approach him for the purposes of deliberation and discussion.”
Ning is Executive Director of Market Innovation at the National Association of Financial Market Institutional Investors. One of the first professionals to participate in the bond underwriting business in the interbank market, Ning has been fully involved in the construction of rules and regulations, product innovation, project review, and team building. Ning has led the team to develop three products pioneered in China’s bond market, namely ABCP, carbon-neutral bonds and sustainable-development-linked bonds. Ning also serves as Director of the Office of China Green Bond Standards Committee.
“As a young female manager of the NAFMII, Ning is good at showing her kindness and solidarity. She values her relationships with the team and organisations involved in managing the bond market innovation business. Ning not only keeps talking heart to heart with staff, but also keeps visiting and reaching out to bond market participant firms. Ning is devoted to concepts, product innovation and the promotion of China’s bond market. At the same time, she advocates the balance between work and life.”
Fonia Wong Yeung-fong
Fonia is Senior Director at EBSHK Private. She is popularly known as the ‘Charity Queen of Hong Kong’. In 2016, she topped the list of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award and in 2017, she was the winner of the University of Oxford’s Outstanding Alumni Award for exceptional services to society. Fonia has founded eight NGOs and charities, with over 10,000 volunteers engaged in community service. She has successfully demonstrated that by creating a culture of compassion in organisations and society we can create kind, happy and committed employees and people.
“Fonia has initiated over 100 community service projects. These projects inspire and motivate company employees and volunteers as they enjoy contributing time and money, thereby generating positive energy and mindfulness. Some cannot wait for new assignments and have initiated new NGOs on their own. Company initiatives such as the ‘thankfulness and giving back culture’ and kind leadership events are building good team spirit, a happier work environment with higher productivity and lower turnover.”
Farida has been involved in several charities and fundraising initiatives for over a decade. She is currently working with Zonta International and travelling the South Asian region creating awareness of human trafficking, child abuse and seeking justice for rape victims. During the pandemic, she raised funds for multiple projects to help the remotest areas, and tirelessly worked to get protective gear to frontline workers.
“Farida has faced a lot and believes that nobody should go through what she went through. She is a doer and walks the talk, always. It’s hard to put down in words as she has done so much, never has she misused her power or position for her gain. She’s constantly on the move, checking on matters close to her heart. In the post Easter attack, she created an awareness campaign to help unite communities and bring about harmony. Last year and even now, she is helping more than 20 vulnerable families.”
Eugene joined PageGroup in 2012 after a distinguished career at various investment banks around the world. Responsible for the finance, legal and technology functions across APAC along with responsibility for reporting and analysis, Eugene leads a global team and has established a shared service centre in Singapore of over 100 people. He is a culture builder and the spirit and culture of the shared service centre is testament to this. Eugene is a people person, with kindness, empathy and authenticity that stands out.
“Eugene was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2019, which led to a great level of sadness and emotion within the business. In true Eugene style, he did not indulge in self-pity but focused on beating the challenge ahead of him while making sure his team and family were coping well. During the pandemic, he volunteered as a driver to take food to the elderly and those less fortunate.”
Duncan is an Asia-Pacific leader with 20 years of experience across leadership roles in IBM and VMware. He has driven social, organisational and cultural change to create an open, diverse, and inclusive organisation that positively impacts the community. In his tenure at VMware, Duncan has dramatically improved the representation of women across leadership levels. He has mentored over 30 women who have successfully taken charge of their careers, and enabled over 1000 women to return to their careers by architecting a new return-to-work programme.
“Duncan leads by example; always present and compassionate, and empathetic about personal challenges. He dedicates time to mentoring and diversity, and is genuinely committed to creating a diverse future leadership. He goes the extra mile to support women in the workforce, and walks the talk by developing grassroots programmes like VMinclusion Taara, responsible for bringing over 1,000 women back to work and training 10,000 women in tech.”
