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Celebrating inspirational women in Asia

Telstra Business Women's Awards

Posted on September 29, 2016

3 min read

In 2016, for the first time the Telstra Business Women’s Awards will have an Award celebrating a successful female business leader who lives and works in Asia.  Telstra Executive and former Telstra Business Woman Award winner, Cynthia Whelan, shares her thoughts on the inspirational seven women who have been shortlisted as finalists for the inaugural Asia award.

As someone who has lived and worked in Asia and today is focused on supporting Telstra’s growth, I have seen that female under-representation in in leadership roles is as acute in the Asia-Pacific region as it is in most other parts of the world.

Many communities in Asia are undergoing profound transformation driven by economic development, increased education, new technology and the maturing of large, young populations.  This transformation creates opportunities for positive change and it is incredibly important we act now to address the under representation of women in senior leadership roles in business and government.

One way to help encourage change in this area is to publicly celebrate women who are successful in business, in order to create role models, demonstrate to the broader community what can be achieved and facilitate a network of female leaders. This is why I am a passionate supporter of the new Telstra Business Woman in Asia Award.

We’ve recently announced the seven fantastic women who have made the final shortlist for the Award – one each from Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. They are:

  • Anu Sheela Themudu is the co-founder of iGene, a pioneering venture in the eHealth sector in Malaysia.
  • Beth Lui is the CEO of APEC Schools which provides affordable, quality education to children living in dense urban communities in the Philippines.
  • Gabby Costigan had a distinguished international career in the Australian Defence Force before taking on the role of CEO of Linfox Asia based in Thailand.
  • Kimberley Cole is based in Hong Kong and leads the sales force of Thomson Reuters across Asia.
  • Marion Fromm established Cambodian Harvest Dried Fruit Co., which is a leading manufacturer of processed fruit products providing employment and education for people with disabilities
  • Rituparna Chakraborty is a co-founder of TeamLease Service which has found employment for more than 1.6 million people in India.
  • Shinta Witoyo Dhanuwardoyo established Bubu.com, one of the first internet based companies in Indonesia.

At Telstra, we are very proud to have such a high calibre group of outstanding women as our first finalists for the Telstra Business Women in Asia Award.

This group of amazing women come from all walks of life, with different cultures and backgrounds, different ages and different experiences, and they all possess a passion for making a real difference.  Whether it is an enthusiastic tech entrepreneur shaping the tech landscape in Indonesia, or a 77-year-old businesswoman who moved from her home country set up a food business offering a future for people with disabilities, each one of these women had the drive and commitment necessary to overcome barriers in order to achieve their success.

Through celebrating these brilliant women in Asia, we hope to empower and inspire more women across the region to pursue their dreams.

In the lead up to the gala dinner in mid-November in Melbourne where the winner of our inaugural Asia Award will be announced alongside the other Telstra Business Women Award winners, we’ll be catching up with some of the finalists and share their inspirational stories here. Watch this space.

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