Dr Rubaiul Murshed
Rubaiul is a kindness activist who has authored a number of books published in India and Bangladesh. He completed his post-graduation in pediatric surgery in London and founded Shomman, an NGO that seeks to improve the working conditions of domestic and other helping hands (numbering millions) in South Asia and the Middle East. He believes that kindness and humility are two pillars of a moral revolution that can have a transformative impact on today’s chaotic world.
“Rubaiul has held senior consulting positions in different private hospitals in Bangladesh and in all of them he instituted hospital practices that exhibited kindness and dignity for patients. He made special efforts to change the behaviour patterns of doctors, nurses and other hospital staff to handle patients with kindness, understanding and empathy. Because of his actions, the reputation of hospitals changed and resulted in more patients.”
Dr Kuldip Kaur a/p Prem Singh
Dr Didar Zowghi
Didar is a Professor of Software Engineering and Deputy Dean of the Graduate Research School at the University of Technology Sydney. She has held many leadership roles including Associate Dean; Head of School; Director of Research Centres, and Director of Women in Engineering and IT. Recognised as an outstanding leader, she has received a Lifetime Service Award at the International Requirements Engineering Conference. An Associate Editor of IEEE Software, she has published over 200 articles co-authored with over 90 researchers from 30 countries.
“Professor Didar Zowghi’s life story has been an inspiration for many students and colleagues. As a teenager she left her home country in pursuit of education and through hard work and determination became a professor in the male-dominated field of software engineering. Her story revolves around breaking down stereotypes and overcoming barriers. Her leadership at University of Technology Sydney encompasses kindness and support to all of her students and colleagues, not just professionally but as a mentor in advancing their careers too.”
Dheeshana is Managing Director of the award-winning boutique hotel, Theva Residency and restaurant, Theva Cuisine, in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Both the hotel and restaurant have won numerous international awards and Dheeshana is a renowned and hugely respected leader in the hospitality industry. Dheeshana is also a Hatha yoga teacher and yogic lifestyle counsellor.
“Dheeshana’s leadership is based on teamwork and team spirit. Something she strongly believes is that ‘everyone can be replaced for their skills but not their character’. Dheeshana has a strong relationship with her employees that has enabled her to have a consistent and clear understanding of their needs. For Dheeshana, her team means family and she gives them a chance to grow within the hotel. She invests in educational courses for all employees to enhance their knowledge and expertise.”
Deviani is a curious storyteller with over seven years of experience in public relations and marketing. Within the past two years at GoPay, she has led 40 successful consumer-driven digital campaigns that amplify the brand’s image as the leading e-wallet in Indonesia. Deviani wants her work to have a tangible impact on the community around her. She recently joined KAYA.ID, a business incubator focused on growing Indonesia’s SMEs, and will be leading its creative marketing team.
“Deviani is an ambitious and hard-working individual who is determined to achieve her goals. She pioneered several social impact initiatives at GoPay, such as the collaboration with street musicians and micro street-merchants, in an effort to provide access to financial inclusion. To her team, Deviani is a mentor and an emphatic leader who genuinely cares about their growth and development. It matters for Deviani to share her knowledge so they can be the next generation of young leaders.”
Charulata Ravi Kumar
Charulata joined Accenture in 2018 to lead its digital marketing operations, delivering to Accenture’s promise of customer experience through trust, collaboration and knowledge, and inspiring teams to excel beyond their own expectations. In three years, Charulata has strategically transformed operations and ensured people and clients have been at the heart of this transformation. Through her 28-year career, she has led diverse teams in the Middle East, Europe and Asia, while sharing her thought leadership as a columnist for global media publications.
“Charulata’s leadership is unique. Leading by example, she brings together passion for her people and a determination to make them strong leaders of the future. Her connectedness to every individual and their ideas, despite the large team she leads, inspires others to lead with empathy and respect. This has instilled a deep sense of ownership and team spirit at all levels. She is a passionate sponsor of several initiatives including the Career Reboot Programme for Women, LGBT support groups and young leaders programmes.”
Bathiya Jayakody & Santhush Weeraman
Bathiya and Santhush are a highly-acclaimed pop duo who have been one of the most commercially successful music acts in Sri Lanka over the last two decades, with 50 number-one hit singles and six platinum selling albums. They are Co-Founders of BNS, a production group housing some of the most successful companies in the Sri Lankan entertainment industry, including Showtown Entertainment, Saregama Music, Saregama Films, Saregama Digital Content Acquisition and Management, and Leap Strategic Concepts.
“Kindness is at the heart of their vision and dedication to creating and serving the music industry in Sri Lanka. Countless new artists are discovered, nurtured and made into stars in their own right. Countless ecosystem talents – sound engineers, talent managers, back-up dancers, editors, videographers, lawyers – have come via the BNS companies. Instead of zealously guarding their turf, Bathiya and Santhush open it up and invite all. They have transformed the entertainment category as a respected and lucrative career for many. This is no small achievement.”
Ayesha Majid Lari
Ayesha founded Spreading Smiles in Pakistan and, through her unrelenting commitment, she has mobilised hundreds of volunteers and collaborated with numerous charity initiatives to make a significant impact on the lives of thousands of deserving people. Under Ayesha’s active leadership, she has helped uplift marginalised communities. Recent projects include: COVID-19 relief packages to over 600 households; ongoing educational support for students, and support for orphanages and homes for the elderly.
“Ayesha is a strong proponent of active leadership; she is a doer, leads from the front, and sets an example for others. Through her actions, especially through her selfless generosity and resilience in the line of service, she has inspired hundreds, young and old, to voluntarily serve their communities and play their part in making this world a better place for everyone. Ayesha emphasises transparency, complete honesty and clear communication as guiding principles for Spreading Smiles. As a result, we elicit high levels of trust from donors.”
Anthony has a senior role within Chartered Accountants where he is charged with the strategic engagement and development of its members, as well as graduates who are entering the industry. Anthony holds a number of advisory positions with various education institutions and nonprofits to support young talent. Over his 20 year career, Anthony has mentored hundreds of young people and helped develop their careers through opportunities that they would not normally have access to.
“Anthony embodies kindness in leadership through the impact he has made in developing the careers of many young people who have gone on to become great leaders themselves. He’s done this by being a mentor and supporting them throughout their working journey. As an astute business executive his counsel has served to help young talent make the right decisions and push themselves to reach their full potential.”
Anna is Founder and CEO of Bambuddha Group, a social enterprise and community for dedicated learners who want to make an exceptional impact through leadership in business. By providing access to an evidence-based leadership framework that offers industry-leading coaches, community and resources, Anna has a remarkable impact on so many, adding value to thousands of companies and leaders by showing them how to ‘work kinder.’ She has founded several major initiatives including the Corporate Kindness Project.
“Anna spent most of her childhood fighting prejudice and finally went into the care system before braving the world alone at the age of 16. Anna was lucky to have found her ‘why’ from a young age. Her early life experiences helped her to develop a strong passion for equality. She worked optimistically and focused on putting herself through college, university and a master’s degree. After working on various community development projects, Anna set up a company with a clear vision for social and environmental change. Anna and her team are game changers in the space of kindness in leadership.”
Ana Margarita Hontiveros-Malvar
Ana ‘Ginggay’ is a multi-disciplined, results-oriented leader with extensive experience in the corporate and development sectors. She has been instrumental in building and implementing sustainable agricultural development, peace and women’s empowerment programmes in the Philippines. She is a Senior Adviser for Agripreneurship at Go Negosyo, and Programs Head for Bangsamoro Region for Peace and Development. In the corporate world, Ginggay is Vice President for Reputation Management and Sustainability at Aboitiz Equity Ventures.
“A woman of influence, Ginggay has been instrumental in building a family of mentors who lend their expertise to micro-entrepreneurs and agricultural cooperatives. Ginggay continues to mentor all those who work with her and who benefit from her guidance and mentorship. She is particularly involved in mentoring women and vocal about the role and contribution that women have in nation-building, community development and economic prosperity. She also mentors smallholder farmers and fishermen all over the Philippines.”